Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Learning Continues...

Made it back up to Nitinat lake this past weekend (this time with Susan and the dog), for some more learning, and to test out my new gear. Everything works great! I'm really glad I took my time researching and buying gear!!!

(this is my favourite shot of the lake--I think it's from a float plane)

Managed to borrow a car, and make the drive myself (with Susan and the pooch). Unlabeled logging roads can be a bit intimidating. We did get a bit lost (drove about 40 unnecessary kms), but we made it. Unfortunately, we got there just as the wind was dying, at around noon.

The clearing in the forest is Nitinat village. The beach where we launch is at the bottom:
So Saturday didn't work, but Sunday was still a good time. I booked an 'assisted downwinder' with the school. This is basically learning on your own while they supervise you, and pick you up with their boat once you're at the downwind end of the lake. It's a fairly cheap way to learn, as opposed to one-on-one lessons, because they take out four people at a time.

I definitely gained a lot of confidence, but still need some lake-practice before I'm ready for Victoria-based kiteboarding.

Susan took some good pics...

Kites back on the beach, just after the wind died down:

More beach kites; someone getting water-launched:

Barkley, keeping an eye on the water, ready to rescue kooks in trouble:

The old-growth forest where we camped:

Me, seting up before a run:

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Kite!!!

It's an 8 square meter SLE (supported leading edge) kite, made by --you guessed it-- Ocean Rodeo!

On older designs, all four lines come straight off the wingtips.

But on Supported Leading Edge kites, like mine, the rear lines (steering lines) still come off the rear wingtips, but the front lines are connected to a bridle on the leading edge. This gives the kite much more de-power (and thus a wider wind range).

With older designs, you'd need as many as 6 kites to be able to sail in the 15 to 30 knot wind range, but with SLE kites, you can get away with one or two!

Here, you can see the back left line coming off the rear wingtip.

Also, there are several attachment points for the lines, which can alter the performance of the kite.

Guess what I'll be doing this long weekend (and every weekend, for that matter)...

All set!

I finally have all my gear!

Last week a package came with my harness, helmet, impact vest, and a few other odds and ends. Then on Saturday came the star of the show, my kite.

Take a look!

This is my harness. Like most of my gear, it's made by Ocean Rodeo. Unlike most of my gear, it's not used. This is called a 'hybrid harness'. Before this design, harnesses were either 'waist' or 'seat' style. This is basically a waist harness, but with removable leg straps, so it can be worn low, like a seat harness (easier for learning, and easier on the back).

Also, that's my kite leash attached to it.

The red tab on the left side of the harness is an eject tab. If something goes wrong, and I unhook my kite from my harness, I'm still attached to my front lines via my kite leash, hanging off the back of the harness (see below). This should leave the kite fluttering; powerless.

That is, unless something's really gone bad. In that case, I pull my eject tab, and the strap attaching the leash to my harness will let go.

If THAT fails, the leash itself also has a release.

But that's not all... On the other side of the harness is another red tab.

As a last resort, this harness holds a hook knife, to cut my lines. Something I hope I'll never have to use!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gear: My board

Well, after way too much research and apprehension, I've finally begun buying gear. I bought the first piece yesterday: a 129 x 39 cm, 2009 Ocean Rodeo 'Zen' board.

It's slightly used -- about a dozen times. I managed to get it for less than half the new price, plus six dozen beers (One more reason why I love my job!).

It's a twin-tip, meaning that you can ride it with either tip forward. That's opposed to a directional board, a.k.a. surf-style board.

The foot pads are big and cushy. They make my feet look tiny!

This pic shows the 'rocker', the tip-to-tip curve.

With the board upside down, and a straight edge across the width, you can see the 'concave' of the board. My board has a 7mm concave.

The board (as with most twin-tips) has four fins. The fins are removable, either with a screwdriver, or by accidentally riding through a kelp bed!

This is how I got it home.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Step One: Lessons

Here a few shots from my weekend kiteboarding at Nitinat Lake.

None of them are of me, since I cant yet stay on the board long enough for someone to take a pic.

The first one is a sauna, heated by a wood stove, which after a long day on the water, is very necessary!

More posts to come, as I progress...