Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting Old, Feeling Young

I turned 51 today. Yay! Nothing makes you feel old and over the hill like a birthday. So I went kiting. I had a nice long session, did some wobbly back rolls, did some big crashes, had a great time. Now I feel young.

All I want for my birthday- is back rolls. I've been trying to work up the courage to attempt a back roll for months. Paul got me over my fear with 1 simple action. He set up a video camera on a sand bar and pointed it at me while I was kiting. Video cameras make kiters do crazy things. I turned off my brain and went for a back roll. It worked! It felt strange and disorienting, trying to locate my body in space while spinning around. How are you supposed to know where your kite is?! But it was a definite mood booster to land one, no matter how roughly, and kite away in one piece! On my 3rd attempt I inadvertently looped my kite upon landing. It untwisted my lines, which was nice, but any unplanned kiteloop is scary. So I decided to stop while I was alive. This whole day was a birthday gift.

First Encounter, Kitesurfed, NW, 13-26, 12M Varial/Surf 148, with Paul, Brad, others.

Top Picture- This is what my back loops felt like.

Thanks for sharing the video Paul! The goofy guy in the blue drysuit is me, (I'm using my old suit until I get bigger booties to fit my new suit).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Fool

I thought about turning around on my drive to the beach today. I drove thru a few snow squalls, with snail-like traffic and low visibility, and I began to wonder if Plymouth would be a white out of blowing snow, fog and mist. Was I a fool to even drive there?

I was also thinking about what Barbara said as I left the house. She was uncharacteristically worried about me going out on the water. It had something to do with me kiting in a blizzard and a major Winter storm. she said, "If you don't come back, I'll be really pissed!" I knew I didn't want that.

So it was especially sweet to get to the launch and find such nice conditions. It looked a little stormy but was as easy as it gets- moderate wind, shallow water, good visibility, wide beach for self launch/land, light snow. I hit the water with abandon, the happy fool that I am.

Nelson St/ Kitesurfed, NE, 18-30, 12M Varial/ Surfboard & Surf 148, Solo, Temp 35F.

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Drysuit

Something funny happened when I peeled off my new drysuit after its first session. I was dry! No pouring water, sloshy undergarments, nothing but a little dampness around the edges. I was besides myself with happiness. One of the scourges of Winter watersports is the moment of panic when you have to strip off all of your soaked layers and rush to get dry before the near freezing wind fossilizes your bare wet skin. It was a wondeful surprise to be dry and warm, no towel needed. A new drysuit is a powerful thing. I don't expect it to stay that dry forever though.

OS Systems Drysuit- What I love, besides it being dry,
-the relief zipper,
-the neoprene neck seal,
-the attached socks, (jury is still out on this one),
-breathability, (semi effective).

It looks a lot better on the non-person pictured here than it does on me but I don't really care about such trivial things as looks. I can feel good while looking stupid. I do it all the time.

Chapin, Kitesurfed, NNW, 15-28, 10M Bularoo/Surf 148, with Igor, Brad, Russ.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All I want for Xmas

All I want for Xmas- is time on the water. Precious, elusive, time. It's the most valuable gift money can buy. Sun shining off the water, wind in my face, dancing with the with the waves time. It slips thru our fingers like water for a thirsty man time. A new drysuit would be nice too.

Hull ya doing? Frank and I had a nice light wind session in Hull. I could have used my 17 with my small wave board but I was too optimistic. I put up my 12, realized it was too small, pulled out the Mad Cow to save the session. The beach was empty. We had plenty of room out there!

Nantasket Beach, Kitesurfed, NNE, 10-18, Varial 12M/MadCow, With Frank, Air Temp 37F.

Picture- Frank has Nantasket all to himself before I went out to make it crowded.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TOP SECRET- The Mitch Report

Breaking News- Wiki leaks just released The Mitch Report. It's full of extremely sensitive, previously undisclosed reports, pictures, and data on windsurfing, surfing, kiting, and SUP in and around Pt. Judith R.I.
Pres. Obama is furious. "Now everyone will know about the great waves at Deep Hole," he said. "Is nothing sacred?" Guess not.

For a link to the top secret report click here. A link can also be found in sidebar to the left.

Picture- from Mitch's Weekly Report 12/3/10, Nate at Deep Hole.

Revere Mist- I got a brief session in today in rain, mist and fading light. My foggy glasses kept me from seeing anything but I was glad to be out there for a quickie.

Revere, Kitesurfed, ESE, 20-30, 10M Bularoo/ Surf 148, with Waller, Skyrocket, others.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bootie & Glove Review

Wetsuit Booties-red=favorite
  • Okespor 2mm- Average quality spring/fall bootie.

  • Pro Limit 2mm- Average quality spring/fall bootie.

  • Billabong SG 7mm- My favorite Winter bootie. Split toe, fleece lined, comfortable. Keeps my toes warm down to 32 temp. No toe jamming problems. This is the warmest bootie I've found. Lasts several seasons. Winter.

  • O'Neill Round Toe 7mm- Good boot. Keeps my toes warm down to 32 temp if I duct tape the top of the boot to my drysuit so no water infiltrates. My toes can get jammed painfully into the front of these, guess it's not a perfect fit. Lasts 1 season. Spring, Fall, Winter.

  • Neopsort Hi Top 7mm zipper entry- This is the best zipper entry bootie I've found so far. It has a velcro tab to keep zipper zipped. Mediocre quality zipper though.

  • O'Neill FX-5 Firewall 5mm zipper entry- I would like this boot for a zip bootie, good quality zipper, but it has no velcro tab to keep the zipper from unzipping during the session, too frustrating.

Good Wetsuit Gloves-
  • 2mm Palmless Mitts- I cut the palm out of standard 2mm Neil Pryde Mitts. I can put my hand out completely or pull it in. Excellent grip of course, but only good for taking the wind chill off, late Spring, early Fall.

  • Glacier Glove 2mm standard- Very flexible, soft, great grip, external wrist seal, lasts 1 season. Spring & Fall.

  • Glacier Glove 2mm Fleece Lined- Very flexible, soft, great grip, external wrist seal, lasts 1 season. Can't really see fleece lining. It may be a fraction thicker & warmer than the standard version. Spring & Fall.

  • Level Six 2mm Neoprene Mitt- Very flexible, good grip, nose wipe panel, no seal or wrist strap. These mitts are surprisingly warm for how thin they are. These are the only neoprene mitt I've found to come in size XXL. I think the roomy size makes the mitt less restrictive. It also leaves enough room for wearing Thinsulate glove liners to add a little more warmth. Lasts 1 season.

  • Body Glove, 3mm Claw- Very flexible, somewhat soft, o.k. grip, lasts 2 seasons. I can pull my forefinger and thumb into the mitt part to warm them up. Not much warmer than than Level Six 2mm mitts and more restrictive but claw is nice.

  • O'neill 3mm- Very flexible, soft, great grip, nice internal wrist seal, lasts 1 season. Not as warm or flexible as Level Six 2mm mitts.

  • O'neill 5mm- Very flexible, soft, great grip, nice internal wrist seal, lasts 1 season. No warmer than Level Six 2mm mitts.
  • Ion/NP Surf 3 Finger 5mm- Very flexible, soft, great grip, nice external wrist seal, lasts 1 season. Feels thinner than 5mm. This is warm enough for most people for extreme cold but I need the 6mm Hyperflex mitts when it gets under about 35 or 40. I buy the XL, just big enough to pull my thumb and finger in to warm up. Expensive.

  • Henderson Hyperflex 6mm Oven Mitt--Less flexible than the above. A little hard to get on and off but they work. Very warm and I can still hold onto the bar. This is the first really thick mitten I've found that works. I only had slight numbness in 29 F and I could warm up my hand by pulling my thumb in while kiting. Should last a few seasons.
O.K. to Bad Wetsuit Gloves-
  • Dakine Cold Water Mitt- Nylon palm has little grip and little warmth. I found these gloves useless.

  • Excel, Infiniti 3mm- Flexible, not as soft, not very grippy but usable. Will probably last 2 seasons.

  • Body Glove, Vapor Lock, 3mm- Somewhat restrictive, not very soft for 3mm, not very grippy but usable, barely.

  • Rip Curl, F-Bomb 5MM- Very thick, rigid, too restrictive. Not usable.

  • O'Neill, 5mm Mitt- Very restrictive, inflexible, too rigid. Barely usable.

  • Excel, Infiniti 7mm Mitt- Thick and restrictive but more flexible than O'Neill 5mm mitt, not very grippy but usable.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Who Needs Wind?

First Encounter's maze of sand bars and streams lit up by the sunset

The wind started light, then got really light. I kept trading up for bigger gear. It was a shock to my system when I switched from my smallest, most maneuverable board, (surf 148x40), to my biggest, (Mad Cow 180x60). It felt like I needed a rudder to turn that big aircraft carrier but it seemed like magic how it floated me through the lulls.

Ozone Zephyr 17M LEI vs Flysurfer Speed2 15M Foil- 8-12 MPH seems to be the bottom end of the Zephyr. I really had to work it to generate power, not always successfully. I got a lot of practise relaunching. Deep water relaunch in 8-12 is a no go. I think My 15M Flysurfer has more grunt and easier relaunch (unless I collapse it). When I pull the front lines on my Flysurfer, I can hot launch it in almost no wind. The Zephyr turns faster. And did I say that the Zephyr doesn't collapse like a foil kite can? It doesn't collapse.

Happy Day- It was a surprisingly satisfying day, not sure why. Maybe it was the long sessions, good crew, beautiful beach, exercise, sunshine. Who needs wind?

First Encounter, Kitesurfed, WNW, 11-21, 8-12, 12M Royal/Surf 148, 12M Royal/ Mad Cow, 17M Zephyr/ Mad Cow, with Frank, Sammy, Andre, Colleen, Gregor, others.