Thursday, March 26, 2020

Kitesurf foiling at St Kilda, staying upwind with some great runs

Session 506. Staying upwind on the foil, definitely a moment! 

Better wind at around 20 knots so I had good power from my 8m kite.  Nice sunny afternoon, there were few people about. No beginners on the edge, about 15 kiters to the West and around 10 in the Kiddie Pool.  There were also a couple of windsurfer foils and one guy with a wind wing.

I was able to get going with the board down and keep good control. Putting the rear foot forward definitely helps keeping the board down. No rear foot strap makes this easier too.

Shifting the rear foot back and transferring some weight and the board rises to give a "magic carpet ride".  I continued on past the breakwater into some swell and was able to maintain control.

The board touched down on some of the bigger swells without incident.  I noticed the foil wanting to turn with the bigger swells and start surfing!

I was using my waist harness - Ivan said they are fine for free style foiling.  Seat harnesses are now used by racers. The foil broached a couple of times without me crashing - I was able to keep cruising.

I found I was still going faster a couple of times (on both tacks) and couldn't slow down, even with the kite high, then crashed. Turning the board around is a hassle, getting it flat on the water then pivoting around its tail is probably the easiest and safest method.

I tried one turn on the water and got the board around but then fell off, its quite different to pivoting a surfboard.

I practicised body dragging with my arm braced on the board deck and the foil at 45 degrees - this is a good solid position, and its useful for positioning the board for a water start.

I broke the "don't kick near the board" rule and got a superficial cut above my reef booties.  Next time I will wear full booties and NOT kick near the board or foil.

It was very pleasing to get up and going on the foil on both tacks. The speed and smooth ride is amazing.  Going back to a "basic beginner" is an interesting experience too and I'm very happy with the progress I am making.

Not sure how much more solo kiting will be possible now with the coronavirus (COVID-19) advice to "stay at home". It was great to get out today.

What I learnt this session:
  • Body dragging with one hand bracing the board works well
  • DON'T kick around near the foil (under the board)
  • Getting the balance right comes with practice, my confidence is increasing
  • Larger swell is manageable
  • Controlling speed and stopping is still challenging when you get going really fast.
  • Wear full length booties for extra protection.
Next session I intend to:
  • Focus on keeping the kite high
  • Riding toeside in both directions (swapping feet while on a tack)
  • Heelside to toeside turn (board on the water)
  • Toeside to heelside turn (board on the water)

More tips and information on kite foiling see Kitesurfing a foil board - Kitesurfing Handbook 

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