Saturday, January 08, 2011

Big jumps in a storm front at Hampton

Session 120, 8 January 2011

Kite: Switchblade 10
Wind: 28 - 35+ knots, SW
Location: Hampton Beach
Time: 15:15 to 17:30

The strong northerly that blew all morning was replaced by a stronger southerly that came in mid afternoon.  It looked like conditions might be a bit dicey, but I was keen to get in another session after the last several days on the road in South Australia (and only one kiting session).

It was a toss up between the 7m and 10m kites.  It looked about 25 knots so I took out the 10m Switchblade and my twin tip board.  The wind was quite gusty at times but always strong.  It was incredibly easy to go up wind, and launching off the waves was almost unavoidable, even with the kite fully depowered.

I headed out and back towards the breakwater, then surfed a few swells and did some jumps to get into the surf zone between the rock groynes.  It was good fun surfing these swells in short out and back tacks, with two other kiters in the same area.

There were lots of windsurfers on the water today, but not so many kites.  There were several on the beach, with many deciding (wisely) to avoid the strong frontal wind.

On one tack to shore I ditched the kite as I surfed with speed towards it.  It was getting caught in the waves, but I relaunched it a bit too hot - it flew across the wind and dunked into the surf with tangled lines.  Relaunching here was not really an option as broken waves were catching the kite and threatening to rip.  I released my safety and washed in.  Another kiter grabbed it at the shore which was nice.

The wind seemed to be getting even stronger so I decided to call it a day, having well and truly got my money's worth.  While packing away, another kiter got his kite tangled at the top of the bank, so I went over with some others to assist.  It was definitely not a good day for beginners.

Thinks can happen (and go wrong) very quickly in strong winds.

I got some nice photos and video of the riders who just went out as I was leaving.  Big air on surfboards!

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