Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Surfer Mick Fanning attacked by shark during surfing competition and escapes

Remarkable video footage of a shark attacking Australian world champion surfer Mick Fanning while he was surfing in a competition at Jeffreys Bay, east of Port Elizabeth in South Africa.

The shark approaches Fanning with its dorsal fin out of the water then knocks him off his board.  He manages to fight it off, punching it in the back.

Fanning, the world number four and a triple world champion, said he punched and kicked out at the shark as it broke his leg rope.   The 34-year-old returned to the shore unharmed with the help of organisers, with the competition halted.

Quick actions by rescuers may have saved Fanning's life.

Fellow competitor and friend Julian Wilson has been commended for his bravery when he paddling towards Fanning to render assistance.

PHOTO: Chilling moment ... Mick Fanning holds his head in his hands in disbelief after the shark attack as Julian Wilson (R) looks on. (WSL: Kirstin Scholtz)


Kitesurfer reported missing - search called off

A kitesurfer was been reported missing at 11:15am on Tuesday 21/7 after an abandoned kite was found near the Esplanade in St Kilda and a kiteboard was found washed up at Brighton Beach.

Here is photo of the kite (source: Victoria Police, via The Age)

If this is your gear or you know who owns it, please contact Victoria Police to advise them.

The search has been called off as Police believe that someone has abandoned this gear but made it to shore.

Make sure you write your name and phone number on all your kites and boards you can be contacted if they are found!

Update 22/7:  I advised the Water Police that a Seabreeze user had seen the kiter on the shore and got this feedback from them:
  • They eventually managed to establish that the kitesurfer made it in and called off the search. 
  • They do get a few of these jobs and activate all assets straight away whilst establishing the safety/whereabouts of the missing person. 
  • They often get people telling them they saw the MP make it in but until they have confirmation or are confident of witness evidence then they continue to search. 
  • Their job would be MUCH easier if the kitesurfer involved or someone else rang triple 0 to let them know he/she was OK. 
If in doubt, call it in. You may save $thousands. Air time for choppers is very expensive and best avoided.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Winter kitesurfing at Brighton in my drysuit

Session 336. After a couple of weeks off the water I was in the grip of cabin fever.  Storms and cold weather were forecast today across Victoria but I was keen to go kitesurfing if conditions were OK.

Headed to Brighton with Stu Styles.  Just as we got there and pumped up the northerly wind dropped off and some very dark clouds were looming out to the west.  

I donned my bunny suit then my dry suit and headed out on my Lithium 9 just after a couple of kiters left the water.  There wasn't enough wind to stay upwind for a couple of runs but then it picked up a bit and I got some good runs in along the beach.

Stu got some great pictures from the shore with my Nikon.  Conditions were cold but I was toasty warm, even sweating, in my Ocean Rodeo drysuit.

I came in before the looming squall hit then we headed to the White Rabbit cafe in Brighton for a great coffee and muffin.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

Another cracking northerly at Frankston, small kite day

Session 336.  Great winter kitesurfing today in a strong northerly wind today at Frankson.  It was well over 20 knots when we setup at about 8:00am.  With stronger winds forecast, I opted for my Crossbow 7 and was glad that I did.  I had plenty of power and was able to ride some nice bay surf that increased in size as the session progressed.

Stuart took out his 7 too and was also having a great time.  You don't use a small kite often, but when you do the sessions are rewarding.  Stu and Eric both had bigger kites that they sensibly elected not to fly.  They both had turns on ours when we came in for short spells.

It wasn't too cold, but I was wearing gloves, booties and my helmet.

My chin injury from the previous weekend was fully healed thanks to medical super glue.  No dramas today.  I did a few cautious jumps as the Crossbow 7 turns like a gnat.

Surfing bay waves was the order of the day.  Its fantastic to have this kitesurfing so close by.

GPS log

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kitesurfing tour from Frankston to Mornington

Session 335. Epic session in strong winds.  On the water at Frankston with James and Stuart at 7 a.m, well powered on my Lithium 9.   The wind was around 20 knots and the bay surf was nice.  I did one backroll with my hands close to the centre of the bar.  I made it around with the kite pointing the other direction - but it didn't loop.

I was enjoying surfing in then along the break, followed by a longish run back out upwind.

Stuart then suggested we do a tour towards Mt Eliza so off we went.  Past Frankston the wind picked up to close to 30 knots. Even with my kite fully de-powered the kite I was almost over-powered.  It was a long tack down past Mt Eliza to Mornington. When we got there the wind was blasting in, so we headed back.

I was initially getting pulled off my line downwind and was contemplating heading for a beach and bailing out.  I fought the kite around upwind and was able to get a good tack, but I was close to "the redline".  Big swells rolling it made it hard to hold and edge too as I popped over them.

We made it back to Frankston and noticed once again there was less wind there which was nice after all that excess power.  My hands were cold and numb.  I did a couple of short runs in the bigger surf then self landed by flagging my kite onto the single line.

On the way back I dipped the board into the water to get the sand off it while I was carrying the kite and pump.  Mistake!  A shore break wave caught the board and flung it into my chin.  Ouch, a hard hit.  Lesson learned: concentrate when rinsing the board and use both hands . . .

Back at the car I noticed my chin was cut and bleeding, so I headed home without delay.   The cut was small but deepish so I ended up getting it glued by a local doctor.

This didn't detract from the session though - it was marvellous!

GPS log

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Strong winds at small kites at Gnotuk

Session 334. Gnotuk delivered again.  I pumped up my 12m kite in about 15 knots then the wind increased just as I was about to connect the lines, so I put it away and got my 9.  I was well powered on the water - the wind was solid and dense.

A backroll kiteloop went wrong again and I crashed hard.  Talking to Stuart afterwards, maybe I'm not placing my hands together on the bar to minimise turning the kite . . .

I was able to manage the wind strength, but I was getting pulled off waves as I couldn't get depower the kite enough to surf them.  I swapped the Lithium 9 for my Crossbow 7 which was much better. Combined with the marvellous North Nugget board I could still go upwind with ease, but I was able to ride and enjoy the waves.

Mike was having some good runs too but was also feeling overpowered.  Stu and Grant came a bit later for some windsurfing.

I was watching another kiter who was stationary a fair way out, then he started body dragging in.  I kited over to him - he said he had lost his board.  I did a couple of runs out and back looking for it but the big swells prevented me seeing it.  Memo to less experienced kiters: don't go too far offshore until you are confident you can hang on to or recover your gear.

The strong winds provided a surprisingly good bay surf.  Another excellent session.