Sunday, October 31, 2010

Strong wind and big jumps at Inverloch

Session 107, 31 October 2010

Kite: Switchblade 10
Wind: 25 - 35 knots, SW
Location: Inverloch - Andersons Inlet
Time: 3:30pm to 5:00pm (1.5 hours)

Strong wind at Inverloch on the first day of our long weekend family and kiting trip, we headed for the launch site near the Anglers Club on the inlet.  I rigged my 7m Crossbow while Stuart rigged his 10m Switchblade, then we swapped kites as I am heavier.  

The wind was coming in strong and there was heaps of power.   I did a few jumps; the strong wind provided plenty of  boost.

Some other kiters came in overpowered on 12s and packed up.  Some gusts were reaching 35 knots.   I depowered the 10 for a while, then rode it fully powered, before finishing with it depowered again.  

Stuart liked the 7, and commented on how fast it turns.  It is amazing how much wind funnels into the inlet.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A broken pulley at Brighton in a good northerly

Session 106, 22 October 2010 

Kite: Switchblade 14
Wind: 20 knots, N
Location: Brighton
Time 2:30 to 3pm (but not much kiting!)

After attending to some chores and carefully watching the wind, I headed down to Brighton in the early afternoon as the northerly looked like it would stick around.

There were several kiters on the water. I rigged up, mounted the kite cam, self launched then took off for a great run.  Good wind and not too gusty, and warm and sunny too.   I flew the kite low to get some shots of other kiters and looking north to Brighton.

I headed back to shore, executed a turn, then "pop" a pulley on the left bridle broke.  I thought it was my left wingtip (power) line broke, but later inspection revealed that one of the pulleys failed.  The kite looped before I got it onto the water.  I was still over 200m off the beach and the wind was blowing me along and even out; I was not keen on the prospect of drifting across the bay to Mount Martha.

I release the IDS and started winding in the lines around the bar.  It was hard work as there was still a lot of line tension.  Another kiter stopped to offer assistance and took my board to the shore.  Thanks dude!

As I got to the kite a friendly boat showed up.  Peter on the boat offered me a tow to shore which I gratefully accepted.

I had some difficultly turning the kite upside down, so I grabbed the leading edge on the water with my right arm and the tow rope with my left.  They then towed my slowly towards the beach, watching out for the reefs.  It was hard work hanging onto the kite which generated a bit of resistance going along the water.  It would have been better upside down I think.

Even with the lines wound up I was still getting a bit tangled in them and the bridle as I swam, so when they left my I immediately extricated myself from the small tangle.  The wind had a bit of west in it so I had no difficulty reaching the shore, which was a relief.

Pulley failure
The pulleys on earlier Switchblades tend to fail after a couple of years.  Contact your Cabrinha dealer to get free replacements if yours are the older ones.  The newer pulleys have a larger diameter spindle shaft and two ring sliders replace the pulleys for the outer lines.

From left: Failed pulley, old pulley, new pulley, slider for rear lines
Lessons learned:
  • Check my gear for any weak points
  • Possibly replace the pulleys and or some lines
  • Keep the line knife handy and practice retrieving it from harness
  • Practice self rescue
  • Use a surfboard in northerlies - at least you can paddle it to shore and tow the kite in

Getting ready

Having a ball, looking back to Brighton

The run back in.

Kite down, not limp left hand tip

Kite wallowing

WARNING: Use at your own risk!

Kiters at Brighton, You Yangs on the horizon

Kites on the beach

Ripping it up

A PFD is now mandatory for kitesurfing

It's happened folks.  We are now legally required to use a Type 1, 2 or 3 Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for kitesurfing [link].

Type 1s are a full lifejacket - but you can get inflatable versions that are slim until inflated (but make sure you don't get a water activated version!)  Using a manually inflatable Type 1 is of no benefit if you crash and end up unconscious, as you won't be able to inflate it.

Type 2s (buoyancy vest) and Type 3s (buoyancy garment) are not lifejackets and are less restrictive to use.  They won't keep an unconscious persons  head out of water, but they do provide ample buoyancy for floating if conscious.

Note that some wetsuits are inherently buoyant to the same standard as a PFD 3.

Virtually no kitesurfer around Melbourne (or elsewhere for that matter) seems to be using a PFD.  I wonder when the Water Police will starting issuing infringements?

I am still using this vest, mainly for impact protection.  It adds some warmth over the cold winter months too.

See also:  Marine Safety - Wear the right gear to prevent injury

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Storm fronts and flukey wind at Brighton

Session 105, 17 October 2010 

Kite Switchblade 14
Wind 20 knots, W
Time 12 noon to 2pm, but less than an hour on the water

Weird wind.  Frontal gusts came through which provided 10 to 20 minutes of good kitesurfing, following by extended lulls.  The water is getting warmer and the sunshine was nice.

Bring on the regular sea breezes please - they seem to be delayed this year.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Alex Caiziergues sets new kitesurfing world speed record at Luderitz Speed Event in Namibia

Alex Caiziergues has set a new world speed record for kitesurfing a the Luderitz Speed Event 2010 in Namibia.  He clocked an average of 54.1 knots (100.2kmh) over the 500 meter course, which makes him the fastest naturally powered person on water ever.

Alex Caiziergues at 2010 Luderitz Speed Event. Photo credit: The Future Flow

Here is a video of the event.  This location is not for beginners!  Heaps of speed in narrow water.  And the dude (sunbathing?) gets wet too.

Alex used a stock standard F-one Bandit4 kite.

See also: