Monthly Archive for March, 2008

I Was Starting to Feel Bored With Everything

I Was Starting to Feel Bored With Everything

Everything was becoming more and more boring. Totally dull. I got the occasional bit of a buzz from cycling and enjoyed swimming. But something was seriously lacking.

Over the past week I started easing back into my addictions. Surfing and kitesurfing again. But carefully. This felt good. My injury was holding up ok. Not much discomfort. But keeping to very small waves surfing carefully and kitesurfing lightly in underpowered conditions felt depressing. It was good to be on the water again, building up the next expressive session, but it was just dull. There was no rush, no buzz, no fear.

A good summer SE was forecast yesterday and the morning saw it coming through nicely. Eager to hit it, I rushed out early with my biggest kite. Too early. Gusty and underpowered. It was a good warm up and I took a break for lunch while I waited for it to gather momentum. In the late afternoon it looked solid. There were a few other kiters out. I went out with my regular kite. The swell had jacked up pretty solid. Still gusty but perfectly rideable. I did a few easy runs to warm up. It was tricky to make it out the back through quite consistent swells running close together. Realising that I would not make it over a wave I turned. As I did this I hit a dead patch. The water was glassy. No wind. I looked back to see it baring down on me. It’s one of those moments where you wish you could blow into your kite like a cartoon character to make it power you out of there. I took a breath as it hit me and tried to hang on and somehow get enough power into the kite but got swallowed by the white water. The turbulence felt a bit much to hold onto my board with a dodgy ankle so I booted it free.

What followed was very frustrating. When I surfaced I came within a metre of my board a couple of times. Body dragging upwind in waves for a board in currents can be a fruitless task. Fortunately boards always end up on the beach at my local spot. Usually they go one way but the direction can sometimes be a mystery. I started walking the beach the usual way until another kiter told me his board had gone the other way. As I headed back up the beach some Sunday strollers found it for me. They asked why I did not wear a leash. I explained that it’s too dangerous and I seldom lose my board anyway.

Leashes in my opinion are very stupid and should be banned from our sport. They make sense for surfing. But it’s simply overcomplicated to be attached to a kite and a board simultaneously. It’s impossible to do serious freestyle or even jump safely with a leash. The risk of it shooting back at you are high enough on flat water. In waves this increases dramatically. If you’re using the kite to pull you through a wave and the board is being pulled in the other direction the recoil from a leash can be immense. A leash without stretch could tear your leg off. Unlike surfing it’s also not so easy to swim under water and wait for the board to recoil over your head. Generally the kite keeps you on the surface like a sitting duck. Wearing a helmet is simply not sufficient protection. There have been a number of leash-related fatalities even with helmets.

Eternally grateful that my session could resume I charged out again. This time with some anger and frustration at having an unwanted search mission thrown in. Since I was landing on my healthy back foot I felt free to boost a couple of airs off the waves on the way out. Some nice little bits of hang time fueled my addiction and restored my endorphin balance. This morning my boredom is dead and buried and I’m feeling inspired.

World Speed Record

Here goes Tilmann Heinig unofficially breaking the world speed record in perfect austere conditions in Westerhever, Germany with wind speeds between 35 and 45 knots. It was January 26 and it looks icy cold! Being closer to frozen wind often feels more powerful when it’s cold so perhaps this worked to his advantage.

Over a 500-meter course he averaged 50.9 knots. This world record breaking speed was recorded on his GPS and is recognised by gps-kitesurfing.com. He clocked a top speed of 55.2 knots (102 km/h)!

Read more about it here.