Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday 29th August

As always with Sunday kitesurfing is not a priority, but will get fitted in around the important stuff if possible. We managed to get to the beach in the late afternoon. Today there were a couple of kids out, apparently around 10-11, and they were fantastic, even doing kiteloops etc.

After messing around with the 9 I set up the 12 and had a really good session, the wind was a perfect direction, nicely cross-on (more on) and the waves had huge flats in between. Actually got some useful practice in, working on my carving turn, managed a couple, probably didn't look very beautiful, but just need more practice. It's amazing how much difference it makes carrying a bit of speed out of the turn.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday 28th August

I intended to get to the beach early today as the forcast was showing good cross-on all day, but didn't manage to get there until after lunch. I called at the White Rocks in Portrush where some of the forum guys said they'd be, and there were two there, and another couple setting up. I really didn't like the look of the beach, and told the guys it didn't look safe enough to please me; obviously they are more expericenced and were having a great time. I called at the East Strand on the way past and there were two guys out there too, having a great time, getting some big floaty air. Again this is a dangerous location, no place for a beginner like me.

I travelled on around the coast to Benone where I was glad to see a number of kites already on the water. I got set up, it was very gusty, and quite a lot of surf, very hard to stay upwind, so some of the lads decided to do a downwinder, which was great.

Good practice riding some big waves, learning how to ride over waves at different stages of the break, all good experience. I did fall in more than I would have liked, I fell really hard a couple of times and its a real pain in the face when that happens. Quite a short session, but I was completely done after it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Downwinder (on purpose)

I made an early escape from work today, was at the beach and ready to fly before 5:30, but although the wind cross - cross-on, it was poor strength wise. To top that out where the waves were breaking they were huge, like about 6-8 feet - so big that a proper jump was inevitable. I wasn't having a good run at all, it was too difficult to stay upwind with the waves and the light wind.

However all was not lost. Sean turned up, and suggested we use his jeep to do a downwinder, so off we set. It was quite a strange experience to not be worried about losing ground to the wind as I zig-zagged down the shore. It was actually quite difficult to ride sometimes, as you get lazy and don't bother edging, which makes for much worse riding.

When we landed down the beach Sean reset the mileage and measured exactly a mile back to my car. In that mile I think I fell properly three times, each time bodydragging back to the board, and getting up on it ok. I'm getting better at it, and more confident. Hopefully get out again at the weekend.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Final visit to Benone - for the holidays

Today officially finished my time off work, back to Letterkenny on Monday.

The wind report wasn't showing great, but I decided to give it a go anyway. Arriving at the beach I saw another kite in the air, always a good sign. While I got set up it was clear the other guy was a learner, and struggling a bit in the onshore wind.

It proved to be a bit of a waste of time, the wind was very light, but I persevered knowing that the experience would do me good, and also that it was pretty safe with an empty beach and onshore wind. Short session, glad I went, but definitely not a great finish to the holiday kiting.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Benone AM

While the kids were at holiday Bible club today I took the opportunity to get to Benone. Once I got set up, and went to change into my wetsuit, I discovered it wasn't there! I had to phone for backup, and my wetsuit arrived after a short delay...

Wind was blowing ok, 12m weather, and quite onshore, probably NW to NNW, which suits me really well for now. When the wind is in this direction I don't seem to need to do any walking at all.

Today was just a relatively short session, probably on the water for about 1.5 hrs.

Once again I was working on my sliding turns and my upwind riding. I was also having a bit of fun using the waves for ramps to do some small jumps when riding towards the sea. I am also reliably informed that it looked a lot better from my perspective than from the bystanders perspective.

A good, short session, riding for good long distances in both directions. I'm making about 95% of turns, but probably only 25% (or less) are really good turns where I manage to keep the speed up through it. Lots of times I struggle to get up to speed coming out of the turn.

Once or twice I tried to turn toe-side and carve around the turn, but it was very shaky. I think I need to work on my general balance before going much further down that road.

My one handed riding is also coming along quite nicely. Struggling a bit with some wave landings, sometimes landing on the nose, and going under. Getting a bit better every time out.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Benone Kitesurfing

Today was another cross-on day for Benone beach. I went and got set up, the launch area was completely vacant, although I was joined by another kiter before I started in the water. The sea was really nice, with long stretches of flat water between the waves, and the waves weren't powerful.

It was another day of walking back up the beach, but that's all part of it.

I was riding well again, until my usual problem occurred, in the deep water I lost my board and really struggled to get back to it. This time I had fallen and the kite had went into the water. By the time I got the kite relaunched I was far away from the board. Fortunately one of the other guys there was able to recover my board, and we were able to sail safely into the beach. After that I took a break. I really need to practice my body-dragging!

I went back out determined not to get into that difficulty again, so I decided to practice my turns. I am just doing sliding turns, but on my left to right I struggle in general, and right to left sometimes I have trouble gaining speed out of the turn.

I ended up working on these turns and also good up-wind riding for the rest of the time, which turned out to be about another two hours. I completely lost track of time, left home just after 1pm, and stayed at the beach until almost 7pm.

Once again I feel I made a significant improvement today, riding quite consistently in both directions, and with reasonable turns at each end. Maybe more practice tomorrow, if all my aches go away!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Afternoon at Benone

The forecast for today was showing marginal wind, and that is what actually happened. When I got to the beach the water was cresting, and there were a couple of other guys already set up, but not on the water.

I went a bit further up and got all set up. The biggest problem was the number of other people there on the beach, I stood for a few minutes trying to find a safe spot to enter the water.

There were too many bathers, surfers etc, all because of the sunshine. Also, the waves were quite big, and my first hour was disappointing and very off-putting. I also lost the board a couple of times, and really struggled to get back to it. I just can't do a left to right turn consistently enough yet.

However as the afternoon wore on I started to get on really well. I stopped doing left to right turns, just dipping into the water, stopping and restarting instead. I also picked my turn spot carefully, so it wasn't in the breaking waves, either first break or second break.

By my third hour in the water I was having a fantastic time, riding really well over the waves, and the best thing was that there were very few other people in the water.

Lots of good practice, another great day. Managed to keep the kite dry too, until just close to the end when I was practising my turns, the wind dropped and the kite flagged and flopped into the water. I knew it was going too well before that :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Benone, second choice

I had planned to go to Dooey beach again today, but unfortunately couldn't make the trip to Donegal. So I had to settle for second best, our local beach at Benone.

After arriving and setting up around 3pm I was on the water pretty much until about 6pm. Still progressing well, struggling to stay consistently upwind, but that is mainly because of losing ground while falling or turning rather than riding. I need to work on my turns, although I was turning quite well right to left, and reasonably well in the other direction, but I think that was due to confidence in the deep water. It's a bit scary losing your board way out there, where the beach people look so small.

The other thing I really need to work on is riding over waves. As one of the other guys put it I was more going through them than over them.

The best thing today was also the worst thing - the waves. Every once in a while they were huge (for me) and this caused all sorts of problems, like trying to get back on the board, out of my depth while these things were breaking over me. On the other hand the best ride of the day was when I just launched in front of one, and managed to ride it the whole way in, that was great!