Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cracking kitesurfing downwinder from Brighton to Frankston

Session 255. With a good northerly forecast Cesar and I decided to have a go at another downwinder from Brighton to Frankston.  There were quite a few kites out in about 20 knots when we set up at Brighton just after 11:00am.  I took my Lithium 12 to ensure I had enough power.

The gear
We had took off immediately and headed out on a fast tack.  The wind was good and the water was quite flat compared to yesterday so we made good progress.  I tacked out for a while then came back to bayside near Sandringham.  The wind dropped further. I was hoping to a "pinch effect" would result in better wind closer to the shore, but as I approached Half Moon Bay and the wreck of the Cerberus it dropped some more.

Leaving Brighton

Leaving the madding crowds behind

I headed for the beach to pull the pin, but the wind picked up so I headed back out past the Cerberus.  The big decision was to go past Ricketts Point.  Cesar was way out.  I wasn't confident the wind would hold up and as I approached Ricketts Point it dropped again.  I made it to shore at a narrow beach and the wind conked out completely so I landed my kite.  I called Cesar on my marine VHF radio and told him I was on the beach and the mission was over.

The expanse of Port Phillip Bay

South of Hampton

Half Moon Bay

The Cerberus

A pit stop at Ricketts Point
 He eventually came in and brought the wind with him when he did.  With the wind back I launched my kite and headed off, still dubious about the wind holding up.  Going past Ricketts is the commitment zone into a large expanse of bay.  I got some really nice speed runs in up to 40km/h and was having a ball.

Leaving Ricketts
The surfboard is more relaxing to ride than the Sector 60 as it is much easier to turn and ride toeside.  I stayed out a fair way to avoid any wind shadow from Ricketts Point.  I cruised past an anchored boat and waved.  I crashed the kite a couple of times but had no trouble relaunching it.

More long fast runs and slalom sections with downloop turns took me to Frankston, very happy to have made it.

Speed run
We stopped for a coffee at Frankston in our wetsuits and caught the train back and walked back to the beach. Middle Brighton station is the one to get off at .

These downwinders pose a lot of challenges that make them exciting.  Good downwind technique is necessary, the wind has to hold up, you need to make choices about where the best wind is and you need to make decisions about whether to proceed and if, when and where to bail out.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Overpowered kitesurfing in gale force winds at Rye

Session 254.  Cesar and I met at Rye at 8:30, hoping the forecast for lighter winds during the morning would be accurate.  When we got there is was nuking.  It was blowing a steady 30-35 knots and gusting up to 45 knots.  A few windsurfers were having a go - I spoke to one who said he was overpowered.

I rigged up my Crossbow 7 and gave it a go.  The kite was fully de-powered but it was still pulling like a train.  I headed out climbing over the big bay surf that was pumping in.  Coming back in I got yanked off my board a few times and got dragged down wind a bit retrieving it.  I couldn't get settled on the tack back in as I was getting overpowered.

Coming back in I decided to land the kite and not persist.  I think up to 35 knots was o.k, but wind stronger than that was proving too hard to handle.

Cesar followed me along the shoreline and landed my kite which was quite a relief.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wild weather and strong winds but no kitesurfing

I took my kitesurfing gear into work on Thursday 28 September hoping to get a session in after work.

However, several storm fronts whipped through, including some hail and massive gusts.  There were huge and sudden wind variations.  In the end I decided that on this occasion "discretion was the better part of valour" so I did not go out.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kitesurfer dies in accident in W.A.

Some very sad news via Seabreeze.  Marc Sprod ("Coldshot"), a well known and experienced kitesurfer died after an accident at Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia.

Condolences to his family, friends and fellow kitesurfers.

Details of the accident have not been confirmed, but it appears that after a lull strong frontal winds lofted the kiter onto land.  First aid was provided.  The death has been referred to the Coroner for investigation.

Great care must be taken when kitesurfing during storms and/or in frontal winds.

You can donate to Marc's family using the information provided [here]

Marc Sprod. Source: ABC News


Sunday, September 15, 2013

The history of kitesurfing and a great video

Kitesurfing is a very recent sport.  I started in 2006, six years after I saw kitesurfers in Noumea ripping along on flat water in the strong winds of New Caledonia.

I was intrigued by how the sport had developed so I researched the early history of kites and kitesurfing and wrote the history section of the Wikipedia article on kitesurfing and added a lot of additional content to the article. It is amazing how far and wide this content has now been copied!

Recently, Stuart Webb found this video which has interviews with many of those who figured prominently in the development of kitesurfing, including Cory Roeseler and Flash Austin.  It is well worth viewing.

I have also written this article on kitesurfing history on our Kitesurfing Handbook and included a link to the the video.

Let me know if you have any more kitesurfing history that should be added.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kitesurfing Hampton dawn patrol

Session 253. A short session before work at Hampton.  The wind wasn't strong and it faded after a couple of runs. It was nice to get wet though.

GPS log