Windfinder Forecast

Friday, December 24, 2010

Not there... Yet

Altona beach, originally uploaded by Trackingtom.

Kite run #3

Wind 18 knots
Sunny 22 degrees.

So my 3rd run wasn't what I expected. I first went to St Kilda to check the weather out, the wind was a little high and gustily for my 12 Rebel and after talking to the trainers down there I decided I should try another site. Plus there were no 12's, 11's or 10's on the water.
So i got back in the car, pointed the GPS to Altona and thought I'd try my luck down there.

Altona did look better. There were bigger kites in the air, more space to set up and more area on the water to practice. Altona is a much easier place to set up. There is a lot of grass just off the sand to set up/pack up and even near the road there is some grass sheltered by the raised walkway to make setting up a bit easier. Just got to watch out for twigs.
Looking out on the water the wind seemed a little less intense. If St Kilda was 20+ and gusting at 25+ knots, Altona was 15+ and gusting at 20 knots. There were lots of 12's and 11 kites out. Even a 14, a guy maybe an hour or two above my limited expertise.
I had a chat to some of the guys on the sand setting up their kites; asking their opinions about the wind, the size of my kite and my experience. The two that i spoke to reassured me that with the rebel and its 5th line that if anything were to go wrong pulling on the 5th line will cause the kite to flip over and fall to the water. There were 10 plus kiters there so if anything did go wrong there was always going to be someone who could help.
I pulled the kite out of the car, pumped it up and took a final look at the water also to 'pump' myself up for a session. I walked the kite onto the sand and within a minute i got a hand to launch my Rebel. I gave the thumbs up, the kite got some air and flew towards the road/trees. F#@K!.
I hit the deck, pushed the bar out, the kite dove and stopped at a post along the walkway.
F#@k again. "Is my kite damaged? Man I just did this in front of everyone! Shit, did i damage my kite."
"You have the bar the wrong way around!" Yelled out the guy who helped me launch.
"Shit, cheers mate." was my reply.
He went over to the pole, removed my kite from it and helped me launch again.
I had the bar in the right position this time and launched it without any dramas. I left the kite in the air for awhile to explore if I had done any damage to the kite.
None.... Sweet. Now to the water.

All in all it was a disappointment in the water today. I managed to get up out of the water without too much of an issue for the first half of the session but my problem at the time was staying up on the board. I wasn't working the kite enough and i think to some degree I am trying to surf upwind too much. Its something i can't help at the moment. It doesn't feel right yet to surf downwind. Both of these issues are causing me to sink into the water. I'll get up on the board, work the kite and then sink. Next time I'll get up on the board, aim the board downwind, forget about working the kite and sink.
I see that surfing in towards the left is my stronger side and if i continued at the spot I was in I would end up in the rocks. So I set the kite to 12, grabbed my board and walked up the beach to try again.
A this point it had been in the water for an hour. I could start to feel it in my arms and yet I had not really achieved what I wanted for the session. To ride for 20+ meters.
My second half of the session was worse than the first. More 'supermans's (flying head first with your feet out of the water), when up on the board more sinking and if I'm not sinking I'm face-planting.
All in all one could tell that I wasn't getting my front foot our far enough or straight enough. This is the cause to 2 of my 3 issues. Maybe even the 'superman' issue. But I think that's just because there is too much power when trying to water start.
I kept this up for another 45mins to an hour then I ran out of energy. I was disappointed with my session and knew I had a long night ahead of me packing for my trip to see my partners parents in NZ.
Reading another blog I can see that he was up and riding at my point of hours on the board but maybe I may be a little to harsh on myself. I haven't surfed before, wake boarded, snowboarded or in general sports that use a similar stance. Sure i skated as a kid, but that was 10 years ago now.
I've committed this far time and money wise so I'm just going to have to keep on trying. Keep my front foot strait and out, tuck my back foot under my ass and work the kite.

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