Steven Akkersdijk: #Incontrol
9 hours ago
|I walk out into a snowy morning. I had forgotten how beautiful everything is right after a fresh snowfall! There's about 10" of downy fluff covering the trees, the yard, my truck, the driveway, the driveway...|
The only thing disturbing the tranquility of the scene is a shovel leaning against the railing. I'd like to get rid of that shovel, just throw it out. It ruins the beauty of the moment. I start shoveling.
All this snow. It puts you in the spirit of the season doesn't it? The soft blanket of white draped over the trees. Seeing your breath hang in the cold, crisp air. The squeak and crunch of snow under your feet as you pump up your kite.
This is the true meaning of the holidays. Being warm and cozy on a frosty morning, snug in your drysuit. Sharing a session with friends. Sticking out your tongue to try to catch one perfect snowflake as you rotate through a back roll.
We New Englanders are hardy people. We have an appreciation of Winter's challenges. A love of that which is cold, hard and miserable. It makes us better people. To go out in the frost. To kite. To love it. This is what we do. It's perfectly normal.
Brad and I both agree it's windy. We kite in the Chapin marsh for a while, gusty as snot, then ride waves downwind to Corporation.
Not Nice and Not Normal- Between Chapin and Corp I get a little cocky and go over the falls on a closeout wave, have a yard sale. I relaunch my kite before it gets trashed, but come in boardless where there's no real beach to land on. There are some shallows, a little sand, and a nice big rock wall.
With Brad's VERY MUCH APPRECIATED help I eventually get my board back, land my kite, fix a torn open footstrap, and walk until we find a spot with enough beach to relaunch.
While I'm laying out my lines for relaunch on the small beach, I keep losing my bar and lines in the drifts of foam blowing off the water. I have to use my board as a marker to find my bar in all the foam. This is not normal. This is 50 MPH.
I relaunch. We make it to Corp. We kite some more. It's a happy ending. Except for the part where I think about what would have happened if I had come in on that rock wall an hour or 2 earlier, at dead high tide. I'm going to bookmark that thought for next time.
Today's wasn't the sanest kiting I've ever done but it was pure adventure. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors, marred only by the task of shoveling the walk and driveway in the morning.
2 Turtles- We helped rescue 1 stranded Kemp's Ridley sea turtle at Corp, saw another at Chapin that was too far gone.
Downwinder, Chapin to Corporation Beach, Kitesurfed, NW, WNW, 25-50, isolated gusts to 55. 6M RPM/ Mako150, with Brad. Air temp around 32 F.
|This is one of the best wave sessions I've had! Yesterday's worry about having my head blown off of my body by an evil gust is gone. The fear monger in my brain is mostly silent. It feels great to charge the waves and get myself joyfully munched like I don't care what. This is so fun!|
I ride some freight trains. I get stuffed big going out. I get stuffed big going in. This is how I learn. It's a thrill!
Straight side shore wind- Makes it easier to get out, go down the line, and makes the waves cleaner. It creates some gusts and lulls but that's the price you pay. It's still a lot more sane then yesterday's wind.
Size Matters- Everyone's commenting on how big the waves are. I always question my own perspective but this time they really are big, I think.
Horseneck Beach, Kitesurfed, W, 15-30, 10M Rally/ Mako150, with Jean, Brad, Peter L, Brian, Jon, Gilles, Jamie, others. 12' waves?
Click on pics for full size
A few of us delinquents got out today at Yirrell. Scary conditions! It was a good reminder of how important it is to be kiting with buddies when the wind gets big. Everyone stayed safe but we were holding each other down during our launches like rodeo clowns trying to hold back a raging bull.
One memorable scene- A gust blasts through during my launch. Walter and Peter both hang onto my harness handle in the shore pound while I wiggle my feet into the straps. When my feet are in, I yell O.K. They let me go as I send the kite and shoot out thru the break, a smile on my face.
I guess it all seems pretty stupid until you're out on the water. Then everything in the world makes sense. Then it seems pretty stupid again later.
Yirrell Beach, Kitesurfed, ESE, 30-50, isolated gusts to 55, 6M RPM/Mako150, with Walter, Peter, Jeff H. 10'-12' waves?
Thanks to Peter for the picture!
|I love trying new kite spots! Going to a new spot is like buying a lottery ticket. Each one could be the jackpot. The big payout. The perfect glassy slick behind low dunes, steady wind across a smooth white sand bar, long peeling waves. It could make me rich!|
Nauset Harbor- This spot is a winner. Great slicks inside. A little gusty, not bad. It reminds me of Stage Harbor but bigger. So fun to explore the whole harbor. After a while, we walk across to the outside, ride some waves, kite back in through the mouth, try some small channels into the marsh, then back to the slicks behind the dunes. I see one seal, don't see any Great Whites thank you.
More details- The outside waves are very disorganized at high tide. A local kiter said that the waves are much better at low tide, breaking on sand bars around the mouth of the harbor. The launch/landing is lacking of beach at high tide, not beginner friendly. ENE might be the perfect direction for the inside but E is very good. Parked at end of Priscilla Rd, Orleans, only off season. Thanks to Peter for scouting this site!
Nauset Harbor, Kitesurfed, E, 12-25, 10M Rally/Flx 138, with Walter, Peter, Jeff, Scott.
|It was hard to know if there was going to be any wind today. The forecasts were all being disagreeable, arguing with each other.|
Here it is- I combine IKitesurf, Wind Guru, and NWS graphic numbers, divide by three, then add 15 knots. Today the formula tells me that the wind will be at least 15 knots or more all day. That's enough for me! It works perfectly.
In the Cross Hairs- A professional photographer walks out at low tide with a camera on a tripod that looks like an army issue weapon. It's frightening to be kiting with a 10' bazooka aimed directly at me. I do evasive maneuvers, dodging, twisting, jumping, anything to throw off her aim.
No good. I can't shake her. I feel vulnerable. Like the camera is undressing me with it's eye. It makes me wish that I had put on fresh underwear in the morning. And trimmed my nose hair. You should always do those two things before going kiting.
Chapin, Kitesurfed, N, NNE, 14-24?, 14M Rally/Flx 138, with Chriz, Jean, Eric, Frank, Sam, Denn, Andrey, Colleen, Ivan, Noel, others.
Thank you Betty Wiley for the great photos!!! Your web portfolio is beautiful and inspiring! www.avagracestudio.com
Click on pics for full size.
|Did you ever notice that when you have a good crash your brain soaks up a little water? Mine does. That's why this blog is called waterlogged.|
Then, when I lean over my kite to roll it up, my sponge of a brain squeezes itself out. A deluge of sea scum and little bits of seaweed pours out of my nasal passages onto my nice dry kite. Yuck! Snotty brain water all over my kite!
It surprises me every time. My sponge brain thinks this is funny. I get pissed. And you know if you roll the kite up like that it won't dry out. The scum will just fester and grow. If they ever need a DNA sample from me to confirm that I do or don't have an evil secret twin, they'll take it from the stains on my kite.
2 sessions in 2 slicks- with a lunch break in between! It was warmer than anybody had a right to ask for. Very civilized day.
Hardings to Stage Harbor, SSE, 15-25, 10M Rally/ Flx 138, With Sam, Gregor, Peter, Jeff H.
Hardings to Buck Creek, SSE, 12-20, 14M Rally/Flx 138, Solo.
|I grunt during times of extreme exertion. It's like a low growling noise deep in my throat. I usually don't even notice that I'm doing it because I'm pretty focused on living through whatever I'm doing, but later my throat feels sore, my voice is hoarse, and I know why.|
Sometimes on a big jump, which for me is anything over 12", I catch myself doing it. "Stop it", I yell at myself!
It would be very embarrassing if anyone knew that I was doing it but luckily nobody notices. Unless I do it during sex. Or I have the poor judgement to write about it on a blog.
There are worse things than grunting like a warthog when I'm having fun. Sometimes I curl my toes. I also grimace and fart.
Downwinder, Mayflower to Corporation, W, 14-35, 6M RPM/Mako150, with Brad, Jean, KiterMike, Kristof, Chuckie.
The last thing I think of when I'm drifting off to sleep is how early I would have to get up if I wanted to get there at 6:00. But I don't want to get there at 6:00. I want a good night sleep.
My internal alarm clock goes off at 4:00. I try to get back to sleep. I look at the clock. I tell myself sleep... sleep... Thoughts of kiting start to creep in. Sleep... sleep... I finally give in to the inevitable, roll out of bed with a thud, crawl downstairs, get in the truck and drive to Chapin.
I'm there at 6:00. The parking lot is empty. Brad stayed local. Good. I was worried it would be too crowded.
I get a beautiful sunrise session in Chapin's kiddies pools on my kite, then a sunset session on my new inflatable stand-up-paddle board at Nantasket on the way home. These days are getting way too short. I'm glad I got up early! Many thanks to Brad.
Nantasket, SUP'ed, 2' to 3' waves, Solo.
Chapin, Kitesurfed, 12-25, NE, 14M Rally/ Flx138, with Frank, Andre, Colleen, Kristof, Chriz, Kitermike, Igor, Ivan, Alex, Others.
Chapin meter- seems to read low in NE by about 3 to 5 MPH.
|How does this happen to me?! My hair is completely covered with a helmet and fleece hoodie, but when I get home after kiting my mane is standing straight up, massively windblown. Every time. It looks like I tried to use my hair as a kite. Neighborhood kids run away and hide. My wife admires my wall of hair and comments on it's impressive vertical drop. I look like a wild animal, from Mars.|
Is kiting worth this grotesque disfigurement? Should I give it up so I can once again look the part of a respectable husband, neighbor and citizen? I'll let you know when I decide.
FE- was sweet today! I spent an hour or two carving out some private time in the Herring River slick. Had it all to myself. It was good even a few hours after high tide. Then I got social and kited with the crew in the tidal flats for the rest of the day.
Tide Chart- IKitesurf tide chart for Chapin was closer than the FE tide chart.
First Encounter, Kitesurfed, NW, 10-25, 14 M Rally/FLX 138, with Frank, Chriz, Andre, Colleen, Peter, Barry, Kate, Others.
I did pathetic downwinders into the marsh and walked it back out, flirting with an upwind and uptide swim if I couldn't kite out. I had to drop my kite in the marsh and struggle to relaunch it before I finally recognized my folly and called it quits.
There's always one fool who doesn't know when the party's over.
First Encounter, Kitesurfed, NW, 8-18, 14M Rally/ Flx138 & Mako King, with Frank, Jamie, 1 other.
Yirrell- What a thrill! These are the biggest waves I've kited in to date. Beautiful, long period set waves, all smooth in between, leaving fields of foam and whitewater in their wake. We think they're about 10', big enough to make me feel about 2'. I love that feeling!
Hurricane Sandy has some nice curves.
Yirrell Beach, Kitesurfed, 12-22, E, ESE, 14M Rally/ Mako 150, with Brad.
Click on pics for full size
Some kiters live for kiting in waves. Some kiters hate waves but love kiting in flat water more than they love life itself. Me? I can't decide. I'm an undecided voter for waves vs slicks.
Some days I vote waves. Some days I vote slicks. Today I voted both. I don't even know if that's legal.
Waves- I play in a variety of little waves on the outside of the Sand Spit during the incoming tide. The best time is just before high tide. There are a few spots where the small waves are spaced far apart and the water gets all smoothed out in between. It's almost like slicks with ramps. I just wish the waves were bigger.
O.K. I still can't decide. Waves? Slicks? I guess I need to study them both some more so I can make an informed, educated choice. It's hard being a responsible voter.
Sand Spit, Kitesurfed, ENE, 15-30, 10M Rally/ Mako 150, with Skip, Eric, John.
Click on pics for full size
|Low misty clouds. The sun sifting through in breaks. We've kited over to stage Harbor, a little over a mile, on a fickle wind. Light, then strong, then light. The air is warm and moist.|
Mother Nature waves her grey cloak across the sky. Now you see the sky, now you don't. Fog washes over us. The harbor disappears. The wind picks up.
I'm racing through grey nothingness. I know the crew is here but I can't see them. I can't see anything. Then I'm surrounded by kites. We're moving together in a kind of choreography, like a pod of dolphins. It's a thrill.
The fog is eerie and sublime. I love it. We stay close to the shore, and to each other, weaving our kites, timing our jumps and turns, until someone signals to head back. We're careful not to leave anyone behind in the grey.
The mist has dissipated by the time we get back to Hardings. This was my second session of the day. I'm tired but happy. I don't want to stop. The fog session has put me into a kiting trance.
Buck Creek Marsh- For the finale to the day, I follow Dillon into The Buck Creek for a perfect set up. Astronomical high tide, silky smooth waist deep water right behind the beach. I do my last feeble jumps and crashes as the sun gets low, then pack up before a hazy sunset. This is one of those days when kiting feels like a gift. A grey, misty, foggy, sunny/cloudy, very satisfying gift.
Harding's Beach, Kitesurfed, SSW, SW, 10-25, 14M Rally/ Flx 138, with Frank, Dillon, Andre, Colleen, Sam, Jorge, Dennerson, Others.
A fantastic day for a hoedown at Matunuck! Warm, windy, wavy, and sunny. 40 sails and kites shared the air space with no friction other than a little friendly boasting in the parking lot.
If kiters and windsurfers can get along this well, maybe there's hope for democrats and republicans. Nah...
It was fun to have the afterparty right in the parking lot, the setting sun and waves as the back drop, everyone's gear still scattered about, burgers and dogs hot off the grill. Nice to see many old friends and make a few new ones. Perfect day.
Deep Hole, Kitesurfed, SSW, 20-35, 15-25, 6M RPM & 10M Rally/ Mako 150, with Steve, Nate, Gerry, Scott, Mitch, Chris, Sergey, Jerry, Jeff, Peter, Greg, Antoine, Don, lotsa others.
Click this for the full size slideshow-
|The Surf Hotel is alive and well! Welcome back after 5 years of resting your bones. You're a charming and elegant old lady, as always.|
It's great to be back on Block Island with the family. We have more toys loaded in and on my truck than you could shake yer bootie at, just like old times. Here's what we do with all of that stuff-
Windsurfing- Saturday, Ben spends some quality time getting knocked around in the chop, then Josh and I take some runs, trading off the 5.2/ 4.2 sails. It's a gusty, scrappy wind but fun to do speed runs in the gusts and hang out together in the shallows catching our breath. It's kinda nostalgic. Andy's Way, SSW 13-27, 5.2/Acid 94 & 4.2/Carve 123.
Kiting- Saturday, Yeah after getting exhausted from windsurfing in the twitchy wind, I put up a kite to smooth out the peaks and valleys. It works. My arms thank me. Andy's Way, SSW 11-24, 10M Rally/Flx 138, with Bob from Nahant, 1 other.
Biking- Everybody bikes. We have 6 people and 1 truck. (Josh brought friend Pete, Ben brought friend Nicky). Sometimes we have to bike just to get around. It's the thing to do on B.I.
Boating- The kids use the boat everyday. The floorboard cracks in the bow on the last day creating some anxiety for Ben and Nicky. Josh might have stressed it by racing me with the boat while I'm windsurfing on Sat in 13-27 MPH and pretty big chop. He's running it full speed and slapping that boat thru the bumps like a banshee. I'm faster.
SUPing- Sunday, I put on my drysuit and take out the SUP in the rain. I don't know why nobody else joins me.
Kiting- Monday, 1 sunrise session in front of the Surf Hotel in N wind, such a good direction for this spot! It's dream conditions with small waves rolling in, smooth water, low tide. It has everything but wind. I launched from Old Harbor and kited upwind to Crescent Beach in the few gusts. I should have just launched from the hotel. Crescent Beach, N, 7-15, 17M Fat Lady/ Mako King.
Fishing- Monday, at the Coast Guard Station with squid, 1 pound sinkers, slack tide. Ben catches 3 Scup, Nicky catches 2. I cook Ben's after we return home.
|Hull- The wind starts out light then craps out altogether. This gives me deja vu for last weekend. Strong waves, weak wind. It's like a recurring bad dream. A kitesurfing Groundhog Day.|
Nantasket Beach, Kitesurfed, 9-18 briefly, N, 14M Rally/ Mako King, with Matt from Scituate.
I stop at Worlds End, Hingham, on the way home to hike for 2 hours. I don't want to get soft. No softer than I already am at least.
After kicking myself for not bringing a surfboard, I paddle out to Egg Rock on a creaky old windsurfing board, admiring all the birds and bird droppings. I can't find a safe place for a moon landing anywhere on the tiny, poopy island. It's just as well. I get back to Nahant after sundown.
Nahant, Kitesurfed & Paddled, NW, 7-17, 17M Fat Lady/ Mako King, Solo.
|The wind forecast doesn't look good but I'm an optimists optimist. I leave the house before sunrise. Wind will happen. It's got to.|
And it doesn't. I've got wet skunks coming at me from all over. The Cape. Buzzards Bay.
That means I get on the water but it doesn't last long enough to count. Wet skunks are the worst kind. Like wet smelly socks. They are an affront to body and soul. They're a wrench in the spokes of the pursuit of happiness. They should be legislated out.
First Encounter, Kitesurfed, Wet Skunk.
Buzzards Bay, Kitesurfed, Wet Skunk.
Picture- First Encounter, a wet skunk waiting to happen.
Nahant, Long Beach- Water is smooth and inviting in the morning but I want bigger waves. When I come back for my evening session, hoping the waves had picked up, they're almost gone. I love this beach in S or SSW wind though.
Picture- Stoke, in the AM.
Seabrook Beach- Waves are mostly chest to head high. They're a little bigger than Nahant but aren't as smooth or as nicely formed. Seabrook is more of a deep water wave, breaking in a little closer to the beach. Nice local crew, friendly, some of the guys are kiting hard, flying high.
I didn't see any sign of the massive hurricane swells and life threatening rip tides that the radio was warning about. False promises.
Kitesurfed, Seabrook, SSE, 23-28, 10M Rally/Mako 150, with Rod, Jay, others.
Kitesurfed, Nahant, S, SSW, 17-23, 10M Rally/Flx 138.
Top Picture- Jay the Joker at Seabrook. Click on pics for full size.
|Chapin to Sandy Neck to Barnstable Marina to Sandy Neck to Chapin.|
Now I have a craving for an upwinder. Stupid me. I ride the outgoing tide back to Sandy Neck, then Chapin. The leg from Sandy Neck to Chapin, 2 1/2 miles, takes 45 minutes in ENE wind. I pick my bike up on the way home. My bike feels neglected. I was on the water for about 7 hours.
Kitesurfed, NE, ENE, 8-22, Solo Downwinder, lots of other kiters out.
Top Pic- Tidal Pond at Sandy Neck, high tide. Bottom Pic- Mouth of Tidal Pond.
Click for full size
Then I went kiting. I rode the Fat Lady/ Mako King for a sunset session in Buzzards Bay on Sat.
On Sunday, another sunset session, Yirrell Beach, Fat Lady/ 6' surfboard. I downwinded to Winthrop Beach and back.
Summer winds are often light and fickle but the post sessions are the best. Drip drying in a bathing suit in the warm Summer wind, watching the sunset blend into twilight, lazily packing up my gear, no chattering teeth.
Buzzards Bay, Kitesurfed, ENE, 9-17, 17M Fat Lady/ Mako King, Solo.
Yirrell Beach, Kitesurfed, E, ESE, 8-17, 17M Fat Lady/ 6' Surfboard, with Stoke.
|Pleasure Bay- I'm upwind of everybody, right near the wall, trying to stay out of the way of the good guys.|
I'm doing your basic, garden variety back roll when my foot slips out of the strap. Darn, I think, I always forget to tighten my straps when I switch to smaller booties. I reach down and push the board off.
As I hit the water my kite is about to crash cause of my sloppy one handed flying. So I pull the bar hard and I'm happy to see the kite go back up.
Then it comes back down. Then up. Did you ever notice that when you're in the water and you pull one end of the bar hard it can get hooked behind the depower rope and locked into loop mode? I notice.
My kite is locked in death spirals, spinning through the power zone as fast as it's little legs will take it, and I'm teabagging straight downwind through the high traffic area. I decide not to panic and to think carefully about my situation. I have my mouth open, like a humpback whale straining all the water in the bay. After careful consideration, I decide to close my mouth.
There is no way I can untangle my bar while I'm being jerked across the water like a marionette so I try to crash my kite to stop the loops. I take a minute to marvel at how special this moment is, to be trying to crash my kite, on purpose, and I can't. I enjoy the irony of my situation.
Then I discover that if I pull the bar hard enough, I can spin my kite down into the water. Yay, I've crashed my kite.
Kooking out at Pleasure Bay makes a strong impression. I think people will take notice and maybe I'll make some new friends. Like the guys that brought my board back for instance. My current friends will act like they've never seen me before but I know that won't last. This sport is great!
P-Bay, Kitesurfed, 12-23, SSW, 14M Rally/ Flx 138, with Nick, Kristof, Dunoyer, George, Others.
|Wind in the morning. No wind for lunch. A long lunch. Bodies were sleeping underneath they're kites kind of long lunch. Wind in the late afternoon.|
The day was a wind sandwich. Delicious.
Harding's Beach, Kitesurfed, SSW, 10-25, 14M Rally/ Flx 138, with Frank, Sam, Andrey, Colleen, Nick, Chriz, Peter from Cal, Others.
Picture- Flysurfer Chriz in the middle of the sandwich.
|I'm out at Nahant, having fun in the little waves. It starts to rain but I don't care cause it's such a nice session. I hear some very low rumbling. I can't tell if they've routed the planes to Logan over this area, or if it's thunder.|
I notice there's nobody left on the beach. No lifeguards, no other kiters, no dog walkers. A few of the clouds look a little of dark. I'm wondering if I should stop.
I'm hitting these tiny one handed hops over the waves on the way out and I'm getting this tingling in my hand on the bar. Is it a nerve in my arm or what? Then I do a real jump and one of my fingers brushes the metal bevel in the middle of the bar. Wow, this time I get the tingle and I hear a crackling sound! Freaks me out.
I'm off the water quick. Great session. A little short but I'm still alive.