Monday, October 20, 2014

Windy Weekend

Elliott Heads SE ~16-20Kn (4h)
The predictions all had this weekend being a windy one. Ben and I headed down after an early lunch on Saturday to get stuck into a big session out on the water. Top of the list for me was to try some hooked in load & pops, as well as getting confidence in going faster rather than working on upwind ability.

Tried the sand anchor again for launching with Ben and Mark keeping guard of the kite in case something went wrong. Much better having the caribina hooked onto the chicken loop rather than the flag-out line. Relatively easy to get down to that level and I could even massage the kite with handlebar pressure if needed. 2nd launch went a lot smoother but I'm still not sure I've got more confidence using it over a beach launch.

Spent the first hour tacking and generally playing about. Found that the bar pressure was a little much so I sheeted it in completely and left it there for the rest of the afternoon.

After a bite to eat we decided to try a circuit of the island. I could quite easily cut upwind through the proper river mouth but Ben had difficulty cutting upwind as much. By the time I got to the point, the chop was getting annoying, and decided to bail when Ben crashed and lost more ground. We tried again later on in the day, but once again the chop just made the ride uncomfortable.

Went back to runs straight off the beach while the tide was up to give a lot of knee-high water to play around in. Attempted about a dozen load & pops with about 1/2 being successfully landed. The rest made sure I was going home with more water up my nose.

Parked the kites at 4pm for another break, but the wind picked up substantially to bring the rest of the kiters in. We hung around for 1/2 hr and got a bite to eat, but it still kept up over 20Kn. Called it a day on a happy note rather than going out for a blustery session that may not have allowed me to practice much more.

More chats with the locals to learn more about the conditions and equipment choice. Everyone's still amazed we're out on larger kites, but it doesn't seem to be that big a deal to me. In truth I haven't been out on a smaller kite so I guess I don't know what I'm missing (if anything).

Elliott Heads SE ~18-20Kn (2.5h)
The predictions were for the Sunday to be even windier, but after church it was reading 16-20 at the aerodrome. We got down by about 1:30 and it looked about the same across the water. Enough people around to launch us both and get out quick.

Spent most of the time at the top of the old river mouth practicing load & pops, varying turns and going faster. Did a couple of runs right out over the breaking waves, but losing the board out there meant it got pushed in by the waves a long way, and was a lot more work in the body. Maybe for later when I'm bored of the flat stuff.

I landed almost all of the load & pops, but the amount of height I was getting didn't seem to be very controllable. It's very likely that there's a technique I'm not quite getting that's making a bigger impact than the setup and pop timing or that I'm timing it wrong and I'm going higher when I think I've executed incorrectly.

Came in at 4pm again and the wind picked up past 20Kn on queue. Couldn't see anyone on the beach to help land, so I dumped it in the sea from about 8 o'clock while punching out, then kept pulling one of the centre lines until I got to the kite.

Overall a great weekend. No injuries apart from a sunburnt scalp, and lots of progression.