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.