Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kiteschee surfing for idiots and middle age people: Day 5

Cumbuco beach during surf competition

Well, this was supposed to be the last day, but things turned out a bit different.

Today I got a larger kite, 12 sq meters to be exact. Now I had a kite which could really lift me up if it had half a chance. The difference between a 9 and a 12 is huge. With the 12, I felt that it could turn nasty any moment, but as long as I kept it under control it worked great.

A competitor at the kite surf competition

To get a feel for the larger kite, I took it out for a body drag, and it really made a difference. The kite was pulling a lot more even at positions where the other kite barely made itself noticeable. After successfully completing this trivial exercise, I got the board and it was time for the real thing.

Even the pros crash

After getting in past the waves (which were pretty high) and into the swells, I tried getting the kite on my feet. By the time I had the board on right, I was out of position and as previously I haven't yet figured out how to get into or stay in position with the board on my feet. So I got rid of the board behind me and the kite carried me forward a bit, so I had to start doing my best superman impressions to get back to it. During the second turn things turned sour. For some reason I lost complete control of the kite, and it pulled me very rapidly downwind, spinning in the process. As well trained as I was, I let go of everything, this should insure that the kite stopped pulling as fast as it should have gone slack. No such luck, the kite hit the water and immediately wanted to rise again. I tried getting hold of the bar but it did not do anything. The bar seemed jammed in a twisted position with one of the control lines wrapped around the brake/power adjustment. The kite kept trying to rise and turned crashing into the water repeatedly. As it is doing this, it is also pulling me very fast downwind and towards the beach. As the bar was of no use I had to release the main line to give the kite more slack and hopefully slow it down. Now the only thing holding us together was the leash. As the kite and I neared the beach there was little let for me to do but release the kite completely which I then did.

Luckily for me there were a couple of people near the kite when it got onto the beach, one of them grabbed it and secured it, as I climbed out of the water. By this time Alex was also running down the beach and when he got to me asked what happened. I tried explaining that the kite just went out of control. At the time I though that one of the lines on the bar control must have jammed in the roller or something. As I had done nothing out of the ordinary, and I was in complete control of the kite until it spun out of control, it must have been something "technical".

We unravelled everything and Alex took the controls and wanted to get the kite airborne to check everything out. As I was securing the kite, I noticed that one of the rollers was loose at the end of a cable, so I signaled Alex to come back in while I secured the kite on the ground ground again. When everything was secured, we had a look at the lines, and sure enough one of the outside control lines had broken, and the corresponding roller was hanging loose. This explained everything. Material failure and not human error was to blame. So my record remains clean. I still haven't crashed a kite (or had to get one airborne out of the water...).

And another crash

As he had no other 12 sq meter kite available after 20 minutes, my lesson was over for the day. Alex would try and get the kite fixed by tomorrow so that we could have another go at it. I must say that I really liked the 12, it lifted me easily, and though being more difficult to control, it is slower to react to input, so everything moves in slow motion, almost.

No comments: