Windfinder Forecast

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Altona - UPWIND!!

Kite run #6

Wind 15-20 knots
Sunny 26 degrees kited from 12pm to 3pm.

What a session. With my natural stance (right foot behind) my progression is going great. I can launch without a hassle anymore, i can head downwind and as of today I managed to surf upwind! I put the excamation mark there as this I didn't think was going to be possible for a while. Its hard to know how your riding when its just you on the water, of course there are other riders there but alone in the sense of no kite buddy. So without someone saying "Your riding too upright, or put your front foot out more" its hard to know how you riding or even if your riding properly. Kite control, or more kite position is easier as its in front of you but my feet have still been the main issue.

So after watching a few people fly past me and seeing that they are almost "sitting" on the water I realized that my stance is no where near this. I still try to stand on the board rather than lean back on the kite and let it do all the work. So with watching this I water launched started to head downwind and gain some speed; then I leaned back, pushed my back foot out and started to ride upwind. Man its a good to be able to cruise and not fall off. That's what I have been wanting to do with this sport since I started my lessons.

There is one issue though, I can't get back on the other foot. For what ever reasons it is, and i presume its still my foot work, I can't go back on my left foot (goofy stance). I get up from a launch and fall. Or I over power and 'superman' through the air. So this is where my attention needs to be focused over the next few sessions. Plus it will give my left foot a chance to rest up using it pull the board, edge, so I was riding more on my heels has given me this aweful strain. No pain no gain hey?

My lesson buddy is going to come out with me today, Monday 10th, he bought a harness and is going to have a crack at riding without the instructors in Altona. Altona is DEFINETLY better to set up and pack down. The sand and crap from my last session at St Kilda has put me off it. As you can see by the pic below to the right of the path is a grass area protected from the Southerly wind to set up and pack down in. The guy with the yellow kite did exactly this. Its just a much better feeling having the kite clean and dry.

Hopefully both feet are feeling better by days end for another session.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Small wind - Big kites

Kite run #5

St Kilda
Wind 12-15 knots
Sunny 26 degrees kited from 3pm to 5pm.

Today wasn't the best day to hit the water. I figured with what North said about their kites that heading out into the water blowing 12 knots, that I would be fine to put the 12 in the air and have a session. The water was flat, there weren't many people out there and there wasn't a cloud in sight. Perfect right?


The wind was nowhere near enough to get me going. I could water launch, get up and then there wasn't enough wind to turn the kite back up to 11 after and keep me going. So I would launch and sink, launch and sink, then launch and sink some more. I tried this for about 45 minutes then without going anywhere decided to call it quits. There were some other kiters out there but by the looks of it they were on 14's, 16's and I believe I saw an old school 18 out there too! So knowing either my kite was too small or that I wasn't skilled enough I headed back to the beach, but as I decided this my kite lost all power and hit the water. No worries I’ll just water launch. But as much as I tried and tried I couldn't. There was enough wind to pull it towards the window but nowhere near enough to lift it off the water.

I was stuck.

I tried in vain for over half an hour with no luck, and seeing as I needed to be at my partners work in 45 minutes for us to inspect a new house to rent; I was running out of time. The only thing I could do was to pull the 5th line in and pull the kite in. I did this, the kite was wet, the lines a little tangled and there was no chance that I would be able to dry the kite off before I packed it up.

Lesson learned: If you’re keen for a session, pump up the kite, get things ready, but wait for the wind to be right instead of assuming it’ll be right when you need it on the water. See if there are other kites your size on the water and see how hard they are working the kite to get momentum.

There’s always another day

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Foot isn't broken or fractured.

The doc has had a close look at the X-rays and there isn't a break.

I still have to stay off it for a week or so but at least it's not 4-6 weeks in a boot/cast.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Small foot update.

Fractured foot., originally uploaded by Trackingtom.

The foot feels 100% than it did yesterday. I probably should have followed the RICE actions towards it day one.


I did all this last night and feel the difference today. I had nightmares that it was fractured and would have to be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks. Missing most of the summer sea-breeze's!

I'll know more tomorrow.

Possible fractured right foot...

Right heel X-ray, originally uploaded by Trackingtom.

My 'it should be O.K. in the morning' attitude didn't work out to be as I planned.
I woke with the same sharp pain in my step as I did the day before and with some coercion from workmates I decided to have it checked out.
The Physio in South Melbourne referred me to the radiology in Caulfield for an X-Ray. The radiologist said from first glance there didn't seem to be a break or fracture but he would look at it closer over the next few hours.

I have an appointment on Thursday with my physio and if he believes that the pain is not from a break but from something like a strain, I should be back on the water in 2 weeks. A break regretfully is more. Fingers crossed for a strain.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Last Day of Holidays

Kite run #4

Wind 18-22 knots
Sunny 22 degrees kited from 2pm to 6pm

With my partner being NZ'er we were over there from the 22nd Dec to the 2nd Jan and with my limited experience with the kite I thought it best to leave it at home. Although it was blowing a gale there the whole time I managed to catch one kiter on the Queenstown lake all by himself. Looking like he was having a blast.

So with one day left on my break, wind blowing Southerly at a constant 20ish knots I couldn't wait to get back in the water. I spent probably the first hour or so launching from the water and 'Supermanning' it or getting up and sinking. One such 'superman' caused me to launch quite high out of the water and on my decent noticed that there was a sandbar not to deep under the water. So I put my feet out and tried to land. BANG. Ouch, I hurt my right heel. But not too much (or so I first thought). After this last Superman I realized my feet were still not in the correct position. The launches where I would superman it were probably enough if my feet were where they were supposed to be. So remembering from my last session that I don't tuck my back foot in behind my ass enough maybe this is why when I do launch I don't have enough power and sink.

So I set the kite to 11, swung it through the power zone, placed my back-foot under my ass and I was up and going. And going. And ....... going. Man these things can get some speed! I was grinning from ear to ear. I managed to get up, head downwind and stay up for more than 10 meters. I decided when to stop, not falling off deciding when I was to stop. This is more desirable I think. So with my left foot in front, a natural stance in the surfing world, I can surf. I lost the board a few times after hitting the swell and I would estimate that half of my day was spent body dragging upwind to retrieve it. I became quite good at it by the end of the day. Boosted my confidence that if I hit the deep open water and came off that i'd be alright. Not that my confidence needed a boosting.

I had been on the water for 3 hours now. Surfing downwind, body dragging to the odd lost board and walking my kite upwind to start all over again. I was exhausted and loving it. I decided to rest my kite and body and take a fully take in the last few hours. While relaxing on the sand I looked up in awe to 50+ kites in the air with I'm guessing another 20 on the sand. I know later on I'm going to wish there were not so many kites in the air when I'm having a session but there is a beauty to seeing the sky filled with kites.

While on the sand I helped a Canadian guy who hasn't been in Australia long launch his kite. He was having real trouble. Plus watched a few others struggle with their launches. St Kilda seems to be the real "beginner" beach. As this is pretty much what I am and as much as I like St Kilda with its flat waters and big sand area to launch with, I prefer Altona. Its easier to set up, the grass keeps the sand off the kite when inflating and deflating, and there is more shallow water for those times you do come off. There is more swell which makes adds another component to riding but its something I guess I'll have to get used to.

My last stint on the water wasn't as desirable as the others. I lost my board and my upwind body dragging wasn't going to well. There was a bigger swell and my face was getting smashed by the incoming water. I lost the board at one point too. My endurance was waining, my patience running out so I decided to pull on the 5th line of the North Rebel so it wouldn't continue to catch the wind and swim to the board. I grabbed the board, tried to re-launch the kite but my 5th line pull had twisted my kite. I could no longer water launch. The Rebel still caught some wind and managed to drag me downwind to the shore and as I got closer to the shore I realized that I had little to no control over the kite and it flipped around and nearly hit a windsurfer. I called out for help asking him to grab the kite but he just stood there looking at me. I asked (yelled) again. He still stood there continuing to look at me. After my 4th request he replied "on one condition", grabbed the kite and placed his foot on the leading edge to hold it down. I wasn't overly happy with methodology of stopping the kite but at least the kite was stationary. He turned to me as I thanked him and said "The condition was that you f#@king kiter's stay up at your end, I'm sick of sharing this beach with you and those f#@king dog lovers" then turned away and put his board in the water.

As all this was happening a walker by came and spoke to me telling me not to worry about the 'sailer's' and that he was just a grump, bitter old man. Explained that the wind was tendering SSE and at this time of night a little gusty. Not ideal conditions for my 12M Rebel. I rolled up the lines and headed back to my back, with a limp. The Superman I did earlier seemed to have hurt my right heel and preventing me from walking on it with any pressure. Not to worry though, it should heal by the morning.