Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kitesurfing at Hampton on the surfboard again

Session 177 - 24 March 2012

Inspired by Rod and Franz after our fantastic session in the surf at Inverloch last weekend, I had a great session on my directional board - the Cabrinha S-Quad - at Hampton this afternoon.

A welcome southerly change arrived mid-afternoon, I got on the water at about 3:40.  Using the S-Quad was surprisingly easy.  All the kitesurfing I have been doing on the Sector 60 has really improved my feel for a directional board.  I was riding heel side and toe side easily on my natural stance.  

My toe-side riding has improved in particular.  Positioning my rear foot a bit forward and towards the edge of the board improves balance and allows you to put more pressure on the edge.  Leaning right out to touch the water (its a long way away!) also improves body angle and stance.  

I boosted some big jumps, but stacked a couple too with the kite heading right back across the wind window. 

I attempted one gybe and didn't quite make it.

Another kiter crashed his kite and lost his board.  I got to it and picked it up going past but couldn't control my kite to keep going.  Then I tried to hold it above my arms but this didn't work either.  In the end I left it and he retrieved it from the beach.  More practice required on board retrieval technique.

After 1.5 hours I was spent and my hands were a bit numb, even though the water was fairly warm.  Overall, a really nice session.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Epic kitesurfing day at Inverloch - speed course on flat water, session 2

Session 176 - 24 March 2012

We headed to the inlet later in the afternoon.  A 10 knot breeze was blowing and one kiter was struggling to stay up wind on a 14m kite and twin tip board.  I got the Sector 60 out and rigged my Noise 12m kite.

I was able to cruise upwind with ease across to a sand bank, then head down wind following it to flatter water where I could crank the speed up.  Coming back, I was able to do a fast leg past the sandbar, very wary of hitting the bottom with the 24cm fins, then crank back upwind to get back to the Angling Club.  

I ended up overpowered!  The Sector 60 board turns what would be an ordinary session in light wind into an exhilarating one.  By the end of the session I was wall and truly stuffed though.

The tendons on the back of my right wrist were sore and legs, torso and arms were all fatigued. 

This is the biggest and physically hardest day kiting I have ever done and was immensely satisfying.

We all had a nice pub meal and got to bed for a good rest.

Session Details
Distance:10.75 km
Max Speed:42.7 km/h

Epic kitesurfing day at Inverloch - big surf and downwinder, session 1

Session 175 - 24 March 2012

Stuart and I organised a "blokes kitesurfing weekend" at Inverloch for 24-25 March.  My big fear was getting 9 super keen kitesurfers together and not getting good wind.

Here is the crew, and their arsenal.

Stu, Stuart, Tarren, Hutcho, Rod, Grant, Franz, Peter + arsenal
The weather forecast via Predictwind during the week looked good. We got an early start on Saturday and got to the Inverloch surf beach and were on the water at 8am, with a good wind blowing. 

It picked up just as we headed out; I was overpowered on my Noise 12, so I came in to swap it for my Switchblade 10m.  Everybody else went down a kite size too.  The surf was big.  I got rinsed a couple of times but managed to keep my kite flying.  I used my twin tip as I knew I could handle it well in the "full conditions", and I haven't used the directional board for a while.  Tarren and Stuart were on twin tip boards too.

Franz and Rod are very keen wave kiters and only use directional boards.  They demonstrated consummate skills in the big surf, along with another two kiters who were down for the day.


A few kites got dunked, and Stuart killed his Crossbow 7 after it got ripped by a wave and the bladder burst with a loud bang.

After a couple of hours we came in for rest.  Franz and Rod did a car shuffle to the Angling Club in the inlet then we all headed off on a downwinder.  I used the Noise 12m to ensure enough power, and had an epic battle adjusting the below the bar depower with the line jamming in the cleat.

It was nice to go for a cruise, until I dropped my kite.  It got munched by a wave close to the inlet mouth, but I somehow managed to relaunch it and keep going.  There was a strong current crossing the mouth, then a succession of smaller surf zones and sandbars going across to the opposite point.  

I did a jump and dropped my kite again (sh*!) but was outside of the major surf zone and relaunched it (phew!).  Heading into flatter water of the inlet I was feeling like a good kitesurfer again and got some nice speed runs it. 

Closer to the beach I raced briefly with Stu Styles who was ripping on his windsurfer; he won.  

Then coming to the beach, I passed Hutch who was kiting with my original (first) Crossbow 12m that I sold him a couple of years ago.  

Back on the beach, we were all tired but very happy.  Big smiles all around.  We hit the bakery for a large lunch after this great session.  But the day was not yet over . . . 

Session stats
Distance:44.09 km
Max Speed:37.4 km/h

Photo albums

Kitecam shots

Helmet mount and line mount shots

Hanging out, the resident Koala and the arsenal

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Great kitesurfing session at Mentone late in the afternoon

Session 174 - 18 March 2012
Watching Baywinds all day for the forecast south-easterly to come in.  Late in the day, after prayers to the wind gods Aeolus, Amun, Eurus and the Venti, they delivered! 

We had a fantastic session in light but consistent wind of around 15 knots.  I was well powered with my Noise 12 on the Sector 60.  I made 8 of 10 right jibes so I am definitely improving. I only made 1 left jibe though, and got pulled forwards over my toes several times - more practice required there.

So far, I haven't attempted a pre-jibe turn.  Ivan says these work better as you can power through the turn quicker once you feet are set.  I have written this article in the handbook on jibe turns for directional boards.

Here are some shots from the Contour ROAM surfboard mount.  I tightened the thumbscrew with pliers this time, so the mount stayed rigid.  I forgot to click on the safety catch though, so it came off after a high speed stack and was dangling by the leash.  I noticed some water inside the case too, so I took it in and stashed it in my bag.

Here is a sequence of a gibe:

Just before the gibe

Initiating turn, rear foot out


Finishing the carve turn onto toe-side

Bringing rear foot forward

Old rear foot becomes new front foot, left foot back in front of rear foot strap

Cranking in new direction, both feet in foot straps

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ruben Lenten visits The Zu Boardsports

I headed down to The ZU Boardsports this afternoon to meet Ruben Lenten who is in Melbourne at present. It was great to meet Ruben.  Ruben is a "super hero" kitesurfer - the master of the Mega Loop - and is a really nice guy.

It was a stormy afternoon with a few short downpours of rain.

Unfortunately I had to leave at 4pm with no wind to be seen.  It came in at 5:30 however, so those there got to have a kite with Ruben.  Maybe next time . . .

Ruben Lenten chatting with friends

Tim Nanninga (Hookworm) with Ruben

Nice mover on the dodgy trampoline

Tim shows how to do a handlepass

Beers with Ruben

Ivan and Paul with Ruben

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kitesurfing at Eagle Point Bay on the Gippsland Lakes

Session 173 - 12 March 2012

We had a family holiday over the long weekend at Marlo, East Gippsland, where we attended the 50th birthday party of Andrew Barnes, and old skiing buddy.  There was a large number of outdoors folks there - it was great to catch up with so many people who are still loving the outdoors.

Alas, there was very little wind, so my plans to kitesurf either the Snow River at Marlo (which was in flood) or the surf near Cape Conran came to nothing.  Mike, a local ranger and friend of Andrew, said the kiting in the Snowy River can be great, and that Point Ricardo is the best beach location in the area.

On the way home, we drove to the Mitchell River "silt jetties" which are an amazing sight.  There was a breeze blowing, but it didn't seem like quite enough for kitesurfing and there was only one narrow grassy launch location.  

On the way out out Lena spotted a kite at a location known as "The Old Schoolyard" in Eagle Point Bay.  I drove in there and chatted to Clint Brocchi, a local kiter who gave me some information about the local spot.  The wind was a bit light, but I setup and headed out on my Sector 60.  I got going OK and headed across to the other side.

I did a gybe turn, but the wind was lower over the other side and my kite lost power and landed on the water.  I relaunched it once, but couldn't keep it aloft.  Clint came across on his 14m kite and helped me relaunch the kite but I still could keep in flying.  I washed into shore, secured the kite, then started paddling back.  There was a shallow reef close to the shore with some barnacles about, so I cut my feet a few times, but the rest of the Eagle bay has a sandy or muddy bottom.

The Sector 60 was OK to paddle, but the foot straps do get in the way a bit.  About half way across, Clint came back with a rope and towed me most of the way back, for which I was grateful.

Back at the Old Schoolyards after I retrieved the kite, the wind had picked up so I headed out again.  This time it was good.  I managed several right turn gybes and one left turn too.  The water was quite muddy from the floods and freshwater rather than salt.  

It was quite a nice spot, but there is potential to get into trouble too, as I found out.  

It was really nice to get some advice and assistance from the friendly locals Clint Brocchi and Bruce Bowden.

Session stats
  • Kite: Noise 12m
  • Board: Airush Sector 60
  • Wind strength: 12 - 17 knots
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Location: Eagle Point Bay, Gippsland Lakes