Saturday, April 08, 2017

Kitesurfing downwinder Chelsea to Frankston

Session 411.  We arrived at Frankston at 7am but there was no wind - the northerly was not coming in there.  Stopped for a coffee and chat at Cafe Moto, then I had a look at Paterson River.  The wind was picking up.  I drove to Aspendale and could see wind action on the waves but it was a bit offshore so I drove down the Chelsea where the wind was cross-shore.  It was good so I rigged up and set off.

No other kites were out but there were some windsurfers.  I took my waterproof backpack hoping to do a downwinder.  I did a long run out then back to check out the wind.  There was a lot of wind further out and less close to shore.

I alternated between surfing the swell with my kite lightly powered with speed runs and big jumps.  Its really nice trying out different techniques and mixing up the styles.

I saw some kites on the beach next to Seaford pier and went in for a look. The wind was light so a I tacked out again then surfed the swell into Frankston with some download turns as the wind strength dropped.

Every downwinder is a good one!  I packed my gear away then walked to the Frankston train station through the central area.  A quick train ride took me back to Chelsea.

Here is the movie!

GPS log

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Kitesurfing at Hampton, some good wind at last

Session 408. Some welcome wind made for a good session at Hampton. There was a good bay swell and some nice rollers to ride in.  I did some longer tacks out and some nice jumps to get upwind then surfed the big swell back to the beach.

There was about 8 kiters out so it wasn't crowded.  Paul and Greg appeared on their foil boards coming back from a tour up towards Black Rock.  Its easy and apparently effortless to cover huge distances on them.

I was a bit rusty after a couple of weeks of the water but my gybes are now almost effortless. I can switch my feet together now without the one-two motion.  Just thinking about a Duck Tack still does my head in though.  

Its getting colder so it was my first session in a full length wetsuit for a while.  Daylight saving ends tonight so some Dawn Patrol sessions could be coming and possible even a Kite to Work!

Its a lean time of year for wind as the sea breezes are dropping out.

GPS log

Monday, March 13, 2017

Trouble in the Kiddies Pool at St Kilda followed by kitesurfing

Session 407. I headed down to St Kilda with the family for an outing and some kitesurfing.  My daughter Chloe was keen for a splash/paddle and our dog Pixie loves a swim.

We entered the shallow water close the beach near the Kiddies Pool (kitesurfing spot), but about 5 kiters were doing the wrong thing and kitesurfing very close to several swimmers, including my daughter.  I was next her yelling at them to stay away and kite further out

They either don't know about the 5 knots within 50m of a swimmer sailing vessel regulation or they don't care about it.

The motive seemed to be "look cool and buzz around close to shore and other users". It was NOT cool.  This behaviour posed serious safety risks to others.

Several dog walkers were angry with them too.

One kiter very nearly crashed his kite on sunbathers when he stuffed up a trick.

If this keeps up it will attract attention from authorities and kiting could be banned.  Here are some photos of the culprits.  Note other kitesurfers further out doing the right thing . . .

I then headed out for as session and did some tacks out past the breakwater and surfed some rollers back in.  I did a short run up the Kiddies Pool well away from the shore.

St Kilda is a nice spot but the fools showing off in the Kiddies Pool took the shine off my day.


Sunday, March 05, 2017

Fawkner Beacon crosswinder and first good session on the foil board (at last)

Session 406.  Got down to Hampton in the late afternoon chasing the sea breeze.  I rigged feverishly and headed out. Stu Styles came in soon after I started.  I was keen for an adventure and could see a large cruise ship heading out from Port Melbourne along the shipping channel so I headed out for a look.  

I was nicely powered and making good progress on a tack towards Fawkner Beacon with the big ship making fast progress along the channel.  The wind softened a bit and my tack veered to the north a bit.  The ship was disappearing in the distance, I didn't get close to it, but it was a buzz being out there.  

The return tack was good and the wind held up as I returned then it dropped after a couple of runs close to the shore.  I landed my kite and started packing up then Stuart Webb arrived and headed out. 

I decided to have a go on the Cabrinha Double Agent foil board in the lighter wind so I set it up and walked out next to the southern groyn.  I was again having difficulty controlling the board while drying to board/body drag out.  It spins and twists.  I was then concerned about the reefs in the middle of the windsports section but avoided them.

Then I finally had some deep water and was able to power up the kite and keep the board under my feet but pushed out with the foil and mast almost horizontal.  It was great to get that amount of control. Then I had a go and standing up.  Its a really weird feeling when the board you stand on is not the "main board" - the foil is!  I got going a little but without much control.  

I think I should have been leaning forward more to keep the foil under, but at least I had no big stacks and kept control of the kite.

Tacking back in to the right I repeated the same technique with similar control, standing up a few times but feeling very tentative about the foil lurking under the water.  

I got back to the beach very happy to have succeeded in short session without a big stack or crashing my kite hard.   I was also able to sail the board back in flat on the water with one hand on it.

Don't let anyone tell you foil board are easy - learning is like being a rank beginner again!

Some tips:
  • Don't power the kite up too much - keep good control
  • Watch out you don't get pulled over your toes - the foil can act like a sea anchor under the board
  • Practice controlling the board when body dragging - its harder than it looks
  • Keep weight forward on the front foot when you are up.
The wind picked up a lot to around 25 knots which didn't make it any easier.

I took the Nugget out for some more runs and bigger jumps, relishing the surplus power.

GPS log

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kitesurfing the bay surf at Mentone and a wedding on the beach

Session 410 (out of sequence).  I drove to Mentone and was on the water a bit late at 6:30.  The wind had dropped but I was able to get going on my 10m Union.  Getting out was a bit tricky but the wind was better a bit further out.  I did some tacks up close to the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron then back.  The bay surf was good and the water nice and warm.

A large crowd was on the beach at the end of my session - it was a wedding. I landed my kite well away from them, packed it up then skirted around the group to get back to my car.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kitesurfing at Brighton, first session after Japan

Session 409 (number out of sequence). Just back from Japan ski trip. SO GOOD to get on the water. A good northerly at Brighton provided some nice kitesurfing on fairly flat water.  A race of big yachts was in progress further out.

Great to be kitesurfing again. Yeeha!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Another big fresh Rusutsu powder day skiing with Team Kiwi

Japan ski trip 2017 ski day 9.  More fresh snow overnight freshened up the slopes at Rusutsu.  What a joy!

Dave and I met with Boyd and Steve in the lift line and we skied together - first dropping into the powder shot of the East Mountain then at our favourite location - the trees between Heavenly Ridge A and Heavenly Ridge B.

We spent the entire day finding new stashes of powder and dodging through trees.  Some caution is required as hitting a tree at speed is not a good idea.

The lift lines were not long and all the chairs have hoods - they are good for snacking and chatting on the way up.

Boyd and Steve had small two way radio in case they got separated - a good idea.

Dave, getting the goods!




Some views late in the day

At the end of the day we skied down a ridge from Mt Isola and the clouds lifted for a superb view acorss the planis to Lake Toya and the ocean which was a revelation.  Then on our final run down from East Mountain we got some nice views across to Mt Shiribetsu.

Looking south to Lake Toya

Mt Shiribetsu almost free from clouds

Steve and I did a run off West Mountain on the other side of the road to check it out.  This is where they have the night skiing.  There was fresh snow to be had there too.

Skiing down through the hibernating deserted theme park near the bottom is a strange experience.

Skiing off West Mountain

The amusement park, dormant until spring

This was our last night in Rusutsu. Dave, Lou and I had dinner at Rusutsu Izakaya Tampopo Shokudo, a very friendly and authentic Japanese restaurant. They had a wide variety of tapas-style dishes, including local crab, cockle shells, venison and other tasty items.

Tomorrow we hope to ski Mt Shiribetsu.

GPS log