Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's All Down Hill From Here

It's all over. I'm done. I turn 50 on Tuesday. Too old for these crazy sports. Body parts are going to start falling off if I keep at it. At least that's what one side of my brain says. The smart side. But I never listen to that side.

Crash & Burn- O.K. I was back to crash and burn today. It felt familiar. At first it was mostly from my slide turns. Yesterday they were working really well. Today, not so much. I think I was being too aggressive. Then the wind came up and I switched to my smaller board and it was more than just slide turns throwing me into the drink. I felt like a crash test Dummy.

Small Board- This board works! My previous problem with spin out is completely gone now that I know something about edging. That doesn't mean it's easy. It's so touchy compared to my big board! It just submarines if I don't power the kite enough and I can forget about completing my slide turns with this baby. Still, it did handle the chop better than my big board... I think this board is going to teach me a lot, or I'm going to decide it's junk and throw it out.

West Dennis- was a party. There must have been at least 8 to 10 guys on the water. The weather threw everything at us, rain-drizzle-fog-sun, strong-light-moderate wind, chop-flat water. I got there when it was blowing to 30 but waited until the tide and wind were lower. Everyone seemed pretty excited to be sneaking in a session this time of year.

West Dennis, Kitesurfed, S, SSW, 11-21, 12M Royal Era/ 152 & 132 Ply Boards, Air Temp 46, with Frank, Tom, Greg, Eric, Patrick, Robert, Kristof, others.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kiting- Learning Curve Illusions

My faithful steeds await in the parking lot snow pile

I didn't do my usual crash and burns today. I don't know what's going on. Could it be that after 6 months of face plants I'm starting to figure this kiting stuff out a tiny bit? Nah, it was probably just because the wind was light, (no whitecaps at all).

Learning Curve Illusions- I had to sine the kite pretty hard to stay on plane but it was still fun because I felt like I was learning a lot. This is the best time in my learning curve. I have the illusion that I improve every time I go.

Nelson St- Nice spot for kiting in shallow water for 2 or 3 hours on each side of high tide, very safe!

Strapless Surfboard Riding (Realwind 85)- Crazy, crazy, crazy. I tried a few runs, got up once for a few seconds. How does anyone waterstart without footstraps?!

Nelson St/ Plymouth, Kitesurfed, E, 10-15?, 12 M Royal Era/ 152 Ply Board, Temp 41, Solo.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Seasons Greetings from the Chapin Beach Tree Stump

I stopped to say hi to the Chapin tree stump. She seemed to be in good cheer, probably from drinking all those Bud Lights. Yeah, they were empty. I checked.

This was one of those days when the temp dropped dramatically as I drove S to the Cape. It was 28 when I left the house and 36 when I arrived at the beach. I think the cold temps back home kept the Boston crew away. I had the beach to myself.

I kited during the mid tide, waist deep water and lots of beach, very nice. It was good to know that if I lost my board or the conditions changed I could just walk it back in. 10-20 MPH was enough to have fun with my 12M kite, plenty of power in the gusts, had to pump the kite in the lulls. ENE wind was dead sideshore and pretty gusty.

Chapin, Kitesurfed, ENE, 10-20, 12M Royal Kite/ 152 Ply Board, Air 36 F, Solo.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kiting- Edge Control Makes a Difference!

This was probably my best kiting day yet! I still crashed my kite all over the place and did my signature long swims to retrieve my board but I think I had a breakthrough with edging and handling more power, and my slide transitions started to click a little too.

Edging and handling power- The secret ingredient was revealed by Frank's well timed tip- keep the kite low in the gusts. That's the opposite of what I've been doing, stupid me. What a difference! I could feel the board's angle of attack shift dramatically and in a few runs I was upwind by our usual Summer launch spot wondering how I got there. The best thing was that I felt much more comfortable and in control when powered up. It was a pay off day for all my crashes and gallons of saltwater that I've been drinking, great fun!

Skim Board- I tried getting up on an old skim board that we had hanging around the house. This was nuts! How can anyone get started on these things? My booties gripped the board like a banana peel on ice. It didn't float at all so I had to throw it across the water and jump on as I powered up the kite. Of course I slipped right off the other side. What was I thinking? I may glue some grip on and try again some time when I feel like crashing a lot.

Waquiot Bay, Kitesurfed, SSW, 14-26? 12M Royal Era, 152 ply board, Frank, Igor, Paul, Robert.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kiting- Equipment Test

It was a pretty wild day. Light start, got to try Frank's 15M Flexifoil with his Door 64. The kite turned like it was in molasses but that board is incredible. It just planes right thru all the lulls. It felt like magic.

Then the wind picked up and I got out on the Era 12 with my little ply board (132 x 41) and really gave that board a good try. It felt messed up. At slow speeds, barely powered, it was good but when I got a gust and picked up some speed it just kept sliding out like crazy. Frank thought that it was a technique problem but I think there is something wrong with my board design, fin placement or something like that.

Finally it really picked up and I got out with a 7M Bularoo that I bought online. It just arrived on Thursday so I was excited to try it. I just got a few runs before it got too dark to kite but it was fun. It was a little scary being out on a kite in that much wind, sand blowing down the beach etc. The kite felt great, very controllable. I was pleasantly surprised that the 7M felt less "lifty" than the Era12 even though the wind was much stronger. It still might have been the low end of the wind range for a 7? Frank was on his 9M Waroo fully depowered.

Otherwise, it was drizzly, grey, cool & stormy, very small but friendly crowd. I felt a little stupid driving home from my day at the beach thru a blizzard of snow but I know that there is more of that to come.

Kiteboarded, chapin, 8-15, 10-20, 20-30, ENE,NE, 15M Flexi kite/ Door64, 12M Era kite & 7M Bularoo kite/ 132 & 152 ply boards, Frank, Igor, Kristof, 2 windsurfers.

Picture- Igor in the kiddie pool, Frank assisting.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Feet are Too Big

I never really hit my stride with the kite today but I felt like I was learning a lot and it was great to be out there on such a beautiful day. I could feel myself taking a good deep recharge.

My feet are too big- One thing I learned is that I should get a screwdriver and adjust my straps to fit brand new Winter booties before I put my kite up. And I learned what it's like to kite with my toes jammed into the unadjusted straps and my heels hanging on the edge of the board. It's really hard to edge that way, especially on my smaller board, not to mention how sore my toes are now. Windsurfing really has kiting beat on the footstrap adjusting score.

Learning by not trying- I also learned that the best way to self land without crashing the kite is to do it by mistake. Every time I try this move I crash the kite and make a mess of everything. Today I snuck up on it. I had the kite low on the edge of the wind window as I walked it in. When a healthy lull hit, my kite fell out of the sky, landing on its leading edge. To my amazement, all I had to do was pull on my outer line to spin the kite into a perfect parked position, no crashes, no birds nest of lines. Of course, I acted like I had meant to drop the kite on that exact spot. I felt like a pro.

Windsurfing when you least expect it- The wind died, shifted and came back stronger than before. So I had a bonus session of windsurfing at West Dennis on my way home. This wasn't in the forecast, which made it even sweeter. I was really powered up, so fun.

Kiteboarded, First Encounter, 8-22, WSW, W, 12M kite/ 132 & 152 ply boards, Des, Dave, Cathleen, Lisa.

Windsurfed, West Dennis, 15-29, WSW, 5.2/ RealWind 85, Hardy from New York, Dave, others.

Picture- Dave at First Encounter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Side-lined by Swine Flu

Barbara has it not me. Still, it doesn't look like fun, very high fever that is hard to bring down. For anyone thinking about getting it this season, I recommend against it.

I heard from the usual crowd that it was a pretty good weekend on the water, sunny, warm, some wind both days. Igor got his first moves with a kite, thanks to Frank's help. Go Igor! I was there in spirit.

Here's a picture of Soccer Ben. He finished his season with a bang. He scored 7 goals in his last 2 games. That gives him bragging rights! If he ever brings that energy to kiting or windsurfing he'd have the potential to be a lot better than me. I'm not sure that would be a good thing...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wakeboarding- Fun with Face Plants

Paul with boat, looks like a spy or action movie hero

First time wake boarding-
Masskiters Paul & Holly needed a spotter and I needed some planing time after my skunky yesterday. What a blast! I got up on my first try with my right leg forward, (ego up), but I couldn't get up at all with left leg forward (ego down). This seems like a great way to experiment with board control and balance and have some excitement on a glassy day. I especially liked the feeling of putting more weight on my front leg to rest my rear leg. After this I should have no problem landing arial transitions and loops on a kiteboard.

Fun with Face plants- I have a special talent for dramatic kiteboarding face plants or so I'm told. But I didn't really know what a face plant could be until I caught an edge wakeboarding. I don't know if it was because my feet were glued to the board with bindings or because of the low angle of pull from the boat but these falls packed a punch. It was great fun though. I'd go back out in a heartbeat if the chance came up. Thanks Paul & Holly!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Windsurfing- 3 Strikes and You're Out

Scott- underpowered at Nahant

The forecast was for winds up to 40 MPH, widespread, blowing all day & thru the night, dropping off on Sunday morning. Too much wind for me to kite! This was going to be a windsurfing day.

Strike 1, Nahant-Scott and I got there around 8:30 AM. I did 2 runs. It was side-on, NE, head high waves, very dirty wind on the inside, underpowered on my 5.2, waves breaking way out made it hard to get past the whitewater, much stronger wind near the outside break but exhausting to get there. I had no strength left to get over those last few waves. Neither Scott nor I made it all the way out.

Strike 2, Revere- Straight side shore wind, small but fun waves, nice. I did 3 runs. My first 2 were good. I was just getting settled into the conditions when the wind switched off. I landed way down wind and walked back (thanks for the help carrying my board, Frank).

Strike 3, Duxbury- The IWindsurf meter said Dux was still blowing 20-30. So I gave up on those nice little waves at Revere and drove south. No wind. There were still 2 kiters flying their kites when I got there but the wind was disappearing fast.

My total runs for the day? 5.

Don't shoot the messenger? It's too bad that the IWindsurf site crashed in the AM. I waited until 7:00 before leaving the house so I could check the morning update but the whole site crashed at that time so I had to rely on the previous nights forecast. Later I found out that the morning update accurately predicted the wind to drop off during the morning, especially in Boston. What good is it if no one can see it?

Busted Drysuit- I sent it back for new knees. Barbara suggested I try her full baggy drysuit for a temporary replacement. It fit!

Bottom Picture- unknown kiter playing in the waves at Revere.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Drysuit Blowout

I blew the knee out of my drysuit today at Hardings Beach. I just bent my leg and it split. Man that water was cold! My knee went numb almost instantly. It felt like someone hit it with something hard and cold but it was just the water. The bottom half of my suit is neoprene, tight fitting, so water didn't migrate in very far, allowing me to keep kiting, frozen knee and all.

First time Self launching- I used a sign post at Hardings, put a rope and caribiner around it, hooked my chicken loop in and it worked great! Then I did it again at West Dennis pond after launching Scott. I used a metal pole and flew the kite out over the water, still worked great.

First time landing a buddy while flying my kite-Scott's kite was leading edge down in the water at the shoreline. I just grabbed the LE and twisted it into the wind and held it until he ran down to it. After he had his kite secure, he landed me.

Hardings Notes- in SW at low tide had lots of little breaking chop waves even though it was mostly waist deep or less where I was kiting- out near the inlet to Stage Harbor. Pretty challenging for my kiting level but I felt like I was learning a lot. There were more waves than in W.

West Dennis Pond Side Notes- Mid tide in WSW winds worked great for Scott and me. It was mostly waist deep everywhere. Only room for a couple of kiters though.

Hardings Beach, Kited, SW 14-21, 12M/ 152 ply board, Des, Jerry E, others.

West Dennis, Kited, WSW, 11-18, 12M/ 152 ply board, Scott.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Patron Saints of Kiting

Windsurfing and kiting seem to bring out the best in some people. And some people's best puts the rest of us to shame. I'm not talking about being the best showman on the beach here. I'm talking about being friendly and helpful to others in need.

I'm thinking of 2 people in particular. You know who you are. One of whom saved my butt again today by bodydragging about 1/4 mile out to my lost board and bringing it back in. Then he let me take a turn on his 9M because the reason I lost my board in the first place was that there was too much wind for my 12M to stay down here near the earth's surface.

Saint #2- Then there's the friend that got me kiting to begin with by telling me I didn't need a lot of $ to get started and proved it by pointing out an unbelievable deal on a used kite. She has also been known to save my butt multiple times when kiting together. Both of these enthusiasts have given me endless tips and encouragement. Don't try to deny these charges.

How do these people get this way? Is there something in their genes that is triggered by watersports? Or are these generous qualities always present in these individuals? Nature or nurture? Will all windsurfers and kiters eventually become like them if we do it long enough?

I vote for them to be presidents of the world. The world would simply be a happier place. Imagine a world where everyone helps out everyone, (and no beach access problems).

Waquiot Bay, Kited, S, 15-25, 12M & 9M/ 152 ply board, Frank, Andre, others.
Windsurfed, S 18-33, 4.2/ RW85, Sandie, others.

Picture- Frank coming in for a landing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why they call it The Cut

2 Kiters playing in the bathtub at The Cut, no sharks in there

Because of the Great White sharks. fortunately, it seemed like they were eating their seal dinners somewhere else today. I didn't see too many fins anyway (none). I counted my toes before the session and after, and the number was the same. So I think I didn't lose any.

The Cut, Windsurfed, 15-25, S, 5.2/RW 85 & Acid94, with Gerry, Scott, Leif, Simon from Quebec, Des beach visit, others.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autumn in New England

Autumn in New England brings pastel painted leaves, halloween pumpkins, apple pie, and nor'easters. These are all beautiful things.

Everyone was getting closed out at Naragansett

Naragansett Notes- NNE was only slightly side off at the S end of the beach but it was enough to keep the wind very light in the waves. The swell was about shoulder high but apparently the previous day's surf had washed out the sand bars making for closeout waves (this happens a lot here, so they say). Poor wind quality, poor wave quality, not what we had hoped for. It was still fun to sail with Gerry and Jeff and to try something new... After we packed up, it was too windy to go straight home. I made a detour to P Bay.
Naragansett Beach, Windsurfed, NNE, 10-25, 5.7/Carve123, Jeff B, Gerry S.

Pleasure Bay/ Boston Harbor- The wind wasn't big enough to have fun in the bay so I did a few runs then carried my rig across the causeway, near the pavillion and tidal outlet, and gave the harbor a try. I felt some satisfaction that I negotiated the rocky climb on the causeway without slipping and cracking my skull or board. The wind was a little better in the harbor but still not enough to plane consistantly. I was getting out close to Thompson Island, a little upwind of it. The towering cargo ships and cruise ships were going in and out, blocking my wind. Very rude! I scampered back across the causeway and made the last few runs in P Bay as the sun was setting.
Pleasure Bay & Boston Harbor, Windsurfed, NNE, 10-25, 5.7/Carve123, Dave, Martin.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Plywood Kiteboard Experiment # 2

I got 1 run on my new board on Saturday. It felt like it was spinning out a little but I wasn't sure.

Stormchaser, 132 x 41

I had fun with the spray gun again but if the board doesn't work then it's just nicely painted junk.

1/2" rocker, a lot of flex, maybe too much

This one was even cheaper than the first. The pads cost $5 for set, fins were $40 for set, screws, paint, epoxy didn't add up to much, straps were from a defunct windsurfing board, wood was 2 pieces of 1/4" birch scrap from making cabs in the shop.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First Encounter

First Encounter Beach- They say that this beach was named for the pilgrim's first encounter with kiteboarders. That's what they say! There were plenty of kites here today but not enough to feel crowded.

Good Company- It was great to kite with Des and Luke. Thanks Des for showing me the spot and rescuing my board, twice!

Lucky timing- I switched to windsurfing just before the wind cranked up. There was a wind jump from 20 to 35 in a couple of minutes. I'm glad that I wasn't out kiting with 12 meters then. High tide, strong wind, windsurfer = nice floaty jumps.

Beach notes- Mid tide; the launch is flat water, kiting over sandbars, very user friendly. Low tide; the same but can have a 1 mile walk to water. High tide; (2 hours before and after), beach gets small, water gets choppy and deeper, if the wind is really strong it gets very jumpable chop, fun for windsurfing.

First Encounter, Kitesurfed, 10-20, NW, Mid Tide, 12M Kite, 152 & 132 Ply Boards, Des, Luke, Lisa, Dave, others.

First Encounter, Windsurfed, 20-35, NW, high Tide, 4.2/RW85, Solo.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Skunks at Scarborough

Same old story. It was howling when I arrived at Scarborough Beach, it died while I was rigging. at least I was skunked in R.I. for a change.

After not windsurfing, I visited my mother in Conn. She had her hip replaced 1 week go and is doing great. Go Mom!

Picture- Scarborough had the waves, no wind.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Surfing Fool

I wanted to stay local because I didn't have much time to sail. Besides the local forecast for wind looked good for a change. Fooled again.

Nantasket surf scene

I crashed the surf scene at Nantasket. There were the usual stifled laughs and inquiries about my kooky looking board, footstraps and all. I said that it was a tow-in surboard that I bought from some guy named Laird Hamilton in Maui. Nobody seemed very impressed.
Nantasket, Surfed, Carve123, with others.

After surfing and waiting for wind at Nantasket I hit Duxbury, pond side, for some wind that looked good on the meter, felt good in the parking lot, but was mostly a tease on the water. If I had more time I would have put up bigger equipment to get me thru the near-constant lulls. I had to get home and cleaned up for a Porcupine Tree concert with Josh and crew of teenagers.
Duxbury, Windsurfed, SE 12-27, 5.2/RW85, solo.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

2 Winds

Peter K Levitating at Corporation

A windsurfing wind and a kiting wind. I sailed in waves, strong wind at Corp in the AM then kited in the mellow flats at Chapin during mid/low tide in the afternoon. It was a soul satisfying day!!!

Almost a kitemare? So when I was walking my kite upwind, in knee deep water, another kiter, Dave, kited too close and crossed my kite. We both released to our safety lines, walked it in and untangled everything, no big deal in this case (light winds, shallow water, no kite spirals) but it definitely worried me. He was a newbie too, and very apologetic. I've been wondering, since I started kiting, what would happen if 2 kites crossed. Now I know. It's not pretty. In strong winds, or at the wrong location I'll bet it could be a lot more serious.

Igor- It was great to see you! Your a human weather sock. When you start showing up at Chapin again it means the windy season is coming! Bring it on.

Sagamore Bridge Repaving- The traffic was good leaving the Cape, until exit 2. Then it just stopped dead. It took 45 minutes to go the last few miles. I rummaged thru my lunch left overs, made some phone calls, and clipped my toenails while I was bumper to bumper. How often can you clip your toenails while you're driving on the highway?! The repaving is supposed to continue around the clock for the Fall and Spring.

Corporation, Windsurfed, NW 13-30, 4.2, 5.2/ RW85, with Scott, Jerry E, Jerry C (Field Pub, Cambridge), Jamie, Jeff, others.
Chapin, kitsurfed, NNW, N, 7-17, 12 M Kite, 152 Ply board, with Frank, Sandie, Igor, Dave, others.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

AMC, Petra Kanz, and the Lighthouse Inn

The forecast for this weekend's AMC trip was bad. The trip was good. The clinic went well despite mostly rainy, mostly non-planing conditions, thanks to Petra's enthusiasm. This is the most important lesson from a windsurfing instructor- we're windsurfers. We make the most of what we get.

Ben had a spontaneous urge to back flip

It was a fun group. There were some new faces, some old faces, and some very old faces, (even older than mine), but most faces looked pretty happy. I think everyone had a good time.

West Dennis in E wind- On the rainy Friday evening, I got down early enough to have almost 2 hours of windsurfing, practicing my very weak port tack jumps, in strong E winds before dark. The wind seemed almost dead side shore but there was a very noticable wind shadow near the beach, and the meter read low by about 5 MPH.
West Dennis, Windsurfed, 15-28, E, 5.7/ RW 85, solo

Who kites during a windsurfing clinic? Traitors. On Saturday mid day, I did a downwinder from the Lighthouse Inn to chair 9, using Petra's board. Petra gave me a ride back to the Inn. It helps when the windsurfing instructor is also a kitesurfing instructor.
West Dennis, Kitesurfed, 12-17, ESE, 12 M kite, Petra's board, Peter

Barbara gets on a plane in light winds with the help of a 10 HP motor

Wakeboarding with only a 10 horsepower motor- Barbara & Ben came down on Saturday evening. On Sunday Ben trainer kited. The wind was pretty light. It was a good time to pull out a motor. Ben and I got planing on the Real Wind 85 liter board behind the boat. The trick for getting up was to do it when the boat was moving pretty slowly. Once up and cruising, it was stable enough to cross the wake side to side and play around. We got Petra up on the RW 85 board. This inspired Ben to get up on the kiteboard, with a little starting help from Petra. I tried to get up on the kiteboard but the boat didn't have the juice to pull me onto a plane. Petra got up. Barbara took some turns blasting the boat out to the rock island and driving for my wakeboard attempts.

It was another classic, rainy, make-the-best, AMC West Dennis weekend trip.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Total Body Muscle Cramp

I windsurfed in the morning until my arms cramped up, then kited in the afternoon until my legs cramped up. It was perfection in muscle cramps. I didn't neglect any small part of my body.

Chapin was a huge kiting/windsurfing party on the beach! This is only half.

Windsurfing- I made the long walk out to the water to start but I was just 1 person in the parade of windsurfers and kiters crossing the sand bar. The windsurfing felt so nice, with the side shore wind and Chapin's small wind waves. I practiced going down the line a little and even tried a couple loop attempts.

Kiting- From 2 hours after high tide to 4 hours after, Chapin was a giant bathtub, perfect for baby kiters! There was nothing around except shallow, flat water, and sand bars, very safe and easy. I was up and riding, and completed 1 slide turn without crashing or sinking! The new fins fixed the slipping out problem I was having with my cheapo ply board.

This day was about as good as it gets!

Windsurfed, NE, 15-23, Acid 94/5.7, with Chris, Sergey.
Kited, ENE, 8-18, 12 kite/152 ply board, with Frank, Jamie & Robin, Sandie, Sammy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I got Summer parking at Chapin! no wind

Skunk- Got Skunked at Chapin.

Parking- While I was waiting for wind I asked the attendant about Summer parking. Here's the lowdown- Mayflower Beach opens at 7:45 and fills up by around 9:00 on a hot Summer weekend day. Then the overflow parking can fill up Chapin by 9:30 or 10:00. Today there was still parking at 10:00 when I left Chapin, probably because the temp was about 70.

Bottle- I stopped at Kalmus to send this bottle & message on its way. It was found at Kalmus on 4/4/09 by Olivier. I added a new note to the original and I've been waiting for a NE wind to set it free at the scene of the discovery.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Busted by Tropical Depression Danny, then not

Extra Tropical Depression Danny- Closed down many local beaches but otherwise was unremarkable. Here's a partial list of closings- Nahant, Revere, Nantasket, Horseneck, The Cut.

Nauset Light Beach- I ended up with Jerry, Barry and a merry crew of kiters at Nauset Light Beach. I watched them having fun in the waves while they watched me schlogging on my windsurfer. It was supposed to be windy on the outer Cape! They were right about the torrential rain though. Waves were about shoulder high but I never got out that far. The wind was pretty onshore, not ideal direction.

West Dennis- On the way home I drove thru a sudden burst of wind. The trees along the highway were doubled over backwards and the truck was bouncing around like some massive hand was slapping it. IWindsurf said it was blowing up to 53 at Kalmus. This was what I came for! I made a beeline for the nearest beach and got about an hour powered up at West Dennis, flat water. It was good to be powered but I really missed those waves at Nauset.

Nauset Light Beach, Windsurfed, ESE, E, 10-20, 5.7/ Acid94, Jerry, Barry, others.

West Dennis Beach, Windsurfed, S, 16-28, 5.2/ RW85, Chris E, others.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Busted by Hurricane Bill

The launch at Strong Island Landing, every place else was closed

Hurricane Bill was supposed to come close enough to the Cape to shut down most of the ocean beaches but not close enough to give us the really big wind. But the forecasters weren't sure. It is a hurricane after all. I figured the potential was there for some wind if it veered or slowed a little. So I had to try to get some of what we got. It was an early morning session in gusty conditions, planing about half the time. That half felt great! Not what I had hoped for but it was really nice to have a sail in my hands again.

Chatham- Strong Island Landing, Windsurfed, NNW, 10-22, Acid94/6.2, Solo

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kiting- How to get Hypothermia on a Hot Summer Day

Don't wear a wetsuit, because it's a hot steamy day (85 temp?) in the middle of Summer and your kiting in a bay, then float in the water endlessly, (dead high tide), trying to waterstart in light winds.

I didn't get hypothermia but my teeth were chattering for an eternity after I finally flew the kite and made it back to the bank of seaweed shore. I covered myself in seaweed, like a blanket. By the time I had warmed up the wind had died and that was pretty much my session.

Paul drove us out there in his boat because neither of us have an ORV pass. That's a really nice way to get our own secluded launch spot. Thanks Paul!

It was fun, in spite of my struggles! Just being out on the water and doing something active makes me happy. I know I'm not normal.

Duxbury Bay, Kitesurfed, SSE, 10-15, 12 M kite, 152 ply board, with Paul.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kiting- I Don't Know Nothing

Waq Bay isn't just for kids, unknown kiter

I love this sport! It's just what I had hoped for. Kiting makes a 10-15 MPH day seem intense, challenging, and completely exhausting, at least for this newbie.

Signs of progress- I got my longest rides yet! I'm no longer trying to stay in the shallows. I'm bustin' out. On a few rides I even came back close to where I started. I think it was more luck than skill because my stance is still mostly a mess but I'll take what I can get. The feeling of intimidation that I got from my first 4 or 5 sessions is pretty much gone.

What I need to fix- The mini wooden fins on my board aren't grippy enough. The board was sliding out a lot compared to Frank's Spleen Door 64. There are plenty of guys on the web who say you don't need fins at all. They must be on steroids.

What worries me a little- People say that the most dangerous animal on the planet is a beginner kiteboarder who has learned just enough to think that he/she knows what they are doing. I want to avoid that trap. I keep telling myself, "I don't know nothing."

Waquiot Bay, Kiteboarded, S, 8-18, 12M kite/ 152 ply board, Door 64, Frank, Sandie, Megan, others.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Have Kite, Got Skunked

Everyone said it was windy before I arrived. We've all heard that before. I used my 12M as a trainer kite in the shallows. I tried kite loops. I put the board on my feet and messed around. I stayed on plane for 1 run. Then it got too light even for Matt to keep his 17M in the sky.

Moral of the story- Skunks are a part of life. Nobody is immune. No matter how big the kite gear, we're still going to get bitten by them sometimes.

Waquiot Bay, Kite play, SE 5-12, 12M, with Frank, Jamie, Sammy, Matt

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kiteboarding- Home Made Ply Board

1/2" Baltic birch plywood, mahogany handle, 152 x 44

I put the finishing touches on my new board this week. I was excited and anxious to try it out. It looks like a real kite board but I had no idea if it would work. I kept thinking about all the things that could go wrong- the board shape and weight could make it unable to plane, the home made fins could spin out constantly, the brass footstrap inserts could rip out, the wooden handle might break and cut my hand, the board might snap in two right down the middle, it might sink, or worst of all I might get separated from it on my first run and never see it again.

None of these things happened. I was amazed. It didn't feel as grippy and easy as Frank's door 64, but it worked. Nothing broke off of it. In fact I got my best rides yet, going far enough to feel like I was sorta kiting for the first time. That felt great!

The maple fins seemed to work, I think

Kiteboarding, what worries me a little- What if the wind changes suddenly? I know I can swim it in if the wind dies, as long as I'm close enough to shore, but I still don't know what it feels like to be overpowered when kiting. Can I get back to shore safely if the wind jumps to 25 or 30 MPH in 60 seconds?

Signs of progress- I could really shoot upwind bodydragging with the board! This technique is a confidence builder. I did some deep water relaunches with the board. I had thought that these were going to be impossible but Des had told me to do them with the board on my feet. It works. It even makes it easier to get the kite out of the water because you can use the resistance of the board to pull against the kite. I think I've graduated from kite practise to sorta kiteboarding. Next, I need to learn to go upwind.

Waquiot Bay, Kiteboarded, S, SSW, 10-18, 12M kite/ 152 ply board, Frank, Sammy, Ed, others.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Living-is-Easy Summertime Wavesailing

The waves were friendly and well-behaved once I got to know them, unknown surfer

Windsurfing again- I snuck a brief, weekday windsurfing session in today, in waves, and it felt sooo good. It was a nice reminder of how it feels to do a sport that I actually have some experience in. Learning kiting is very humbling. Wavesailing can be humbling too. I can get my butt kicked on a big day, but not today. This was living-is-easy Summertime wavesailing. It was soul satisfying.

Wingaersheek Notes- My first time sailing here. This place is a wave playground in NNW! Very forgiving, easy but fun waves. It's port tack out but with an interesting wrap over the sand spit at mid tide for some starboard jumps. Easy shorebreak 1 hour after high tide, but this might be different when the waves are bigger. The tide was ferociously ripping out giving me a boost upwind on every run as I crossed the channel. At mid tide, the waves were breaking out almost as far as the eye could see. I'd love to explore this spot some more. Best wind is probably NNW, N. I'd try it in NW but the wind is probably very dirty on the inside, especially at high tide. I've heard that NE is bad. I wore my drysuit but the water wasn't as icy as I expected for the north shore.

Wingaersheek Beach, Windsurfed, 14-24, NNW, 6.2/Acid94, Solo

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kite Practice #4- My first Jump

I'm starting to get up on the board more. It turns out that waterstarts aren't really that hard. It's stopping and changing direction that's hard. I was doing very short runs to stay in the shallows, except when I didn't. Sometimes I would hit the brakes and the board would keep on cruising. I guess I was supposed to edge the board upwind to slow down but sometimes I edged the board downwind and accelerated instead, at just the wrong moment.

My first Jump- On one run I was coming into the beach a little too quickly, (see edging above), so instead of sending the kite the opposite way slowly and smoothly, I sent it fast. I didn't hit the beach. I went up in the air. It was a really nice feeling, being pulled right up off the water and redirected just where I wanted to go, away from the beach. It felt great until I crashed. The peanut gallery on the beach shouted and hollered and had a good laugh! It was pretty encouraging. Of course, I wasn't really in danger of hitting the beach. I just thought I was and overreacted.

What worries me a little- I was feeling a lot of pull and lift in the kite when I was walking it back upwind. Maybe I should pull in the power strap for the walk? The deep water relaunches are still slow, and I was getting dragged down wind pretty fast while I was trying to get the kite to break free of the water and go up on it's edge.

Signs of progress- Besides getting some nice, but very short, rides, I did the upwind bodydrag twice when I lost the board in deep water. Both times, I was barely going upwind but I made it back to the board just as Frank was finishing his swim out to rescue it. Thanks Frank! I thought I lost your board on the last one. Also, Frank taught me to bodydrag with a board, good move to know.

Photo- The newbie kite scene at Waq Bay, the upwind beach.

Waquiot Bay, Bodydragged, Kitesurfed, SW, 10-18, 12M Kite, Door 64, with Frank, others

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kite Practise #3- Death Spirals and Face Plants

Nomadic kitesurfers on the move at the end of the day

First time on a board- Yeah, I went over the handlebars. I also did some spectacular kite loop crashes, death spirals Frank called them. It didn't hurt. But I did notice that the nice bay water was draining out of my sinuses endlessly and the Bay seemed to be getting shallower from all the water that I drank. I got vertical on the board a few times, for all of 30 seconds! That was a thrill! Thanks again to Frank for loaning me his board and giving me critical instruction, "bend the knees!!!" What seemed to help the most, besides bent knees, was focusing only on the kite and telling myself over and over, "don't pull in the bar, don't pull in the bar".

What worries me a little- My upwind body drag sometimes has the same result as my down wind body drag. Water relaunches are still mysterious- sometimes quick & easy, sometimes not. Everyone who said that they are easier in deep water should go straight to jail do not pass go. A few times I blew across half the Bay before getting the kite up. I saw this as an opportunity to practise self rescue.

Sign of progress- I noticed by the end of the day that I was mostly flying the kite 1 handed, which is a sign of progress, or a sign that I was too tired to use both arms.

Waquiot Bay, Bodydragged, Kitesurfed, S, SW, 10-15, 12M Kite, Door 64, with Frank, Scott, others

Sunday, July 5, 2009

2 Mishaps in 1 Day

Gerry taste testing my Real Wind 85

Sunny, 80 temp, and super windy all day. This is the stuff dreams are made of! I can't believe that days like this really happen in New England. I was there and I still don't believe it.

Windsurfing mishap- Gerry and I stopped to help a fellow windsurfer who was down on his luck. His mast base had separated from his board while he was sailing. It was a star base and I'm sure it got loose, slid back and came out of the opening to the mast track, which was in the back of the track. It was really hard to get that bugger back in while bobbing around in the water. This has happened to me too but I haven't had the problem since I started using 2 bolt bases. We got it reconnected eventually and no one was any worse for wear. The unfortunate windsurfer was very appreciative.

Kiting mishap- I saw my first kiting mishap and I wasn't even kiting. I met Jason, a kiter who was waiting for his no-show slacker friends. I offered to sail up to kite beach and help him launch his kite. He walked his gear up. When I got there, I realized that there were plenty of other kiters to help Jason. He offered to let me try bodydragging with his 11M kite but a voice of reason, which is sometimes almost silent in my head, spoke out loud and clear. "Thanks but I think it's too windy for me." As I was about to head back out on the water I heard a shout. I looked up to see someone standing in the middle of some kite lines, helping to land a kite that was barely in control. As I watched, the kite blew out of his grip. The lines were taught, the guy was trapped, and I knew that if the kite took off this guy could be sliced and diced. I thought to myself, "that is a position that I really don't want to be in". Fortunately, Phil of Inland Sea grabbed the kite along with Jason and averted a disaster. Lesson learned.

Windsurfed, West Dennis, WSW 15-30, 5.2/RW85, With Gerry, others, kiter Jason.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Kite Practice #2- Baby Kiters in Wack Bay

First time flying my new 12M kite- The wind was perfect for baby kiters, just enough of it to keep the kite in the sky, with active flying, but not enough to get into a lot of trouble. I practiced downwind bodydrags trying not to teabag, walking the kite back upwind, water relaunches, kite handling. I noticed that when the wind picked up the water relaunches were easy.

First time at Waquiot Bay- A torturous dirt road going in probably keeps out everyone that doesn't really want to be there. The first tiny parking lot could be a good launch for beginner windsurfers, shallow, no walk to water, safe. The second tiny parking lot is a good launch for beginner kiters, very shallow, walk to water but who care this is kiting, great fiddler crabs.

Gerry showed up to see what this kiting thing is all about. His comment after hearing a mini discourse on kite dynamics from Frank was, "it's a pretty complicated sport". I agree. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how the depower strap works. Thanks again to Frank for all his help. It's fun learning a new sport!

Gerry tries my trainer kite, Don't get hooked!

Waquiot Bay, Kite Practice, Bodydragged, SE, S, WSW, 5-12, with Gerry, Frank, Scott, Ludwig, others.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kite Practice #1- How Do You Hold This thing?

Scott & Frank- ready, set, bodydrag!

Kiteboarding gear is too small for my truck- I'm starting to accumulate some kiting gear and there's one thing that seems very strange about it. I can fit it all in the front seat of my truck. What's with that? I keep thinking where's my gear? It's not a real watersport if I don't need racks, a van, or a truck. It's hard to adapt to something new.

Kite Practice #1- Scott and I had an informal kiting lesson from Frank today. He set up his 9M Waroo and risked his well being, and his kite, to spend all afternoon coaching us. I can't thank him enough!

This was my first time using a real kite. It was a little scary at first. We were on dry land and the wind was pretty gusty, very slightly side off. We just practiced keeping the kite at the side of the wind window and bringing it up very slowly, just a little off the ground, then back down.

When we got wet I felt less tense. We could be much more aggressive with the kite in the water. Bodydragging was a kick and I just wanted more power!

I can tell that it takes a lot of time-on-the-water to learn. My muscles have a lot of memorizing to do. Just handling and carrying the kite made me feel like a klutz. It was a fun session, a great way to squeeze as much excitement as possible out of mostly light winds!

Revere Beach Notes; Kiting is done on the north end of the beach at the last bath house.

Revere Beach, Kite Practise, Bodydragged, N, NNW, NNE, 5-20, 9M Waroo, With Scott & Frank

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Making the Cut

Gerry S and I sailed out from Scatteree/ Pleasant Bay for an afternoon session, chasing each others wakes in the smooth water behind North Beach. It was big sails and hi speed blasting to boost our egos. It was great.

After Gerry left, the wind picked up a little. I went down to a 4.2, ditched my glasses (too rainy to see with them on), and did some exploring. The exploring happened mostly because I couldn't really see where I was going without my glasses.

I found myself standing on a small strip of beach separating me from some nice looking waves on the ocean side near the new cut (not that I could really see anything). It was almost a mile from where I had launched and it was completely isolated out there, just sand, seagulls and waves. I knew that I shouldn't go to the ocean side that far out, by myself, but it was such a small strip of sand to walk across. It would only take about 30 seconds. How could I resist that? Ever since the new cut opened up I'd wanted to sail there. I told myself that I would just do a few runs to test the spot. After all, the tide had just changed and was now flowing in, or it was supposed to soon, I wasn't sure.

I was little cautious but the sailing was fantastic. I stayed just inside the outer bar, where the waves and shorebreak were smaller, except for once when I went too far and took a tumble in the shorebreak out on the edge of the crescent shaped area that I was in.

I had a thrill from seals swimming under my board and jumping out of the water right in front of me. When I first saw their dark shapes in the water I thought that they might be sharks and it really improved my focus. I got one of my best quick waterstarts ever.

I didn't stay out there for as long as I would have liked. I sailed upwind, avoiding the outer bar, and eventually cleared the last spit of sand, let out a whoop, and went back into the bay through the new cut. It was getting close to sunset by the time I made the last speed runs down wind back to the launch at Scatteree. It was a great Nor'Easta session in the Summer!

Boston Globe photo in the paper a few days later

P.S. It turns out that the remaining camps on Nauset Beach were washed out by the NE storm while I was sailing there, or shortly thereafter. These houses are right on the new cut, where I was sailing, but it was too misty/drizzly for me to see them, (and I didn't have my glasses on).

Scatteree, Windsurfed, 15-30, NNE, NE, 5.7 & 4.2/ RealWind 85, with Gerry S.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Going to the Dark Side

Nahant, sunset session, kite landboarded

Why am I learning kiting? I want more power in light winds. I'm sick of schlogging on my biggest sail while kiters breeze by me, lofting big air, big smiles on the their big faces. I want some of that!

No, I'm not going to the dark side. I'm just visiting. No way I'm giving up windsurfing in strong winds.

First impression of kite landboarding- It's harder than I expected to balance without a sail in my fists/ Fun/ Am I nuts?!/ Shin guards would be nice/ I wish my board had a brake!/ My harness is useless cause I'm not even thinking about hooking in while I'm on the board/ I need more wind to keep my kite up/ I'm glad my board doesn't have straps/ Hey, I haven't fallen once without landing on my feet!/ I could get completely pulverized in strong winds.

Nahant is only a 35 minute drive without traffic!

Nahant, Kite Landboarded, ENE, E, 6-12, 3.6 trainer kite, solo.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Crazy Like a Windsurfer

The morning forecast called for 15 to 20 MPH with higher gusts, dropping off by noon. I set my alarm for 5:30 AM. My family said that I was crazy to get up that early on a Saturday morning.

When I got to the beach the white caps were small, tiny really. Nobody else was there. Maybe it was windier than it looked, I thought. I rigged big and got 2 or 3 planing runs before the wind dropped. I stayed and worked on non-planing freestyle and used the trainer kite, just like last weekend, and the one before. I left feeling unsatisfied.

My family said that this confirmed their belief that I'm nuts. I got up at 5:30 for 2 or 3 planing runs. They're right. It doesn't make any sense... I should have set my alarm clock 2 hours earlier.

Plymouth, Windsurfed, Trainer Kited, NE, 10-20, 6.2/Carve123, solo.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Camp Petra Highlights

20 enthusiastic campers attended the Petra Kanz clinic/ AMC trip. Sat was a perfect day for it, sunny, warm, light winds building to planing conditions then dropping. Sun was light winds, dry land Q & A, SUP demos. It was great to see Petra, and the AMC crowd.

What I learned;

Short board tacks- switch sides early, (before going thru the wind), throw the sail towards the nose of the board, then push out with back hand, if I need to I can sail backside briefly to bring the board thru the wind.

Fin first- It's fun to tack, fin first to fin first, but you gotta be quick on the switch. This I could do, sometimes.

Good workout- Light wind freestyle is just as tiring as sailing in planing conditions!

Ben had a lot of fun with the trainer kite. He loved jumping up on the beach and trying to get a little hang time. We had a long session with it in 10 - 18 MPH wind.

Barb and Ben both sailed briefly on Sat. They left early on Sunday to get Ben to a Little League game.

I stopped at Fogland on the way home Sunday evening to catch a front as it went thru. The wind hit 23-38 for about 30 minutes then died.

Ben was the master roaster of Marshmallows at the Sat night bootie roast!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wind Gumbo

What luck! I stumbled upon an oasis of wind in what was shaping up to be a 3 day weekend of still air and glassy water. I got some solid planing conditions, some marginal planing conditions, some non-planing freestyle conditions, and trainer kite conditions, all mixed together like a gumbo. It wasn't pretty, or particularly impressive, but it turned out to be very satisfying.

Mostly what made it special was the 2 hours before and after low tide. The inside at W Dennis was all buttery smooth knee to waist deep water. Conditions like that are just plain fun. There is no other way to say it. I seemed to have been at the beach for about 8 hours, not sure just how that happened. Tomorrow I will enjoy resting my creaky muscles while watching Ben play in 2 little league games. It will be a perfect rest day.

Photo- The winds up!, unknown guys.

West Dennis, Windsurfed, Trainer Kited, SW, WSW, W, 5-25, 6.2/ Carve 123 & Realwind 85

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Makes Me Tick

Windsurfing. It winds my clock. It's my stress therapy. Even a few hours in mild mannered conditions gives me tractor treads to roll over another week of unruly economys, unhappy teenagers, and fickle customers. It's my un-unhappiness pill.

Duxbury, Windsurfed, WSW 10-20, 6.2/ Carve 123, Solo.

Landboarded, WSW 8-15, 4.2/ Landboard.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Best Kept Secret in Windsurfing Clinics

Do you have a friend, spouse, or child who wants to learn to windsurf? Or you want them to? Check out this clinic with Petra Kanz, (ex ABK teacher), May 29-31, sponsored by the Appalachian Mountain Club Windsurfing Group- It's a great deal for the cost, partially defrayed by the club. It's also good for those that are trying to get over the intermediate hump, nail their jibes, or just immerse themselves in windsurfing ambiance for the weekend. The trip is open to non AMC members too. The best part is that the weather is always perfect at Pt. Judith, the Carribean jewel of New England!

Day 1 of the clinic, 2008, Ninigret Pond, the wind took a break for lunch.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Horseneck Heaven

Mother's Day. I wasn't really planning on sailing. But the forecast was sooo good. During the night the wind started howling through our open windows and woke us up. Barbara mumbled, "you should go windsurfing today". She didn't have to suggest it twice. I went to Horseneck during the afternoon because the drive is relatively short. I wanted to be back for a Mother's Day restaurant dinner. A lucky choice, it was my best wave session since last November at Deep Hole! I have a lovely wife.
Seth, waiting for a break in the sets

Horseneck Public- Beautiful side shore conditions for working on the down-the-line stuff. It was a little gusty because the wind was coming across the land upwind so I went about 1 meter bigger and 10 liters more than I thought I needed. It was perfect. I only schlogged in an occasional hole, had plenty of power to get out, and motored upwind easily so I could go downwind in the waves. When I felt overpowered on the outside, I just pointed higher into the wind. Waves were waist high, maybe chest high by the end. Great fun!

Horseneck, Windsurfed, WNW, S Swell, Windy, 5.2/ Acid 94, with Juan, Seth, Larry.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Slaking My Thirst with a Surfboard

Well, not a real surfboard. I still don't own one of those. My 94 liter wave board got me out there. The waves were about waist high, smooth and glassy, perfect for a perpetual novice like me. 2 hours on the water left me tired and satisfied. Who says that you can't have fun without wind?

Riding on Narragansett glass, unknown surfer

Narragansett Notes- The wave size and quality decreased about 1 hour before high tide. Almost everybody left then. I'm guessing that this spot works best at low to mid tide.

Narragansett, Surfed, Acid 94, 3 or 4 other surfers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Video- Chris Eldridge Does Bonaire

This freestyle video inspires me and makes me feel clumsy at the same time. Thanks for sharing, Chris!

Bonaire 2009 from Chris Eldridge on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Scratching the Itch with a Landboard

Nahant, landboard heaven

Beautiful conditions for landboarding at Nahant, low tide, onshore wind, no crowds. As the sun went down, the wet beach glistened and reflected the colored lights from the nearby city, very nice. I boarded until well after sunset, derigged in the parking lot lights.
Best Moments- Racing along the waters edge, carving upwind and down, into the edge of the water and back out, like I was carving up and down a wave face.
Worst Moments- Washing all that fine Nahant sand off of the equipment later.

Nahant Notes- don't park in the gated section late in the day. They'll happily tow any vehicles before they lock the gates. Park on either end, outside of the gates.

Nahant, Landboarded, NE 10-20, 4.2 & 6.2/ Landboard, with 1 kiter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hooley Downwind Dash

This is being put on by a shop in Newport, sounds like fun!


The first annual Hooley Downwind Dash.........

Any one interested in a 12.4 mile Downwinder from Point Judith RI to Newport's 2nd beach RI in may 2009, before the summer starts? There will be a waiting period, the first three weekends in may, 15 KNOTS minimum required and you must be an intermediate sailor. This is a FUN event and not a FUNdraizer, but there is a $30 entrance fee payable to Hooley Boardroom for putting on this event/barbecue. A Support boat will be on hand as well for the crossing,
Beer and barbecue at the boardroom afterward's.....

For info on this event please contact christian on Tel 401 849-0084 or via email or join "the wrong group" on Facebook updates.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gentle Wind at The Cut

The Cut, in a quiet mood

Marginal wind session, planing off and on. It was good for exploring- the south point, the north point, up towards Scatteree and back. The wind came up just before I had to leave. Typical.

The Cut, Windsurfed, E 10-22, 5.7/ Acid 94, Solo

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Corporate Spanking

I spent the morning paying my Corporate dues. I got caught inside after 1 run, slightly underpowered on 4.2/85 liters, and refused to believe that I couldn't fight my way out and back up to the launch. I couldn't. I stayed down wind, flogging myself in the shorebreak, for way too long. When I Finally made the long walk back and put up a 5.2/94 liters I started sailing for real and had a good time. By the end I felt a small sliver of self respect starting to come back.

Corporation Beach, unknown sailor

I'm very glad that my back didn't expire while I was out in the waves getting slapped around. My back lives to sail another day.

Windsurfed, Corporation, NW 23-35, NNW 13-27, With Igor, Jerry E, Peter, Mike, Others.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Message in a Bottle

This is the real thing! Found on Saturday, April 4, while windsurfing at Kalmus. Olivier found it and suggested that I put it online so that everyone in the world would see it.

Message from the sea

Olivier and I both got a kick out of this! It was like a gift from the sea. Ben, (my 12 year old), is going to help me write a note on the back, reseal it, and deliver it back to the wind and waves of Kalmus.

To Katie & friends. If you're wondering why the bottle didn't travel further, maybe it came back to Kalmus because it was trying to return to you. It did travel through time- ten months. The lobster seems very happy. I think he likes traveling by bottle. He's wondering where he'll go next.