I no longer have to walk my kite back up to a starting point and surf downwind. After an exhausting 3 hour session today I have found the ability to go both directions with little effort to get me started. Before I needed to be quite a way up wind, set the kite in motion, sail a fair way downwind and then try my way to get upwind. Today I no longer need to do this, well to some degree that is. Its a pretty great feeling for the ability to sail both directions without the need to walk up and down the beach, not to mention more fun!
This was my great envy of other kiters. It looked so easy to be able to surf bidirectional and to be able to go 'kite exploring'. All I was managing to do in my first 5 sessions out of kite school was a few 'superman's', stalls in the water and the odd attempt that might look like I knew what I was doing. The thing that shocked me most of all this was when I was sailing either direction, just how fast I got to the other end of the beach. I'm aware it is much faster than walking; but I went up back, up and back in 20 minutes which two to three sessions ago would have taken me an hour. Once things start to 'click' one's progression in this sport is quite rapid. I cannot fathom being able to jump or launch off small waves yet but ask me 3-5 sessions ago if I thought I would be sailing bidirectional and not needing much room to launch I would have thought that not to be possible. I guess jumping isn't a real goal at the moment more that some kite exploring. I have noticed that further south of the Altona spot that I have been surfing that there has been some kites way out into the distance. I initially thought this was another spot and went home to investigate on google maps. It turns out that that area is inaccessible by car and the only way to get out there is by water. So the kites I have noticed out there probably started from where I launch. Peter's kiteblog demonstrates this here, also see below for image. Now one part of me thinks that in another couple of session's I'll have no worries being able to get over there; but the other side of me, the one with the issue is, that do I possess the skill if something goes wrong while over there to fix the problem and get me back to the safe beach? It's a long walk back to the beach and further more I would be doing it barefoot. These feet of mine don't like being bare, I guess that is from years of being a shoe lover and never hardening them up. Kinda sad really. But no one ever gets anywhere from being safe, and this sport in general isn't a dangerous one but neither does one describe it to be 'safe'. Maybe not the next session, but definitely within the next few.
I have added my a wallpaper I found from a US kiteboarding magazine I've started to subscribe to on the iPad for something like $20 per year. With the AUD doing so well at the moment it's too hard to resist. You can find the website here. I've also added them to my blog page. Plus I'm having issues saving the seabreeze images that indicate the wind for my sessions.