Saturday, April 24, 2010

Downwinder tour on my new S-Quad directional board - great fun

Session 87, Saturday 24 April 2010

Kite: Switchblade 14m & Switchblade 10m
Location: Hampton Beach
Wind: 15-30 knots W
Duration: 2.5 hours - two sessions.

Stuart and I headed to Hampton with a good westerly blowing and a forecast for good wind during the day.  We arrived at about 10:30 and were on the water by 11:00am.

I used my new waist harness (Cabinha) and directional board (Cabrinha S-Quad 2009 6'1") for the first time.  There was nobody else there, which seemed strange given the wind was good.

The board is amazing.  It is quite floaty compared to my smaller thin twin-tip (Naish Haze).  It tends to bob on the water more.  It turns well and goes upwind really well too.  I was concentrating on keeping the power going through the harness against the board and keeping the kite low.  If the kite goes high the harness tended to rise up and contact my lower ribs.  And yes, the harness was done up tight.

I turned the board by stopping, reversing its direction (easier done from the rear) and then doing a water start.  No jibe turns yet!

Stuart and I got out past the Sandringham marina breakwater, turned before some yachts that were racing, then headed off for a wonderful tour.  We went past Green Point, Brighton, Brighton Marina and got as far as Elwood, where the wind died a little.  Then we headed back.  It was really nice having a good look around, and touring on the S-Quad was easy and relaxing.  Some gusts came through enabling us to get some good speed up too.   I didn't have my GPS so no track log for this part of today's kiting

On the way back the wind dropped again off Green Point, but I was able to keep on going OK with the flotation of the bigger board.  We got back to Hampton around 12 noon, with the wind dropping right off.

Stuart headed home while I had a rest and chatted to another kiter who was packing up.

Then the wind came back in - I could see it coming across the bay as white caps sprang up further out and moved towards the beach.  I am glad I didn't fly the 14m kite as it was much stronger wind.  I packed away the 14 and got out my 10m kite, which was perfect for the conditions.   Here is my track log for the second part of today's session, which commenced at about 2:15.

I was concentrating on technique and keeping the chest harness low.  I de-powered the kite as the wind was quite strong.  The board handled the bigger swell with ease.  I tried a couple of small jumps as I had the footstraps on the board.  I did a longer run to Green Point and back, then tried some toe down riding.

I found it much easier to ride toe down on the S-Quad.  The board's flotation helps with the reduced speed and it feels more stable than riding toe down with a twin tip board.  Cranking turns onto the back foot is nice too.  By this stage there were 6 to 8 others out.  Everyone was having a ball.

I eventually stopped at about 2:15, tired, but very satisfied.  I stopped in at SHQ to buy a board cover for the S-Quad then had a coffee and muffin in a Hampton cafe before heading home.


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