Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dooey Beach, Donegal

Today the guys from NI Kite Forum were travelling to Dooey Beach as the wind was forecast from the West or South-West. I got my sat nav out and put in the nearest location I could find and set off. I was curious as to why it was estimating such a long time for the last few miles, but I found out when I got there. The roads there made our road look like a motorway!

Descending from the hills into the beach area I could already see a few kites in the air, which is always a welcome sight.

I arrived, and got set up, and just as I was ready to go the wind dropped and people started coming in from the water! After a while it picked up again and we were out again, although it was a bit busy for my liking. I hadn't been out for long when my kite flopped down - a burst bladder. What a pain. That was my day over. I packed it up, but some of the other guys suggested that I should try my smaller kite.

What a great suggestion it was! It was definitely underpowered for the day, took a bit of work to get it going, but when up to speed it was pulling nicely. I spent over another hour on the water before it was time to stop.

All in all a great day. Now I just need to dry and fix my big kite...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another visit to the beach

The forecast for today was a bit marginal, but we hoped it would be surfable, so I made the usual detour to Benone on the way home from work.

The wind was pretty bad when I arrived, but I set up and had a bit of a fly on the beach. I was joined on the beach by Stephen, another learner, and we noticed a bit of rain about to blow in. Rain usually brings wind, so by the time we were suited up the wind was blowing strong.

Headed out into the water, and it was easy to get going. On my first run out I was just about to turn when I noticed a porpoise in the water - well I assume thats what it was, I just saw the fin about 20ft in front of me.

It turned out to be a good evening, got a good few runs in, spent less windy time bodyboarding and flying on the beach. Lost the board a couple of times, thats when I'm glad it is bright yellow. First time I was able to very easily bodydrag back to get it. Second time the wind had dropped, the kite was pulling me downwind, and I was scared of the kite landing in the water, and so I went to the beach, landed it, took off the harness, and swam back out for the board. Thats a bit scary, swimming directly out into the sea. At least when I got out to the board and turned I discovered I could still stand on the sand. It's just a cautionary note about the potential danger of going out when there is not quite enough wind.

Also managed a couple of turns tonight, that's the first time I've done that without dunking.

Cant wait for next time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fantastic Benone wind

This evening I was out for a couple of hours on the 9m at Benone. It was blowing somewhere between 20-30mph, which is really nice power on the 9. It was a bit gusty, but pleasantly it was almost straight onshore. I am still struggling a bit with the water start, and in an onshore this means a lot of walking backwards into the sea, trying, failing, drifting in and repeat.

I did have a few really good runs, working hard on stance to try to improve the balance, and my upwind tack. Another thing I was working on was riding over waves, previously I was surviving about 25% of big waves, today I probably managed 75%. Using your legs as suspension is key, and also rising the kite a bit to pull up over them is helpful too.

One thing that was unusual for me today was the fact that there were a few other people on the water. Most of the time they turned before they got to me, but a couple of times I managed to pass safely, I hope, both with the other rider upwind, and sometimes downwind, pretty scary the first time.

It was an excellent evenings riding, and has shown me that what I really need is time on the water. It's really nice to be at the stage where I can see quite a bit of progress each time I'm out. All we need now is more North wind....