Saturday, July 23, 2016

Winter kitesurfing at Aspendale with good wind and waves

Session 380. Aspendale delivered today!  A good westerly that was gusty in the morning moderated during the afternoon.

It was cold and raining when I arrived so I sat in the car for a while checking out the wind and weather on my phone.

The crew all converged on Aspendale - Mike, Anthony, Stu W, Stu S and James.

I use my Union 8m kite as it looked like more strong winds were on the way.  It was the right choice as I well powered most of the time and could ride the waves well, some of which were a reasonable size.  My drysuit was nice and warm.

I dropped my kite close to shore and didn't relaunch it quick enough, so I swam in, untangle the lines and relaunched.  There was still plenty of wind so I made it back to Gnotuk.

Another group of kitesurfers came through doing a downwinder - which I was also thinking of doing.

Smiles all round after this session.  Lot of kitesurfing and some nice waves.  I was quite pumped at the end and stopped for a great coffee and snack at the Siesta Cafe in Mordialloc.

GPS log

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A warning about strong winter winds 55+ knots

Winter is here and along with it some very strong northerlies with Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay being pummeled with 30+ knot winds with gusts up to 55 knots!

Source: Baywinds 
Waves breaking over Mornington Pier 12 July 2016. Source: ABC
Waves breaking over Mornington Pier 12 July 2016. Source: Mornington Peninsula Leader

Less experience kitesurfers should avoid these conditions, particularly at offshore wind locations such as Brighton Beach.  If you end up in the water or you ditch your kite you will blown out into the middle of the bay, lose your gear and require a rescue.

Going south to Sorrento is a better option, but you need good skills and a small kite (6m to 8m) to handle wind above 30 knots..

As a refresher - read this article about Kitesurfing storm fronts and Winter wind

Discretion is the better part of valor!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Kitesurfing strong gusty northerly at Brighton

Session 379.  Back from NZ yesterday, really keen for some kitesurfing.  The wind obliged today with a northerly in the afternoon.  Stu W and I headed down for some Winter fun and weren't disappointed.

This was my first session on the replacement Airush 10m Union that Ivan from The Zu Boardsports gave me as a replacement for my damaged kite.  Great service!

The wind was strong and gusty.  A couple of times there were holes with almost no wind.  There were only 3 of us out for most of the time.  About four other kiters showed up towards the end when, unfortunately for them, the wind was dropping and some rain arrived.

The other kiter had a foilboard but left it on the beach after a short attempt to use it.  Not good conditions for learning.

As I was leaving a kiter rescued another kiter (with his kite packed down) by dragging him in close to the reef.  Not a good day for equipment failure either.

The water was chilly but not too cold.

I did some nice jumps but felt a bit rusty.  So good to be kiting again.  Speed, bay swell and some boosts; great fun.  Its hard now to imagine life without kiting.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Kitesurfing in glorious winter sun at Mornington

Session 378. First kitesurfing session at Mornington. The northerly was stronger here than at Frankston.  I arrived at around 4pm after another family bike ride.  Stu S, Stuart W and James were already on the water and the wind was good. Joy oh joy!

Getting off the beach was tricky - there is a reef at either end of the short beach.  I walked back towards the pier to get a better tack then took after in pursuit of Stu S who was exploring up the shoreline.  We kited up as far as Sunnyside beach past the mansions perched high on the bluffs.

Coming back we surfed some of the rollers. I headed towards the pier. Lots of mooring there so I didn't go in close.  Lots of fun in the good sized bay surf that was rolling in.  The next beach up had some good waves and the reefs were not so gnarly.

Great winter sun again - a golden yellow light.  The sunset was superb with the You Yangs visible across the bay in the distance.

A great spot, but not for beginners.

Getting out pat the reefs, 

Sunnyside beach

Melbourne city skyline in the distance, due North

GPS log

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Kitesurfing Frankston winter wind in wonderful light

Session 377. I went for a bike ride in the morning to give our dog Pixie a good run.  The forecast south westerly change came through mid afternoon but the wind looked dodgy at Brighton, so Stu, Jop and I headed to Frankston.

It was blowing a gale when we arrived but had backed off by the time we got to the beach and pumped up our kites.

There was plenty of wind though and some good waves.  The light was superb. The yellow Winter sun highlighted the clean water and sand.  After a couple of runs I was enjoying the waves so much I kept surfing them down to the Seaford Pier.

The wind conked out on the way back so I walked along the beach for a while. I headed out again when it picked up and made it further back. After another short walk I did another couple of upwind tacks in strong wind with a squall approaching.

I nearly made it back then the wind died again so I walked the last few hundred meters.

Its so nice to be out in the elements again.  I felt nicely tired after this session and slept really well.

GPS log

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Kitesurfing Rosebud, first session with my Union 8

Session 376.  We went to Rosebud to get the good northerly wind, along with just about every other kiter in Melbourne!  I took out my 8m Airush Union for the first time and was very happy with it.  It is very similar to the 10 but a bit more nimble.

Look at all those kites!

The wind dropped a bit so I came in and swapped it for my 10. It was nice to have some more power and the waves were building in size.  I did a run up to toward the pier as it was very crowded further south - there must have been 300 kiters on the water!

It was enjoying being on the water again.  Then I tried a backroll that went wrong. My kite crashed hard leading edge down and burst the front bladder.  Should I have let go of the bar when the trick went wrong?  Possibly.

Luckily I had locked of the centre strut where the camera mount was so the kite stayed afloat.  I attached my leash to my board footstrap, wound in the lines and swam in.

The wind picked up again so I finished the session on my 8m kite.  The depower has a good range so I think this kite will work well in wind up to 35 knots, maybe more.