Monday, October 31, 2016

Massive waves but not much wind at Ocean Grove for kitesurfing

Session 392.  Stonker is only shop in Torquay that sells kitesurfing gear so I headed there in the morning to check out a new board. They were one of the first manufactures of kiteboards but don't make them now.  Alex showed me a very nice Wainman Passport 5.8 with quad fins, fairly wide with a swallow tail.  It looked like a nice board for bigger waves so I bought it.


Later that afternoon Stuart and I headed for the Ocean Grove beach near the caravan park.  There was not quite enough wind.  Stuart got out the back once through massive surf but tracked downwind on his return.  I got going but only for a short distance then we tossed it in.

I was happy not to push my luck after yesterday's epic.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Kitesurfing Point Lonsdale - 55 knot gusts lead to epic self rescue

Session 391. A salutary lesson on wind and weather.

There was a strong northerly in the morning followed by a westerly change in the afternoon. Stuart and I, on our traditional annual family weekend with some kitesurfing, checked out Ocean Grove then decided on heading out at Point Lonsdale.

We launched near the surf club in around 30 knots. I set my Union 8 on the low knot (more depower) then headed out into the good sized surf.

Point Lonsdale is and interesting place with views to the Point Lonsdale lighthouse and across the infamous rip to Point Nepean.

I was well powered but not overpowered and caught some good size waves. In the distance some dark clouds were coming. So far so good.

Out to sea about to turn around (gybe) then all hell broke loose. A very strong gust hoiked me along at great speed then into the air. I crashed and lost my board. I body dragged to get back to it as it was close but the wind was too strong and dragged me away.

Then suddenly it got MUCH stronger - up to 55 knots - which was far too much to handle.

I wasn't going to get my board and I was about 300 m off the beach with Rip not far away so I started body dragging to shore. The wind was so strong it was yanking me along very fast, too fast for comfort.

As I approached the shore I was wary of some rock reefs I knew were there. I saw some white water but continued over it, with some rocks visible to my left. If I hit anything body dragging at 15+ km/h I was worried about a serious injury, but I made it to the beach.

I deployed my safety and secured my kite then stashed it just off the beach away from the roaring wind.

I walked back to tell Stuart I was OK- he was happy to see me alive, and had similar problems with the gust but was much closer to shore.

I spend a while looking for my board but I think the westerly would have blown it out into the rip and possibly across to Point Nepean. It could end up on Peninsula surf beaches (or rocks) or get carried into the Bay by the rip.

Very sorry to lose my trusty Nugget, but very happy to retain my life.

I live to kite another day. Stay safe folks.

Nice wave

Wind getting stronger

Self rescue, rapidmont!


You can see when the 55 knots hit - lost my board, tried to retrieve it body dragging upwind, then bailed and body dragged to shore.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fast runs at Hampton made for excellent kitesurfing

Session 390. There were terrifying winds and storms yesterday but the wind on Sunday was more benign.

Stuart and I got down to Hampton early and were rewarded with good wind and some very fast runs. Storms were coming down the middle of the bay but were mostly missing Hampton, although we did get a bit of hail at one point.

I did some jumps and dropped the kite a couple of times (Hindenbergs) in the lighter winds.

On one occasion I felt the wind pick up then SMACK I was down, struck by a savage but very brief micro gust!

The rest of the crew showed up about an hour later and headed out, for a short while it was almost crowded.

The speed runs were sensational - cranking up the power and going for it - without being too overpowered.

Afterwards we stopped for coffee and chat in at Sebastion Cafe in Hampton where they have a great Breakfast Board and the coffee is excellent.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kitesurfing ripping 35+ knot northerly at Seaford

Session 389.  The storm force northerly blew all night and was still going in the morning so James, Stu S, Stu W, Tarren and I met at Seaford for a cracking session with winds 35+ knots.

We weren't disappointed, the wind was howling!  I pumped up my Union 8 and lent Tarren my Crossbow 7.  I used the second knot on the outer line attachments to get more depower and was glad that I did - the kite was fully depowered for most of this session.  The Union kites have a great depower range and perform well in strong conditions - there are no surprises.

Strong winds means big waves so the surfing was good too, a big boosts were too easy and sometimes scary.

Overall a very solid session.  Great fun, but always watching out for another big gust!

GPS log

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Kitesurfing gusty northerly at Brighton

Session 388.  Headed down to Brighton at about 11:00 am after a big sleep in having returned from our great ski trip the Main Range the day before.

A strong gusty northerly was blowing.  Natalie was having trouble launching her foil kite on the beach - I attempted to help to no avail.  A kiter was being towed in by another.  

It was nice of the water but very gusty. I was fully de-powered on the Union 8 further out then fully powered when I encountered unexpected lulls.

Some guys were attempting to use 10m kites and didn't persist with that for too long.  Its dangerous to fly a kite that is too big for the conditions.

After some nice runs out and back I finished with a couple of speed runs then met up with Graeme Simpson on the foreshore, where he helped me setup my new Spotz 3 foil board and foil.  I can't wait to try it out, more on that soon.

GPS log

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Kitesurfing Frankston in 30 knot northerly - short but sweet

Session 387. A strong northerly blew all day. Stuart and James scored a good session at Rosebud around midday but I couldn't make it.  I headed to Frankston later in the afternoon with the northerly still strong.

I pumped up my Union 8 in 30 knots taking care to secure the kite with sand before self launching. Great power on the run out over some big bay swell with the kite depowered followed by nice surfing back downwind close to the beach.

The second run out and back was just as good then the wind dropped so I came in.  A local kiter recovering from an injury landed my kite which was nice as it takes the stress out of self landing so close to the wire fence.

I finished with a big smile on my dial.

The Water Police said on ABC radio news the next morning that there were six rescues in the strong (gale force) winds during the day including a sea kayaker at Mt Eliza, a windsurfer at Brighton and two people in a dingy.  What a day to be out!

Be careful and stay safe in storm conditions folks.

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