Saturday, October 31, 2009

Struggling for wind at Inverloch

Session 60: Saturday 31 October 2009

Kite: Switchblade 14m
Location: Inverloch inlet
Wind: 12 knots SW
Duration: 1 hours 4:00 to 5:00

The first day of a 4 day stay at Inverloch. We headed down to Anderson Inlet when the breeze came in during the afternoon. It looked promising as we rigged up and hit the water hoping for the wind to pick up.

It blew at around 12 knots. I could get up and going on the 14m Switchblade but could not quite stay up wind. The tide was out which made it interesting as I kited into some very shallow water and ended up skidding on sand a few times.

There were about 15 kiters all scratching around for some wind, to no avail. After about an hour the wind dropped right off so we walked/headed back in.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sandridge beach in 20 knots for a blast

Session 59: Sunday 25 October 2009

Kite: Switchblade 10m
Location: Port Melbourne
Wind: 20 knots SSE
Duration: 1 hours 3:00 to 4:00

After a bike race in the morning, some good wind was blowing SSE in the afternoon, so I headed down to Sandridge Beach in Port Melbourne on Stuart's advice.

There were quite a few kiters out at St Kilda where I stopped for a look. I haven't kited there since my learner days (e.g. Session 6 - 8) so I was tempted to go out, but decided to visit Port Melbourne instead.

Sandridge beach is small and tucked away past the Tasmania ferry terminal. The parking is free and there is a nice beach. A few signs get in the way for launching though.

Link to Google map

There were four other kiters in having a ball in the strong wind and the small surf. I took out my new 10m Switchblade for the first time. It had heaps of power in the 20+ knots and turns very fast. Wayne, another kiter, helped me launch then it was on.

The surf was really good fun. Cranking speed on the flatwater between waves, popping off them, then surfing in on them. With only 5 of us it was not too crowded. I did a tack right over to the old pier. Another kiter tacked upwind then disappeared around the headland to the West heading towards the main Yarra channel. Next time.

After an hour we all came in for a rest and some biscuits. I had some chores for the afternoon so I departed after launching their kites.

This beach is best kited in a SSE wind to avoid the industrial headland disturbing the breeze. Not a ideal place for beginners either due to the rock groynes and the surf.

As an aside, this morning I listened to some fools on talkback radio saying they hated wind farms and how they were "terrible" things that were not effective. What a load of nonsense. Wind power is an amazing resource, and is produced the majority of renewable energy in Australia at this time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First good session for the season at Hampton Beach

Session 58: Saturday 24 October 2009

Kite: Switchblade 14m
Location: Hampton Beach
Wind: 15 knots SSE
Duration: 1 hours 5:30 to 6:30

The wind was light on for most of Saturday but was picking up later in the afternoon, so Stuart and I decided to give it a go. No other kites about when we arrived, and the Fawkner beacon wind reading was 15 knots SSE so we decided to have a go.

Once out a bit and clear of the sea wall and boat harbour, the wind did lift. I did some really nice runs out a long way, with marvellous views of Melbourne's CBD in the distance. I could see some kiters out at Brighton too.

Once again, the 14m kite proved its worth. I was able to stay upwind with a bit of effort, and a few stronger gusts of wind got me moving nicely.

Surprisingly, there were quite a few jelly fish about in the water - something Stuart said you usually see in March. Is climate change (and/or overfishing of pelagic fish) causing a change in the Bay's ecology? I don't fancy floating around with these beasties.

After about an hour the wind dropped off so I came back in. It was an excellent session - good revision for the upcoming season.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Not quite enough wind but a good outing anyway

Session 57: Saturday 17 October 2009

Kite: Switchblade 14m
Location: Hampton Beach
Wind: Less than 14 knots South Westerley
Duration: 1 hours 2:00 to 3:45

Back from overseas and really keen to do some kitesurfing. Stuart and I headed down to Hampton Beach with the wind on the up. When we arrived mid afternoon there were no kites out but a lot of yachts and some good wind.

We got onto the water but the wind dropped, or maybe it was not as strong as we thought. Lovely to be out just the same. The 14m kite was working, but I couldn't go upwind. So I did some tacks and came into Middle Brighton Beach.

The wind was stronger right next to the beach - it was being boosted by the proximity of the ridge behind the beach I think.

A boisterous Rhodesian Ridgeback dog was chasing me as I tacked parallel to the beach and was barking frantically when I came in. I thought he might chomp me but he backed off.

After the hordes of Europe, this outing felt like a wilderness experience.