Saturday, December 20, 2014

Late afternoon strapless at Hampton

Session 307. I spent the day getting honey out my beehive which was hard work.  A late sea breeze arrived so I headed to Hampton for another nice session strapless on the North Nugget and my Lithium 9.  Stu was there too sneaking in a quick session.  I am feeling more confident riding strapless and enjoying the sense of freedom.  No Duck Tack practice tonight though, just taking it easy.  

Warm water, a nice breeze and late afternoon sun.  Very relaxing, other than stuffing up the self-landing somewhat.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hampton in the best cracking sea breeze so far this summer

Session 306.  The best sea breeze so far this summer - strong and consistent.  I has another go strapless on the North Nugget with me Lithium 9. It was really nice kitesurfing with plenty of power in the kite and the freedom of riding strapless.  Stuart and Tarren were out too enjoying the conditions.

I tried some Duck Tacks without much success.  I turned the board upwind then did the rotation - but ended up off the board downwind.  This technique is the hardest I have attempted to learn so far.  I think I need to lean back more and focus on rotating on the front foot.

GPS log

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Aspendale to Frankston downwinder, Across the Bay training

Session 305.  Another training session for Across the Bay to Conquer Cancer 2015.  The forecast was for a 10 knot easterly so I opted to hold this at Aspendale (Gnotuk).   I provided a short briefing on skills and equipment for downwinders (summarised here) then a strong northerly whipped in - 27 knots at Fawker Beacon.  This was not forecast so it was a very pleasant surprise!

Aspendale to Franskton was on!  We rigged up and got going as quickly as possible.  I took my Lithium 12 and started a bit overpowered, but I was keen to have a bit of grunt up my sleeve. As it turned out, this was a good choice.

One kiter crashed their North kite and "bow tied" it - the fifth line wrapped around the canopy.  Personally, I think this is a major flaw with 5 line system.  The kiter performed a self rescue and wound in their lines.  I stopped by and suggested they attach their board with the leash to make it easier to swim in, then  I kited to the beach and told a lady there to keep an eye out for the kiter coming slowly in.

We continued on, heading further out to get better wind.  I directed a few kiters to head in closer though as a 1km swim would not be much fun.   I was having a nice time well powered and doing some downloop slalom turns, then at about half way the wind suddenly dropped (as northerlies often do).  Most were forced to stop and concentrate on keeping their kite flying.  I was able to just keep going with repeated downloops on full power.

Then it picked up again.  Everyone headed back towards shore which was a good thing!  Nearing Frankston the wind dropped again so I headed for shore coming in about 500m north of the Gould St beach. I walked along the beach a bit then kited the final distance to where the lead kiter (Graham) was waiting).

We regrouped on the beach then walked back via the BP (stop for refreshments) then caught the train back to Aspendale.

One board was lost about halfway between Aspendale and Frankston.  It is likely to be blown into Seaford or Frankston. It has kiter's phone number on it. Please call him or call me if you hear about it being found.

Lessons learned today and tips:
  • When you are self rescuing and you have wound your lines in, detach your leash from the bar and attach it to your board by looping it through a footstrap. You can then concentrate on sailing the kite without juggling the board.
  • Northerly winds are fickle.  Don't go to far off shore.  Always think "how will I manage the swim in if the wind conks out here"?
  • Summer is here - my calves got sunburnt with my shortie wetsuit on.  Its time to wear full suncream and my tropical suit (full body, 1mm).
  • Learn how to downloop to get maximum power when the wind backs off.
  • Make sure your name and number is written on your kite and board.
  • Use a larger kite if there is some chance the wind will drop off
  • Carry some thongs or sandals in waterproof backpack - sand and tar roads can be extremely hot under your feet on the way back!
  • 2 waterproof layers are recommended for valuables (e.g. put your mobile phone in waterproof case or pouch then put than in a waterproof backpack).  
Overall it was a good day, if challenging.  Downwinders are always an adventure!


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Kitesurfing strong gusty south easterly at Mentone

Session 304. Paul, a visiting Canadian, contacted me via this blog and came out kitesurfing with us at Mentone today.  He is a keen kitesurfer and lives in Ontario.  I picked him up and Mentone station where we also had some excellent coffee and bagels at Huff Bagelry.  Good bagels are not always easy to find in Melbourne.

Tarren was already on the water having lots of fun.  Stu dropped by to take some photos.

The wind was strong at Mentone so I took out me Lithium 9 and the Nugget.  I was having a good time strapless and even landed a few small jumps.  Jumping strapless is a weird sensation and the landings are touch and go.  Hats off to Mitu Monteiro, Airton Cozzolino and Ian Alldredge for the amazing strapless moves they do.

Paul was up and going on my Naish Haze board and cruised upwind for some Port Phillip Bay solitude.

I am still grappling with concept of doing a duck tack, let alone attempting one.  I was overpowered occasionally in the stronger gusts so I eventually came in, swapped my board for the S-Quad with straps, and reset the rear lines to the last knot.  Jumping time!  I did some big ones, with the wind yanking me skywards.  I landed a few, and kicked off my board a couple of times too.

Stuart and James showed up a bit later and joined in the fun, along with some other kiters.  The wind was very variable.  It picked up to 25 knots and gusted higher.  We came in tired and satisfied.  Paul was very happy to get in a session while on a work trip too.

Postcript: The wind later picked up to 30 knots gusting up to 45 knots!


Monday, December 01, 2014

Nice kitesurfing session after work at Mentone

Session 303. After a very hot windless day on Sunday a nice cool south easterly sprang up late in the day. We headed to Mentone after work.  Some kiters were packing up as we got there close to 7 p.m.  Stu was having a good time kiting as I headed out on the Nugget and my Lithium 9.

Stuart arrived at the beach a bit later.  I had couple of really good runs, then noticed that Stu had managed to snag his kite lines on the no boating marker!  Stuart helped him swim in with the kite while I paddled out to retrieve the bar and lines.  Surrey Hills Rescue returned a favour!

The wind dropped off as dusk approached so we packed it in.  Very happy to get on and in the water after the recent hot spell.