Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cruising downwind in 8 knots with the Zero

Session 285.  Watching the wind all day. A light sea breeze arrived in the afternoon and got to 10 knots by 4pm so I headed down to Brighton.  It felt like less than 10 knots on the beach as I pumped up my Lithium Zero.  The kite was easy to launch and keep in the air, so I headed out on my surfboard.  I was going well enough with the kite de-powered, but on the return tack I was loosing ground and heading in towards the Brighton Baths.  Powering the kite (toggle adjustment) actually seemed to slow it down, so I depowered it again on the way back out.

Decision time- bail out now or go downwind?  I went downwind.

I passed a couple of fishing boats then headed out past the Brighton Marina.  Coming back in I was not going to make it to the sand so I went out again eyeing off the long section of rockwall downwind.

I didn't go too close in as I was fearful the wind would drop out, but I wasn't going too far out either in case I had to swim in.

I got some nice tacks in then landed at the south end of Elwood beach, passing a windsurfer along the way. I landed the kite without difficulty in the light wind and chatted to the windsurfer on the beach - he had a new big sail but wasn't able to get going as well as he hoped.

It was nice to be out though - nobody on the water other than fisherman and a couple of very noisy jetskis.  It was a longish but pleasant walk back as the sun headed down to the horizon.

The Lithium Zero flew well in the light wind, but I am still having a lot of difficulty staying upwind.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kitesurfing Mentone, cruising on the Sector 60

Session 284.  I was at Lara and Ash's lovely wedding in the Yarra Valley on Saturday and we returned to Melbourne on Sunday.  I was keen to get in a session so I headed to Mentone in the late afternoon.  

There was some good wind when I arrived and few guys just finishing kitesurfing.  The wind dropped as I a set up and got down to the beach. I couldn't really get going on the surfboard my Lithium 12 so I swapped to the Sector 60 board.  What a difference!  I was instantly going upwind fast.  

I did some long runs up to Parkdale and back to Mentone.  It was nice to be out cruising when nobody else was on the water.  I even caught some air launching of the waves as ramps.

There was a full distance iron man triathlon in progress with runners streaming along the foreshore, most of them were not running very fast after the considerable distance they had already swum, cycled and ran.

The wind dropped a little further so I called it a day, very happy to be on the water again.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kitesurfing Gnotuk in gusty north westerly

Session 283. Got down to Gnotuk at around 7:30 to catch the forecast early north westerly. Stuart and James got there a bit earlier and were already out.  The wind was not quite 20 knots so I took out my Lithium 12 and the S-Quad.  I was only just powered at times during the first 30 minutes as gusts came though (depower) and then some big lulls (repower).

The air was surprisingly chilly so I wore my steamer.  It was really nice to get out and ride some of the good swells and small waves on the beach.  A couple of other kiters were about too.

Then it came in harder at around 25 knots.  I did a few runs fully depowered then decided to come in.  I pulled the safety so the kite flagged onto a single line then followed the line to the kite to secure it.

Stuart and James came in a short while later.

I was contemplating heading out again on my Lithium 9 but decided not to push my luck. Me right leg was feeling OK so I decided not to overdo it.

Some more crew showed up just before I left and headed out on smaller Airush Varial X kites. They were having a good time  and the kites were handling the conditions well.  I think I will demo one to see how it compares to the Lithium.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kitesurfing Brighton in a gusty northerly

Session 282. Got to Brighton at around 3:30 with a gusty northerly blowing at around 25 knots. I headed out on my Lithium 9 and had some nice runs.  Then the wind gusted up over 30 knots so I came in overpowered and a kiter on the beach landed my kite.  We watched the wind raise sand over a metre along the beach, only a couple of hardy kiters stayed out.

I was contemplating pumping up my 7m Crossbow, but the wind dropped to around 25 knots again so I headed out for some more nice runs.

There were a few people dropping kites and having some difficulties, but it seemed under control. I offered one guy a tow in but he self rescued and sailed his kite in.

This was definitely not a good day for beginners - the wind was far too gusty and unpredictable - but I was keen to make up for some lost sessions!

Some gusts were over 35 knots and there were storms visible across to Port Arlington and north of Melbourne.  Check out the wind graph - some big gusts associated with storm fronts.  Summer is over.

Note: The GPS has not captured my full session due to operator error!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Kitesurfing Altona in light wind

Session 281.  Very keen for some more kitesurfing so I headed down to Altona to check out the easterly.  The wind had backed off from around 20 knots to about 15 when I arrived, so I took my Lithium 12 and surfboard out from Apex Park.  Once on the water, a few other kiters came out too, but there was only about 4 of us on the water.

I did some nice long runs up towards the pier catching some small waves along the way.  The tide was heading out so the lagoon area close to shore was too shallow to kitesurf in.

The wind dropped after a few runs so I landed my kite and swapped my board for the Sector 60 - but was rewarded with only one more run as the wind dropped below 10 knots.

There were two groups of people getting instruction at beach area out from Apex Park - there is plenty of room there and its a long way from the shore.

There are some gnarly pieces of driftwood on the beach however and I stood on something sharp in some weed.

Other than that, it was really good to get out.  My leg was fine, but I notice an ache in my shoulder now (which took some impact during my recent collision with the car).

The blood thinning medication is sapping me of energy a bit too - I flake out for a snooze after some exertion.

GPS Log 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Fantastic sea breeze at Hampton, great to be back on the water

Session 280.  My leg improved a lot late last week. The swelling went down and I was able to walk without too much of a limp on Thursday and Friday.

I headed to Hampton on Saturday but there was only about 8 knots and several kites on the beach.  I couldn't get going with the Sector 60 and my Lithium 12, but if I had my Lithium Zero I would have been kiting.  I chatted to Kamal on the beach - a Google+ acquaintance.

The new "no boating" pole is in location - it has effectively closed off the main beach at Hampton for kiters and windsurfers. More on that later.

There was better wind on Sunday 3/2 so I headed for Hampton again.  I parked near the beach between the two groynes.  I took the Lithium 12 out in around 15 knots and was well powered.  I was very tentative at first, but left tacks caused no discomfort.  Yay, kitesurfing again!!!!

Right tacks were not so good though, some pain on the outside of the right knee, so I took it very easy and also rode toeside.  I headed up to the main beach.  Several kiters were setup there well into the new "no vessels" zone.  Its not difficult to stay outside the new pole marked area, but it does close off most of the main beach area and water for kiting and windsurfing.  The pole needs to be shifted at least 50m south east.

The wind picked up to 20+ knots so I swapped my kite for the Lithium 12 and rode it depowered.  The swell was not huge but there were some nice waves to cruise along on.

I came across a twin tip board floating well off the second groyne and took it in.  The kiter came out along the groyne and jumped in and grabbed it.

I stopped by the main beach to have a look at the new Kite Foil Australia prototype race kite foil board. It was extremely light - all carbon fibre and straight out of the factory.

Then Stuart came in without his board after crashing during a fancy trick so I helped him locate it.

A very memorable session after 3 weeks off the water (broken leg) and 5 weeks prior to that (back injury).

Just walking is a marvelous thing. To be kitesurfing is simply fantastic.