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.