Sunday, April 19, 2015

Chilly and challenging kitesurfing at Mentone

Session 332.  Heavy rainfall and strong gusts swept through overnight and Sunday morning.  I headed down to Mentone arriving at about 3pm.   The wind had just backed off from around 30 knots to about 10!  Several small kites (6 to 8m) were on the beach and kiters were packing up and leaving.

Mr Styles showed up after a while and we pondered on whether more wind would come.  I went back to the car to rest and wait.  Mr Webb then showed up at about the time another squall was heading up the bay.  We decided to go out with smaller kites as the wind at South Channel was around 28 knots and likely to come through.

We started well powered and had some runs enjoying the bay surf.  The wind dropped out then came back with a vengeance at over 25 knots with some east in it.  I did a couple of massive jumps where my initial boost was doubled by a strong gust.  Quite exhilarating and soft landings!

The air temperature was around 10C and the water was cool so I appreciated my Ripcurl 4/3 wetsuit. Next time I will wear my booties too.

We kited for about an hour until the wind backed off again.   A really good but challenging session.

Winter is here.

GPS Log 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kitesurfing again at Hampton with a self rescue

Session 331.  Back on the water the day after we returned from Europe, I missed kitesurfing!  The wind was light, around 15 knots, so I took out the Flite 14.5. Once again it did not disappoint.

I did several backrolls, most combined with a backloop, and landed a couple elegantly.  Getting enough rotation is tricky and handling the pull of the loop is too.

I was very happy to be on the water soaking up some sun to help me re-adjust to Eastern Standard Time (sunshine stimulates melatonin production which can help with jetlag)

I was doing some downwind slalom turns as Stuart approached. On my last turn our kite nearly tangled so  I dropped mine on the water. Unfortunately a bridle looped over a wing tip so I could not relaunch it.  I released the safety to try and get it to untangle, but this only resulted in my lines getting tangled close to the bar.

Another kiter flipped the snagged bridle over as I reset the bar, but the tangle meant I couldn't really fly the kite. I eventually got it launched and was able to control it with only one line and body drag back to shore at Middle Brighton.

Close to the shore I turned the kite around and attempted to land it but it kept flying. I released the safety and still it kept flying and pulling me horizontal to the shore, so I released it completely.

I swam in and grabbed the kite as it blew into the shore.  The other kiter towed by board in which was much appreaciated. I wasn't looking forward to searching for it.

All's well that ends well!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Great day skiing at the Grand Montet and Argentiere

After a week of bad weather in Chamonix we finally got a good day. My daughter Chloe graduated from the French Ski School at the Flocon (Snowflake) level today. I caught the bus to Argentiere around noon and headed up to Lognan.  There was a long queue for the Grant Montets telepherique so I caught the gondola to Bochard and did a thigh burning run down,

The new AT skis and boots are great.  Some fresh snow at the top, firm icy sections in the middle and wet snow towards the bottom.

I waited in the line for the Grand Montet lift and chatted with Jean and Stan from Alsace,

The cloud descended as we waited for our ride.  Once on the lift, a cheer from everyone packed into the lift went up when we burst through the cloud back into the sunshine!  Jean, Stand and their group skied the normal route down.  I ducked under the rope and headed for the direct route that other skiers were on.

Great snow and a great view!  I dropped over the headwall past a crevasse and got some great powder turns in,  Veering left I even got some fresh snow.  This is Chamonix skiing at its best.

Then I descended in into the cloud with poor visibility.  I teamed up with four Norwegians as we skied down then back onto the Bouchard piste run and below the cloud.

I spent the rest of the day skiing with our Swiss friends who had arrived today and come up to Argentiere for a great afternoon skiing.  Needless to say, they were all excellent skiers.

Back in Chamonix we headed out to dinner at La Boccolatte and had a magnificent Raclette.  I don't think I have ever eaten so much cheese!

Amitié australienne Français

Amitié australienne suisse

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Inlet kitesurfing speed session with the Flite and Sector 60

Session 330.  Our last session for the weekend was a good one.  The forecast wind came in at 5p.m at around 15 knots.  I had a great session on the Flite 14.5 and the Sector 60.  There was enough water to cover the sandbars so I could go fast and not worry about the long fins hitting the sand.

I did some nice jumps, hauling the considerable bulk of the Sector 60 out of the water.  The kite was easy to handle in 15+ knots, I depowered it a bit too.  With the Sector I could bear off down wind to get some deeper water then cut back upwind to get back.  No back rolls though . . .

Overall, a great weekend again.  Inverloch really is a great location for kitesurfing.  Having a range of kite sizes helps too.


Kitesurfing very light wind Andersons Inlet

Session 329.   No wind in the morning so we headed for the Inverloch surf beach where a good swell was rolling in.  I inflated both SUPs - the Starboard 8' and the Naish Nalu 11'.  The Nalu is much easier to paddle but it doesn't turn so well on a wave. Catching waves is tricky - getting the balance forward then back is difficult.

After lunch, there was very light wind in the afternoon so I thought I would try the Flite 14.5 and the Sector 60.  Getting started was tricky but once going the apparent wind was good so I could cruise.  I kited down past the jetty, wondering if I could make it back.

I spotted a beach that I could land at, then turned around.  Surprisingly, I was able to stay upwind but when I reached the pier the wind dropped right out.  I did a self rescue, winding in the lines and swimming to the narrow beach with the current slowly taking me out.

I made it to shore and was greeted by Stuart and Mike who had driven down to pick me up.  Great valet service!

I estimate the wind was around 8 knots while it lasted, so this is now my best light wind combo.  The Sector 60 is easy to handle with the Flite.

I pumped the kite up again back at the Angling Club beach to dry it out and wait for better wind - which came in for the next session.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Great powered up kitesurfing session Andersons Inlet

Session 328.  When the picked up around 4 p.m, I swapped to the Flite 14.5 and the Nugget for a really good session. Well powered, but really easy to stay upwind.  The kite turns really well and delivers good power but not too much.  It has really good de-power range too.

I did several backrolls, some with kite loops, and landed most of them. I am really enjoying these as they add to the challenge.  I must be pulling on the back hand to get the backloop, so now I need to try pulling more on the front hand.  Landing a back roll kiteloop is a lot of fun.

Everyone was whizzing around, the travails of earlier light wind forgotten.  Trent was down with a large crew from SHQ too but there was plenty of room for us all.

We were all really pumped at the end of the day. The counter tea at the pub went down really well afterwards.


Inverloch Andersons Inlet light wind kitesurfing with the Zero

Session 327. Another kitesurfing weekend with the crew, yeah!  The dodgy forecast earlier in the week improved closer to Friday to our relief.  We headed down to Inverloch early on Saturday morning with our usual stop at the excellent Kilcunda General Store cafe.

There was some very light wind around noon so I decided to give the Zero another go while the others pumped up my Flite 14.5 as well.  I got going o.k, just, but found the now familiar problem of staying upwind, even on the trusty Nugget.

In light winds working really hard I can just hold ground.  If the wind gets stronger you have too much power and get pulled off your edge downwind.  Its hard to slow down to. Coming into the beach I misjudged the distance and the time needed to slow the kite, came in a bit hot and leaped to the shore. I managed to scratch the top of my foot on something and got it a bit bruised.  Not enough to stop me kiting though.

There were a few kites down in the patchy wind so I landed the Zero and pumped up my new Naish Nalu inflatable SUP and headed out to assist.  Stu Styles was floating and drifting up into the inlet with the strong tidal current.  I got to him and pulled him to the nearby sandbar.

Meanwhile Eric was taking ages to relaunch the Flite from a sandbar but just as I got to him he relaunched and was on his way.


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Kitesurfing Aspendale with big kite in 15 knots

Session 326. The forecast looked a bit iffy but around 15 knots came in later in the morning. I met Stuart and Tarren at Gnotuk Ave, they had gone downwind a bit and were walking up the beach.

At last!  Good conditions to try out my Ocean Rodeo Flite 14.5 on the water.

It was great.  Good power, but not too much,  I was able to get some good speed, go upwind without difficulty, surf some waves and do some backrolls and kiteloops.

The kite is predictable, stable and turns well for its size.  I did several back rolls and landed a few.  I noticed on a couple the kite ended up pointing in the opposite direction so I must be pulling on the rear of the bar to turn it.

I did some backroll kiteloops too and landed one very nicely.  Its easy to tell when you have done one, the lines are not twisted when you finish.

I find its not good to think about doing the backroll too much. Its best to commit, launch off a kicker and throw your head into the rotation.  Now that I am doing them I need to reverse engineer what is going on to fine tune the manoeuvre.f

I crashed the kite a couple of times and relaunched it with easy.  Then I crashed and jellyfished it (on its back) but got it relaunched, with Tarren assisting by bring my board closer.  The Flite 14.5 is easy to relaunch.

Stuart had a go on my Sector 60 to go better upwind. I had a couple of runs on it to finish too when the wind dropped out.

Overall verdict on the Ocean Rodeo Flite 14.5: Recommended.  Turns well, goes upwind well, and is very stable to fly.  

We had a good coffee and lunch at the Peppercorn Cafe in Mordialloc, a favourite after kiting stop for me.