Friday, March 29, 2013

Short kitesurfing session on the Sector 60 at Hampton

Session 229.  I got down to Hampton at around 8 a.m. to catch the forecast westerly. It was cold and wintry. Stu Styles met me there but elected not to go out in the light onshore wind of around 15 knots, which was the right decision for him.

I setup the Lithium 12 and had a go with the Sector 60.  I struggled initially to get going, the wind seemed to have dropped further, but once up with some fast kite flying I was able to get going and go upwind.  There wasn't enough wind to do gybes however so I stopped and switched.

I got back in to the beach and did few more tacks, eventually getting some longer runs back to the breakwater.  There was less wind in close to shore however. On my last run it had dropped further so I cranked up maximum speed and headed back in.  I made it without too much trouble, but right at the end the wind must have been less than 8 knots.

It was nice have a run on the Sector 60 with no other kiters about and lots of joggers, cyclists and walkers along the foreshore.  My elbow is still sore on the "top of the bony bit" (ligament / sheath?) but the muscles and tendons feel better now.

The wind picked up briefly to around 20 knots when I was driving home but it didn't stay there for long.  The equinox was on 20 March so we are now headed into some more usual Autumn weather after all the recent hot days.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kitesurfing with the masses at Rosebud with a wind change

Session 228.  I had a great morning bike ride with Richard at sunrise along the marvellous Cape Patterson-Inverloch road with great views across the ocean.  We discussed where to go during  a nice breakfast at the Beach Box cafe.  Sandy Point was further to go and there was a south-west wind change forecast.  Anderson Inlet was no good with the northerly.  Cowes was too much extra distance.  We decided to head for Rosebud, while Stuart and Tarren ended up going to Seaford (dodging the Iron Man event that was in progress at Frankston.

There were a lot of kites on the grass and the water when we arrived at Rosebud - it looked like St Kilda on a  busy day!  There were about 3 people having lessons right the beach entry point too.

The wind was NW and around 20 knots so I took out the Lithium 12 and my twin tip.  I had to concentrate on edging it and did a few jumps.  Once away from the beach there was plenty of room.  I did a few jumps, then depowered the kite.  The wind picked up more (over 25 knots) so I came in and switched over to the Lithium 9 and my surfboard.

Just as I got to the water the wind dropped then switched to SW (offshore).  I dodged a mess of kites on the beach as I headed out.  Once out I was able to get going well.  It was nice to be on the surfboard again and to fly the smaller nimble kite.

Hutcho, James and Richard all noticed the increase in wind too.

Stuart and Grant scored a couple of runs on their sailboards.

On the way back we stopped at Safety Beach - the SW wind was onshore there and 25+ knots, but there was not a kite in sight.

Stuart and Tarren had Seaford to themselves and also scored to good sessions there.

We headed home, with everyone happy to get some kiting on both days of the Blokes Kitesurfing Weekend.

Kitesurfing with James

Kitesurfing with Richard
Kitesurfing with James
Kitesurfing with Richard
Peter kitesurfing, Stu windsurfing


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kitesurfing Sandy Point in the surf with great wind!

Session 226 & 227.  We carefully assessed the wind forecast for the first day of March Blokes Kitesurfing Weekend and decided that Sandy Point was the best place to go along the section of coast in the vicinity of Inverloch, even though it is some distance further.

Stu and Tarren got an early start and were kitesurfing the front beach by 10am with good wind and a good swell.  Stu #2 and Grant took there windsurfers to Shallow Inlet, and Richard headed there to kitesurf too.

James and I arrived at about 11 and rigged up our big kites.  Once on the water, there was plenty of wind, even with the kite depowered.  Two other kitesurfers were out enjoying the good wind and waves too.  I was getting pulled off the waves with my 12 so after a few runs (Part 1) I swapped it for my Lithium 9, which was much better.  I still had plenty of power to get out through the break, but was able to get some really nice rides in on the occasional big waves.

Gybing the board is really handy - it takes the stress out of turning and handling surf conditons.

My left elbow was a bit sore, using the tennis elbow brace over the wetsuit, but it held up OK.

Sandy Point is a wonderful location with views to Wilsons Prom and the islands close to it, and the wide stretch of beach.

After a quick snack lunch at the General Store (warning - not wetsuits in the cafe) we headed back to beach.  The wind was still pumping but just as I got on the water with my 9 it dropped.  I swapped for the 12, but it dropped again, so that was it.

There was a wedding on the beach. Lot of nicely dressed people braved the strong winds and fine sand (with high heels removed!) to cluster like a group of penguins on the sand.  Of course the wind dropped off just after the ceremony was over and most had left . . .

We headed back to Inverloch for a nice feed of fish and chips and watched some videos on Youtube including:

Who needs a TV?

GPS Logs

Part 1 (short first session on the Lithium 12)
Part 2 (longer session on Lithium 9)
Session 2 - after lunch

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Aspendale to Mentone kitesurfing downwinder struggling for wind

Session 225.  Cool temperatures and more frontal winds.  Stuart, Tarren, James and I got down to Mentone early and setup a car shuffle to Aspendale.  We were greeted with 25 knot wind when we arrived at Aspendale and 30 knots was showing at South Channel, so we rigged up smaller kites.

Unfortunately, the wind dropped, so we were mostly underpowered.  My Lithium 9 handled the conditions well though - it turns nicely and generates a lot of power for its size. I followed the bay surf break down towards the Mordialloc pier, then walked back up the beach to get around the pier.

I was a bit ahead of the others as I was keen to make some progress in case my elbow got sore again and I needed to finish early.  But it held up OK with the tennis elbow brace on my forearm over my wetsuit.  I took it easy with another Blokes Kitesurfing Weekend coming up soon.

I did a lot of nice downloop turns to keep the power on, and a few full kiteloops too.  The power is delivered smoothly by the Lithium 9 so these turns are great to do, especially when combined with some heelside - toeside slalom on the surfboard, leaning into the turns.

There were some good waves but its hard to score a big one.

Tarren and Stuart met me on the beach but James was missing in action.  He had run out of wind just after he got around the pier and ended up walking back to Mentone.  Just as we were leaving, the wind picked up to 25 knots again!   Frontal winds are not always the best . . .

Looking at the wind graph afterwards, the wind gusted above 35 knots just after we came in, so our caution with kite sizing was justified.

It was great to be on the water again though, and I was happy my sore elbow held up fine.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Great twilight kitesurfing session at Hampton after the heat

Session 224.  After 10 days of baking hot weather and no wind in Melbourne - the longest hot spell ever - finally a cool change!  I headed down to Hampton after work and was stoked to find 20+ knots of clean wind and cool temperatures there.  I rigged up hastily with the sun setting and headed out for a short but sweet session.

I was well powered with the Lithium 12 and surfboard, but I took it easy to avoid stressing my sore left elbow further. It tweaked a bit but was basically OK for this short session.  I rode toeside goofy to give my left arm a good rest, and it felt fine.   I did a couple of faster runs too.  

I ended up being the only kite on the water and came in just after the sun set.  Very happy to be on the water again carving some nice turns and just having a ball.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Melbourne heatwave shuts down our kitesurfing wind

Melbourne's heat wave in March - that is on track to be the hottest ever  - has mostly shutdown our kitesurfing winds.

We are in the middle of a heatwave and it looks like we will have and all time record of 10 days of 32C or more during March.

The heatwave has been caused by a "blocking" high pressure system over the Tasman Sea, which steers hot continental winds from Central Australia down over south-eastern Australia.

"Blocking" high pressure system over Tasman Sea
The resulting temperatures are illustrated it the chart from the Bureau of Meteorology below.

Source: BOM

The results on the wind are shown in these images from Baywinds

Monday 11 March 2012

Sunday 10 March 2013

The northerly winds from this weather pattern are strong enough to even damp down the normal sea breeze that Melbourne gets during the late afternoon, when cooler air normally moves from the sea to inland.

However, I am still resting my left elbow which has an overuse injury due to the huge amount of kitesurfing I did over January and February, so its not a big problem for me - apart from the heat that is.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Kitesurfing Mentone in a good easterly

Session 223.  My left elbow has been sore for a couple of weeks now so it has been good to have some rest.  Kitesurfing with the surfboard means my left arm is loaded when I ride toeside (right tack) so it seems that I have some "overuse symptoms", possibly even some tennis elbow (I hope not).

But a weekend without some kitesurfing now feels like purgatory!

A strong easterly blew all day. I went to the aquarium with the family in the afternoon, then returned home just before 5.  The wind was still blowing so I headed for Mentone. Stuart S and Grant were down there setting up their windsurfers.

There was good wind so I took out my Lithium 9 for the first time.  I had plenty of power in the 25 knot wind (gusting up to 30) and the kite fully depowered!  I was able to stay upwind without much effort and do some nice slalom turns in the surf nearer to the shore.

I did a few jumps too but was wary of heading for the heavens, and stressing my arm further.  I did my first pre-turn gybe to the right too.

The Lithium 9 was very predicable, had heaps of power and turned very well.  Although smaller in size than my Switchblade 10 it seems to generate more power.

I also have a common bar between my Lithium 9 and 12, so I can use one bar for both and keep the other spare.

Mentone was great today. Only a few other kiters and windsurfers out, good wind, some waves and nice clean water.   My elbow feels fine too, it is certainly no worse.  I might try the bridle attachments to "light bar pressure" on the Lithium kites.