Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Session 17: Hampton beach in 15-20 knots

I got in the water with my 12m kite at about 5pm with only one other kitesurfer in.

I tried the "sand on the wingtip" launch but the kite launched prematurely so I had to bring it down quick - lucky to not be dragged a bit. I lauched solo using the "beach launch" method, which worked OK. But they tell me in SHQ that this method is damaging kites, if they are dragged on the sand over a sharp shell or something else that causes damage. Nobody to launch it for me so I didn't have any choice this time.

How to do the "beach launch":
  • Rig the kite with the bar windward
  • Rotate the kite about 90 degrees on top of the lines
  • Hook up the harness
  • Rotate the bar 180 degrees (so left is on the right)
  • Walk backwards - the kite will rotate around and start to catch the wind backwards
  • Pull on 1 bar end to lift a wing tip - as per a water relaunch.
  • Launch it.
The wind was a southerly. Initially it seemed a bit weak, I got out OK, but had trouble keeping enough speed coming back in. Then I did a couple of good runs - with my rear leg aching from the edging pressure. I still can't do a snazzy turn around yet. It is tricky to keep the board speed up, reverse it and keep going. No jumping yet either.

I was going upwind well. Then I put the kite in the water and it did a forward rotation, so I dragged in with the rear lines crossing the front ones and finished for the day.

Overall, a good session. I had to focus on technique as the wind strength was down a bit. Next challenges are to master turning around without plopping back in the water, try for some air, and practice downwind sailing.

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