Monday, February 1, 2010

Good Sessions and New Toys

Hoo boy, there sure have been some good days on the water lately. I'm not writing my sessions down on the calendar this year, but they still stick in my memory.

Wednesday 1/27- Fresh 14 knot wind from due North that lasted until after Sunset. No waves, but super slick flat kiteboarding in the lee of the jetty at Fort Pierce Inlet. My friend Marc, who has been learning kiteboarding for a while, had his best session ever, by a long shot. He was going fast and steady and staying upwind like a champ, most of the time. He also let me ride some of his smaller twintip boards; a 158 cm Cabrinha Prodigy and a 148 cm Cabrinha Prodigy. Compared to my huge 180 cm Litewave twintip the Prodigies were nicer to jump and ride hard, but required more power from the kite. The 148 had a nice way of digging and slicing during a fast transition.

Thursday 1/28- Windiest while I was working, and faded to a marginal 10 knots from the Northeast by the time I got on the water. Still salvaged a kite session, and had some good runs testing the efficiency of Marc's special lightwind board; the 153 cm Litewave "wing" twintip. Even though it's a lot shorter than my big twintip, the "wing" planes better because it's very wide at each end and has a totally flat rocker with four fins on the heel side.

Friday 1/29- About 14 knots again, but from the Southeast this time. After work I met up with some young kiter dudes from the local community college and rode in disorganized choppy water conditions without any big waves. This was the sesh where I got to try a "directional" kiteboard for the first time. A directional looks like a miniature windsurf board or a surfboard with straps. I got this one as a freebie that was given to Marc, who didn't want it, who gave it to me. I spruced it up and covered up some epoxy work I did on the deck by painting a big red circle on it.

The tricky thing about the directional kiteboard is that you have to jibe it to reverse directions. I had a hard time with that, so I mostly ended up just crashing and putting the board on my feet the other direction when I had to turn. I think the main advantage to this directional is supposed to be the way it slashes turns and rides waves, but I couldn't really try that in the disorganized chop on Friday. I'll give it a few more tries before I decide whether to keep it or find it a new home.

Saturday 1/30- There was a light and gusty Southwest wind and a small swell that was only breaking well at my secret, spinner-shark sandbar. Even though the wind was unstable, it was from the perfect side-off direction to go "down the line" with "frontside" wave rides. I had only gotten a handful of decent frontside wave rides in my life, so it was a real treat to get a ton more on Saturday. I used a 6.6 sail and 106 liter board.

Sunday 1/31- Rocking, 20-25 knot wind from due North! As usual for North wind, the water was totally smooth in the lee of the Fort Pierce jetty, but decent waves developed on the outside by early afternoon. My windsurf buddies Jon P and Dave Z drove up from Stuart to sail "my" spot, which was super cool. Dave usually sails the flat water in the Indian River Lagoon, but he did well adjusting to the ocean and trying some wave-oriented gear this day. Jon, who is a very experienced and committed windsurfer (he lives in an RV that tows a trailer with about 20 boards between the Gorge and Florida, seasonally), was killing it, doing rocket-high jumps off the steepest ramps on the outside. I was powered on my magic 4.7 meters squared sail and Evo 83 liter waveboard, and got some fun jumps and frontside wave rides. Jon rode my board and diagnosed the stock starboard Drake 23 cm fin as prone to spinout and cavitation, which I had also suspected. (See fin on the left).

At the end of the session, following a lot of nerdy fin discussion, Jon sold me the Curtis fin on the right for cheap. Even though it's the same length as the Drake fin it has a wider "chord" and thicker "foil" which makes it more powerful, theoretically.

Monday 2/1- It rained all day while I was at work, but lightened up enough at the end of the day that I was able to grab a session at the Jetty in strong East wind conditions and big surf. I was super stoked to be able to try the new fin just one day after buying it, and I was not at all disappointed with how it performed. It had much more power and predictability than the Drake, but still felt very nimble when doing quick turns on a wave. The waves on the outside break were really quite big and thrilling, so I regained some of confidence I had lost during the previous week's "denial" session.

I need some time off the water now to let several possibly-infected scrapes on my feet heal up.

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