Kiting #5: Sunday's outing was Frankton

Kiting #5: Sunday's outing was FRANKTON, just a few km from QUEENSTOWN on LAKE WAKATIPU. And scary it was too. The wind was onshore, but fairly strong. As yet I'm still no good at judging what a strong and not so strong wind is. So bugger it, I set up and went for it. By the time I'd finished inflating the kite, untangling the strings and dipping my toes into the incredibly cold water; it had started to rain and was a little gusty. But having been disappointed by Lake Wanaka, the water here was shallow enough for a beginner, albeit a little choppy.

The location is a 1-2m strip of gravel on the edge of the lake, just under the flight path from the runway at the local airport, with a grassy bank leading at 30 degrees up about 20m to a park before houses.

View from top of the hill

So I dragged K out of the car and she bravely assisted in the launch. It was unsuccessful. So she tentatively got her ankles wet. Still no good! Then a launch, but straight into the tree to my right - but under control, I pulled it free, and we tried again. Now it got more exciting - my lovely assistant dropped her top, hitched up her sarong and went for it. Getting waist deep in the water we launched again. But now I'm getting further out and am just on tiptoes. So we launch again - straight into the tree. OK. New strategy: move away from tree! She gets in the water properly and the kite's up - straight to 12 o'clock. No probs - but I'm hanging out of the water - this wind is a little strong for my 12m kite I think. Shit. How am I gonna get it down. So I tentatively swing her to the right - and I'M OFF - SHIT. Heading toward the shore, I swing her to the left, but no use. I'm choking on water and we're well out of control, the gravel beach hurtling towards me. Bollocks. I try to depower the kite but can't see what the fk is going on. OK, nothing for it. I pull the cord you're never to pull, and the kite detaches from me. I look up to see the kite flying into the grassy bank…….and a white bra and knickers running up the bank after it. I run out the water, then come to a stop as I realise the board is attached to me still. Struggling to release the leash, I hear shouts of "I've got it".


No cars with kite wrapped round the front windscreen. No planes taking of with kite wrapped round the front windscreen.

So I've worked out wind conditions I really shouldn't fly the kite in!