Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hampton with a helmet-cam and a crash

Session 79, Saturday 16 January 2010

Kite: Switchblade 10m
Location: Hampton Beach
Wind: 25+ knots S
Duration: 4:45pm to 5:40pm - 1 hour

A gusty 25 knot southerly arrived around midday so I headed to Hampton and rigged the Switchblade 10, this time with my helmet cam and kitecam mounted. No problems getting off the beach today! I was leaning back and using my body and legs to carve upwind in an effort to reduced the strain on my right arm and elbow. It seemed to work.

Helmetcam video

Heading off the beach

There was a decent swell so carving around the wave crests was a lot of fun, and surfing back down them was good too, but a little lumpy.

Carving the swells

I worked upwind to the breakwater and did some fast runs into the flat water. Then when coming out I jumped off a nice wave and sent my kite high. The wind god picked me up and smacked me down hard! I went up high and fast - the kite had just entered the stronger wind coming around the breakwater. The kite whipped too far to the right, hoiking me under it. I hit the water hard with a resounding smack on the right side of my head.

Heading out to the breakwater

My head hurt and it felt like my right ear may have burst. The helmet cam cam ajar and was flopping around on its safety cord. I remounted it, and checked the helmet flange, thinking I must have broken it. It was OK. After I gathered my composure I brought my kite back up and continued on, somewhat chastened.

Two big tips here: my helmet almost certainly saved me from a more serious injury and my impact vest effectively stopped the impact hurting my torso. In stronger and gusty winds kites can develop a mind of their own and things happen fast, as Tarren experienced last Thursday.

I did some faster runs past a large yacht which sailed up then motored into the harbour, then cruised back to the beach and back out. I did some more jumps - more measured this time; not too much speed and no big boost. I wonder now if I will ever attempt a kiteloop while jumping; the results could be catstrophic if you get it wrong. The water is not so soft when you are travelling at 30+ km/h and fall from 5 meters.

I did quite a few right hand carved turns finishing toe side down, then continued riding in that style to the right. It felt good, I was able to get some reasonable speed up. Not so good riding toe down to the left though yet.

Riding toe down

There were a lot of pole dancers (windsurfers) out having a ball. They are a friendly crew too and there are no hassles with kiters.

In among the windsurfers

After an hour my right arm was twinging a bit in the forearm, but the elbow felt OK, so I came in satisfied with a good session. And a reminder that safety and orderly skill progression is paramount.

On the way home I stopped at Green Point for a look. A good kitesurfer was working in the waves just behind the reef on the point. He was coming in surfing, doing a smal jump transition to turn, then heading out and jumping off the waves. After a while he headed back toward Brighton, doing some huge jumps a long way out.

A big jump

Kiting off Green Point with Westgate Bridge in the background

Kiting off Brighton Beach


1 comment:

Peter Campbell said...

Update on my ear: Examination by a doctor (my wife Lena) showed much redness and inflammation around the ear drum, but no rupture. By Wednesday my hearing in the right ear is still not good and there is now some tinitis (ringing).

Wearing the hemlet almost certainly prevented a ruptured eardrum from the impact with the water.

Letting go of the bar may not have helped this situation as I had already been yanked hard, and I thought I was quite high. Once the bar is gone you have no control and are in for a fall.

In any case, deciding whether to let go of the bar, or even how to steer it, can be a split second decision.