This is an online blog journal of all my kitesurfing activities. I blog and log every kitesurfing session and provide information on skills progression, gear, weather and locations. I am based in Melbourne, Australia where we are blessed with good winds and some wonderful kitesurfing. I also take kitecam photos and video. I also record many sessions with a GPS.
Session 225. I picked up a new Mystic Majestic harness from The Zu Boardsports today. Stuart has checked out the latest harnesses and thinks this is one is the best. We will post more information about the harnesses when we try it out.
A south easterly sprang up but St Kilda is not the best place for that wind direction so I drove up to Sandridge Beach. The beach was quite busy and the wind was under 10 knots so I headed down to Mentone.
I met Stu Styles at the beach. The wind was a bit over 10 knots so Stu setup his kite and headed out for his first body dragging session. We waded out to chest deep then Stu flew the kite to body drag back in. He did very well. Good kite control and some nice power dives.
The wind picked up a bit and another guy showed up with a Crossbow 13 and a Sector 60. He headed out and was going upwind fast. I got my Lithium 12 and headed out on the surfboard. I did some nice runs out towards Ricketts Point and back.
There was enough wind to get going well and the water was fairly flat and very warm. The mussel farms spread out quite a way. There were quite a few black floats near a yellow buoy but they were hard to spot. Caution is indicated in this area.
I did a few jumps and was enjoying the new harness. Great back support and a good fit. I am not sure were to best attach the safety leash though.
There is a nice cafe van in the car park at the top with a great selection of snacks. It is worth a visit if you are passing by.
When I came in to land my kite I met Alexey Tsoy on the beach. He had come down for a kitesurfing session but the wind dropped when he arrived. We first made contact on Google+ so it was nice to have a chat.
Session 224. This was a really short session.I got down to Hampton after work to find a good sea breeze blowing and several kites out.
However, when I got my gear down to the beach the dropped out. One kiter was a long way out, another coming in dropped his kite a few hundred meters off the rock groynes. He soon floated in to the groyne and retrieved his kite, but the other kiter was much further out.
I watched him with a windsurfer from the beach. We were wondering why he was staying in the same position. Then the wind picked up but now it was coming from the east and so was offshore.
The kiter still in the water looked like he was in some bother, so I pumped up my kite and headed out. The wind was OK but gusty. As I rounded the groyne I saw him coming into the beach so I headed in and landed my kite.
I walked up to say hello and met Shaun, an experienced kiter. The wind had caught him off guard. He was stationary for a while in the water because he swam back upwind to retrieve his board. Then he wound in his lines (self rescue) and deflated his kite. But he didn't leave one strut inflated and he didn't reseal the bladder so it a lot of water entered that bladder and the kite nearly sank.
He was concerned about the easterly blowing him offshore hence the self rescue.
Everyone was safe and no damage was done. All is well that ends well!
My tricep muscles and the elbow in the left arm are still sore - too much kiting! So it was OK to have a short session - I need the rest.
Session 223. I met Franz, Tim and Wayne at a nice surf break for some kitesurfing. There was not wind so we headed out for some surfing. I used my mini mal and caught a couple of waves which was a real hoot. Not very stylish surfing though! While I can bodysurf and ride a waveski (goat boat) well, I haven't put enough time into surfing to progress. Its the leaping to your feet on the board while going down the face of the wave bit that is a challenge.
It wasn't too crowded in the lineup and its a nice location. I swapped boards with Tim then paddled in his toothpick.
Surfing is hard! Lots of paddling and hard work for the arms, shoulders and neck.
The wind had picked up a little so I took my kite down to the water, launched it and headed out. Not quite enough wind. I got out past the waves, then came back in away from the break and the surfers. I had a good run back out, but was very wary of dropping the kite out the back.
Coming back in I decided to head for the beach downwind and got there without any dramas.
A nice spot, but we needed more wind on this occasion.
Session 222. After no wind last night at St Kilda - when we met to have a debrief for the Across the Bay to Conquer Cancer - a great sea breeze came in late in the afternoon. I got down to Port Melbourne and was on the water around 6:30. There used to be only 4 kiters out, but tonight there were about a dozen. Stuart headed off just as I arrived but Tarren headed out again.
I spent a lot of time in the surf and did a few nice jumps. Gybes are going well but I am working on doing them quicker. My fins hit sand a few times when I came in too close to shore. I got hoiked by the kite in the shallow water a couple of times.
There were a few swimmers in the water so I slowed right down when I was near them.
I did a couple of longer runs over close to the Spirit of Tasmania and could see the cars and trucks driving onto the ship via the gantry.
The new Garmin 310XT GPS is more convenient than the Edge 705 - its good to see the time when you need to. I leave my dive watch behind now.
I haven't worked up enough courage to do a backroll with the surfboard, but I was thinking of it during the session. Backrolls and duck tacks - two things to work on.
Coming back, the Spirit of Tasmania was backing out. I gave it a wide berth. Its a big ship. I threw in a few downloop turns on the way back to the beach.
Its really nice to get down to the bay with a refreshing sea breeze after a hot day. Its even nicer to go kitesurfing!
Session 221. Another glorious sea breeze and another glorious downwinder! Stuart, James and I met at Mentone mid afternoon with the breeze just starting to pickup. We left a two cars then drove the Aspendale (Gnotuk Ave) in my car. The wind was good and getting stronger at Aspendale, so our downwinder was looking good.
After a few runs out and back in lovely clean water Franz showed up and headed out to join us. We cruised down the line of good bay surf downwind. I did some big jumps on the surfboard and Franz did some huge jumps and a few back rolls.
I had still plenty of power with my Lithium 12 fully de-powered - the wind was in the range 20 to 25 knots. The surf was really good. I was able to ride a few good waves along the outer sandbar. Franz and I tracked in close to the Patterson River, the back out to get around Mordialloc pier, giving the fisherman a wide berth.
We cruised in on the swell towards the beach and back into the surf, then worked our way down the waves. Cruising out west upwind the waves provided great ramps for jumps. Going downwind south-west we could get some good rides. I was getting in some nice right turns onto the steeper waves then riding them in.
We eventually made it to Mentone where once again there were quite a few kitesurfers about. I did a run to the cliffs to ride the surf in there, then returned back to the landing spot.
We all had a ball. Big smiles and happy faces! The car shuffle only took about 15 minutes.
My forearms are sore again. They have been a bit tender after the marathon downwinder from Rosebud to Port Melbourne. I think a few rest days and some more yoga is in order.
Session 220. The seabreeze came in stronger than forecast this afternoon, as is often the case. I met Tony and Stu down at Brighton - a couple of friends who are learning kitesurfing - and gave them some tips as they practiced flying Stu's kite - a Switchblade 10.
They were both going well, taking in turns to fly the kite up and down the edge of the wind window and across it. They were also trying out short power dives to pull them from a sitting to standing position. Both are flying the kite well. Their next lesson is body dragging in the water.
I took the surboard out with my Lithium 12 and it was nice. Warm clean water and strong sushine. After a couple of runs I noticed a guy lose his board and end up downwind, so I retrieved it and took it too him.
I find its easiest to grab the handle of the board with my thumbs and pin it up to the bar so that I have both hands free for control. However, I was not game to try this toeside so I stopped, switched the board, then got going again.
There were about a dozen other kiters about. One show pony boosted (jumped) just ahead of my as I was in the water about to depart from close to the shore. I had to fly my kite to take evasive action as he very nearly landed on my lines, then his kite nearly crossed mine. Its silly to jump so close to shore and its quite unsafe to jump so close to another kiter (or anybody else for that matter).
My right gybe (foot swap after) is now very reliable, and my left gybe (foot swap before) is also good. I was carving a few turns on the bay swell and did a few downloop turns to show Tony and Stu how you can turn the board like surfing (they are both keen surfers).
I tried out my new GPS today - a Garmin Forerunner 310XT - which you wear like a watch. It worked well, and has the advantage that you can view data (including the time) while you are on the water. The casing is sealed so the unit is completely waterproof - there are no gaskets or seals for plugs/usb cables.
The data is downloaded using Garmin's wireless Ant technology which requires an USB Ant dongle that was supplied with the unit. It downloads automatically when in range, and you can set it to clear the track log after download.
A special clip charges the unit by contacting two metal pins on rear of the GPS.
I rigged up a "safety leash wrist strap" using some cord and a rubber wristband to avoid losing the GPS if the watch band or watch pins break. Its attached to both sections of the band.