Kiting 2005 #6 (Sun 30 Jan): Sunday was kiteday. And in Sydney the wind was up. Me & ProtoCole on the strings. Kate in the van on the zoom lens. Went to Dolls Point for a bit of south to south-easterly 15 knots.
First up was PC - with a great performance for the paparazzi, putting all scepticism to rest, and resulting in the offer of a fine cuppa in reward. PC was in the water, smooth, easy launch, body drag out 100m, straight on the board and off. Turns. Sleek turns. Some cool manoeuvres swinging the kite overhead and skidding the board around. Excellent stuff. He's making good progress very fast.
Then there was me. Of course, in the true ways of the kite, the wind dropped a spot. But I shouldn't really be making excuses. The wind was good enough. Just I wasn't. I piddled around getting on the board. Falling off the board. On. Off. On. Off. Sinking the board. But not doing anything remotely photogenic. Ended up half a mile down the beach and no decent results. I'd say it was good practice though. And there was some movement made. The problem - again - is that I'm too chicken to go directly downwind and still tack sideways - not getting enough momentum. There was one moment when I went left (shoreward) rather than my usual right. And did get a decent amount of momentum, speed and thrill.
So Proto let me go again. He's clearly worried that I may lose interest if he gets too much better than me. No need to fear. So I went again. Scrappy session. And yet more blog-worthy antics...
The kite dropped, and I tried to relaunch. Having reasonable success but then decided that too close to the groin. So I started swinging it round toward the sea. The kite ended up downwind of a buoy, with the kite lines either side of it. The kite's on its back and pulling me toward the buoy. Calm. Control. I tried to get the kite to go right and the lines to lift over the buoy. No chance. We already know how fond they are of tangling amongst themselves...given the opportunity to tangle with a floating ball on a chain they jumped at it.
So the kite continued to pull downwind, dragging the buoy deep into the murky sharkpit of Botany Bay. And starting to take me down with it. So I very calmly pulled the safety and let the bar go down. Somehow the leash wriggled off me as I flailed around in the water, and the whole lot sunk. Bugger.
Well it's times like these that kitesurfing really comes into its own.
Or at least the limited buoyancy of the board does. There was no way I was diving down into that tangles murky seaweedy dark mess to retrieve my bar. So I started swimming toward the kite. Going through the should-I-leave-it question in my head. Well not possible really as all that string if it didn't kill me would certainly get tangled up in the next surfer kitesurfer or great white and I don't want that on my conscience.
Then I noticed International Rescue. Proto was front crawling toward me with a look of confusion on his face. I motioned for him to undo the kite. Which after a bit of a struggle he did - then he took it to shore.
So without the tension on the lines from the kite, the buoy bobbed up to the surface as did the bar. So it's a short swim to the bar and start winding in. I was slightly panicky that I'd get tangled in all the now-loose lines. String everywhere - around me and below me. So I started winding in. Fk how long it'll take at the other end, I wound and tied and tied stupid knots and wound for bloody ages till the whole lot was back on the bar and unhooked from the buoy. Then off to shore.
Now I forgot to mention that just after ProtoCole got to the kite the suburban-family-in-canoe went past. I pointed them away from us (tangle hazard) and they looked at us very strangely and carried on.
Well. Now they're coming towards me. Just after it's all done. All the hard work, they come toward me and ask me if I'd like to put the lines & board in their boat. I couldn't be arsed unleashing the board which was dragging behind me, but swimming with the bar in my hand was irritating so I chucked that to the kid, who got screamed at by father when he picked it out the water. odd. But never mind, at least swimming to shore will be slightly easier.
The point of that little tale is that Proto then told me (before I'd got my breath back) that he'd asked them to go and assist and they'd refused. So he said something cocky like "well we'll just leave him to drown then" so they said "ok, but he's not getting in the boat". Bstrds.
So shore I was at. Back to van. Cuppa tea. Untangle. Proto back out on the water. More cool manoeuvres from the lad, though wind dying now. Lots of good recoveries of the kite. Then my turn - naked (well, wetsuit-less) - but wind was shite by now. So back to van. Cuppa. And offski. Another great day in the sea.