Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Monday, 2 May 2011
After a turbulent 2yrs of work and relocating around the country I'm now back near my favourite inland kiting spot - Pontefract Racecourse.
I arrived and all the other kite buggy people were sat bunkered down against the tough winds, no-one was flying but I was determined to give it a go.
As I setup my 9m Flexifoil Atom the decision point of fly or go home was rapidly approaching but needless to say I gritted my teeth and launched.
I have to say that yet again the 9m Atom provided more than capable and enabled me to fly safely in conditions that others were struggling with 2m foils, it is a truly awesome kite.
Everything came rushing back and I was soon whipping up and down the racecourse in my buggy and I'd guess I wasn't far off 30mph groundspeed on occasion. The rides were exhilleratingly scarey at times and I had a couple of moments where I was nearly tipped over despite the wide-axle and using my experience to help me overcome the problems.
I did get lofted a couple of times but it was all fun.
I'm glad to be back into kiting again after a 2yr break and I can't wait to get back out again, maybe I'd be more choosy with the wind conditions next time.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
I dropped by Pilling and Knott End to see if there was a remote chance of some action down there but they were unusable too.
I didn't even try Ainsdale as I know you need to have some kind of special license and you have to sign forms days before hand before you're allowed on the beach. It's a bit OTT in my opinion and they really need some kind of quick process / day pass thing sorting out.
I even chanced my arm down at Pontefract but I was greeted with a heavy shower and the sky never cleared up.
All in all, it was an expensive waste of time at 240 miles round trip and it didn't help with lots of people saying "I told you so".
My next opportunity for kiting will be in a couple of weeks.
Monday, 4 May 2009
Still, a lots happened since then and I don't as much time as I used to and everytime I turn up anywhere the wind seems to disappear.
Still, I've made a few visits to Pontefract over the winter and I dabbled in the water at Fraisthorpe last week *but* true to form the promised wind didn't appear so it was a bit of a wash-out again.
I'm determined to get out onto the water and get up and kitesurfing as soon as possible. I'm just waiting for that magic combination of high winds and good tides to kick it all off.
Sunday, 22 February 2009
On the 22nd Feb a few of us co-ordinated a trip to Talacre (North Wales) for a good days buggy action. By the time we got there only 5 of us turned up but we still looked set for a decent day.
The winds hard turned direction to cross beach so we had to walk quite a long way south around the headland in order to be able to get some long-ish runs in but the best we could get was cross-onshore winds making for diagonal runs. I think it took us about 20mins over dragging the buggies and kit before we set up camp.
The beach itself was variable softness with long banks of wet, hard, soft and super soft banks to work your way around or through. It made for some quite technical riding if you wanted to stay dry/safe/both.
We ventured off in the buggy south around the headland for quite a distance and then made downwind runs back. Again, the downwind runs were quite hard as it was easy to over-take the kite. Keep them high and moving to keep them powered up.
I ventured back to our camp and decided I was getting hungry but I’d left my sarnies in the car so cue a long walk back to the car park.
Just as I was walking back a paramedic turned up and he jumped out of his car fully loaded with kit. I walked with him up to the beach and chatted, weirdly I asked him if he was looking for the kite lads but he said someone had fallen off the lighthouse and he was here to attend them. I felt relieved and I walked with him to the lighthouse before I trudged off.
As I got closer to the camp I could see a crowd of people nearby, which I thought was strange as we were setup quite a long way from anywhere.
I got closer and I could see something on the floor and the people were waving at me. I realised what was happening so I turned around and headed back towards the paramedic who was now looking lost as he hadn’t found the mythical person who’d fallen off the lighthouse.
I managed to get his attention and we walked towards each other and I told him it looked like something was wrong further round, and it was.
He was totally loaded down with kit and refused to let me carry some to share the burdon so I sped up to dump my stuff and help out where I could.
I reached the site to see Chris was decked out with his ankle at 90degs to where it should be. Ewww. There was a handful of people there too and the woman was squeezing Chris’ hand to keep him comfortable.
After lots of to-ing and fro-ing the paramedic eventually made it to the site and proceeded to radio in the details of the injury as he said we’d need the air ambulance to get him off the beach.
A few minutes later the lifeguard turned up along with a 2nd unit and they proceeded to find a decent landing place for the pending helicopter. We helped them find the hard sand as we’d been riding on it most of the morning.
After what seemed like a lifetime the helicopter turned up and the lifeguard set a flare on the beach so they could see the wind direction & strength. It was pretty cool really. :)
By this time the paramedic had prepped Chris’ leg and he was now fully morphined up.
We all helped to get Chris into the air ambulance and he was taken to a nearby hospital for care. His fried Karl broke the news to his missus and we were left to get together all of the kit and get it back to the cars.
Sadly, Chris missed most of this as he was doped up on morphine but he’s since seen the pics & vids. :)
It actually turned out pretty exciting for what started out to be quite a dull proposition and the wind disappeared shortly afterwards so we kind of wimped out at the end of the day.
UPDATE: Since then, Chris has made a full recovery from broken tibs & fibs and he’s back out kiting with the rest of us.
Friday, 30 January 2009
I recently bought a used Ion3 with the intention of plugging the gap between the 9m Atom and the 12m Atom. The main problem I have is that the 12m Atom is quite a heavy & slow kite so the bottom end of the wind-range is deceptively high. This means it rarely sees the light of day.
I’m also hoping that the Ion re-launches a damned site easier than either of the Atoms do. They’re particularly bad and I’d even go as far as to say dangerous on water as they’re a complete pig to re-launch on water.
In an ideal world, the 10.5m would be a single kite quiver but I can’t see that happening. It may languish in mid-table obscurity but time will tell.
Monday, 29 December 2008
Weather promised cross-on 15mph winds all day, low water @ 12pm. So it was going to be ideal.
A few others were there notably AlliDelta, Andy, Tom and some unknowns.
Arrived @ 10am, winds were 12mph, beach was wet.
Travelled all the way into Bridlington in the buggy.
Wind disappeared at roughly 12pm and never came back, so I left.
Flew 12m Atom with buggy. Top speed - 30mph, distance travelled 12miles.
Sunday, 21 December 2008
Winds were SW between 14-25mph.
Flying: 9m Atom
Riding: flexifoil buggy
top speed: 29.3mph
Weather: mostly overcast, occasional rain
Ground: soaked through & muddy
It was a muddy session and I got caked in it. :(
Monday, 1 December 2008
Riding upwind is usually needed for you to get back where you started from and saves a lot of walking. :)
A few basics:
You need power! It's impossible to ride upwind without a lot of power as you're going to put the kite at the edge of the window, which only uses a fraction of the available power. Imagine it uses about 10%. So, if the wind is only light then you're not going to have enough to get you going.
If you're struggling you can produce more power by diving the kite through the powerzone but this is best left to when you're competent as sining the kite to generate power and learning to ride upwind will blow your mind!
This can be the biggest hurdle when you're still learning as you're probably still not confident in high winds (POWER!!) so don't despair if you're having trouble getting upwind, it will come.
As I mentioned before, you're aiming to go slightly upwind if you're current position so get yourself moving and then bring your kite as close to the edge of window as you can.
So you (BLUE), kite (RED) and wind (GREEN) under regular flying would look something like this...
So, aim slightly upwind of your current position get the power in the kite and edge/turn hard against the wind.
The trick is in going upwind as close to the limit as you can get.
I hope this, helps everyone. Please post comments as it will help me improve this How To.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Sadly, the winds had all but disappeared and we struggled for 5mph.
To make things worse, there was also a 'Santa Dash' so the car park was full and there were loads of Santa's jogging about *and* the footy players decided to use the most awkward pitch for us that was right in the middle of our typical run.
I had to leave at 1pm so I hope it picked up after that.
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Thursday, 2 October 2008
After playing around with the landboard for sometime I was bitten by the kiting bug and craved more speed and an easier ride. A buggy seemed to be just what I was looking for.
In December 2007 I set myself a budget of £250 and started to hunt around for a nice kiting buggy. At this point I'd seen a wide variety of buggies in the flesh at the kite club at Pontefract but I didn't have the experience to know what any of them were. The only brand I really knew anything about were the Flexifoil buggies, which I suppose I ended up aiming for.
After discovering how expensive the flexi's were I'd plumped for the Peter Lynn Comp buggy as a good compromise on price and usability and I was all set to pay.
About the RS Speed buggy
My friend had stumbled across some posts on the Flexi Forums talking about the RS Buggy and these after some more research these looked brilliant and were amazing value with my £250 budget getting me the top end RS Speed buggy with everything I could ever want!
* Swan neck
* 150cm wide axle
* Delli Midi 16x6.50 - 8 inch tyres
A few weeks later the parcels arrived and I excitedly assembled the buggy in my front room. It was quite simple to put together and it stayed built with the exception that I removed the rear axle for transport & storage. It felt super solid and nice & heavy. The buggy itself is very well made, strong, clean welding, 27mm side rails, 40mm box section downtube, 43mm diameter axle, 20mm wheel bearings all round, choice of 3 axle lengths, standard or midi wheels etc. etc. If anything it's too well made, with my wide axled beast weighing in at a hernia inducing 20+kg.
The buggy went into the back of my VW Golf with the back seats down and the axle off. No other changes were needed.
Bearing in mind that at this point I hadn't ridden a buggy of any description I had nothing to compare this against.
The deep racing seat was really comfortable with a relaxed riding position and support provided by the hard back rest. The adjustable footpegs meant I could set the swan neck for maximum length and keep the pegs back as far as they would go. I later found this was a good choice as it meant I avoided rubbing my feet on the wheels on sharper turns.
My first proper session was at Mablethorpe where the big tyres and long wheelbase kept me from sinking into the sand and the wide-axle meant I could keep a lot of power down during long runs and make faster turns. The ride was always comfortable and super stable even at speed.
I had many great sessions in the RS with my best session being at Bolton-Le-Sands where I clocked up a 70 mile trip and maxed out at roughly 43mph without batting an eyelid. The stability of the RS filled me with confidence on speed runs and big powerslide turns. The comfort meant I could stay out all day without any aches & pains. Fantastic all round.
I bought a Total Splash Guard from buggybags.co.uk mainly to keep all of the sand/grass/water landing in the seat as the swan neck effectively turned it into a low slung scoop by lowering the front end.
I would definetly recommend these buggies to anyone - they are amazing value, fantastically built and inspire confidence while riding. I definetly learned faster while using the RS. *****
I recently reluctantly decided to sell the RS Buggy solely for transport regions. I got a new job and I had to swap cars and relocate so I needed something that would pack down into a smaller package. Sadly, I swapped the RS for a flexi buggy.
When comparing the RS buggy with the Flexi buggy I've traded a lot for the ease of transport. I appreciate that I've gone from a buggy intended for speed to one that's mainly intended for freestyle.
The flexi bug seat is nowhere near as comfortable for longer trips. The lack of deep sides & proper back support means it feels like I'm always going to come out.
Even at full stretch the flexi bug isn't really long enough and my legs ache from being permanently bent. At 5'10" I'm typically described as 'normal' but it's an issue for me.
With the smaller axle and shorter wheelbase the flexi bug is *nowhere* near as stable and I now have to fly one-handed to hold on to the buggy and lean out of the opposite side. I've had a few unintentional 2-wheel events and some near OBEs too. I'm tempted to invest in the 1.5m axle but this would take me back to where I was with the RS.
Hats off to any speedsters in flexi bugs, it's way more scarey with virtually zero stability.
I wish I could get a RS buggy that was more transportable. Deeper seat and wider axle would be my top picks.
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
I use the kite for landboard, buggy and also the more typical kitesurfing.
In terms of build quality, the Atom is obviously well put together and incredibly robust. I've accidentally dumped it a few times on land and it's never failed me once. I think this goes without saying for a Flexifoil kite.
My main reason for liking it so much is that I've virtually flown nothing else all year on land. It's seem me through some howling winter/spring storms right down to some fairly light summer winds and always handled them brilliantly. Basically, if it launches them I know I'm good for the day.
This broad wind range on land gives me more confidence to fly in anything as I know I have complete control and this has been proven many times through 2008 when I've regularly only flown the Atom when others are chopping & changing their kites all day long to cope with the changing conditions.
It's also easier to venture out in gusty conditions as it's easy to swallow them up with movements in the bar, and if it changes massively then a play with the trim strap sorts that out.
Relaunching is a doddle in the right winds and it takes some coaxing in low winds but it's infinitely better than the Peter Lynn kites I was flying. Simply get the kite on it's back and pulse the upper front line and it generally pulls itself through and sits waiting at the edge of the window.
Well, here's something that's incredibly important. Essentially you have *total* control over the kite. The 9m also turns on a button making for faster turns and you can keep that power on all the time.
As an example, in the right wind conditions you can simply stand there with the kite over your head, pull the bar in and up you go! Let the bar out and down you come. Nice! :)
When moving along at speed you can quickly send the kite up to the top with no power and not be lifted out of your seat. Nice!
Pull the bar in on a fast run and it's like an accelerator - so much control.
I've had such a great time with the 9m Atom this year that it's inspired me to do 2 things.
1) Get on the water & learn to kitesurf
2) Buy a 12m Atom
Well, I had all of the tools so why not get on the water? Wet stuff needs a lot more power than dry and I was told that where you'd use a 9m on land you'd want a 12m on the water so I bought a 12m Atom.
I'm finding that the 12m Atom has all of the traits of the 9m Atom *but* it's a much bigger so it needs more wind to launch and it's a lot slower on the turn, this is to be expected. In reality my friends 12m Waroo is much better as it has a lower bottom end and it turns faster. I'm thinking I should probably have gone for an Ion or similar.
Still, I shouldn't complain as the 12m Atom has got me up & surfing. :)
Is the Atom a great kite in real-world conditions? Hell yes!
Can you use a bow kite on land? Hell yes!
Should you buy one? Hell yes!
You can see me flying the kite somewhere in this video
Don't forget to leave comments. :)
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
BPKA - British Power Kitesports Association - the place to get advise & insurance
BKSA - British Kite Surfing Association
IKO - International Kiteboarding Organization
- Flexifoil Forums
- Sheffield Kite Fliers
- Kiting Location Map UK - contributors wanted, contact me!
- RaceKites - How to section
- Flexifoil - Tutorials and handy info
- Kite Buggy technique
- The Peter Lynn ARC set-up FAQ
- Peter Lynn Kiteboarding Instructional Video
- How to Kite Buggy Instruction Guide at WindPower Sports Kites
- Kite Surf Technique
- The Loft. Kite repairs, paraglider repairs and service. Sussex England
- Kiteboarding Kite Repair - How to do it yourself
- Kite Bladder Repair - How to do it yourself
- Airbossworld Online Power kite Shop
- A K Bearings
- Cygnus Sails
- Buggy Bags - new seats, bags, carriers, GPS holders, splash guards and much more!
- Robin Hood Watersports
- RS Buggy
- Kite It Right
- Kite Exchange - Buy & sell second hand / used kites
- KiteBuyer UK - extreme kitesurf shop
- National UK Windmap - excellent!
- Winds Up - and I'm out kiting
- WIRRALCAM - RHOSNEIGR BEACH - Latest Image
- Sutton on Sea Surf Report, Surf Forecast and Surf Webcams
- Tidal predictions - Immingham
- Wind & weather forecast / Wind & Wettervorhersage Humberside
- Welcome to Kite Calendar - www.kitecalendar.co.uk
- Wind - Grimsby
- Weather Display Live
- wthr - s1
- GB Wind Map
- WindGURU: United Kingdom - Bridlington
Sunday, 20 July 2008
Saturday, 19 July 2008
I've sold a few of my kites now leaving me with a mixed dry/wet quiver. I've essentially replaced the 14m Waroo with a 12m Atom, which is better suited to my weight and ability.
0 2 5 7 9 12 15 18 22 25 29 32 36 39 43 46 50 mph
Wet Range (guess)
0 2 5 7 9 12 15 18 22 25 29 32 36 39 43 46 50 mph
AT-9 = 9m Atom
AT-12 = 12m Atom
14m Waroo - way too big for me
10m Venom 13m Venom
Thursday, 17 July 2008
I flew the 9m Atom and the landboard but there wasn't really enough to get back upwind. Paul similarly struggled in his buggy.
Still, there's something to be said for lying around in a field just chatting and watching the clouds scud by.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
I seriously think I've cracked a rib on my right as it hurts when I cough and there's an acute pain when I breath deeply. There's also a constant pain there but my breathing is fine normally. Any kind of movement that rotates/stretches my torso is equally painful and I haven't slept since BLS.
Ironically, my impact vest arrived on Saturday so I'll be wearing that all the time from now on.
Sunday, 13 July 2008
As a quick summary I broke some personal bests and I had a *awesome* day.
Max Speed: 43.2mph
Trip Odo: 71.1miles
Moving Time: 4hrs
Winds: 18mph, gusting 25mph+
Weather: Dry & Overcast all day
I was out on the buggy flying with the 9m Atom all day, the kite proved itself as a versatile, fast and stable once again and this doesn't even considers that it has loads more scope yet!
The beach was initially very wet due to the last few days of rain so I popped on my drysuit to keep the water & wet sand out, which proved to be a good move as it meant I could go anywhere without the worry of being uncomfortable. This also meant I could venture further afield by crossing some sea channels that most people wouldn't go past meaning I had massive expanses of beach to play with.
I mixed up the day with various bits of speed runs, skill improvements and general exploration.
I was regularly topping 35mph with quite a handful of runs over 40mph as my personal best was improved throughout the day. My best times were made out of the way of everyone else on downwind runs to make the most of the wind and beach space.
The kite & buggy never let me down and the both remained stable as I pushed them further and further.
I'm getting used to the Atom now and I can pretty much fly it single-handed without looking at it as it's got excellent feedback through the bar.
I got going in almost all directions relative to the wind with some very upwind runs, albeit a little slow.
I always struggled with keeping the kite powered up in the turns, often getting underneath the kite or ending up with it at the edge of the wind window both of which do cause the kite to lose power and may cause it to fall out of the sky. This is managable on land but I wanted to use the principal to improve for kitesurfing transitions on water as losing power will cause you to sink!
So, I went out of the way for a while to practice powered turns by using 2 distance tufts of grass to use as turning points trying to get tighter and faster around each one. I've definetly improved and get about 66% of my turns right now.
The weather & site conditions meant for a great opportunity to explore the area and I did on many occasions covering a large area.
This was only achievable by having confidence in my abilities and also by wearing a dry suit, as you'll read later.
The beach area near the campsite was largely dry and hard (great for *massive* power slides) but this turned into wet bumpy sand the further you got away from bases and it was also surrounded by filled sea channels, riverlets, streams, etc. which were only passable by getting completely soaked. My usual strategy was just to plough at them full speed and hope to get a good way across before I ran out of steam. There was a broad range of terrain conditions to experience.
Covering the more extreme areas of the beach meant passing through lots of water, often waist deep. The deepest one I crossed result in my buggy being *completely* submerged and at one point I began to float and lost directional control from the front wheel so I had to use the kite to pull my in the direction I wanted to go on. I was being pulled downstream (yes, downstream!). I jumped out and decided to pull the buggy to shore but sadly it flipped over in the deep water and drifted off without me. I chased after it with the Atom bobbling along above me and I managed to flip the buggy and drag it back to dry land. I was knackered!!
Despite it being a bit dodgy this was brilliant fun but not something I repeated.
Despite that, I later found myself in one of those riverlets and decided to just drive down it's length as far as I dare, I've never had a 'bow wave' on my buggy before. :)
Mud, glorious mud
I also crossed some very muddy and squishy areas that were only passable in my buggy and I'm very glad I didn't have to go on foot or I'd have probably been knee deep in sludge. It was actually quite worrying so I quickly turned around and headed to firmer land.
I had one pretty big OBE late on when I didn't see a water channel that was the start of a short of a series of things that ended up with a lot of pain.
I was basically running downwind at about 35mph towards a sea channel and I spotted what I thought was a narrow crossing to make it easy. So I scrubbed off some speed and prepared to cross at about 15mph.
Sadly, the whole thing was obscured from my direction by a small sand cliff but it was too late! I realised the water channel was a lot broader and therefore deeper than I'd realised. *Plus* I hadn't noticed multiple smaller dried out water inlets the other side that was going to make for a bumpy ride.
So, I ploughed into the water that made the buggy pretty much stop but I kept it together but needed more power to get through the waist deep water. I got through with more power but went straight into a dried out water inlet that sent me bouncing about and I slide sideways into the second one where the buggy stopped and I kept going. By this time the kite was fully powered so I was launched downwind and bounced around on the hard sand. I eventually came to a rest and laid there in pain just wanting to get back.
When I got home I assessed the personal damage and it feels like (exaggerting) a broken rib (obe), broken hip (obe), broken neck, cut & bruised shins, bruised thighs (from gripping the buggy) and I ache *everywhere*. My buggy seat is ripped from all of the bouncing and I managed to lose a nut & bolt holding on the mudguard! No pain, no gain! :)
Still, I think it's safe to say that this was the best day of buggying I've ever had and contained pretty much everything you'd ever want. I got to experience loads of things and improve my skills.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
The weather forecast for today was looking pretty bad from the outset with easterly winds for the whole of the UK coupled with rain.
It was looking good for Ainsdale but I couldn't go as I don't have a permit and the person I need to get one from wasn't available.
This meant the only choice was the East coast with offshore winds, not ideal, definetly too dangerous for the water but definetly worth getting out for a good blast on the landboard to get some practice in.
I got to beach at about 11am to find it completely empty with the tide on the way out. The winds were pretty blustery so I cracked open the 9m Atom to cope with those top end gusts.
I got setup and I had a quick static fly to get things moving. Just before I jumped on the board the winds started to pick up even more ahead of a HUGE black cloud on the horizon that was moving pretty swiftely in my direction. The winds kept on rising so I decided to get the kite down before the weather came in. I brought the kite down to the edge of the window and it just wouldn't come down and it resulted in me pulling the 1st safety and letting the kite out fully on the leash but it was still bouncing around even though there was no power. It took quite a lot of wrestling but I got it down in the end.
The rain didn't half come down and I ended up sitting under the kite for 20mins while the wind howled around. One benefit of a bow kite is that you can hide under it if it rains. :)
It did feel quite 'British' to be sat on the beach in the pouring rain.
After the storm passed the wind disappeared completely for a while and then came back to a nice 15mph, although it was offshore. It was the usual gusty offshore wind.
Practise, practice, practice - land to water
I spent the rest of the day belting up & down Cleethorpes beach on the landboard practising powered transitions. I need to get the powered turns sorted so I can make better transitions if I ever get good enough on the water as I assume that a loss of power will make me sink!
I did have a few tumbles and ruined my knees on the hard sand and sharp shells. I've ripped my trousers through and got cuts on my legs. I definetly will be wearing my knee pads in future.
What I've learned - transitions
I think I've also sussed out a possible problem with my water starts as I have a tendancy to take the kite from the top of the window (12 o'clock) around the edge of the window, this enevitably ends up with the kite at the edge of the wind and therefore no power after an initial boost.
When moving right, I started moving the kite back to about 11 o'clock and then down through the center but much lower so when it moved through the 12 o'clock line it was much lower in the window and therefore more powerful.
This in itself took a bit of getting used to as there's much more power to hold down but it gets moving faster and the power stays on. :)
What I've learned - POWER!!!
I'm getting used to more power and I surprised myself by pretty much getting long runs, effectively unhooked, max permanent power, and just using the angle & direction of the board to control the power.
I also got some MASSIVE slides in on the runs and some HUGE power slides to stops. :) I left loads of sand trails along the beach and even had an audience at one point.
All in all, it was a good 4hr session. Bring it on! :)
Friday, 4 July 2008
After considering dropping 1 of them so I can focus I've got the following thoughts.
Land based events usually take place in large areas so you can get a good run on, inland areas need to be quite large and devoid of obstacles that block the wind from all directions. Most good inland sites have some directions in which is the wind is unblocked and about as clean as it's going to get inland. The blocked directions make the site unusable when the wind is coming from that direction.
Ignoring the inland wind conditions, inland locations by their nature have size & shape constraints so sooner or later you're going to crave for a bigger playing area.
The next choice is a coastal beach site, which naturally gives a bigger area to play on - if nothing else they're typically long in one direction ( the coast line). Onshore winds tend to be super clean and make for some amazing kiting, they're as bad as inland sites when the wind is offshore.
A reasonably obvious statement to make for inland sites is that having any kind of accident *is* going to hurt.
So, the only other surface is water for kitesurfing. Coastal water is obviously massive but can be marred by hidden sand bars and tidal conditions. Either of these can effect the suitability of a location.
Pretty much everywhere you think of is restricted by local by-laws so always check the local conditions and *don't* spoil it for everyone else by going where the hell you please without checking.
For me the 2 land disciplines of landboard & buggying are complementary and both add enjoyable aspects to the sport.
Landboard is good for vertical kiting, what I mean by that is there's a tendancy to keep the kite vertically above you so you travel slower but you have the intention of jumping. You're typically looking for consistent winds for this to avoid being dumped.
Buggying is good for horizontal kiting, as you're typically looking to stay *in* the buggy and hold down some power. Speed is the order of the day so to do this you need to keep the kite down in the powerzone, just above the horizon and hold on tight! It's easier to deal with gusty conditions as it just affects your speed.
So, should I drop anything? At the moment I'm enjoying all aspects and if anything I'd probably drop buggying as the scope is fairly limited to just going fast. I really don't like the idea of buggy freestyle - it just looks like a world of pain and I'm pretty convinced all of those hard landings are going to wreak having on your spine.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Saturday, 28 June 2008
I arrived at about 11am and setup my 9m Atom as I don't need too much power when on land, the wind started to drop and I rapidly ran out of power completely and the Atom fell out of the sky after just a couple of runs. It's always a pig to launch if there's not much wind as it just won't roll over.
I packed that up and opened up the 14m Waroo with a little more success but there still wasn't enough power to get upwind. I eventually gave up and just lazed around on the grass talking to Tony (Bibbler) and Gary who were similarly frustrated with the lack of promised wind.
Ho hum, another day with little mileage.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
I've broken it down into some classic lists of start, stop and keep to give some focus to it all.
Weather variety - whatever the weather you can pretty much find something to do and you're always learning. high wind, low wind, smooth wind, gusty wind, it's all valuable experience.
Practice on the land board - I enjoy doing this and I don't really get to do it enough. It's a good into to kitesurfing but the 2 are a little differnt. landboard does however get you used to balancing against the power of the kite.
Get out with the guys - meeting up with other like minded people is important. I learn faster and have a good laugh too. The occasional long distance trip with the RaceKites.com crew is a fantastic get away and always good.
Being a wuss - I think all aspects of kiting are easier with more power. More power comes from bigger kites and/or higher winds. More power takes some getting used to and in particular when you know the spankings are going to be even harder.
It's also important to get on with it for the kitesurfing, don't wuss out, get up and going.
Talking about it - it's good to get out and meet the guys but I need to balance that by getting out and doing it. I can easily spend ages just chatting away, even when there's good kiting winds to be had.
Buying things! - I know in my heart of hearts that I have everything I need to have a good time. However, there's still the lure of the new shiny thing, the different experience or the new venue. It's quite scarey to look at the stuff I've bought and sold over the year.
Kite surfing! - my little foray into kite surfing was great and I *really* want to get it cracked so I can make the most of it. This will make a good summer sport.
I'm right at the beginning of the learning curve on this so it's particularly interesting and I now have everything I need so there's no excuses other than time.
Focus - dump the kit I don't need, stop swapping around, get good at it. I think bow kites are the way to go. I'll keep the arcs for inland and the bows for inland/water.
Beat Paul! - we're having a Speed Champ 2008 competition between the 2 of us. So far I'm winning but Paul's got some new kites that pose a serious threat.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
When I arrived the winds were in the region of 7mph-9mph so marginal for flying an SLE but I decided to continue and just check out the kite, lines & bar.
I set it all up and it looks very nice & clean so that's all good, I'd already test inflated it at home so no worries there. I had it sent on the 1st rear knot (longest lines) and max depower trim.
The winds turned up a couple of notches so it was time for a static fly although, to be honest, I thought it would be a bit much. Paul commented "thats a big f**ker!", which is true and that also got me worried.
So, with some trepedation up it went and to my surprise it was brilliantly behaved and incredibly controllable. It was also easy to cope with the gusts with the massive depower range available and this inspired confidence to take on such a big kite. The safety of 100% depower when letting the bar go was initially a stumbling point for me as you can read in my previous but, again, it added to my confidence in taking on such a large kite.
I built up enough confidence to jump on the trampa and I had a few runs up & down the field with my trampa and I'm very pleased with it. It's great to get upwind with too.
Friday, 13 June 2008
I suspect I was keeping the bar in the safe zone resulting in no power at all. This is very differnt to my previous kites that all required the bar to be sheeted out completely as they launched.
The Arcs (venom/guerilla) all required aggressive input to get them to turn at any decent rate and they still retained power throughout 100% of the bar throw.
I'll reset the Atom and see how I get on with it.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Herringthore Playing Fields
The inland wind conditions were suffering from the usual huge swings in direction and gusts. It's the norm really so it wasn't a blocker. The site looked clear and it was a nice warm evening.
After setting up the kite I tried really hard to self-launch but it was frustrating to see it spin around and do everything *except* launch. It made more infuriating after I tried the techniques I'd learned for the Ozone Light during my kitesurf lessons. It simply wouldn't launch and I thought something was wrong.
After much rushing about it eventually launched but it wasn't right. Sluggish turns, unresponsive, falling out of the sky, etc. Not happy really, especially when it came down in a lull and wouldn't go back up. It would only fly on max power trimming and fell out of the sky on slight bar pressure.
I eventually downed the kite and decided to tighten the back lines a bit to instill some more responsiveness. I tied an extra knot on the pigtail, reattached the back lines and tried it all again.
The Atom was now more like the Instinct - it launched much easier, handled better, etc. etc. I'm now much happier with it. Relaunching was now a doddle too so it was mission accomplished!
It's a shame the wind was so shite!
Just as things were going well a load of people turned up and proceeded to setup 3 cricket matches that basically consumed the whole of the playing field. I guess it was some kind of local match/league but my safe flying zone was not unusable so I was forced to pack up. It didn't help that people were driving their cars around the playing fields. :(
Saturday, 7 June 2008
The days wind
Start the day with a splash!
I've already got a relatively large amount of experience so I was keen to get in the water ASAP. The instructor bumped me up to day 2 status so I joined a guy who'd already done his 1st day.
The wind was 10mph at best, bang onshore and the tide was coming in so it wasn't ideal but it was enough for what we wanted to do.
We were suited up and headed up out with a couple of 9m Ozone Instinct Light kites.
We setup the kites on the beach and went through the safety systems, quickly got the kite in the air and wandered down to the water for some body dragging.
I struggled for quite a while as I had to unlearn the characteristics of the kites I'm used to as I was too aggressive with the kite and it kept flying out of the window. The winds were light and my kites are faster on the turn. So, I spent most of my time water relaunching the kite. Relaunching is hard enough, relaunching when the kite is swallowed by waves and your being bounced around yourself is hard work. This in itself was frustrating but valuable lessons in how to water relaunch in various situations - the upshot was at all costs keep the kite flying!
Once I'd got the kite sussed I quickly got into body dragging downwind, rapidly followed by a lesson in body dragging upwind. The upwind drag involved being a lot deeper in the water so I swallowed quite a bit of nasty sea water. Still, I got the principal pretty quickly and moved on.
The most tiring bit was repeatedly walking out into deep water with the kite - wind pulling me inshore, an incoming tide trying to push me into shore and a floatation vest preventing me from going anything deeper than chest height. All in all it took a lifetime to walk out, then about 10 seconds to body drag back in!
After a spot of lunch and some theory our instructor let us use his 13m Ozone Instict Sport to generate more power so we could get on the board.
On the board
This was the interesting bit and what I'd come for. Trying to fly the kite 1 handed, get your feet in the straps, get everything lined up avoiding spinning round+slipping feet+moving kite, dive the kite to get power (in light winds), weight over, plane away, keep the kite moving in low winds and battle with the waves was extremely challenging.
It took quite a lot of effort and a lot of trial & error but I eventually got up on the board for about 2m! This was an accomplishment after a solid day of working and it was good to do. I understand the prinicpal of what I should be doing and I think I'll get it with some practice.
We debriefed and it would have been easier to do if there had been more wind that would have meant I could focus on board skills rather than trying to do that *and* keep the kite in the air by moving it around a lot.
In the end, it was a great day and definetly worth going on the training course to progress a lot faster than I would have done on my own. Plus, most importantly, it was safer working with trained instructors and having the backup of lifeguards around.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
I'm hoping to at least come out of this with the basics of water specific skills nailed so I can venture out on my own with more confidence. I'm hoping my general kite, landboard & buggying skills will at least give me a head start.
Friday, 30 May 2008
16m Venom II
9m Guerilla II
4.9m U-Turn Nitro
0 2 5 7 9 12 15 18 22 25 29 32 36 39 43 46 50 mph
V13 - 13m Venom (I)
V10 - 10m Venom (I)
AT-9 - 9m Atom
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Saturday started with a few of us, Bibbler+Suicide+Antler+myself, meeting up at the service station on the M62 ready to continue to voyage at 6am. It's been quite a long time since I've been active at that time in a morning but the motorways were clear and we made good progress.
We arrived at Red Bank Farm at around 7:30 to find some RK veterans were already there as they'd stayed through Friday night. We pitched the tents and generally prepared for the day ahead.
The campsite was on a hillside overlooking the bay and it made for a spectacular sight across the expansive sands we were to be on later.
There was very little wind at this point and the forecast hadn't predicted much more so it was a bit of a long shot.
Also, local info told us that we needed to get down on the beach early as our access route with the buggies through dry sea channels would be blocked once the tide started coming in.
It was an excellent turn out and I got to meet old & new friends.
Paul and I setup on the beach and we were off pretty quick as the winds were good and the beach was amazing.
I was flying my 13m Venom and Paul was on his 10m Access, both of us were in our RS Buggies.
It was a great day on Saturday and we both got speed personal bests of 30.0mph for Paul and 34.9mph for myself. Although for the most part we were pretty well matched for speed.
Slight downwind runs were definetly the fastest elements, and there was a turbo boost when travelling through the wind tunnel caused by the offshore winds running down a small valley and onto the beach. I also learned that cloud cover compresses the wind and accelerates it so it's something to watch out for.
It was really good to be going so fast and my venom 13m and atom 9m did me proud, with the latter just gaining an edge as it's faster at turning and pulling the bar in really is like pressing an accelerator - amazing! It's definetly opened my eyes to the power & versatility of SLEs, never mind the fact they're a damned site easier to relaunch than an arc.
Sunday was on the brink of a wash out as the winds struggled to come through, there were many cases where people just got stuck out on the beach when the wind just vanished. It was a strange site to see all those buggies and kites just parked, waiting in anticipation for the wind to return enough so they could get home.
I too got caught out there once when the wind disappeared, in the end I got fed up of waiting as it was lunchtime and my sandwiches were only a short walk away. Why sit baking in the sun when a short walk will get you some long earned food? So, I packed up my kite and dragged the buggy back to base.
My GPS told me I covered about 40miles on the Saturday and I dare say Paul covered about the same.
Sadly there aren't many pictures or video as we spent most of our time out flying!
It was a truly excellent weekend of buggying and I have the bruises to prove it. :)
And the evening was certainly lit up!
Sunday, 11 May 2008
I bought myself a sports wrist brace that's been helping me gain confidence in doing more adventurous things in the knowledge that it will prevent my wrist from flexing should I fall on it again.
The weather forecast was hot, hot, hot! But, typically there was no visible wind at all. Despite the forcasted poor winds I popped over to Pontefract park to chance my arm thinking that light winds would be a nice re-introduction to kiting while recovering and I'd get to see some friends over there for a chat if nothing else. Even a light 5mph would do me.
The light (or no) winds meant the only thing in my quiver that would fly was the U-Turn Nitro 4.9m on handles as my Arcs need about 10mph+. The nitro went up and it was good to have a nice static fly around to ease me back in.
The wind started to pickup a tiny bit so I borrowed Paul's 10m Access and had a play with that and managed to board about 100m before the wind dropped again. It was good while it last and left me wanting more.
All-in-all it was a soft re-intro and no sign of any pain. I'm very happy and looking forward to next weeks big outing to Bolton-Le-Sands with the RaceKites crew. :)
Sunday, 13 April 2008
Antler (paul) has been kind enough to look after my newer kites with the occasional test flight up at ponty.
I've collected some photos of the Atom & Venom 13 in their early maiden flights.
Here's antler trying out the Atom:
Here's antler taking the v13 for spin with a bit of a rush on!
Thursday, 3 April 2008
0 2 5 7 9 12 15 18 22 25 29 32 36 39 43 46 50 mph
V2-16 - 16m Venom II
V13 - 13m Venom (I)
V10 - 10m Venom (I)
AT-9 - 9m Atom
G2-9 - 9m Guerilla II
Friday, 21 March 2008
0 2 5 7 9 12 15 18 22 25 29 32 36 39 43 46 50 mph
G2-9 - 9m Guerilla II
V2-16 - 16m Venom II
AT-9 - 9m Atom
SB-9 - 9.5m Sabre
FZ-5 - 5m Frenzy
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
To be fair to the owners they were a long way away and the collie didn't halve move fast. The dog was barking as they went past walking north so it must've taken it's chance coming back south about 30mins later. This time it was sure to head in disaster for me or the mad dog, I chose me
Smashed helmet rather than smashed head! that's a temp cast on my hand, i'm neither hairy or snow white!
btw - my head doesn't hurt thanks to helmet although I did get a 'flash' on impact.
cast on now - xray shows i've chipped a 50p size piece of bone off and it's currently in place but may move. got to go back for regular xrays to make sure it stays put. no sneaky kiting for me.
Monday, 10 March 2008
Sunday, 9 March 2008
I tend to fly mostly trimmed in on the 'wimp' settings, these allow me to fly the kite with less power but it's enough for my skill level. Trimming out to 'max power' resulted in pure power throughout the window, I don't think I'm quite ready for this.
I had 2 long sessions throughout the day while others with Access, Frenzy, Blades, Beamers and Firebees all couldn't cope with the constantly changing conditions. VII kept me going all day with a smile.
Despite the fact they're a pig to launch solo they're fantastic kites.
I also had the first proper blast on my Trampa kite deck, which is *way* better than my previous board. Carves nicely, bindings are good, super bouncy to soak up those bumps and the matrix lite trucks mean for great stability at speed. Another great item.
I also managed a bit of toe-side riding, not very far and not very fast but still I tried.
I used a GPS to clock the 2nd session and I managed a peak of 18.7mph on the board (not bad in the light winds with a 16m arc) and covered a distance of 3.9 miles.
The image below shows the run @ ponty, you can see the red bits where I stopped/fell off and the yellow bits are usually me walking about.