Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Session 30: Fast upwind at 25 knots

The wind stayed less than 20 knots most of the day, but then picked up above 20 at 4pm, so it was time to have another go. It was blowing fairly hard at Hampton Beach and quite a few kites were out enjoying the wind.

I was on the water at about 6pm and immediately going places. Good wind makes it easier to kitesurf, as long as you keep control.

I used my shorter Litewave Tsunami board, but the straps were adjusted wide so I could use wetsuit booties during winter. Consequently, I was having a little trouble keeping my feet in the loops. I hit a wave crest and had the board plucked off my feet. I retrieved it by upwind body draggging, which was tricky in the strong wind. You need to keep power in the kite flying low above the water and really work the keel with you free hand, which is quite tiring.

Locking the kite in and going upwind was no problem in the 25 knot wind. No real danger of the board stalling. Some gusts tend to soak up most of the depower of the kite though.

Going out in the big swell was fun. The swell near the offshore reefs marked by buoys really stands up.

Turns were going well. With so much power in the wind I could almost stall and then get going again.

I got upwind as far as the breakwater, hoping to get some flat water behind it. However, at the flat water you lose the wind, so I did some wakeboard slaloms to go downwind.

I tried jumping for the first time by edging the board and sending the kite back to 90 degrees. I succeeded in getting lifted a bit, but not a lot. It seems I have developed some "anti lofting reflexes" which I will have to unlearn in order to get bigger air.

Lost my board again while cranking turns, but another kiter brought it over to me, which was most appreciated.

I finished after 7pm, feeling pumped. One of the best days ever.

I met Rick and Oz at Hampton - both had a great day out too. Ivan and the boys for SHQ were out kiting with their surfboards too.

Now I will tighten up my footstraps.

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