The trip is on and there are more recruits to the cause. Will the vet is summoned to bring his animal expertise to the table as well as his animal LANDROVER and Leo the fellow S. AFRICAN is up for the challenge even though the two of them only have 11m Sonics with them and the forecast is looking ballistic.
He ripped on his Slingshot 5′ 5″ – he looks better on the surfboard then he does on a twintip – Remember Ed f*ck the bar no more poop stance.
Ed and I traveled down on Friday staying a night on the North Wales border – Saturday morning and the call is in – “we are rigging up”
We arrive an hour later to find everyone still cozied up and no signs of movement. The wind is howling – feels like a good 35 knots (and the rest) All the windsurfers are just watching and they have 3.4m sails rigged up.
Determined to have a go I rig my smallest kite – a 7m Airush Halo – but up in the air even this bow doesn’t have enough depower and I start to get lofted. Ed who is holding my twin tip Airush Hammer drops it in favour of grabbing me and I watch it roll 60 foot down the beach accelerating all the way and into the rocks. Dropped the kite inspected the damage on the board – not great a chunk out the nose gelcoat only by the look of things.
and then retired to the pub for beer and whisky.
Summary of the day WIND 45 – 57 mph
RICH (at a loss)
In the B&B having breakfast at 8am – the sun is half an hour from appearing and we are staring at the tree tops – “it seems less”, “look …. no clouds”
On the beach fired up and the warm weather means I am togged up in summer wetsuit O’Neil Psycho 2 3:2 with gimp hood, boots and gloves. Kite up and off we go.
After half an hour warming up on the Airush Hammer (with new epoxy glue repair from last night) I came in and took out the DC Boardz 4-play. The wind was a good steady 25knots and cross on – we were sailing from the side of the bay so the waves curved following the shape of the bay.
At first I punched out at nearly right angles to the wave although by the middle the waves were coming in from 10 o’clock. I had put the straps on when the board first arrived – favouring my regular foot tack with the straps in the mid hole at the front and back hole at back. This made the board ride quite nose high into the waves – I will set them further forward for 10m weather and for lighter days as there was a slight tendency to stall. But being overpowered on the 7m this was no problem and helped get over the mush and whitewater. The board shoots upwind – those 4 fins just bite and seem to do magic. Straight away thought no sense in gybing just carve around and come in toe-side. The Carve is unbelievably smooth – nice spray of water out the side and suddenly toeside wave riding is so much easier than it is on a twin tip or my previous 5 foot surfboard. A downside well there isn’t one yet – it was pretty hardcore cross on and the board nearly held its own – I think experience will let me point higher toeside and keep position – I didn’t try to gybe but will try that out soon – did swap to goofy once i was further down the bay and then one tack put me back to my start position.
Was popping over the waves and whitewater and even on my weaker toeside when I messed up and landed quite nose first – the board just pushed through and popped out and carried on.
That day was warm – air temp was 12 degrees C which for January is amazing. I wore my summer suit a O’Neil Psycho II 3/2mm with a wetsuit helmet gloves and rather reluctantly 5mm boots. I hate wearing boots but that’s another rant.
4.5 hours on the water and I was struggling to hold onto the bar – wetsuit gloves had given me forearm death ache. But what a day – and as the winter sun disappeared at 4pm – I thought it had been pretty close to the best kiting i had ever had. Leo went out on Will’s 11m after Will had hung bravely onto his kite for 45 min. Way overpowered so we didn’t have the normal air display that these two Airjam riders normally put on.
Knackered – In bed at the B&B at 9:30pm says it all.
Monday woke – just Ed and me today and we have a 5 hour drive back to Scotland ahead of us. Had a quick squizz at the water all prepared to just call it quits as we are both knackered – but the wind looks smooth wind a steady 27knots and we decide a quick 90 min session. We launch each other then its out we go. First tack head out – wind more cross shore so sight on the first big wave (about 10 foot face) then carve onto the wave. The 4-play is effortless and I can feel the evil glare of the windsurfer stood cross armed on the shore wishing he had the guts to come across to the DARK SIDE. Did about 20 runs back and forth then messed up an aerial maneuver and splash kite in the drink with big roller about to smack it. So I ditched the release swam in and reattached lines, wind picks up to to over 35 knots making sorting out the lines a pain – get everything attached after 20 wasted minutes and self launch. Wind is way up but I get to the water and figure on 2 longish tacks pinching up and I’ll be back at base …… pow my lines just one week old give way. A quick glance to make sure the line attached to the safety hasn’t gone then its back to shore and a good 800m walk of shame back to the beach. This is the 3rd set of lines i have been through in a year – the Airush Halo is crap on lines when it comes to overpowered conditions. The kite does jellyfish pull a bit but I would have thought the lines could have been stronger ……. and i am on 20 m lines ……!! Ah well the price of lines easily worth it for a trip like this.