Saturday, February 28, 2015

In search of wind today but it came too late

Not really a session! Stu, Tarren, Amelia and I headed down to Rosebud early after checking out the forecast which indicated a reasonable northerly.

A large group of swans departed as we arrived. There was a little wind so I setup the Ocean Rodeo Flite 14.5 with some assistance from Stu and Tarren.

The kite was flying well and I just got going on the Nugget, but about 100m out the wind dropped.  I kept the kite flying as I  headed into shore but eventually dropped it and walked back.  A bit disappointed but it was nice to get wet.

We then setup the Lithium Zero and while I could fly it, less than 5 knots was not enough to go anywhere.

We waited for a while and watched some storms roll across Melbourne and the Baywinds observations before deciding to have lunch at the really good Tasting Station.

We headed back to Melbourne, stopping at Gnotuk Avenue (no wind) then on to Brighton, where there was also no wind, but quite a few keel boats getting along further out, some with spinnakers up.

Its not often that we miss out entirely on a session in Melbourne, but this time we did.

Then during the evening the forecast gale force winds did arrive - gusting above 55n knots!

We will hopefully do better tomorrow.

Kitesurfing T-Shirt from Travel Kandi

Check out this nice kitesurfing T-Shirt that Matt Codina from Travel Kandi sent me recently.  Thanks Matt!

I like the design and the quality of the Tee is very good.

Its not easy to find a great kitesurfing T-Shirt - I can recommend this one.  If you like it you can get one here

You can also follow @TRAVEL_KANDI on Twitter and they also have Facebook page.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nice kitesurfing in Brighton northerly but there was some drama

Session 323.  Early reports of the northerly at Rosebud were not too good so I decided to wait and see how the wind at Brighton was.  There was a good northerly in the mid morning so I picked up Mr Styles and we headed for the beach.

It was around 20 knots with the familiar wind shadow close to the beach, so I decided to take out me 12, which turned out to be a good choice.

There were a couple of guys on the beach getting dragged about among sunbathers, presumably trying to learn how to kite by themselves.  Not cool.

Getting going on the Nugget was easy and I was well powered once I got out 100m.  Nice runs on a hot day, but no backrolls.  The prospect of crashing, tangling and self-rescuing in a northerly is still a bit daunting.

I did some nice jumps though, and a couple of speed runs.  The Nugget is such as stable platform so riding out lighter winds is easy.

There were up to a dozen kites out, and Stu is going well on his nugget (surf style).  Coming from a strong surfing and windsurfing background he loves the directional board and is already quite accomplished.

Another kiter crashed and inverted his kite about 200m off the beach.  I stopped to check how he was going.  After several attempts he couldn't relaunch his kite so I took his board to shore and told him to wind in his lines and self rescue.  I kept an eye on him as he drifted down to Green Point.  I looked like he might not make it to shore so I came in, landed my kite and got my handheld marine VHF radio.

I spoke to the Coast Guard on channel 16 to advise that a kiter might need rescuing south of Green Point.  Fifteen minutes later he showed up on the beach which was a surprise.  He had just made it to shore then someone gave him a lift back to Brighton, so I advised the Coast Guard that all was OK.

Its handy to have a marine radio for these situations. I will post some information on types suitable for kitersurfing.

I called by at The Zu Boardsports to pick up a Naish Nalu 11m inflatable SUP - more on that will follow.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Tropical cyclones Marcia and Lam pummel Australia at the same time

Tropical cyclones are not unusual in Australia, but two at the same time are.  This is the first time recorded that we two severe cyclones have occurred at the same time.

Tropical Cyclone Marcia (Category 5) is pummeling the coast near Yeppoon on the central  Queensland coast with winds recorded up to 285km/h, with sustained winds of 205km/h.

Tropical Cyclone Lam (Category 3) knocked out a wind station at Elcho Island late on Thursday, with 150km/h winds the highest recorded at the site. A second station at Milingimbi also halted operations, recording winds at 93km/h at the time.  Wind speeds reached 260km/h at their peak, with sustained winds of 175-185km/h.

A storm surge has reached all parts of the Gulf of Carpentaria, with some areas recording seas more than one metre above the astronomical highs.

Tropical cyclones Lam (top) and Marcia (right).  Source:
TC Marcia. Source: BOM

Both cyclones are expected to cause serious damage.  Communities affected are on emergency alert - hopefully everyone will stay safe.

Needless to say, the winds are far to strong for kitesurfing!

External links

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket keeps your phone dry

I have been testing out an Elements Phone Pocket recently to store and carry my  mobile (Sony Xperia Z1 compact).   This phone is about the same size as in iPhone 4 or 5 so the pocket would fit them well too.

Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket
Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket

The verdict is: excellent!

The phone pocket is very well made with quality all-weather leather, great stitching and a weatherproof zip.

The design is great too.  The pocket fits my phone nicely (with a slim plastic back cover on the phone) and has slim internal pockets for:

  • Notes (folded)
  • Some Coins
  • Credit card(s)
  • Key
  • SIM card
I have carried the Phone Pocket in a back pocket of my cycling jersey - the leather and water-resistant zip keep sweat and even rain off the phone and other contents.

The Phone Pocket also provides good protection from sand, dirt and also light impacts. 

Note that while the Phone Pocket is water resistant it may not protect your phone from water if it is immersed for an extended period.

Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket
The Elements Phone Pocket is slim and compact

Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket
Internal storage for notes, cards, coins and a key

Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket
Water resistant YKK Zip

Monday, February 16, 2015

Late evening kitesurfing next to Spirit of Tasmania

Session 323.  Snuck in a great session at Port Melbourne after work.  Tarren was on the water having a great time and Dan came in just as I was heading out.

So nice to be cruising around with a worry.  No logistics, just good clean wind.  Kitesurfing really blows away the cobwebs of a day in the office.

I was on the Nugget with straps so a few jumps and backrolls were in order.  The backrolls are fun.  That moment of commitment followed by "where the hell am I" then "yeah, I am around" and the touch down.

The waves were nice too.

The Spirit of Tasmania provides a dramatic back drop with cars and trucks trundling on board as it loads up for impending departure.

We kited until close to dark then packed down and headed home happy.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Kitesurfing Across The Bay to Conquer Cancer 2015 was very challenging

Session 322. After months of preparation and training for Across the Bay the day had arrived.

I drove to Port Melbourne and caught the bus with most of the participants to Frankston.  Cesar provided an overview of event while I went over the "group of 10 buddy system", event rules and safety procedures again.

The forecast was for 20+ knots SW coming just before midday so we were feeling confident we would have plenty of wind. 

On arrival, we had another group briefing for everyone on the Rosebud foreshore then we set our gear up and headed out to launch.

Peter Campbell, Across the Bay 2015
Event briefing (photo: Athol Hill)
Photo: Beksenia Photography 
Peter Campbell, Across the Bay 2015 photo: Athol Hill
Ready to go. Photo: Athol Hill

On the beach at Rosebud
Cesar and I were in the first group.  Wading out through shallow water, the wind was light.  I launched my Lithium 12, walked a bit further, then got going and headed out.  Initially, there was enough wind to plane comfortably, but I was on my Nugget so I was a bit worried others might struggle to get going.

I was advised by radio that the Mt Martha gate was not operating but that was no problem as the headland is a prominent feature. 

I plonked into the water and waited for the others to come out.  It took a while but eventually there were 11 other kites on the water so Cesar and I decided we were good to go.

It was a relief to get going, but the wind was getting lighter and we were immediately struggling to stay to together as a group.  I waited again for our group to get together.  When the some others arrived I got going again, pacing with the Kite Lead boat to the south of the shipping channel. 

Up past Mt Martha the wind dropped more, I could only just keep going dogging it - sining the kite hard.  Getting tired, I rested in the water to wait for better wind, then it dropped further and my kite fell out of the sky.  I looked around and every other kite was down too, so now we all had to wait.

My kite had fallen onto its trailing edge so I concentrated on getting it to flip over ready for relaunch. I succeeded, relaunched it, then it stalled back onto its trailing edge which was rather frustrating.  

Some wind came in and we got going up closer to Mornington and around the aquaculture buoys, then it conked out again! I spent over 30 minutes floating and waiting. I relaxed, lay back, drank some water from my drink bladder, had some gel and pondered whether we would all have to be rescued.

Our several rescue boats and crew were kept busy relaunching kiters when they could and rescuing others.  It was reassuring to hear them at work over the radio.

Then looking back, I could see lots of kites in the distance so wind was finally coming! I waited eagerly.  It was weird sitting in no wind and watching the kites slowly approach. As they got near the wind arrived and I immediately got going which felt fantastic. I really didn't think this would happen.

I formed a small group with Paul Cameron and some other kiters as we tracked towards Frankston but we soon turned to head for Ricketts Point, not wishing to risk lighter winds closer to shore. 

Our small group got in a nice rhythm as we headed across the bight in around 20 knots.  I didn't see any sea creatures but other kiters later said they saw and kited with a large pod of dolphins and a few people said they saw a small shark.  I stopped to check people stationary in the water a few times but all was good. 

Ivan came fanging past in great style obviously enjoying himself.

Past Ricketts I crashed the kite on a downloop and it flipped, crossing some lines. I was still able to fly it and thought about landing at Hampton to reset the lines but decided to keep going with some caution. 

I saw the gate at Brighton and tracked out to and around it, then back on a tack towards Port Melbourne. I was still nicely powered but feeling quite fatigued so it I was taking it easy.

Coming in to Port Melbourne beach was a great relief. I had spent over 4.5 hours on the water.  After landing my kite I congratulated several fellow kiters, helped land some kites, then helped check everyone off as they arrived and coordinate with Kite Base about who had arrived and who they had been rescued.  Everyone was finally accounted for which as a great relief as the Rider Safety Officer.

I got changed and had dinner at Corte with a bunch of very tired but happy kiters. 

To those who did not finish the event, including some very experienced kiters and good friends - good on you for having a go.  Getting good wind was a lottery.  Just getting going was a big achievement this time.

A big shout out to Glenn, Rick, Tim, Adam, Paul, Deborah, Jim and all the yacht club volunteers who did such a great job on the day.  The event couldn't have happened with out you.

Looking at the South Channel beacon wind graph archive it shows good wind but there wasn't much at Rosebud and there were big holes of Mornington and Frankston.

We are getting online feedback and will be conducting debrief sessions over the next few weeks to get people's feedback and experiences and share learning from this event.

The really good news is that we collectively raised over $70,000 for the Cancer Council which is a great achievement.

If you would like to donate to this very worthy cause you can still do so here

Launching at Rosebud
Launching - flat water
Getting going - just
Schlogging it - underpowered
Some wind, but not a lot

Some kites following
Turning near the channel marker
More kites following

Off Mt Martha

Kite down

Going again, at last!

Stopped again, waiting
Kites coming, wind arrives!
Powered up, at last
Kiting with Paul

Cruising and carving

The home run

Never been so keen to see the shore break

Peter Campbell, Across the Bay 2015 photo: Athol Hill
Finishing Across the Bay 2015. Photo: Athol Hill 

Peter Campbell, Across the Bay 2015 photo: Athol Hill
Photo: Athol Hill 
Photo: Athol Hill

Peter Campbell, Across the Bay 2015 photo: Athol Hill
Photo: Beksenia Photography