Well a year's gone by since I last blogged my kiting. I'm not even sure if people still blog. It's all FB and smartphone stuff nowadays! But I started this a while ago - - I cant believe NINE years ago - I'll check the date and will have the mark the 10th anniversary with some fantastic kitesurf event, wedding anniversaries/birthdays - stand aside this will be a proper event! A decade has passed and I'm still Waiting for the Wind.
So today - TWO sessions under our belts. Both at Yarra Bay. Sunrise and sunset with a day int he office wedged between.
For ever I've not blogged kite sessions at Yarra or XYZ or ABC and the five other spots around Sydney we treat ourselves to mid week at 5:30am when the great unwashed are not round. Why not? For fear of the masses who don't explore, don't go looking, only go to places they see kites, ruining it for all of us!! Selfish hey
But today at Fishermans and Yarra all the secrecy ends - and with it the job, then the mortgage and house, and I suppose the wife and the kids .... The wind was ON, I was gonna have to swap hours of work toil in the evenings and weekends for an hour late to work and get some of these green arrows under my belt
We kited ... totally stoked .. me and my other "wife" Cole!
Well we got caught out .... no - (Mitch and the other doubters) not me & Nick!! But the Sydney Morning Herald were there snapping our kite antics, unbeknown (is that a word) to us - and are going to publish tomorrow - so I can well imagine the questions in work on Monday! But they don't have my name, just Coley's.
Westerley 20++kts first thing ... don;t tell anyone... parking 2 feet from the sand, warm water but howling wind in our playground
And souwesterley last thing - AMAZING waves crashing over the rock groin - loads of air, little moves on the waves
Saturday was hard to call, the forecast for a very light southerly early came true early and unfortunately kept the promised noreaster at bay most of the day. We played around at a beautiful spot though - just at the tip of "Penis Point" [you gotta see it on google maps, Map view, to see what we mean]. Light breeze and perfect shallow tranquil water for practicing water relaunch, deep water packdown and self rescue - - and some body dragging for the newbies. Good to get that stuff outta the way before we get the real winds. Tried for a late dash to the ocean side to catch some noreast knots before dark but to no avail. Classic - running up the dunes, like a movie, everyone rushing, then, at the top. Stop. No wind. Amble back down - to the great house - and the lamb chops, snags and pasta salad - washed down with plenty of red and a game of Articulate.
And of course the moment Neil lost my camera - what! Yep - in the water, loosly attached, he legged it to help Joris and lost the Pentax in the shallows. Waterproof but still no where to be seen. Fortunately for all of us the local swimmer had more patience and nouse than us lot put together and went a good 300m south following the cross current and found it! Phew, Neil looked like he was gonna kiss the man. Nick taught Thomas out the back. Next stage was water starts and the shore break was not suitable, so Divine style, we got the crew to agree to a SUPER FAST pack down and jump in the van and head to our flatwater shallow noreaster spot in the Swansea Channel.
You can get out here for an early afternoon session on the ferry from Cairns, well worth it if you're in this part of the world. Some coral to watch for in low tide but plenty of seagrass areas as well for less sharp landings. Also a nice little bit of reef break on the farthest south-east corner and a little one on the west not too far from the jetty too.
Cuspy and I took the van down south to scope out some new spots. Here's what the birthday boy had to say: Day 1 started at Tabourlie lake. Lovely spot. Nice for families. Perfect for N or S if windy. We got about 12 knots directly onshore. Enough to muck about in but not enough to have fun in and too much like hard work. [Not enough for big boy, but aplenty for me, just south of the rocks to the south of the sand bar was butter flat and nicely powered on my 12m - Cuspy also tried straplesss briefly and shocked us all with his immediate talent! Ed!]
Checked the arrows and at 3pm we made the call to drive north. 90 mins to Shoalhaven Heads. Place was full of kiters when we arrived. Good sign. Flat water spot too low, so into the waves we went. 20 knots and building. Kited til sundown. Epic. Twin tip, surfboard, strapless. We tried all 3. Few nice toeside runs under the barrel...
Finished with a steak and a beer at the local 'bogun house' and prayers for wind for the next day.
Back to me: Day 2 on this little kitetrip was classic old school "Waiting for the Wind", all day to kite, van full of gear, green arrows on the forecast, but came to nowt, then glimmers of hope, the occasional tantalising yellow, culminating in the odd fluttering tree leaf. But managed to explore many beaches from Seven Mile up to Minnamurra, and all the "bogan" towns along the way (the snobbery is all Cuspy!). Then squeezed some rock & roll into the day with a last-minute dash to the cable park out at Penrith. My first time and will be back for more. Not a patch on kitesurfing but fun nonetheless and great for a day when the main plans might get blown out (pardon the pun). As for Australia, loving it right now, exploring around and about, kiting being the catalyst to check out new towns and beaches and hanging out with mates all over and the fam in Bondi.
Green Island, south coast NSW ... Wow. Just cycled back in torrential rain, wetsuited, my new Nobile 131cm T5 board on the milkcrate on the bike, my 12m Switchblade on my back ...
What a beautiful session. I was plotting to go out in the 15kt ish rainy cloudy humid noreaster at Washerwomans Beach at Bendalong (a stroll from our campsite), while the fam were having their naps.
But fortunately got chatting to a surfer who said the best spot in a noreaster is Cunjurong Pt, on the spit out to Green Island, he's seen a kiter there before, and it's good right now.
Couldn't drive as the kids + the missus were sleeping in the van
So loaded up the bike with the gear and cycled over
What a spot, the downwind side, crossshore across the bay, so offshore off the spit ... waves peeling perfectly into offshore breeze as they wrapped around the island
Just divine, loved the new board, loved the new kite, had some beautiful pure-vertical air off some vertical faces of waves
Such a crazy playground - the direction of the swell kept changing so the waves were wrapping around small big, then the amount of water coming over the spit was changing things too
Really loved chasing the waves around, surfing them in, doing toeside bottom turns at the shore, powering back into the oncoming surf or breaking wave
Two hours of that and I was starting to get a bit delirious, and the rain started hammering down, so I packed-up, no point in putting dry clothes on so wetsuited back to the fam on the bike.
Yep, what a great spot. I had it totally to myself too, the three surfers were leaving when I arrived, just the occasional dogwalker
Just back from another awesome Divine Kiting weekend with four students and the heroic teaching of Nick & myself. Very long day Saturday at our secret shallow flatwater spot down south, just perfect for teaching. Nice wind too, noreaster. Sunday morning a bit sketchy on the wind front, so we went wind hunting and found PLENTY at Windang.
Great team, awards this time were:
Yesterday's little session on Botany: "wow, afternoons like that MAKE living in Sydney ... 3.5hrs kiting on Botany Bay on my own little adventure in 25kts, by surfboard from Dolls to Towra (my private beach by day!) to play about in flat shallows, then an epic upwinder to Hollywood - then borrowed Priya's twintip (thx!) for an hour jumping and crashing, then a kitelooping downwinder into the sunset across the bay alone to land to the last guy on the beach! ALIVE
Defintely adds to it knowing everyone else is in work!
Three Dutchies down there at 1st Groin for 20ish kts soueaster. Landing frontloops magically.
Taught three hour lesson last week - totally heroic - my teaching that is - I got this total novice body-dragging upwind and on the board planing in one direction after just that one session.
|From Kitesurf lesson Gerard at Hollywood St (Alex)|
Got to demo the Nomad 9m today ... 20-25kts gusty/bounding around, so going from underpowered to just about right.
Nomad review: I hated the old IDS but the new one gets my thumbs up, they've put the flagging line through a sleeve so it doesn't wear-out through the bar. And the stopper is now adjustable rather than the old fixed one. relaunched off the water fine. Only issue I had was it turned inside out after a wipeout landing with the lines slack. My old Cabrinhaa rvolver never turned inside out no matter what I did to it. Nomad turns very fast, got some reasonable lift off it as well.
But firstly - gotta love Kurnell - such a great spot, quite flat yesterday close to shore, sun shining, beautiful colours from the west as the sun set, small crowd down there midweek for the a westerly. Two hour sess.
[Pic: From the verandah. really recommend this place to stay wit family to kite. comes with housekeeper, 3 en-suite doubles, and its in the less of the wind, you launch a 4 min walk away]
I have the strange sensation today of being glad the wind is not there so it means I can sit on our verandah and enjoy the afternoon with my little girl, take her swimming and catch up on emails and start my John Steinbeck book – from the limited English language section at the Kuxville library.
Here's the house 'Alain' at Kuxville
Beautiful session, went out alone but was soon joined by young David and his mates
There’s a beautiful little flat water spot which comes good at half-high tide, in the lee of a tiny rock island
First proper landing of a forward roll, NICE
Played around for an hour or so crashing over & over, doing backloop transitions and forward loops. Going to the left – my usual preferred direction – I find it harder to land the front loops.
After all tat I made a big upwind run out to two kites on the reef to join them on some waves for a bit. Quite exhausted by the end. Sweet run home to a chaotic self-land at the little beach out of the wind.
Smooth flatwater & reef break
Nico Kux lent me his directional – I have one back in Sydney but have rarely used it. So I took it for a spin, pretty big and unwieldy compared to the F-One fish (5”2’) I tried in Le Morne. I played on the edges of the reef break where the crew were – Daniel, Cameron etc – then went to the Anse La Raie lagoon to mess about with gybing. Or try it for the first time. Manged quite easily to get either foot out. And to turn to toes side with rear foot out. The hard part is the wriggle-round which I didn't manage to pull off.
Kuxville, 6”6” directional, 11m Rev2, chop, skirting the reef break, lagoon
[Pic: Flag at Kuxville]
Launched at the point 5mins walk clockwise from Kuxville
Wasn’t really sure of the territory so went on a big upwinder to get my bearings and check out the depth of the water/coral/reefs etc
Then all of a sudden I had a moment of clarity – recognised where I was – aha, I had kited up to where we finished the Kiteival, and did the course racing – so back to the upwinds. Amazing how that made me much more confident straight away – knowing I’d kited here with the crew before, it was all safe, I wasn’t somewhere where there was hidden dangers etc
Nice little spot too, with the rock islands
Was perfectly powered at the beginning of my session, but past 2:30pm wind picked-up too nicely for my 11m and spent the rest of the sess over-powered. So played around in the lagoon with crappy tricks, mostly practicing powering up pops to give me pure veritical lift – I’m thinking this will help me manage the psychological pregoression from back loops to front loops?
Half way thru went in for a strugglesome land at the public beach where most of the kiters kit-up to change the kite settings, clutching at straws to get a bit less power. Slightly tricky landing, quick swap of the attachment points, and back-up. In the meantime, someboy fed is lines thu mine so the launch was tortured wile he sorted is sh1t out. Then back on the water for more of the same.
In the end decided to finish my session here, rather pathetically I was nervous of hammering it round the corner overpowered into te back of Kuxville. Landing at Anse La Raie was chaotic again with the wind gusting, so ended up dropping the kite and letting it release onto the flagging line, then some guy grabbed it. Nice little walk home from there.
Twintip, 11m Rev2
View Kitesurfing spots - Alex on Tour09, inc Mauritius Kiteival in a larger map
Went for a solo mission at Palmer public beach. Could've kited directly in front of this hotel on that beautiful sand bar out front but sought the company of others for launching & landing a short clockwise stroll from the hotel.
Started off in 11m, got some tips on front loops form a bystander but had no success.
Wind picked-up so tried 7m but was all over the place with it. Bit unsatisfactory all-up but good to get out nevertheless. Nice walk through the lane/vegetable patches back tot he hotel.
Did I mention the awards ceremony last night - for Kiteival. Daniel Kux swept the board getting Freestyle, Course and Wave Expression. And then to mine - and literally everyone else's surprise - I took the speed kiting. I managed to get 65kmph speed with most of the others getting around 58-59-60kmp. Crazy hey!
View Kitesurfing spots - Alex on Tour09, inc Mauritius Kiteival in a larger map
I’m sitting looking at the ocean at the open air breakfast restaurant, two eggs just perfectly cooked in front of me and two pancakes the same – they even had Nutella. And my coffee came with hot milk.
I woke up this morning with abs. Honestly – I caught a glimpse in the mirror when I got out the shower. First time ever I think.
And a hangover – I left them on the dance floor at Banana Bar at 3am - my driver was awaiting outside!!
You need to spend a lot of money get the high I was on yesterday – someone last night described it as a typical runner’s high.
Somethings that fuzzily are coming back to me - Nico saying something about me taking a year off his life when I went down in the reef - thx Cam for getting that kite back in the air so neatly rather than leaving me int he channel with the big animals.
It hurts to clench my fists, I've had some good exercise the last week or so. Here's some wipeout pix in the reefbreak
[Pic: Start line for course race]
Oh my god
What a day
That was the best kiting hour I’ve ever had – somewhere on the downwind section from Roches Noires to Anse La Raie – so stunningly serene, sun shining, carving trough the surf along the reef break for miles and miles, with the crowd
Great bunch of riders, totally friendly no bullshit attitude, helpful
What an amazing event – well done Nico and the team!
The course event this afternoon was something else – already knackered from the morning and four days of endurance kiting, we finished with two courses – in the Anse La Raie lagoon – ie kite out to the buoy, then upwind to another buoy, then back in through some rocky islands to the shore, and round to the first buoy again and back.
Sketchy wind made the start line hilarious – with kites dropping like bombs. Fortunately was shallow and sand so people kept it together with no crossed lines. Then – off. The (horn)), I managed to beh at the back of the pack before we’d even left the shore line practically, and stayed there til the end of race one.
For the second race my mission was to not finish last! I succeeded, coming second last! Managed to get a better position for the start – in fact I was running second to the first buoy – then lost all my ground over the big upwind section
Legs just running short of juice. Nothing in them
Totally high when we finished. Very like an very expensive high. Like the feeling I had when I completed the marathon. Music blaring. Almost weepy from exhaustion and delight. Kiteival rocks.
Off to got some of the harder stuff than sunstroke now
View Alex's kitesurfing spots (Tour09, Kiteival) in a larger map
[Pic: My highish jump manoeuvre!]
Smoothest easiest downwinder we’ve done – and shortest. Wind was UP, so I took the 7m for a spin (using the 11m bar having cannibalised the 7m bar after last week’s kitemares) – new for me riding properly on such a small kite – took a bit of getting used to how quickly it moved, and playing with my posture – obviously a lot less forgiving than a big kite. Fun though, and quick for turns. Messed about in the reef break all the way downwind from near Palmer to Pointe Lafeyette
Really nice smooth water on te shore side of the breaks
Exciting finish to the downwinder with a big Red Bull tent and music pumping in anticipation of the freestlye comp later-on
And then lunch
And then 8 of the 13 riders put their names into to the two heats for the freestyle. I was in heat two, so plenty of time to plagiarise the other riders best moves. Yeah right!
I was planning the baby arm bands/pants-off routine as the only way to make my mark on this comp. But I had sudden bowel urges before my heat so ran out of time to get my costume prepared. Wind dropped a little so Thilot let me use his 9.5m Best Kahoona. Which was perfect. 15 minutes to strut my stuff in front of Cameron & Brad – the judges (and of course Kate and the other riders and the crowd and the local press and the locals).
Well, I did manage my biggest air yet (highest jumps) – some of which I actually landed. And I pulled off one double backloop that I landed. And lots of crash and burn stuff. There’s half a chance I will come 7th rather than 8th but I’m not holding my breath til the results on Saturday!
On the 2hr bus journey now from Tamassa again to Roche Noires. This is an amazing event – all the kiting stuff – even the wind, the safety, the guys, Nico has been awesome. The logistics from Tamassa is a bit silly though – Tamassa was more about promoting that hotel I suppose rather than begin well located. Doing 3-4hrs in the bus daily – though we have got to get a good view of the islands windy suger-cane lined roads
View Alex's kitesurfing spots (Tour09, Kiteival) in a larger map
[Pic: Aerial of the Pointe d'Esny sailing club]
Tim Tams, Snickers water and beers in quick succession ...
Very big day – felt like an endurance thing. Nico got rare permisson to launch from the sailing club at Pointe d’Esny. Wind was howling til we set going (11m), then a huge upwinder to get out of the bay – Brad (South African/long scrabbly hair/great kiter) and I got stuck in a hole, with the current around the island dragging us up the river mouth downwind. A gargantuan effort and the longest single direction run of my life eventually got us out of there – my leg was shaking as we eventually got to the reef break!
Then messing about in the flat water while some of the others who'd made it out as far as the sand bar played around there.
Then downwind to our island golf course for lunch – totally exhausted and freezing cold – one of our packing measure for this big trip was to skimp on the wetsuit. Everyone else sung in their shorties, I was in a 1mm radiator top! Thanks to Nana for the hoodie! Anyway eventually got our stamina reset to go intot he sopeed racing comp.
The idea was to wear one of four GPS watches in the flat part of the lagoon, for 15mins, and the winner is the one who achieves a maximum time over 15 secs. Nice ting being you can try out different runs and techniques during your time and it doesn’t matter. So long as you get one decent score. Results not til Saturday. I got one really good run that ended (after 15 secs) in a massive wipeout in 1 foot of coral-bottomed water. LUCKY
View Alex's kitesurfing spots (Tour09, Kiteival) in a larger map
Of course the speed course was a massive upwinder from the island.
Then finished the day with a punishing downwinder to Trou d’Eau Douce (near Hotel Tropical) then Tim Tams Snickers water and beers in quick succession.
Wow – that was exhausting
What I must mention is that my health is deteriorating day by day. Starting off with tickly cough I’ve moved into phlegmy cough, and then sinus blocked – and lots of achiness that I’m not sure whether to attribute to the kiting or the cold. (swine flu!!??)
Big bus ride back to Tamassa Hotel, late feed and BED
[Pix: Buffet at Tamassa; The pool]
Sunday seems to be respected on this island which suits me fine.
God I need it – obviously some of the kiters – Thisot, Cameron etc have gone back to Le Morne – Nico didn’t kite yesterday so is keen to get out there, and Cameron needs some waves footage – I’m familiying today and giving my body a rest. Smoked loads ciggies last night which was dumb as really feeling it today.
Food here at Tamassa is great – either buffet or menu/a la carte thing – great qual food, nice hot curries, perfect breads/croissants, fresh omelettes, things cooked for you in front of you
[Pic: The start line at Tamassa, Bel Ombre]
This is the Mauritius Kiteival - the 2nd time Nico Kux & Albert have held the event. It's part of the reason we came out to Mauritius for the 3 or 4 weeks we will be here ... this is the first day ...
Kited out from Tamassa hotel on a approx 10km downwinder to the lagoon at Le Morne. Cameron Dietrich, Cabrinha team-rider gives the thing some kudos. Safety boat followed us.
Beautiful flat shallow water out side the hotel, but a bit of coral - - I started feeling it in my legs fairly quickly – this being my 6th kiting day on the row after a break for a few months - - Started off just keeping with the crowd, then got into playing with toe side, and half way along I’d nailed right toe side which had always been problematic for me
Got lots and lots of jumps in – in fact I had to - - jumping was a good way to keep getting downwind – the whole downwinder concept is great and gives you time to play with moves
View Alex's kitesurfing spots (Tour09, Kiteival) in a larger map
IDEA: –Run these in Sydney/NSW – charge people a fee for the transport and really for the boat support? Need to get a boat guy involved. That Green Island to Yorkey's Knob downwinder is still unfinished business. rich should be able to get a boatman to track us.
The big rock at Baie du Cap was where they had the cameras/video based to picture us – extremely choppy around there though. Some waves to play in too just a bit upwind of that spot.
Then got to the upwind part of the Le Morne lagoon – just divine – beautiful turquoise water with sand below, perfect for my playing with backloop transitions.
Revelation: POWER THE BLOODY KITE UP when doing tricks!! Makes a huge difference!! Obvious, I suppose.
The wind was perfect for the 11m all the way
Sebastian kept up the rear moving the stragglers along to keep the group together
Then lunch at the café at Les Pavilions – got on the back of a Ute to get there which added to the excitement – wind blowing through the hair along a bumpy coconut tree lined road makes you feel like your on a tropical holiday!
Ludo had a GPS on his mobile phone – it took us 35km to ride the 10ish km
Day 1 afternoon – WAVES EXPRESSION SESSION
Nico orgniasd for a watchtower to be rigged up on the edge of the reef –Cameron, Nico , Brad and AN Other boated out to it – and raised a red flag – after an hour the flag was dropped.
In the meantime the aim was to strut our stuff in the wavers, or have fun, or generally fk about in my case. Eight of the group had a go – clearly some of the guys were really good, I was probably the weakest – but as I told myself – not as weak as the half of the group who didn’t try at all!
I was twintipped and just loving my kite mucking about in the big waves, jumping over the white water, ramping off smaller waves, and ramping off the swell - - big confidence building session
Retired back to base at 5ish – back upwind to the lagoon – that had been the best wind in the 6 days I've been kiting here
Made it to dinner early and to the bar with Cam – who was full of lots of tips of places to go that might fit into our vague schedule: Summary: Portugal & Sardinia for all round experience – people/kiting/food – seems like he'd had a poor experience in France, and loved Cornwall and its drinking – raves about Namoua(sp?) in Fiji and the other one beginning with T – private resort islands, great to kite – and of course Cabarete. Tarifa uncomfortably crowded and regulated. Has been on Odyssey (I’ve been contemplating that for a few years , and was emailing Gavin just a couple of months ago about joining up for 2010 – I think I need to get Jon to join me on it) – and totally rates it and Gavin. Knows Moe and Ben and knew of that New Cal trip I went on a few years back. Has links with some place in Peru/yoga resort/kiting which sounds great.
Bit ho-hum today
We’re no longer staying at Indian Resort, but had a car for a day at the new place – Tamassa Hotel – so I went back to Le Morne again – going to the public beach to launch
Only been out ten mins when I got asked to assist a struggling windsurfer – he couldn’t get up and was outside the reef – before I managed to get him to hold on, a big wave smashed on him – and broke is board in half! ... Big struggle to drag him in – must be a better way but we tried him holding the back of my harness ( I have no handle but used the leash instead) – and holding his kit – very slow, but got him to shallower waters, then is mate took is board I left him to walk his sail in
Then I went out to the BACK again – way out into the ocean – further than anyone else – quite exciting out there, say 2-3kms offshore
Played on the edges of the massive waves out there again, nothing too crazy
Then back to the lagoon, but started flagging and the wind dropped off a bit, so called it a day early
Just about to meet up with Albert, Nico etc for the intro to the Kiteival!
[Pic: view from our room at the Indian Resort & Spa, Le Morne]
I can confirm that this is the kiting I was dreaming of
Two sessions today with a baguette and 5 almond slices in between
First one: twintip messed around in the small waves then saw the big boys heading out to a wave far in the distance. Didn’t feel brave enough to follow them, but ended up getting gradually close til I thought bugger it and made the trip out. WAY out there.
WOW – HUGE waves breaking perfectly. I was too shit-scared to get into the middle but played nicely round the edges. Though found it really hard to keep my bearings as each set broke differently – the whole thing only lasted half an hour or so then they were gone – maybe something to do with the tide or the wind direction, not sure. Anyway quite spectacular and nudged my confidence up a notch for having braved it.
Muscle memory starting to form today
Session two: I was waiting for one of the F-One guys to launch so I could go. And thought "bugger it" – may as well be cheeky: Been keen to get on a surfboard – more than half the guys are on them with it being mostly about waves, and presumably there might be wavey type stuff in the Kiteival. There was a second hand one for sale at the Club Mistral for €250 but to be honest didn’t want to deal with the miserable cow at the desk (sort of doctors receptions type of gatekeeper). And not sure about lugging one around etc.
Anyway asked the F-One board designer if I could try one of his prototypes. He wasn’t keen but said I could have one of the production boards the other guys were using. So I trotted off and borrowed a 5’2” “fish” sort of shaped thing/ ANYWAY--- amazing. Loved it on that thing. Played in the small stuff, then made it upwind to the lagoon. One of the most fun sessions I’ve had – wind just PERFECT for the 11m. Lagoon was flatish. Tried turns, one foot unstrapped. Toeside both ways – totally smooth going left, but still crappy gong right. Then migrated to strapless. And turns strapless. And little ops. And little hops with one foot strapped. And even tiny hops wit no straps!!
Got back an hour late for Kate – I just couldn’t let that wind and that board go to waste. Totally buzzing.