Kite: Switchblade 10
Wind: 15 - 18 knots, SSE
Location: Seaford to Brighton
Time: 15:45 to 18:30 (2h 45min)
Distance: 55km (approx)
We got lucky with the wind today. I met Stuart at Seaford at about 3:15pm. There was a gentle breeze blowing on the beach which picked up occasionally then dropped.
|Clean green water near Seaford|
After some consideration, we decided to give a downwinder a go. I packed my backpack with the kite bag, foam sandals and money, then waited offshore while Stuart self launched his kite on the narrow beach.
We got going in the light wind and spent about half an hour doing kiteloops left then right to keep our speed up. The wind was stronger further out, and the water near Seaford is a wonderful clean green colour.
The beauty of a downwinder is you get time to look around and try some new techniques at your leisure. I found I was able to ride toeside quite effectively - it is good to get this perfected - along with carving both left and right turns under power and keeping the kite flying fast. Very satisfying.
After passing one kiter of Aspendale then the Mordialloc pier, we were considering finishing our run at Mentone, but the wind picked up, so we headed for Ricketts Point on a tack, passing just outside the oyster farms to get there. Crossing this small "bight" was easier and less daunting than I anticipated. When the wind is zinging you along at 20+ knots nothing seems to be a problem.
We came into to Beaumaris beach on a tack then continued on, getting some real speed up on fast downwind reaches. There was enough wind to pop some jumps off the waves too.
We tacked in close to the HMAS Cerberus wreck. Its a pity this wonderful old ship is being left to rust away to nothing. There are very few iron clad monitors left in the world, and this one is disappearing fast.
I raced a large launch for a short distance. My kite was almost keeping up with it, then I rode some of its large wake waves and got in the calmer water of its wake.
The spreader bar on my seat harness unclipped a couple of times while riding toeside which was annoying. Even though I hard the harness done up tight. The only easy way to reconnect it is to land the kite on the water to take the tension out of the lines, then pull it back together. The seat harness is actually OK going downwind apart from this problem. I might rig a buckle or strap to secure it.
We landed at Hampton where I spoke briefly to Rick who was kiting there with about 6 others. Stuart and I decided to head on to Middle Brighton which is closer to the train station. Leaving the beach someone body dragging released their kite which looked like it would fly onto Beach Road. Rick sprinted after it and grabbed it when it luckily landed leading edge down just before the embankment.
Hampton is not an ideal place for beginners - there is not a lot of beach and the rock groynes loom large.
We got to Middle Brighton and landed our kites on the wider sand section close to Green Point, packed up then caught the train to South Yarra then back out to Seaford.
This downwinder tour is highly recommended. We were both weary but very satisfied to completed it.
|Cruising in light wind|
|Stuart in the background|
|Carving to toeside|
|Frankston and Mount Eliza in the distance|
|Tired but happy - waiting for the train back to Seaford|