Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas 2012 - Step away from the cash register.....

This has been something of a different year for me than normal, for a variety of reasons. One aspect is that I have become increasingly concious of the billions of people in the world who are living in poverty, and the millions who are living in abject poverty. My recent business trip to Jakarta cemented this view.

I am also aware that, tight as things are for us, we have enough, and much more than enough. There are bills to be paid, we've had to seriously tighten our belts over the past year, but we still live in a land of plenty. As a household we have made a concious effort to reduce waste, and try not to buy food which we end up throwing away.

My express wish this year is to receive no presents at all*. My wish is that no one will spend any money on me, not even a penny. If you want to give me something, give me an hour of your time, pop round some evening for a cuppa and a chat. If you really feel the need to spend money get your card out and put the details in here: [that's the charity we sponsor a kid through].

* if you've already got me something well done for being so organised, and don't worry, I'll not break it in pieces on the floor and tramp all over it, I'll be gracefully grateful.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday 26th September - Kitesurfing - Benone

I took today off work, as I had a couple of days to take off in lieu of travel. The forecast looked good, steady 15-20 knots onshore all day. I'm not totally fussed on onshore now, as it can be a bit boring, with no ramps to play on.

I got the kids off to school and was at the beach shortly after 8:30, so I was set up and on the water before 9. However there was some sort of problem with the kite; it was flying fine in one direction, but in the other direction the bar had to be held at a big angle. It seemed like there was a line caught, or short or something. As there was noone there to land me, I decided to make the best of it for a while. After 15-20 minutes I came in, as it was basically no fun at all, and just as I got to the car George arrived to land me.

I took the lines off and inspected everything, but couldn't see anything wrong. I launched and it seemed to be flying better. So I headed out again, and it was fine. We must have been out for 2-3 hours in the morning, it was a long session.

After a break for lunch we went back out again. I was a bit cold, but did some excercises to warm up, and was fine once I got on the water. Not sure how long I was out for this time, 1-2 hours.

Today I mostly worked on toeside, I was sailing nicely in my good direction, struggling a bit in the bad direction. Sailing cross-shore also enabled me to work on riding pretty parallel to the waves, which is always quite a challenge. The other thing was that any hint of cross direction in the wind was from the East, which isn't my usual direction. So there was a lot more practice going in my bad direction across the breaking waves too. Some good training, important, but not as satisfying as a good wave session.

Still, it's a long time since I've spent a whole day at the beach, and it was great!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday 25th August 2012 - kitesurfing(?) Benone/Castlerock

Got the kite fixed, thanks Patrick for a great job!

Another of those marginal forecasts for today, it was a bit of a let down. I went to Benone, and there were a couple of others there, struggling to get going on their 17m Zephyrs.

After waiting a good while we decided to go around to Castlerock. There were more people there, they reported having a great time for the afternoon, but the wind died when we arrived.

Didn't get out at all today.

After tea I headed down to Castlerock again where the lads had had a fantastic two hours. I took some photos and left.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday 28th July 2012 - Kitesurfing Benone

Got to the beach in the afternoon, wind not fantastic, but I set up and went out anyway. There were two other guys there flying a kite on the beach, not at the water stage yet. They disappeared after a while, and George showed up.

The wind wasn't great so we decided to do a downwinder. It was a bit tricky getting the cars sorted as there was a lot of soft sand, and it was it big ruts - 15mph on the beach max!

The downwinders were great. Plenty of power, and nice waves. I was working again on a backroll, and almost landed a couple, getting on really well.

On the second downwinder, after a backroll, I crashed the kite and looked at it to see that it was transparent! I could see through where the canvas was supposed to be. A huge rip, and I had to pack up.

That was the end of a fantastic session for me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday 27th July 2012 - Kitesurfing Benone

I didn't get to the beach until late tonight, I thought there was going to be no one else there, and I also thought the wind mightn't be great.

When I arrived ST and some guy from Sligo were out, having a great time, doing a fair bit of walking. The waves were huge, even for Benone, it was really a case of staying out of their way when they are breaking. Short session.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kitesurfing - Benone - Wed 18th July

This evening was horrible and miserable, but with the right wind conditions beggars cant be choosers.

I got to the beach after 8, and was on the water for 8:30, and out for about an hour. The wind was mostly good, although it dropped off badly towards the end. There were small waves, which were perfect ramps for me.

I was working a bit on my toeside riding, and switched to toeside much earlier than usual, riding in over some small waves. Not brilliant yet, but getting better.

The other thing I was trying was a back-roll. I think I tried about a dozen times, and some of the failures were more spectacular than others. I almost landed two of them, but I'm still a while away from having it nailed. The other times I under-rotated or my board fell off, etc. Only one really hard neck-jerking fall. Much better than the last time I tried. I feel like I'm getting closer, so I'll have to keep trying :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kitesurfing Benone Saturday 14th July 2012

I was out at Benone today for a few hours in the afternoon, almost perfect conditions, sunshine, and waves. The wind was a bit light, which meant a bit of walking, but it was well worth it. I would say it was the best time I have been out recently, but it is the only time!

It was great to get out again, I got a couple of really nice jumps in, and lots of smaller ones too. Toeside riding is coming on really well too, starting to feel a bit more controlled, and all but one of my carving turns went well; aiming the board at the kite on the way round is the best tip.

The usual summertime problems abound however, with car loads of children coming to play right in my way, ready to get sliced by my lines. Managed to miss most of them.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Kitesurfing Benone Monday 30th April

What a great country we live in. Got to Benone last night and it was blowing nice cross shore, quite steady, and big waves as usual. Not a person on the beach, should have been great.

Unfortunately with my limited time I decided to set up the 12 and was overpowered all the time. Also there was a really strong current going the same direction as the wind, which made it hard to stay upwind.

Also with the wind coming from the East, thats me heading out into the waves in the opposite direction to 99% of normal, and its like learning to ride through the waves all over again, really weird. Also had to pull the safety to land the kite, which resulted in the standard Naish BigLineMess ™

All in all not a great night, but could have been excellent :|

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday 14th April 2012 - Kitesurfing Benone

There was beautiful sunshine all day today accompanied by an air temperature of around 6 degrees. The wind was almost direct onshore, and so were the waves and the wind was relatively light, so it was difficult to stay upwind. However, when the wind had a bit of a swing it was possible to get a few ramps.

I tried a few backrolls today. First couple went not too bad, about 3/4 rotation, and wipe out. On the third attempt I landed hard directly 180 on my back against the water, it was like a snowboarding fall when the heelside of the board catches the snow! Then the wind was really too light to jump so I gave that up.

The wind swung around a little to the West, and as Susan had arrived I arranged to do a downwinder to the river on the middle of the beach. This was great, there actually seemed to be better wind down there. I did quite a few toe to heel carves, seem to be getting it better now. Also tried some toeside in the left to right direction and fell spectacularly a couple of times. However after a few attempts it was going better.

When I got to the stopping point the wind was stronger and I was doing some more carving turn practice, it was really nice, where you could basically do a figure of 8, really nice for practice. At that point my driver began to flash the headlights and at first I thought it was in appreciation of my great work, but then I realized it was time to stop...

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Saturday 7th April - Kitesurfing Benone

It was windy all day today, killing me to stay away from the beach, so I finally made it down in the late afternoon.

I went to Benone, wind was marginal at best, but I began to set up anyway. By the time I was all ready the wind looked really poor, but I launched, and knew straight away that while there was plenty of wind to fly there was nowhere near enough to sail.

I quickly packed the half inflated kite into the car and headed down the beach towards the river, and when I got out down there it was blowing nicely. Within 15 minutes I was on the water.

It was a great couple of hours on the water, working on all sorts of things. Again the wind was good, maybe a little weak, but still fine, some walking required. I practised my jumping over waves, some toeside on the flats, carving turns and whatever else I could think of. On my last few runs I was trying some bigger boosts, and was managing not too bad, although as they say, it always looks huge to you, not so huge from land! This is the absolute best session I have had as long as I can remember.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Friday 6th April - Kitesurfing

Went for a session at lunchtime today, took Kate in the car with me so she could spectate. Went to Downhill, well over to the Benone side, enjoyed about an hour of perfect wind and flat water with nice ramps.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Castlerock - Friday 30th March

The forecast wasn't great for today, but it was North, so I decided I'd better check it out. I went to Benone and it was almost completely calm and the beach was empty. I headed for Castlerock and it was blowing steadily, showing about 25mph on the meter, so I got set up. This was my first outing for quite a while, so I hoped I hadn't forgotten the basics.

There were only a few people on the beach, a coupld of walkers and some RNLI folks getting some training.

I got set up and headed out, full power on the 12 was a little underpowered and I struggled to stay upwind. I was also keeping my tack quite short so that I was never too far out (although I suppose RNLI could have come to my rescue :) )

I started off doing a few small jumps over waves, practiced a little bit of toeside, and just enjoyed a bit of cruising.

I stayed out for about an hour, seems to be a good session length for my fitness level. Towards the end the wind picked up, I fell hard on small jumps a couple of times, which means I'm getting tired.

Nice wee after work session.