Monday, December 31, 2012

31Dec 2 012 - shark or not

I headed down to narrabean,  hoping that I would find better surf conditions than last time. I was kind of relieved that it was an ne wind, it meant that I wasn't heading to dee why, where a shark was spotted yesterday after ramming a surfers board.  Mind you, narrabean is the next beach along to the north,about 1 km away.
I was still fairly cautious, but headed out a long way to sea to get upwind.  After about 5 runs, I was heading out from the beach, possibly only 10m from the shore when I saw a shape through the waves.  I had to double check as the whole shark thing was on my mind, but the outline does not lie, something primeval in me said shark. I had great vision through the waves with my Polaroid sea specs on, I could distinctly see the whole shark,  the Grey color, the side fins and tail. Measuring it up later with Darren I reckon it was about 1.5 to 2m long.  It was swimming parallel to the shore, perpendicular to me. The shock for me was that it was so close to shore, with people swimming everywhere.

I continued out, but after coming back in I was a little freaked.  I stood on the beach for a couple of minutes, then decided I should go back out so that I wouldn't be too scared next time. I lasted one tack then decided to go back home- best just to kite another day. The conditions were pretty crappy anyway, it was choppy and the surf was rubbish.

I can still see that outline in my head.

I have now completed the trio-  dolphin, whale and shark- all seen on the kite.

I wasn't 100% sure so I didn't raise any alarms at the beach besides telling the local swimmers. Tina was a little bit sceptical, but the following article lends a little more weight to the story.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-31/sydney-beachgoers-warned-after-shark-encounter/4448158

Here is an excerpt, in case the article gets archived


Two beaches in Sydney's north have been re-opened after large sharks were spotted in the area earlier this morning.
The sharks were spotted by a helicopter off North Narrabeen and Dee Why beaches but surf patrols have since confirmed the animals have moved on.
Stephen Leahy from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter says it is the second day in a row a shark has been seen at Dee Why.
"The shark that's been located at Narrabeen, it's probably about 1.5 to 2 metres," he said.
"It's nowhere near swimmers or surfers. The local lifeguards there have been advised.
"The second shark is at Dee Why. Again this appears to be about 2.5 metres, so it's very close to the same size as yesterday and it's swimming in exactly the same location."
An off-duty lifeguard was knocked off his board by a 2.5-metre shark yesterday at Dee Why.
Dee Why and nearby Long Reef beach were closed for the rest of the day.
Mr Leahy says there have been a number of recent shark sightings along the state's coast.

Friday, December 28, 2012

28Dec 2012- magic at long reef

Another magical afternoon kiting session in the waves at long reef.  After spending the day at dee why with the kids, and watching Sonny swim a lap of the pool, it was an absolute bonus when the south easterly kicked in.  I headed back down the beach and was greeted with about28 knots, lucky I bought the 7 up. Got some big air, then decided to surf a few waves. It was glorious. About half the guys use twin tips up here, half on surf boards.  It doesn't seem to matter all that much, everyone is getting heaps of waves.
Friendly crew at long reef, I'm thinking my experience at narrabean was just due to the fact that there is no one concentrated launch spot.

And.... two days later the beach was shut due to a large shark.
Not that this is an issue, still planning to get out tomorrow wind permitting. The chance of getting nabbed on the kite are extremely slim.
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/shark-attack-closes-sydney-beaches-20121230-2c17n.html

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

26 Dec 2012 - long reef surf action

The best wind forecast I have seen for some time,  a flat line at20 knots! Headed down to long reef, hoping for less shore break and more consistent waves. I was not disappointed at all, it was one of the best sessions I've had up here. Great waves and a good consistent wind allowed me to surf a hell of a lot of waves and get out of trouble on occasion. Great session.
Kiters tend to congregate at one point at long reef, subsequently there was the sort of camaraderie I'm used to in Melbourne.  Can't wait for the next southerly, due tomorrow! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

23 Dec 2012 - surfs up

Big shore break, average wind and a different kiting culture are what greeted me at narrabean.
Iwas itching to get out for a sail, the forecast was great but it was a bit of a challenge to find the right wind info in a new location.  Surf it is apparently the go. When I arrived the were kiters out, most were struggling to hold a line. I immediately noticed the big shore break, a new challenge!
setup and headed out, charged through the big shore break and avoided playing in that area for most of the rest of the session,  the place where kites go to die!  Went out a long way to get the best of the wind, stunning vistas of the Sydney shoreline. Didn't try anything crazy, still recovering from my cough and I was keeping am eye on the surf.
Definitely adifferent vibe on the beach to Melbourne.  Maybe a carry over from the surfing culture.  When I arrived, one guy crashed his kite in the surf impact zone, no one was helping so I grabbed his kite before it was pulverized. Later one guy hot launched and got into a heap of trouble, I ran past2 kiters to help out.  As I left, one guy was trying to land with no success whilst 2others looked on. Seems to be more fend for yourself!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

17 Dec 2012 - Cruising in flat water at St K

After making dinner for the family, hightailed down to St Kilda to grab the seabreeze.  Had a nice hour in just enough wind - about 17 knots - in close to the pier.  Looking forward to the day though when I don't have to put the kite on maximum power !

Monday, December 17, 2012

16 Dec 2012 - Mentone is lovely

Don't know why - I just like the gentle waves down there.  Bit of a dodgy day, frontal winds kept coming on and off.  Got out on the water for a 20 minute session, borrowed James 13 for another 10 minute session, and finished off with 20 minutes on my kite.  It was an experience riding the big kite, like driving a truck.  Nice in the air though, went for a backflip and it turned into two without even thinking.  Still a joy to be down the beach.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

15 Dec 2012 - Forgettable session in dodgy wind

Title says it all - got out from Hampton, wind died, did a downwinder to Green point and a long walk back.  Still - a bad day kiting on the beach is a good day doing anything else !

Monday, December 10, 2012

10 Dec 2012 - Night kiting

As a kiter, there is nothing worse than watching a perfect day go by because you are tied up with social commitments.  After 3 days in a row of perfect weather, it was fantastic to break the grid lock and get out for a session - allbeit pretty late in the day.  The kids had been sick all day, so I put them to bed and headed down the beach at 7pm.  Got on the water quick smart after saying a quick hi to Tarren, and went hard for about 1 hour in fantastic conditions.  Landed a forward 720 for the first time ever, and a backward 720 went well too.  Not really landing my forward 360s on the weaker side though - something to work on.
Went into the kiddies pool to finish up for some choice flat water.
The only downside - after the pristine conditions we have been kiting in, St Kilda smelt and tasted like poo.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

1 Dec 2012 - hello summer

The warm water and sea breezes of summer arrived, nice 20 knot breeze at Hampton with James.  A joy.