Saturday, August 22, 2009

Brighton in a gusty strong northerly

Session 56: Saturday 22 August 2009

Kite: Switchblade 14m
Location: Brighton Beach
Wind: 25+ knots Westerley
Duration: 2 hours 2:00 to 3:45

A brisk northerly was blowing so Stuart and I headed down to Brighton Beach for some winter kitesurfing. There were about a dozen kiters out when we arrived just before 2pm, and the wind looked strong. I was tossing up between using my new 10m kite or the 14, but the wind then dropped so I took the 14 down to the beach.

First time at Brighton for kitesurfing. On the water, nice and warm in my new Ripcurl Ebomb 4/3 GB Steamer seam sealed wetsuit. The wind was a bit light on for the first 15 minutes. I was able to keep the 14 going, while others with smaller kites ended up downwind.

Then it picked up to 25+ and things got very exciting. The swell increased and the wind had some real punch, with gusts coming through. I depowered the kite using the centerline adjustment strap about 50%, then up to 100%, and concentrated on keeping the kite high and going upwind. I was able to head north up towards the Brighton Baths, then came back to the beach on some very fast runs.

I did some high jumps, and was concentrating on keeping control and not getting boosted too high. One jump on a right tack saw me really take off, then pendulum under the kite and land on my back with a thump. This happens when you let the kite reverse direction, so for a cleaner landing, fly it back in the direction of travel.

No kite down powered turns today. I was keen not to loose control of the 14 in the strong wind. I crashed and relaunched it a couple of times while trying jumps.

Brighton is a nice place to kite. Heading west I was on a line to the You Yangs in the distance. The view to the city and back to the beach is good.

The wetsuit gloves kept my hands quite warm, so I was able to stay out for about 2 hours. A few large yachts came into shore on a tack, a bit too close to the Brighton Reef I thought. I kited near a couple but kept a wary distance.

Then a small boat under power came chugging in and tossed a kiteboard in the water. I headed over to it and attempted to take it to shore, but picking it up and doing a water start proved very difficult. It is hard to control the bar and hang on to a board. I body dragged it in for a while. Then the boat returned and picked it up, heading off toward Sandringham pointing in that direction.

There was a kiter on the beach waiting for it, but it would have taken a while to wash in.

Overall, a really good session. Brisk, invigorating and heaps of speed. No GPS though as I left by vest behind. I am going to get a waterproof pouch with an arm mount.