Friday, October 17, 2014

Kitesurfing - Start of Season 2015

I've been kitesurfing more and more after picking up a new 14 metre F.One Bandit 7 back in February.  It seems that most knew the windier season was mainly summer, but with the extra sail I was able to get out every 2-3 weeks or so. Hopefully I'll have time some day to write down the journey up 'til now, but here's at least a record of progress and thoughts to keep me stretching further ...

26/09 (3h) – Wind a pretty constant 18kn from the SE for the majority of the day. About 15 kiters down at Elliott for the first good day of the season. Holidays also brought 3 young guys from Noosa up to give the local spot a shake up. First time I’d seen anyone ride with boots, and light enough to be out on 7’s.

27/09 (15m) – Predicted to be a little stronger than yesterday, but turned out to be well up over 20Kn. First time the kite felt like it was going to lift me off the ground while directly overhead with full sheet out. Scary. Decided eventually to test it on the water and it actually performed easier than expected. Heading upwind was easy and the kit pull was less on the water, more like a normal run. Turning was hairy though, and gusts coming through caught me off-guard a couple of times. I possibly could have stayed out, but felt dangerous if something went wrong. Pulled the pin after 4 runs and helped Ben launch his 12m. First day when I’m the one on the beach watching Ben get out rather than Ben watching me on marginal days.

29/09 (45m) – Got down late to Archie’s and Ben had already got his 17m self-launched. He’d also done a couple of runs, but had lost ground in the ~12kn winds and had popped out before the south rocks. I was keen on testing the sand anchor, so got my kite pumped while Ben tested another run only to find himself exiting the water back down at the rocks again.

The sand anchor worked Ok to give a solid footing, but needs serious work to figure out how to effectively self-launch using it. I’d tied the flagout line to the anchor to give me enough time to attach the handlebar to the harness, but I couldn’t put the flagout line back onto the harness without taking the weight of the kite off the anchor. The kite also needed a lot of Ben’s attention to sit stable. I’m not sure whether it would have inverted or rolled, but the blustery winds didn’t give the kite any real time to just sit and wait for it to be launched. Also the sand anchor was a little too close to the sand to work effectively. I had to be on my knees most of the time while attaching the handlebar, and if there was a serious pull I’d be on my face.

Made a couple of runs, but couldn't make any upwind. Eventually pulled in a little too close to the rocks and got hand and knee scrapes while trying to exit. Hand signals don't seem to be very effective either.

08/10 (30m) - Another 20+ day at Elliott. Enough wind to push the kite even with the board holding it down. I'd set up the sand anchor to test it out again but eventually decided to watch Ben on his 12m before going out on his gear for ~1/2 hr to test the conditions. Almost pulled off the sand in the heavy gusts, but pretty controllable on the water. Mistakes mean you take the the air though ...

12/10 (15m) - Not enough wind to go, but it felt like there was enough to get the kite up and let Scott & Carina have a play. There were enough lulls to make it VERY touchy and decided to park it instead.

14/10 (5m) - Tried a self-launch off the beach in variable ~12Kn. The kite dragged back to almost downwind and couldn't catch enough to flip up the top edge. Was kinda stuck until Sandy arrived in time to help launch. Wind felt really dicey again and parked the kite without going out.