Kitesurfing #27 - Confronting the surf (Sat 15 Apr, Boat Harbour)

[Pic: Pulpit Rock - Friday's walk, Photographer unknown] 

A 6.28 am wake-up call on Hat Hill Rd in the Blue Mountains. The word from my man on the ground in Sydney, was that the arrows were already green and we should get our arses down to the sea asap. By 6.33 am we were on the road, the wife still asleep in the back of the campervan. By 7.33 am I was trying to charm a local officer of the law to let me get on my way, and 'yes - I will observe the speed limits for the rest of my journey'. It was comedy in retrospect. The copper said he saw me "hooning" through Blaxland from the other side of the road. He turned round and pursued me and was expecting me to scream off at the next set of lights. But from the third lane to the right I had spotted Maccas so waited for all the cars to go before crossing three lanes to get our skim flat whites and bacon egg McMuffins. Then I saw the lights behind me flashing. "quick lie flat, hide under the covers". Fortunately I was ignored and my pyjama-ed wife leapt into the front seat instead and hastily belted up.

The confused copper enquired as to whether I'd been drinking. Last night had been an early one so the breathaliser reading was nil. I didn't mention the race for the wind and the fair reasonable honest copper let us on our merry way with a mere ticking off.

[Pic below of Cronulla beach, Photographer unknown] A military-esque mission saw me and Cuspy at Boat Harbour (the 4x4 access on the east of Cronulla Beach) while the wind was still up. We hedged our bets and set up the 12 Switchblade and 16 Crossbow. The only kite (9m) on the beach came in as Cuspy went out. We got chatting - that was a mistake - he told me about the 5 ft hammerhead he'd just been out in the water with.

The brave boys that we are. We rationalised that there are sharks there all the time. Just because someone saw one shouldn't make it any more or less dangerous. So I took the helm and enjoyed some really great wind. What a fantastic day, we both got out 4 or 5 times. It was hard at first battling with the surf. We're more used to the flat waters of Botany Bay. The wide open ocean, the surf, the space, and of course the sharks, made today's session an invigorating and totally knackering experience. [Pic of Friendly-looking hammerhead. Any resemblance to Saturday's sharkie is purely coincidental, Photographer unknown]

The wind came more up and down, more gusty. But we both showed good improvements, I had my best session ever, did the occasional decent upwind run, got used to bending my knees as I hurtled over the waves.

Of course kiting wouldn't be kiting without an incident to report. Today's was minor - in the midst of a beautiful run I had a small wipe-out in the shark feeding zone at the back of the surf. No problem, should be easy to get going again. But then the board got bashed around in the waves, swung around the front of me and made a bee-line for the harness and triggered the quick release. The kite fell out the sky and I was faced with a long, exhausting and daunting swim back to shore.

Like a man riding a horse and cart long after the advent of the motorcar, JK came with us to battle with his windsurf. The polesurfer wasn't faring well in today's inconsistent wind and surf. So I let him test-drive the Maclaren F1. It was exhilarating even for the bodydragging co-driver. I hung on the back and let JK throw the 12m around and to lift 150kg into the air.

All in all a top day at the beach.