Saturday, April 12, 2014

Heading over to Chamonix for some ski mountaineering

After a bad start to this year (ladder and cycling accidents) I decided it was time to get out there again, so I am heading to Chamonix for some more ski mountaineering with my friend Simon.

I think kitesurfing and ski mountaineering are safer than domestic duties and cycling on Melbourne's roads!

We hope to ski some peaks around Chamonix, possible including Mont Blanc, and also attempt the Haute Route again.

Stay tuned for some photos and trip update on this blog!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Kitesurfing nice easterly at Mentone on the Sector 60

Session 286. Got down to Mentone at about 4:30 with the forecast east/south easterly blowing at about 15 knots.  I took out my Lithium 12 and Sector 60 anticipating the wind to be a bit flukey.

I was well powered and moving fast.  There was less wind closer to shore but plenty of wind further out.

I was getting some nice small jumps off waves on the way out.  The Sector 60 is a lot of board to have dangling under your feet while in the air, but landing jumps off waves at speed is not too difficult and great fun.

I did a few runs out close to the yellow buoy marking the aquaculture area.  I did a run past it, but there were blue bags suspended just below the water so I turned around and headed back in.  Give this area a wide berth.

Stuart W was going well on a surfboard and twin tip.

Stu S came down as we were packing up and did some good runs out and back.

There was only 2 other kiters and a couple of kites visible in the distance at Ricketts Point.

The wind was a bit flukey, but you can easily ride out lulls on the Sector 60 board.  This time of year, any session is a good one!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cruising downwind in 8 knots with the Zero

Session 285.  Watching the wind all day. A light sea breeze arrived in the afternoon and got to 10 knots by 4pm so I headed down to Brighton.  It felt like less than 10 knots on the beach as I pumped up my Lithium Zero.  The kite was easy to launch and keep in the air, so I headed out on my surfboard.  I was going well enough with the kite de-powered, but on the return tack I was loosing ground and heading in towards the Brighton Baths.  Powering the kite (toggle adjustment) actually seemed to slow it down, so I depowered it again on the way back out.

Decision time- bail out now or go downwind?  I went downwind.

I passed a couple of fishing boats then headed out past the Brighton Marina.  Coming back in I was not going to make it to the sand so I went out again eyeing off the long section of rockwall downwind.

I didn't go too close in as I was fearful the wind would drop out, but I wasn't going too far out either in case I had to swim in.

I got some nice tacks in then landed at the south end of Elwood beach, passing a windsurfer along the way. I landed the kite without difficulty in the light wind and chatted to the windsurfer on the beach - he had a new big sail but wasn't able to get going as well as he hoped.

It was nice to be out though - nobody on the water other than fisherman and a couple of very noisy jetskis.  It was a longish but pleasant walk back as the sun headed down to the horizon.

The Lithium Zero flew well in the light wind, but I am still having a lot of difficulty staying upwind.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kitesurfing Mentone, cruising on the Sector 60

Session 284.  I was at Lara and Ash's lovely wedding in the Yarra Valley on Saturday and we returned to Melbourne on Sunday.  I was keen to get in a session so I headed to Mentone in the late afternoon.  

There was some good wind when I arrived and few guys just finishing kitesurfing.  The wind dropped as I a set up and got down to the beach. I couldn't really get going on the surfboard my Lithium 12 so I swapped to the Sector 60 board.  What a difference!  I was instantly going upwind fast.  

I did some long runs up to Parkdale and back to Mentone.  It was nice to be out cruising when nobody else was on the water.  I even caught some air launching of the waves as ramps.

There was a full distance iron man triathlon in progress with runners streaming along the foreshore, most of them were not running very fast after the considerable distance they had already swum, cycled and ran.

The wind dropped a little further so I called it a day, very happy to be on the water again.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kitesurfing Gnotuk in gusty north westerly

Session 283. Got down to Gnotuk at around 7:30 to catch the forecast early north westerly. Stuart and James got there a bit earlier and were already out.  The wind was not quite 20 knots so I took out my Lithium 12 and the S-Quad.  I was only just powered at times during the first 30 minutes as gusts came though (depower) and then some big lulls (repower).

The air was surprisingly chilly so I wore my steamer.  It was really nice to get out and ride some of the good swells and small waves on the beach.  A couple of other kiters were about too.

Then it came in harder at around 25 knots.  I did a few runs fully depowered then decided to come in.  I pulled the safety so the kite flagged onto a single line then followed the line to the kite to secure it.

Stuart and James came in a short while later.

I was contemplating heading out again on my Lithium 9 but decided not to push my luck. Me right leg was feeling OK so I decided not to overdo it.

Some more crew showed up just before I left and headed out on smaller Airush Varial X kites. They were having a good time  and the kites were handling the conditions well.  I think I will demo one to see how it compares to the Lithium.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kitesurfing Brighton in a gusty northerly

Session 282. Got to Brighton at around 3:30 with a gusty northerly blowing at around 25 knots. I headed out on my Lithium 9 and had some nice runs.  Then the wind gusted up over 30 knots so I came in overpowered and a kiter on the beach landed my kite.  We watched the wind raise sand over a metre along the beach, only a couple of hardy kiters stayed out.

I was contemplating pumping up my 7m Crossbow, but the wind dropped to around 25 knots again so I headed out for some more nice runs.

There were a few people dropping kites and having some difficulties, but it seemed under control. I offered one guy a tow in but he self rescued and sailed his kite in.

This was definitely not a good day for beginners - the wind was far too gusty and unpredictable - but I was keen to make up for some lost sessions!

Some gusts were over 35 knots and there were storms visible across to Port Arlington and north of Melbourne.  Check out the wind graph - some big gusts associated with storm fronts.  Summer is over.

Note: The GPS has not captured my full session due to operator error!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Kitesurfing Altona in light wind

Session 281.  Very keen for some more kitesurfing so I headed down to Altona to check out the easterly.  The wind had backed off from around 20 knots to about 15 when I arrived, so I took my Lithium 12 and surfboard out from Apex Park.  Once on the water, a few other kiters came out too, but there was only about 4 of us on the water.

I did some nice long runs up towards the pier catching some small waves along the way.  The tide was heading out so the lagoon area close to shore was too shallow to kitesurf in.

The wind dropped after a few runs so I landed my kite and swapped my board for the Sector 60 - but was rewarded with only one more run as the wind dropped below 10 knots.

There were two groups of people getting instruction at beach area out from Apex Park - there is plenty of room there and its a long way from the shore.

There are some gnarly pieces of driftwood on the beach however and I stood on something sharp in some weed.

Other than that, it was really good to get out.  My leg was fine, but I notice an ache in my shoulder now (which took some impact during my recent collision with the car).

The blood thinning medication is sapping me of energy a bit too - I flake out for a snooze after some exertion.