Sunday, March 05, 2017

Fawkner Beacon crosswinder and first good session on the foil board (at last)

Session 406.  Got down to Hampton in the late afternoon chasing the sea breeze.  I rigged feverishly and headed out. Stu Styles came in soon after I started.  I was keen for an adventure and could see a large cruise ship heading out from Port Melbourne along the shipping channel so I headed out for a look.  

I was nicely powered and making good progress on a tack towards Fawkner Beacon with the big ship making fast progress along the channel.  The wind softened a bit and my tack veered to the north a bit.  The ship was disappearing in the distance, I didn't get close to it, but it was a buzz being out there.  

The return tack was good and the wind held up as I returned then it dropped after a couple of runs close to the shore.  I landed my kite and started packing up then Stuart Webb arrived and headed out. 

I decided to have a go on the Cabrinha Double Agent foil board in the lighter wind so I set it up and walked out next to the southern groyn.  I was again having difficulty controlling the board while drying to board/body drag out.  It spins and twists.  I was then concerned about the reefs in the middle of the windsports section but avoided them.

Then I finally had some deep water and was able to power up the kite and keep the board under my feet but pushed out with the foil and mast almost horizontal.  It was great to get that amount of control. Then I had a go and standing up.  Its a really weird feeling when the board you stand on is not the "main board" - the foil is!  I got going a little but without much control.  

I think I should have been leaning forward more to keep the foil under, but at least I had no big stacks and kept control of the kite.

Tacking back in to the right I repeated the same technique with similar control, standing up a few times but feeling very tentative about the foil lurking under the water.  

I got back to the beach very happy to have succeeded in short session without a big stack or crashing my kite hard.   I was also able to sail the board back in flat on the water with one hand on it.

Don't let anyone tell you foil board are easy - learning is like being a rank beginner again!

Some tips:
  • Don't power the kite up too much - keep good control
  • Watch out you don't get pulled over your toes - the foil can act like a sea anchor under the board
  • Practice controlling the board when body dragging - its harder than it looks
  • Keep weight forward on the front foot when you are up.
The wind picked up a lot to around 25 knots which didn't make it any easier.

I took the Nugget out for some more runs and bigger jumps, relishing the surplus power.

GPS log

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Another big fresh Rusutsu powder day skiing with Team Kiwi

Japan ski trip 2017 ski day 9.  More fresh snow overnight freshened up the slopes at Rusutsu.  What a joy!

Dave and I met with Boyd and Steve in the lift line and we skied together - first dropping into the powder shot of the East Mountain then at our favourite location - the trees between Heavenly Ridge A and Heavenly Ridge B.

We spent the entire day finding new stashes of powder and dodging through trees.  Some caution is required as hitting a tree at speed is not a good idea.

The lift lines were not long and all the chairs have hoods - they are good for snacking and chatting on the way up.

Boyd and Steve had small two way radio in case they got separated - a good idea.

Dave, getting the goods!




Some views late in the day

At the end of the day we skied down a ridge from Mt Isola and the clouds lifted for a superb view acorss the planis to Lake Toya and the ocean which was a revelation.  Then on our final run down from East Mountain we got some nice views across to Mt Shiribetsu.

Looking south to Lake Toya

Mt Shiribetsu almost free from clouds

Steve and I did a run off West Mountain on the other side of the road to check it out.  This is where they have the night skiing.  There was fresh snow to be had there too.

Skiing down through the hibernating deserted theme park near the bottom is a strange experience.

Skiing off West Mountain

The amusement park, dormant until spring

This was our last night in Rusutsu. Dave, Lou and I had dinner at Rusutsu Izakaya Tampopo Shokudo, a very friendly and authentic Japanese restaurant. They had a wide variety of tapas-style dishes, including local crab, cockle shells, venison and other tasty items.

Tomorrow we hope to ski Mt Shiribetsu.

GPS log