Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015 01 31 - Mentone epic

Rock solid wind, great surf, fantastic session at Mentone.

I picked up Stu Styles on the way, and we met Pete down at Mentone.  Initially we thought it was going to be too strong for the 10s, but down on the beach the wind was a little more subdued than up at the lookout.  Absolutely perfect setup.  I depowered the kite just in case.

Tried the toeside backflips with no further success, but managed to land quite a few front roll transitions.  I wasn't really focussing on progression though, as always I just love mucking around in the little surf, trying to jump on waves.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 01 25 - All over the place

Strong forecast got everyone all sorts of excited.  I headed down to Hampton to meet James, Pete was doing an across the bay training session.  It looked like it was howling, so much so that I put up the 7m.  At the start, there was nowhere near enough power, had to work the kite super hard and grab onto some gusts to get up the beach and to the northernmost groyne.  The straight onshore westerly had made it super crowded, everyone on the same tack and heaps of kites around.
After another 10 minutes the wind picked up and we were off - I managed to get back out into open water and see James on his big kite.  Managed to land some big jumps with a few standard moves, James did the best jump I've seen him pull off.
The wind was fairly variable, it would be hitting 25 then fade really quickly.  At one stage I was motoring along and I felt a massive yank on the bar, after which the wind dropped completely.  I thought I must have put a hole in the kite.  The wind then swung about 90 degrees, the biggest swing I've seen in a very short timeframe.  Shortly after I headed in - just crazy gusty conditions !

2015 01 24 - Hampton toeside both hands

After almost melting to death, having driven from Mentone to Hampton looking for wind in my wetsuit, I was very thankful to have found a decent southerly blowing at Hampton.  Just 17 knots or so, I had to stay a long way out to keep the wind coming.  Tried to practice the toeside backflip with keeping both hands on the bar, the way I ride toeside just makes that near impossible.  I might just have to look at placing my one hand differently.

2015 01 18 - Hampton with Eric

Called down just north of Hampton to see Grant and Stu S setting up for the beacon run.  I went back to Hampton, caught up with Eric and we had a great session in perfect conditions at Hampton.  My feet are still healing from the big Werribee trip !

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 01 17 - Putting the icing on

After a short break, a drink and saying goodbye to Stu, I went out for another short session.  Only 40 minutes, but in the direct westerly managed to follow the shoreline for km's upwind - heaps of fun.  Packed up with Amelia with a massive smile on my face.

2015 01 17 - Aspendale - cashing in

Hit Aspendale for a morning session with Stu.  I'm really cashing in on the kids being away - I've been getting out heaps.  Hit the beach and it was honking in - probably close to 25 knots.  Managed to get some big big air while a big front came through - thankfully by the time Stu launch it was more laid back at around 20 knots.  Amazing fun to be doing runs through the surf - jumping on waves, surfing and back out for more.  Managed to land a few toeside backrolls - just got to work out how to power away from them.  Front rolls are back on the menu too.  Amelia joined us an hour or so in and was loving it too.  Fantastic to get a 2 hour session in in the waves.

As I was leaving, one of the locals told me they were amazed at the height I was getting.  We met as I was just setting up, she said she'd keep an eye out for me from her house.  I'd be fascinated to see what it looked like - it was good and high that's for sure.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 01 15 - Backroll kiteloop remastered

I often forget tricks that I could already do - hence one of the reasons for this blog.  The backroll kiteloop is no exception !
I learnt it about 2 years ago with Tarren, but had totally forgotten about it until Athol mentioned it on Whatsapp.  I managed to pull off about 5 in a row tonight - note to self though, have the kite at 12 before you start otherwise the loop pulls a bit late after landing.  Fun trick, my one attempt on the right hand side had me looping and flying backwards through the air - never fun.
St Kilda had hardly any people tonight - it was just enough wind to try a few tricks, but not enough to go bananas. Fun little session, and great to nail a new (or slightly old) trick.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 01 13 - Hard slog - Altona to Werribee

Having arrived in Altona exhilirated and not feeling particularly tired, I thought it would be a great idea to go upwind back to Werribee.  I figured there was enough wind, it would swing more easterly making it even easier and that everything was tip top for a return trip.  Turned out I was wrong.

Just getting to Point cook was a real slog.  I took Eric's twin tip first for a spin, and couldn't get upwind at all.  Back on the surfboard, I realised it was really cutting in to both my feet.  It was taking heaps of tacks to make any ground at all.  After about 45 mins, Pete and I had decided to throw it in.  But Eric with his smaller kite was so much further upwind, we had to tell him so we had to perservere.  The wind picked up a couple of knots, we started to make headwind, then gold !  Dolphins.

A pod of about 3 dolphins were swimming through the water - scaring the shit out of me at first when I saw all three of them surface.  They were swimming and jumping out of the water, really big dolphins - it was amazing.  I crossed their path 3 times as I tacked out to the point.

By the time we reached the point we were a little tired, so Pete and I went in to shore and walked across the apex, Eric had already crossed.  Relieved that we'd achieved the point, it looked like downwind all the way home.  We were charging along when all of a sudden, the wind dropped to 10 knots.  We were right at the military base, so we had to head in to shore.  Unfortunately, we had a massive military pier covered in barbed wire between us and our onward journey.  Surrounded by a rubbish beach, intermittent rocks and a barbed wire pier is not a good place to be in 12 knots.  After a few failed launches, I finally managed to grab a gust and get past the pier.  As I headed downwind I noticed Eric in at shore so I went in to join him, figuring we could hitch back to the car and grab our stuff.  Eric felt that the wind would come back, so wasn't keen to give up yet.  Luckily enough it rolled in, enabling Pete to escape the military, and us all to tack upwind past the next rockwall at Wyndham harbour and back to base.  Damned relieved, sunburnt, exhausted and my feet cut to hell but happy as larry for the amazing adventure.

I packed up, went back to rescue Pete who didn't quite get past the Marina and headed home after an epic adventure.  I was sore everywhere, but envigorated that I'd really seen a big stretch of coastline, and hungry for sugar and more kiting adventure.

2015 01 11 - Epic downwinder - Werribee to Altona

With a good south easterly forecast for the east side of the bay, Pete and I travelled down to Werribee south to check out a new location.  We'd provisionally planned to do a downwinder from Werribee to Altona and, on arrival, conditions were perfect.  Werribee south is a strange little place, a silty river enters into the sea, a lot of houses with fantastic views of the bay, but all a little decrepit and old.  Eric had signed up to the downwinder, so we set off to the south to kill some time whilst he was setting up.  Fantastic flat water allowed us to get a long way south and quite a bit upwind.

We had quite a tack to get past a breakwater, by which time Eric had miraculously got a lot of upwind - a larger kite makes a good deal of difference.  Eric let us know that Stu was thinking about joining us - we waited around for a while but after no sign of him, and knowing how much upwind was required, we headed off.

Plain sailing with a lot of wind - we were able to motor down past new housing developments with big marinas, ramshackle huts built right on the beach, an army base and eventually reached point cook.  After point cook it was all downwind action, great chance to churn out some downwind turns and jumps.  It was about this time I started to realise how much the bindings sucked - they were starting to cut into my feet really badly.

Beautiful views across to Melbourne - it looked like we could have made a straight line to Port Melbourne from there.  A big group of black swans filled the skyline as we made the turn - quite the welcoming committee.

Straight forward trip to the beach at Altona - we were all really pleased to see Mike and have made it so easily.  I didn't even feel fatigued...which as I was about to learn, would be my undoing.
Werribee south launch - with grass !

Ready for a day of action

Wave to the camera Pete

Getting the news that Stu might be on the way

The race is on

Wave to the camera Eric

Eric in the background

Nice style

2 seconds till fins hit

Very happy to see Mike

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 01 06 Does that count

Got to ride Pete's new 14.5m kite in about 7 knots at Mentone, hoping for a late seabreeze.  Got up for about 2 seconds on the surfboard.  Smallest session ever logged !
It's a great kite though - only 3 struts so it turns real quick for a big kite.  It should provide better opportunities - and less danger - than the zero.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 01 05 Glorious seabreeze at Hampton

Took the whole family down the beach to grab the seabreeze.  Good light wind when I arrived (about 16 knots) picked up to around 23 knots.  I spent most of the time showing off to the kids in the lighter wind near the beach.  Saw Stu on the nugget, he was enjoying the conditions.  Got some big jumps in with nice landings, did a few rotations, great to get a solid session in with the family also happily swimming and walking on the beach.  We topped it off with fish and chips on the headland.  The kids asked which one Pete was - my reply was that the guy way off in the distance would be Pete.  Turned out it was !

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 01 04 - Beaumaris to Hampton downwinder

I teamed up with Peter and Amelia to do a downwinder from Beaumaris to Hampton.  Grant was down at Beaumaris too, teaching his kids how to windsurf - they were having a great time.  Fantastic way to spend the holidays for the kids!
Grant was unable to join us as he was missing a crucial piece of kit, we rigged up and headed off.  I took the surfboard - mostly as I was keen to check out how my right leg would handle kiting again.  It was absolutely fine - great news - hope to be back on the twin tip tomorrow.  The downwinder offered fantastic scenery as ever, and a good chance to muck around with some things on the surfboard.  I've got gybing nailed using one type of technique - still working on a few variations.

Amelia handle the trip well, Pete took off and looked to be headed to fawkner beacon at one stage.  The cliffs at Sandy around half moon bay looked amazing today.  Once we arrived at Hampton I had a go on the nugget, fantastic board for going upwind and really stuck to your feet despite being strapless.  I got a ridiculous amount of speed on a toeside tack - so much so I had some big faceplants.  I was pretty glad to be back on the surfboard by the end - mostly because I know how to handle that now.

Great session, and a good feeling to be tired from kiting.

Amelia in the distance

Coming in to Hampton - hello flat water.

Backroll on the surfboard

Pete, Amelia and some guy about to get run over by the nugget

My best faceplant on the nugget

Nice pic of Pete on the Airrush