Monday, December 15, 2014

Around the Island

Went down on Friday after work to see if my leader lines had arrived. I had also packed Ben's 12 but it was too windy for that. Met up with Wardy, but no lines :/. Spent the afternoon watching and launching / landing othrs with smaller kit. 3rd day when there was too much wind. Still happy about the multitude of days that I have been able to get out in because of the larger kite though.

Saturday was blowing even more, possibly 25+Knots. Everyone was in after a big session when I got there, but most were windsurfers. There's a distinct lack of regulars out or floating about on such a primed windy weekend. Another front came in to take the wind up near 35Knots:



Elliott Heads ESE 15-18Kn (45mins)

Headed down to Elliott again on Sunday morning as I had expected to have the rest of the day filled. I had contemplated taking out the 17m as it was possibly only 12Kn at the start, but I'd left it in the shed. The breeze picked up though so I was in the water by 7:50 on a clean 15+ wind with Ben's 12m.

I tried a couple of boosts down in the lee channel. Pretty fun to get back into super flat water but the channel felt a little cramped. Tried riding toe-side but could only managed a broad reach. Will have to seriously work on how to twist my back foot all the way around to get anything like upwind. Wardy was popping from toeside on the Friday so there's a LOT more I need to find.

Tacked easily up to the river mouth to work on more boosts. I'm boosting higher and cleaner in the first couple I do, but then am either rotating or not timing it right when I'm trying to improve later in the session. Accidentally landed a 360, and I'd expect that adding rotaiton is going to be pretty simple. Controlling it will be another matter though.

Headed back after a really nice session and caught a fin on the shallows with my last turn for home and dumped the kite into the water. Really annoyed that I'd have to pack up a wet kite after such a good session.

 
Elliott Heads ESE 13-18Kn (2hrs)

Turned out not going up the farm Sunday afternoon so I headed down to Elliott again for a big session (this time with the 17m definitely in the car). Looked a solid 18+ so I took out the 12m again. Managed a couple of boossts before Ian got up and going so I headed with him over to Coonarr. Ian didn't manage to get out the front, so I thought I may as well try going around the island. I was tacking well upwind and the open sea was fairly sedate, so it turned out to be pretty easy getting above the rocky point and heading downwind along the eastern island beach.

I'm struggling to do anything meaningful going downwind. I lose a heap of kite power doing anything less than a broad reach, and sometimes have to work to even keep the kite flying. I have heard of people doing long downwinders but to me they are worse than tacking hard upwind. I'd much rather spend the time going directly cross wind or slightly upwind while working waves or jump points than endure a long downwinder.

Finished up the first session with a couple more boosts in the river mouth. Once again I found the first ones to be the most successful so I'm overthinking the send or the launch.

The wind was building in front of a large dark cloud, so I came in pretty happy with the whole session and stoked I got around the island. Chatted for 20 minutes and the wind didn't escalate and the front looked like it was sliding inland, so I headed out a gain for a quick burst. Others were out too, but once a lighter leading cloud shot over the river we all headed back in. I was on my last run in when the wind dropped completely before picking up slightly from the SW. I had to safety back to shore and pack up in the rain. Pretty annoyed at reading the weather wrong, but it was a fun little session.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Borrowed Kite

Archie's NW 15-19Kn (15m)
Was hoping for the leader lines to be in by Thursday, but Ben came down anyway to go for a final run before his trip South. Managed to get out on his 12m for a little bit before he packed up. Still blustery coming over the land before coming almost directly down the beach at Archie's. Kinda boosted, but had far more success in the Elliott a couple of weekends ago with consistent wind.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Walk with the wise

Year 7 Graduation for St John's has just ended. A different graduation service with both 6's and 7's departing for high school next year. One of the bible verses chosen by an exiting kid caught my eye:
Proverbs 13:20  Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
It immediately reminded me of  following smart people, something that I've only kept up with my podcasting list. I really should go through an intentional review of my life again to re-establish this learning goal.

On the flip side, there have been parts of my life where I'm now looking back as being a companion of fools. Was there harm? There are certainly ways that my thinking has changed for the worse due to my companionship and attitude expected to participate with those companions. Might need a little more conviction to remove myself from these situations too...

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Broken strings

Archie's N 16-19Kn (1.5h)

Storms over and lots of wind about. Scott had gone out Wakeboarding with the twintip so I couldn't get going until ~4pm, but strong enough to be comfortable 1/2 sheeted in and stayed there all session. Spent a lot of time trying to sync a boost with a wave. 2-3 that I was happy with. Landed a lot early on but didn't quite get the timing right. Started to send the kite a little earlier toward the end of the session and possibly worked out worse as I was floating a lot more but leaving the kite too far overhead by the end. Now that I'm boosting it felt weird coming out from the shoreline to hit the wave ramps. Was happier going further out and using the swell lines for boost targets. Lots of stacks but a fun session.

Took a couple of waves to the face when I'd mistimed the exit run from the beach smack into a breaking wave. The last one I hit broke the left steering line at the bar and had to get the kite rescued as it was floating near swimmers. Looks like the line snapped through wearing onto the aluminium eyelets. They are scoured a lot more than I'd expected so maybe there's been some sand in there or something. The other side is Ok but definitely has wear, so I've ordered another set of leader lines for the summer.

   

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Guy Leech Gear

Archie's & Lelly's  ENE 14-17Kn (1.25h)

Went shopping for some gloves on Tuesday after losing a lot of skin layers over the big weekend. Picked up a pair from BCF, but the construction looked shoddy. Limited options though. Went around to BigW to look for another rashie and found some Guy Leech cycling cloves for 1/2 the price! Picked up some more Guy Leech apparel while I was there including a set of 2-in-1 shorts with an elastic (spandex?) insert. Thought they might work well to stop the chafing.

Enough on Wednesday to get out at Archie's. Wind felt more NE but was almost flush onto the beach by the time I was done. Looong reaches parallel to the beach to get down to Kellie's again in 3 tacks. Toyed with a couple of boosts but the wind just wasn't up to it. Didn't get in too shallow as I wanted to keep clean air. With the wind dropping slightly I broad reached back to Archie's for a little more play. Fully sheeted out by then but couldn't get near the wave zone due to surfers / swimmers. 
  
Still undecided on the gloves. I think they helped but my forearms were now getting tired on the long stretches more than my legs. Fingers were still sore at the end, but it feels like they may have been saved a layer or 2. Bit cumbersome getting them off and carrying yet another piece of soggy equipment home, but at least they didn't get in the way when out on the water.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

270

Elliot Heads ESE 16-18 Kn (1.5h)
Friday was looking like the start of a big weekend. Scott & Carina were at home by the time I knocked off work so they jumped in the car for a trip to Elliott. Ben had Pr Greg and Joseph along for the ride too. Fair few kites out with some spectacular jumps going on.

Ben and I headed out to the mouth and got stuck into it. I'd been watching boosting vids so I was keen to try a straight up boost rather than load & pops. Took a little bit to get the timing right but seemed easier and much more height immediately.

Scott had a small go on Ben's before he headed off and managed to get up at a slow pace. After Ben had packed up Scott had a go on mine and managed to do a couple of turns to compliment a solid set of runs. He's progressing well! Might have some snowboarding experience coming to bear on the turns as they took me a lot longer to nail.


Archie's ESE 15-18 Kn (30min)
Woke up early Saturday and hoped for wind. Yep! Headed down and was in the water by 5:30am while Scott took out the surfboard. Was weird tacking upwind and going South and took a little getting used to hitting all the waves on the opposite stance. Tested a couple of push-offs but need a LOT of work going right. The swell was huge, and turning to catch the swell lines paid off with a couple of nice faces to carve up.

   
Elliott Heads SE 18-22 Kn  (1h)
Got down to Elliott at about 2:30pm but it looked to big for my kite. Lots of sand being blown and no-one out on anything bigger than a 10. Played around with the trainer kite for a bit and it felt good enough to try the board. First run felt so very close. I could pull myself up but just couldn't get onto the plane. A keen kid helped me get the board back for another go and this time I got up and going for about 40m. Couldn't track upwind but mighty happy that it's possible to kitesurf with a 3 metre trainer kite. Lot of work on the arms though without any harness. Tried another run but the wind had died just a little and couldn't repeat the performance.

Ben had arrived at the same time as Scott and set about launching his 12. He seemed Ok with it and Andrew reckoned his 10m wasn't giving him all that much. Encouraged I grabbed my 14 and went out. Lots more boost practice and some of the best for the weekend. It feels a lot higher than off the waves and I'd be happy to call it 2.5m+. Scott reckons I was higher than a bodylength up so that's good enough for me.    


Elliott Heads ENE 12-16Kn (1h)
Quick trip down on Sunday too, but it looked pretty placid and blowing more Northerly to close out the main launching spots. First run ended up a fair way downwind and had to walk up the island to get going again. The wind came in surges to be good going for ~2 runs before dying down to ~12Kn and struggling to stay up. After a couple more island walks we called it a day to get ready for the LAN. Ben grabbed his phone for a quick vid after he landed.




I hit a good gust and thought I could boost, but drove it too hard upwind and started to rotate when I launched. Tried to go with it and nearly made it (although I'm quite certain that even if I got the rotation right I'd have still ended up on my back). Somehow I ended up on top of the board, so after saving the kite it scooted me along for a while until I could gather it in. After watching the vid it looked like a botched send too. There's no way the kite should have peeked into shot as I was launching. Rather fun anyway. Would do it again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

North Easters


Archie's & Kelly's NE 14-18 Kn (2 Hours)
Saturday was looking good. Went out for a quick go before Scott had a session in the water. Went out again with the wind building but packed up after 45 mins as Scott was heading back and I was happy with the session. Ben showed up as we were packing up so I pumped up and headed out again. With both of us out in 16+ winds we tacked right up to Kelly's and stayed out for another hour tacking and using the waves. A fair bit more blustery and I didn't get as much air into the kite that exacerbated the surging. Not really much extra learned but the first time in a while that we were both out in the open ocean. Ben stayed out further on his 12m while I worked into the beach and back to the shark buoys. Came back happy but sunburnt across my lower back where the rash shirt rode up underneath the harness.


Archie's NE ~13-15 Kn  (45min)
Quick go after work on Tuesday. Consistent North Easters have moved a lot of the sand southward and have kept me focused on Archie's as a kiting destination. Another Solo run.


Archie's NNE ~12-13Kn (15m)
Felt Ok, but not really enough to get going on Thursday. Bit of a disappointing session.


Archie's NNE ~13-15Kn (30m)
More wind for me, but Ben struggled to get going as Deo looked on.Scott ended the session with a couple of good upwind body drags as I headed off for the St John's Christmas party.  


Archie's NE ~14-16Kn (1.5h)
Everything looked almost perfect for a day out on the water. Turned out to be a great session with Ben and Scott joining in too. Sandy managed to video parts of the session and I was a little diisappointed in the height I was getting off the waves in the video. I know I had done larger jumps than the recorded section but it feels bigger out on the water. I may have to revise my 2m+ jump ideas.

Scott went out for a body drag with the board. Although the last session he made some upwind progress, we ended up way downwind after a couple of uncontrolled boosts. A little more kite control needed when using one hand. More time in the water though, and a lot harder learning in the waves.





Friday, November 14, 2014

Pumping the Board

Archie's NNE ~12-14Kn (20m)
Enough wind to get out for a quick solo session. First couple of tacks felt like there was enough there to go upwind, but eventually pulled out at the bottom of Archie's. Walked right up to the middle beach between the rock that was almost exposed on the outgoing tide to get a bit more of a run at it as well as clearing some kids out in the surf. I knew that there would be sand out there, so even though there were a few more rocks than normal on entry, it turned out Ok. Couple of good tacks with more pace out the back (surprising since I was expecting the NNE to make the air cleaner even on the beach), but I didn't really make too much headway. The wind dropped off 1-2 knots to make it a task even getting up on the board, so I brought it in to the beach just as Ben had arrived to set up. Ben's not having too much luck at Archie's.

I was trying to explain a technique to Ben that I'd been using inn light winds to generate pace on start. I was releasing the edge and pushing out on the board to carve into a new line with more speed. It was hard to explain, but I knew I'd used the technique somewhere else. Skating? Tried to equate it to tic-tacking, but the forces applied weren't right. Surfing? Pumping a wave for speed? YES! Unfortunately Ben hadn't surfed either, but the parallels are really close.

On a wave you push down with the board while extending out your body, then compress as the board floats back up to the top of the wave before pushing hard again driving the board down. The extending and compressing keeps your head height (and body weight) about the same on the wave, but generates speed by applying more power on the down stroke to "raise" your weight (in relative terms compared to the board), then using that stored potential by dropping the weight (in relative terms compared to the board by crouching) to allow the board to float back up to the top of the wave without much power used.

In kitesurfing, the kite pulls at an angle that, when combined with gravity, makes the flat water surface act like the angled part of a wave. Pumping then works in the same way, but you don't need to keep positioning yourself back to the top of the wave as any part of the water surface will be "angled" as long as there is enough kite pull. Hmm. I wonder if this means that pumping is better with the kite lower?

It seems as I was too hasty to ditch the skate reference as it's more or less the same when pumping a halfpipe or when pumping over long distances (rather than just tic-tacking).


Archie's & Kelly's  NE ~13-16Kn (1h)
All fired up about pumping, I went out on Thursday to check out what I'd learnt. It seems that the initial pump when combined with a relatively backward kite position leads to a lot of acceleration, but continued pumps didn't feel worthwhile. I tried a couple of other techniques but didn't really achieve much past the first pump off a turn. It interesting that going over waves also forced me into a pump, but there were only a couple of times when it also resulted in acceleration.

I gave up on pumps for a bit and tacked hard upwind to up above the Kelly's flags for a little bit more practice on wave jumping. The mid-tide and moon rock positioning meant I kept out from the real shallow water, but there were still enough ramps on offer to boost off. No floaters this time, but one 2m+ jump again that I landed with speed.
  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Wind Shadows

Archie's ENE ~9-11 Kn (5mins)
Sweltery Saturday and I was keen to get in the water after mowing the lawn. Called Ben down after looking at it from the beach as marginal but building. Turned out it didn't build and the kite could barely launch. I had thought that I was getting better at picking the wind strength by feel on my face, but the lack of ANY white caps and only light palm tree movement should have been a firmer giveaway.

Archie's ENE ~11-14 Kn (40 mins)
Sunday looked to be a little better and I was keen enough with Scott around to go down even if it was going to be just a beach session. I went out first, but could barely make headway through the surf with the wind only barely cross-shore. Board-dragged out about 50m off the beach and could get up and going a lot easier, enough to do a couple of long reaches back and forth while slowly going upwind away from the shore. The wind definitely felt stronger that far off the beach, possibly 1-2 knots more.

Came in to let Scott have a go as Ben was hitting the water. He struggled too on his 17m and even board-dragged further out than I had to get a good run at it. The wind might have dropped another knot or 2 and Ben barely got up on the plane. I had a go on the 17m for comparison and, convinced that the wind was going to be stronger further out, took it out about 50m to try. I failed 3 times to get up on the plane due to the kite not reacting quick enough to give a 2nd dive while going forward and not changing my technique to the larger kite. Pretty sure the wind had dropped off too, but wasn't really in the mood to take mine out again as a final comparison.


Last night I'd watched this video about wind shadows. Applying the "3 times height" rule in front of the trees at Archie's it should be clean by the time I'm in the water at low tide. Added to this that the kite should be higher than the trees so it shouldn't really be affected too much even closer in. I think there's something else going on about it being more windy out further. It's not the first time I've noticed it, but it was really noticeable today. I'd like to find a little more official wind shadow video if possible.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Solo session to the Basin

Elliott Heads ENE ~9-11Kn (15m)
Planned to go down to Elliott after work on Wednesday regardless of conditions as Ben's dad was in town and he was keen to see the kite fly. The 17m felt marginal, and Ben's first few runs didn't get onto the plane. I had a go in the middle but could barely get going, certainly no upwind. Missed the turn back and hit a lull that kept me floating downstream on the incoming tide. Eventually bodydragged to shore once I was well behind the point, but the kite still fell out of the sky just as I was getting to land. Walk of shame back out to the front for Ben to have another go. Only another 1 Knot would have made the difference I think. So close to being able to go out with no white caps.
 

Archie's NE ~14-16Kn (1h)
Thursday afternoon had enough going for it to head down to the front by myself. 1/2 tide made setup a little easier on the exposed flat, but I kept all my gear up high for the return trip. Wind felt almost ENE on start and could easily make upwind on the first few tacks. Enough wind to sheet in 1/2 to make it a little more pleasant on my lower back, which is starting to ache after all the kiting. Kept heading upwind and it took about 20 tacks to get right up to the basin again. Looking back down the beach to Archie's felt good. Lots of progress.

Up the top end of Kelly's there's a lull spot behind the rocks near the basin. It looked like it should have been getting clean wind, but I hit it 3 times in a row. Maybe it's got a ball of air tucked in behind the headland that pushes out onto the water? Didn't bring the kite down, but a little scary. Headed downwind to about mid-Kelly's to play around in the surf. Getting confident in going almost all the way to the shore, carving upwind before transitioning to a backhand carve to get going. When I get it right I'm hitting the first wave with power, but usually absorbing it and looking for a more useful ramp. Almost every run out had a good looking ramp somewhere, sometimes another 20m out past the break though.

Ramps. Ramps are fun. I'm starting to like the open surf more and more. Certainly pleased I learned on the flat stuff, but hitting a ramp at full speed just LAUNCHES you. I managed to do a 2m+ jump on one wave. Up long enough for the kite to kick in and keep me up there a bit longer. Very sketchy landings off the larger jumps though, and I'm not getting the kite in motion to keep going after the landing.

Solo landing the kite still has its issues. Kept the kite low and immediately hauled in on the main line to pull it over. However, the kite stayed semi-propped on the ground while I worked my way up the lines to the junction. Pulling a single line to the bottom side made it flop a little, but as I headed more upwind to give it more angle to drop the kite, it caught a gust and flipped over. Much easier to reel in once it was on its back, but it felt ungainly and not completely under control. I think heading upwind was a mistake. Thinking about it now, I should have followed the top line rather than the bottom line too.