I did my back in - just before my bro was in town for a day - I'd promised kiting so we had to do it - I was reduced to cameraman for the day. Got a cupla good 'uns of Coley, and Daz.

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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)

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Back on it - southerly, 20kts +, on the 11m slightly overpowered. VERY choppy.

"MADE MY MONTH" was Coley's comment afterwards! Sweet

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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.









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Back a week and already three sessions at our favourite "top secret" souwester spot. 1st sess was like the old times - ie Where did the wind go the minute we arrived? Etc. Classic. I ended up on the rocks just north of the sailing club when the wind dropped to zero on my final run back to the beach. Packed-up. Worst fish & chips in Sydney later and the wind was back - actually got a good session after that.

Then we went back for the BIG wind day. Seabreeze said it had been gusting to 70+kts, but "only" mid 40's when we were out. We took it in turns on my 7m rev - Coley ended our session by breaking one of my steering lines and humbly getting dragged back to shore - fortunately no whale watching today!

And a perfect hat-trick ... third day we parked at the sailing club and launched downwind of the big rock groin - a few obstacles today with pipe-laying in operation but we kept clear with no issues. Coley's 9m SB3's de-power strap snapped so he had to retire it for the day being too strong to stay fully powered. I suggested 7mins each/competition style - get all your moves in front of the other one, then swapping. worked well - will do this again for sure. So obviously I let him have a go on the 7m again - using borrowed lines (thx Rich) - and guess what - crash/pull wrong side of bar/kite smashes to other side of window and he blew one of the nipples off the one-pump valves. Great. Back to the 9m to conclude the "comp". I think I won - with front 7 back loops both ways and backloop transitions and totally gay railey and even gayer board fumble.

Thanks god there's no wind given lack of operating equipment!

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Hour session in 7m weather hanging on for dear life, VERY VERY choppy, different conditions for me with waves coming from all over the place and very variable. Sun came out just as I stopped and got this snap! Tidal spot. Loads of space. Safe for beginners I'd say given the space and lack of other users. But clearly choppy so maybe difficult.

Thanks to the Kinmel Bay Kitesurf school, based right at this spot - for the 5 quid loan of a wettie and the launch & land!

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[Pic: Just found this nice little wave jump one from the Kiteival Camrig pix of a few days ago]

Tides make a huge difference at Kuxville. Went out yesterday - final day in Mauritius - in some strong winds. Was flat when I left, then had a minimare, then when I got back out again it was full choppy, then an our later it was perfect flatwater upwind of the little island. PERFECT for perfecting those bloody front loops! Managed to land quite a few in the end. It's obvious and funny with all these things, once you've grapsed it you've no idea why it was so hard before!

Anyway the minimare: Just as drift launching, I lost my board in the current running downwind. This i not a problem normally, but here it was close to the shore and thus in the lee of the wind. So every time I bodydragged close, the kite started dropping. So I was following it along downwind, downstream, trying to get close enough to the bugger. In the end I dropped my kite too close to some rocks, and it was mission aborted. No harm done. Except a few more coral cuts on my feet and a nice bruise on my knee.

Well worth paying that little price for the two ours I had on the water before heading to the airport for what was 24hrs of journeying - taxi/plane/transfer Paris/plane/aborted Heathrow Express/taxi/fast train to Chester/pick-up. Last half of that with just me & the toddler, and seven bags! Enjoy Brighton mummy!

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Had a look at the Advance Progression DVD yesterday, and today there was a spot of wind at last. So tried out the unhooked thing - essentially just steering off downwind, unhooking, hanging-on, then steering downwind again to hook back in. Why I've not been doing this before? Well cos I never watch the DVDs - why AM I trying to reinvent the wheel. I got the best two ours of the day out there, which was still marginal, I came in when the tide got very low and a trapped fin on the coral ended up bloody. Just two others out today. Forecast good for tomorrow.

And now thinking of heading to this Beauduc place in south of France in a week or two

Pic is from the other day, waiting for the drift launch in VERY light winds to kick-in

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[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

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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.
Sweet session.

Kuxville
Twintip
2.5hrs
Smooth flatwater & reef break

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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

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[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.

Kuxville
Twintip, 11m Rev2


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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!




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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

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[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


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[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

FREESTYLE COMP

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

Loving Kiteival

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[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


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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

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[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

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[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
Very exciting
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


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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 cafĂ© 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.

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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!

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[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.

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[Pic: The flat water lagoon just before sunset after the wind dropped]

Alain saved the day for me – after writing yesterday I realised my kite was ripped right across, parallel to the central strut – Matthew Rescuer from (the very friendly!) Club Mistral dropped it off with him on the way home, and it was ready for collection by 11:30 today! 400 rupees for petrol and it was back in my hands, plus an expensive repair at 3000 rupees (€80) – but looks like he did a decent job, patched and stitched both sides, matching colour, and guarantees that if it breaks again at the point he’ll do it again for free.

The other issue of course was the bloody bar/chickenloop etc

To recap-
The central rope/chickenloop snapped – a fundamental problem with Slingshot kites – they wear out. Oddly though it snapped and the whole kite disappeared into the waves, with the flagging line (the crappy bungee cord) snapping too as it shot off into the distance. So I lost a few bits too – the cruisecontrol/stopper thing. Fortunately I have a slingshot 7m bar as well so cannibalised that. Real struggle to get the chickenloop rope detached from the plastic loop – there’s a bearing in there that gets wedged. Anyway hacked off the remains of the rope and jammed it out. Still struggled to get the remnants of the rope out of the polo-mint centre of the bearing. Alain found a hammer and got that done for me.

Upshot is, by the time the wind was up again today, I had got a fked kite and fked bar/lines back in working order so didn’t miss a beat!

Had a two hour session, first half playing around in the waves again – smaller than yesterday, less chaotic out there and seemingly less kites/poledancers.

Trying to find that muscle memory again – it’s coming back. To coin Nick’s “man & machine” – well I’m not quite there again yet – but another couple of days like this and I’m bound to be.

Second half was on the lagoon. I tested the bottom on a number of occasions and can confirm it is soft.

Now managing to land backloop transitions 90% of the time in both directions, with a bit of a kiteloop – not sure if that’s the right way, but seems to work.

Played with frontloops but need to look up technique again as totally screwing them up.

Also playing with toeside to the right which I’ve always been sketchy with

Toes side left is totally “dialled in”!

Contemplating renting/borrowing/buying a surfboard tomorrow to play with that.

The F-One team next to us a re friendly – they're here for 2 weeks testing next season's kit and getting promo vids/shots. Had a chat with the kite designer – gave me a recommendation to go in France – Beaudoc. Tarifa too manic.

Body still buzzing!

Family getting into it – babysitting at €8/hr helps


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[Pic: Kite ripped in half and the chickenloop and bungee snapped]
Copied from my handwritten scrawls over coffee


This was one of those days you sort of gotta have but good to get over with and move on unscathed…
Lost a screw from a fin in the 1st session, came back and realised all screws everywhere were loose! Fortunately had some spares with me – one of the things I did prepare well – I brought loads of patches, a full kite repair kit, the 7m I bought I made sure was Slingshot for interchangeability etc – all coming in useful. Plus bike tool, penknife, Philips etc

Anyway later that day it all come into use after catastrophic failure on the Rev’s bar when the chickenloop snapped when I was out in the big waves. Normally not an issue, but here zere are windsurfers zipping all over ze place, I feared they would tangle in my lines. Even jore feared it when I realised they flagging line HAD ALSO SNAPPED! (I will be cc'ing the Slingshot dealer on this!). Pix below.

So now my fear is for a LOOSE kite bouncing around in the waves with these poledancers getting tangled in 25 of lines. Fortunately very quickly another kiter came by to check on me floating alone in the water, that i was free of te kite and to drage me to shore holding on to his harness. Surprisingly possible, though wrenching on the arms. Did I say bad things about Club Mistral yesterday? I take it all back with bells on. They have a rescue boat which just hangs around in te water waiting to rescue people. Witout an ado they nipped to the the kite, got it on board, lines unall - - then came to meet me where I'd been deposited nearer the shore. Totally matter of fact. I was the 6th they'd rescued today including one guy who'd got stuck 2.5km offshore, two lost boards, a lost other things I didn't understand (windsurf terminology), oh and an upturned boat (maybe the F-One fim crew?). I was their 6th 1,000 Rupees - that is if you want to get your equipment bacl! A fair exchange me thinks.

Well anyway, I was actually on my way ome, having spent a few hours in the excellent lagoon getting my skills back up - and had just stopped for a quick play in the waves. Now I had actually noticed the chickenloop looking a bit worn earlier. But not particularly bad, not enough to think it needed replacing, just enough to think how quickly they wear down.

The evening ahead will involve pissing aout canablising the bar from my 7m kite ...

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[Pic: Me outside our hotel room at the Indian - main spot for kiting in the background]

Got on the water at last – it’s been a month or so now since my micro-session at Lake Balaton.

We arrived yesterday but our baggage got waylaid in gay Paris so I had to endure a whole afternoon watching others kite at this wonderful location

It couldn’t be more perfect for logistics: Our room is on the ground floor a few palm trees back from the beach with doors opening direct to the grass ... the trees protecting the general public from the wind!

I’ve just left my kite pumped, resting up against a tree trunk for the NIGHT!

INITIAL REVIEW
- LE MORNE
BEST OVERALL LOCATION SO FAR

WEATHER
Shorts & tee
Mid 20’s? It’s winter here at the moment, late July
Some cloud cover
Appears the wind comes in the afternoon, in five day blocks they tell me, typically form the southeast

ACCOM AT INDIAN RESORT & SPA
We have a sand badminton court 10 feet away, large room plenty of room for cot and desk and table and sofa

TODAY'S SESSION
Today’s wind didn’t come in properly til late 4ish pm – had a mini-session in an earlier teasebreeze – enough to wet the spirit – but I ended up landing downwind of our room, at the public kiting beach immediately downwind of the resort
Nobile 555 132cm, 11m Slingshot Rev 2
Crappy backloops
One well formed left-side front loop – surprised myself there
A “warm-up” session really after about a month off the water
Rally enjoyed the waves – loved-em
Only got about 1.5hrs out there

PEOPLE
Friendly kiters – chatted to some South African’s (begin-intermediate, some comedy to watch - but who am I to talk!)

Also there’s a team of people ere – F-One sponsored riders & crew – all on F-One surfboards and flying Bandit kites, and a big bearded man who seems to be in charge, at least of tinkering with kites, and one guy (Miko?) who’s awesome on the surfboard that they were filming today – all friendly


CLUB MISTRAL – KITE SHOP/RENTAL/TEACHING
Staff at Club Mistral reception appear unfriendly – I headed there after missing baggage to work out rental etc – that they do – but certainly not with a smile or any attempt at friendliness
Bring IKO card if want to rent or pay €25 to prove ability
Price kite rental is €45 (2hrs), plus €10 insurance
Great spot on the downwind edge of the resort on the water’s edge
Loads of kit
Presumably was orig a windsurf thing now doing kiting as well
SEE MY COMMENTS IN A LATER BLOG ABOUT THEIR SAFETY BOAT AND FRIENDLY RESCUE SERVICE!

LOCATION
Stunning - - just beautiful to look back at the palm fringed waters edge from out on the water with the extremely dramatic “Le Morne” (the mountain on this peninsula) rising vertically, boxlike, above and behind it.
Darkness descends quickly from 6pm.

FACILITIES
Indian Resort & Spa
Food (we’re on all-inclusive – definitely the way to do it) = great mix of local and Frenchish/Italianish
- Room spots – couldn’t be better for kiters if you take GROUND FLOOR – you can launch from anywhere along the beach, but less broken shells/coral towards the south (upwind)

LAUNCHING
Palm trees close but just enough room to launch with your toes in the water
Not good for total beginners except perhaps at the two ends of the resort
Though the lagoon a few mins to the south is excellent for total beginners, one of the best spots I've seen
Water shallow to walk into, no need for footwear, some broken coral at the downwind end of the resort but not outside your room


WIND
I was OK on 11m today, I’m guessing 18 knots?
Comes in from the south east which is left-cross-onshore.

WATER
Flatish for a few hundred metres to the edge of the reef
Warmer than the swimming pool! Lots of people in wetsuits but I was more than warm enough in boardies and 1mm Radiator
Then some beautiful waves breaking
Water was a metre at its shallowest and no need to be in those areas (tough not sure about today’s tide)
I’m told there’s some dangerous currents at times but not got detail on that yet
[Pic: View from our room - note the kites resting by the tree which is where the stay all night]



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[Pic: Le Morne - the mountain, taken from the south east at Choisy. The kiting happens to the left of the leftmost tip]

Yep, missed an afternoon's wind as all 6 of our bags are still in Paris. This place is perfect though - staying at Indian Resort & Spa at Le Morne. It's blowing 20kts in the late afternoon.

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[Pic: Day after the night after the kite session on Balaton]

Here's the launch spot on the Hungarian Lake Balaton

I was the sole kiter so could easily launch here, shallow water for maybe 1km+ out, not much sand, but easy in the shallows

I think this is a 12m location

No sharks (nice)!

I kited here for a sunset session, taking an hour or so out of a stag-do

Great to learn I reckon

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[Pic: It's not all kiting - one of the vineyards west of Perth]

Did get out on the water one day .... Crawley on the river got from 8kts to high 20's in the space of an hour.

11m Rev2, Nobile 555 143cm.

SHALLOW water, awesome for learning or practising your tricks. But limited space to launch/land. nice grassy area. lots of hazards, eg road/footpath between set-up and launch. But can laucnh in the water. Seemed to be no more than 1 meter for at keast 500m out.

I was out there in SSW which worked nice

Watched Nellie I think his name was on a 9m Griffin doing some amazing stuff - just soooo natural looking, made it all appear soooo eeeeeasy

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Great time staying with two sets of KT's friends - - I obsessed with the wind somewhat - - Perth has just gone into winter so its beautiful summer seabreezes are dead. but there was a storm coming thru while we were there. Paul let me take his car (thanks) so I ambled down to Woodies (Woodmans Point)

Two days watching chaos with large storms coming through, totally overpowered on my 7m Rev, didn't get on the water.... gusts were in the high 30s - - but BIG squalls coming thru regularly - - the "pros" were downing their kites and getting off the water

But great spot, big local scene here, awesome riders out there, some guy demoing a 2010 Airush, some good stuff form the curly haired guy on the 6m XBM


Etc... anyway, I was a total wimp - - if my wingman/partner in crime had been there I'm sure I'd've gone out. We'd've gone out. I spent two afternoons beating myself up. It all went wrong when I arrived with ONLY my 11m. It was gusty, but I thought "fk it" - - but then one dude wouldn't launch me - said he "wanted nothing to do with anyone putting up an 11 in this weather" - - blah blah "how long you been kiting for" all that put down stuff, I lost my bottle. Then went back for it asking this Irish newbie to launch me, but he'd overheard the previous coversation so followed suit. Clearly they were all in the right, I did convince myself of that evntually after lots of cursing under my breath. I was gonna sod-em and self-launch at one point. I'm still sure I would've survived. That's what the safety's for right!

I resurrected the situation by calling the guy who was advertising a 7m on seabreeze and managed to salvage an afternoon by making myself useful spending $700 on a 7m Rev - - pretty good value, only the tiniest scratch on the canopy that he'd repaired.

So Day 2 Perth i headed back to Woodies trying again. but the wind was even stronger, the 7 would've been god yesterday or even that morning. but the wind was mental. so I convinced myself again of the merits of "living to fight another day" - - not before launching the kite thoguh, and getting bounced down the beach. The others were having to tend to someone unable to land his kite so I was alone and had to pull the safety.... [ASIDE: 7m slingshot Rev, safety pulled, ie the red pin pops out easy ebnough, but the the chicken loop stayed in harness-hook as it was jammed so tightly - - I was calm and gave it a nudge, but strikes me as not being a failsafe system.

That's it. Came home again tail between legs.

Did watch some chaos. Got some pics. Two blokes + chick turned up late despite hearing of everyone else's troubles they went out. Chick on 5m had to be brought back down straight away after launching despite being held at her back. Bloke1 came in with chaotic landing. Bloke2 ended up 2km down the beach with a very big swim. A shark had been seen at this spot yesterday do not good for a long swim!!!

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I sadly neglected this blog between 2006 and Jan 09 - but I'm back on - I can actually kitesurf now! I'm an IKO-level 1 instructor and one of my new year's resolutions is to get to Level 2, I'm in the waves on a twinny but BIG waves scare me on the surfboard, I can do some basic tricks, know the ins & outs, in the last year have snowkited NZ, continue to kite Botany Bay for regular relief, occasional other places round Sydney - Lingerie, the SWester place over the winter, been enjoying Picnic Point lately for teaching weekends, Seven Mile, Shoalhaven lagoon, etc etc - will get  bit of an update of the year together soon.

It's been EPIC.

Here's the last few days:

It's all going pear-shaped again! Proto & Cuspy - we need you back!
1 - Got electric shocks kiting on Sunday at Botany - read this:

I got my first electric shocks on Sunday night - Jon & I arrived early eve as the masses were packing up after a great day's wind (I had Saskia-duty all day) - got out in some 20ish knots but it was all a bit ominous with dark skies coming in from the SW despite the wind coming from the NE? Weird. I'm no weather man but that must be a phenomenon of some sort.

Anyways, came in as looked so scary, dropped the kite then messed on the beach teaching Tuna Jon how to self-launch and land while waiting for it blow over (as if?). Then while my kite was in the air stood on the sand I got shocks thru my feet. I was shocked - thought i'd been bit by some creature - then it kept hitting me. Screamed at Tuna to land my kite. Can't remember what I said - but he was acting dumb for a while. Momentarily scary. Afterward i didn't quite believe it was shocks - though I've been done by electric fence and homemade radios before and it was very familiar. There was no lightening in the sky. Then about 30mins driving him we saw the lightening flashing cross the sky! .... More on this stuff here: http://www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=44581 ... basically says I'm not mad - has happened to a few people.

Had a great session - only me & Jon at the beach opposite Scarborough - all those shark tales must've scared the punters away: Three Sharks article in The Age

2 - Tuna's first decent KITEMARE

He now has a great tale himself - to keep it short - he tried to jump. Crashed. Came up for air and KITE WAS GONE - across the bay. I was on the SRT half a km upwind - I could only see the kite, couldn't see why he couldn't relaunch. But Nick from kitesessions was there so I left it to him to do the rescue. Transpired that his fancy new IDS is not totally cook-proof, or Tuna-proof - it had unhooked and as NEEDS no leash, just shot off. I didn't realise Jon wasn't attached to the kite til he shamefully dragged his heels back to our launch spot. Must've forgot the DOG DICK???

3 - OH MY GOD - last night was EPIC

At the LINGERIE location - VERY F'IN BIGGGG waves - I need to emphasise BIG and SCARY somehow, a bit more

Anyway today my left elbow is completely buggered - I spent all morning Googling tennis elbow - now also widely known as kiters elbow

As for last night: Me and Daz, and three others

Massive waves

I really crapped myself on the way out the first time - - just thinking shit gotta get through these breaking waves then I'll be safe out the back

And these bloody surfers keep appearing everywhere - gotta dodge them and the other three kiters doing their thing as well while getting smashed about a bit - no big wipe-outs though (yet!)

Thinking gotta get to the back

Gotta get to the back

Then got there - and oh my god the world was moving - enormous swell, a storey deep on either side of me, and some waves breaking right out there as well

Went further further til I was at the edge of the bay

Not quite til I could see rind to the next bay - that's for another time when I have someone with me out there!

Then I got my guts together and felt safer to head back in

Nice rides back - not really surfing the swell-forming waves or waves themselves - more kiting them

Got some great runs back & forth - - buzzing buzzing buzzing

All over the shop

Starting to get a bit cheeky, running hard at the breaking waves trying to jump off them, no need to try that hard really, had to TRY NOT to jump off the swell even

And trying to jump OVER the whitewater, that was nice, also getting used to careering hard through the whitewater

Anyway loads of nice stuff, good vibe between the five of us - I think was the only one NOT to crash his kite in the water! Daz almost dropped his kite on some girls head on 30 secs from going out! Not that has anything to do with ability - there was one bloke who was awesome on his surfboard. Daz the Irish was Daz - though not as happy as usual - on his 8m IDS complaining about lack of power - - but I was totally fine on the 9m Revolver - - and your board helping me out - HAMMER TIME (btw only time I've used it while you've been away) - - - I took the SRT but GLADLY didn't go out on that otherwise would've been a complete fkup. Though I did get out on it on choppy Botany water on Sunday and really got into it.

Also took my 11m to the beach but I was plenty powered on the 9m - great kites those I reckon

Anyway time passed

Then loads of wipe-outs - one after another

Got completely nailed by a wave I was surfing behind when I fell over the front of it and it broke on top of me

Lots of flailing around in the washing machine, but I kept the kite (with my left hand) so in a way it's better then when you wipeout while surfing as certainty of where is UP is very reassuring

Lost the board a cupla times just had to bodydrag toward shore and pick it up

Really got into it - nice to get aggressive with the waves on the way out and caress them on the way in

Didn't quite get a pure surfing feeling off any waves last night though -not like the time we went when it was orgasmic

Maybe the board - your's great - but there's nothing like a board you know and you're "man-and-machine" with - especially when in dicey conditions

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