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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 2:07 pm 
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I wanted to start a thread talking about some of our more notable downwinder rides and treks back to land, the launch, your car from the deep blue sea and the interesting things that may have happened along the way. This sport is great but it can sure make you work once in a while.

To kick things off, how I ended up doing a six mile downwinder, not so far at all by normal standards and the long walk home. I went 23 miles and wanted to go further the third time I figured how to get up on my first hyperlite wakeboard. Is this sport great or what!

I was out with an open cell XXXL foil with four lines and handles probably for the last time. I had just about sold it and took it out for a last spin close to three years ago. The wind started to build and pretty soon it was obvious there was no staying upwind with this 9 m efficient foil with no depower function. I was having so much fun so I figured what the hell, let's go for a ride. So I went blasting downwind for quite a while.

Near the end the wind must have slipped into the low 20 mph range and things were getting to be a little too much fun. I seem to recall doing the superman glide horizontally out of the water and away from my board in one gust. The handle attachment points had slipped under the load and really impaired the brake function, ouch. I ended up making it to shore and disabling the kite that was really up for more flying, spinning and everything.

The dumb things we do in the early days, rigged too big and in squally conditions, jeez! Coming from windsurfing you can get deceived by the violent, non-lightening prone weather you can go out in. In kiteboarding we jump higher than in windsurfing and when nasty storm squalls come we can continue to jump higher and possibly hit HARDER. Time and experience are great teachers though.

I then packed up and started the long walk home. It was a mile to the nearest payphone but my girlfriend was out of town anyway and it was a nice evening, sort of, so I figured just hoof it. I didn't have that strong an appreciation for squalls in those days and at one point was wondering where to run and duck for cover if a tornado came in from developing very nasty, ragged dark gray-green clouds. Anyway, nothing developed and home I went. Pretty tame stuff by the experiences of others, now over to you ...

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 2:44 pm 
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Location: Spain/Italy
Ok Rick,
Day before yesterday, wind picks up in the evening, like about an hour before dark, nice side-off scirocco or so the swaying trees I can see from home say.
Off I tuck down to the beach with me kite on me back and me board under me arm.
When I get there it's horribly gusty but wtf, I've less than an hour till dark and the wind is up. Pump up the kite and launch, 16m pulls like fuck in the gusts, 12m would have been better, but I pull down the trim all the way and off I go, blasting upwind and pop a bloody long jump, must've caught a gust as I was going up, land pretty well, do it again, loose me board, no sweat, start to bodydrag upwind with the wind getting lullier all the time.
Until now it was a pretty overpowered but fun evening, if somewhat stormy and getting darker all the time.
I'm about halfway to the board when the kite cops a lull and hits the drink, shit, relaunch, as kite is flkying off the water it cops another lull and falls slowly back into the drink, twisting into a horrible shape, half inside out and half the right way round, I try pulling leaders to stear the kite to shore, no dice it is just too messed up. Right, wind the lines onto the bar, I then discover that in all the fun I've busted a winder, right forget that, pull down a line to the kite to see if I can sort it out, in the meantime the wind is turning side, side off and I can't go anywhere except straight downwind, more or less parallel to the shore about 300 m away.
Get to the kite, try flipping it, it flips but still complertely buggered and twisted into a horrible mess. OK, keep hold of one tip and swim it in. Suddennly the lines go taught and I stop floating downwind. I look back and see the bar caught on a bouy, as the leash is still attached to my harness there is no way the kite can fly and it is just a twisted mess anyway but what am I gonna do now, if I detach one side of the kite the lines will pull all the way round the bouy and maybe catch worse.
Fuck, pull back down the line to the bar, pull the line off the bouy and start floating merrily downwind again, it was pretty dark and stormy by now, but at least the wind was back to side-off and I was getting closer to shore, start swimming back down the line to the kite with the lines swirling round me legs.
About half way down the line in what has now become a stormy night out, I drift past the other guys on the beach packing up in the dark, with one lone kiter still jumpin in front of me, I stiffle a cry of "Help me you bastards", grit me teeth and keep pulling down the line.
After about 1 km, I finally manage to touch the bottom and start walkin in.
Even on shore the kite won't untwist until I deflate the leading edge and the lines on the bar look like spaghetti on a fork.
Me mate who was doing the jumping in front of me was the last one out and has brought me board back and if my kite ever gets screwed like that again I'm definately gonna wind up the lines before swimming to it, winder or no.
All in all it was quite an evening.
Can't wait to get back out there.
After that the walk back home in the dark was actually quite relaxing.
Jo


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 2:53 pm 
Ahhh Memories, Memories...

A Funny Florida Campground Story:

January this year...I was in JAX Florida by myself going through the boot camp of learning kiting. Since I was by myself and it was january (cold as hell), I was taking what I thought to be may careful steps to avoid disaster.
Our kite of choice for this january day was a Wipika 7.1M FreeAir. 2-Line. The wind was up around 12-15 knots. There was barley a soul in the campground. All of my kiting buddys didnt exsist yet. Well with the execption of a few windsurfers...laughing at me.
I had a spill with the kite down wind in the power zone. The kite was completly powered and pulling me across a hard packed shell embedded course towards the campground...so naturally I released the bar and let the leash do its work. The kite spun twice and the leash flipped of my hand. This sent the kite tumbling towards the campground...so I started running as fast as I could to catch it. I ran approx. 20ft as the kite tumbled over the dunes into the campground. I was running at full speed and jumped over a telephone phone pole lying across the sand. Big Mistake. Still at full speed my Wipika Directional leashed to the back of my harness caught the telephone pole dead on. I was yanked backwards in the air and on the ground. The kite continued to tumble away. Frantic on the ground my numb fingers fumbled at the leash shackle attached to my harness. I undid it and jumped up and sprinted towards the kite again. The kite was well on its way across the campground. I knew I wouldnt catch it. It would end up across the river it was headed for. And just to mention, across the river was a Naval base. lol. That would have been funny to retrieve, damn. Anyway in an act of God the kite flipped over nose down and stayed as I almost went running over top of it. Out of breath with a few scratches and stickers on my feet I grabbed the kite and walked back to the inside of the beach to check for damages.
The kite was completly fine. I was a little shaky and laughing about being yanked so hard...Just one more reason for me not to wear a board leash.

What an experience.

Gotta love the early days...:smile:

JD
Ga Kite Crew


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 3:12 pm 
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Location: www.tbks.net FL
Thanks Rick. I asked about that downwinder in a previous thread. I'm glad you took the time to write an answer. So that's the story behind your 6 mile downwinder eh? I am STILL thinking that I may have ditched the board and kite in a bush somewhere and came back for it, but I am a wuss like that.

Downwinders over here, for those that like to do them, are actually pretty ideal along the Gulf Coast. You can launch as far north up the gulf coast as Sand Key near Clearwater and ride downwind following the gulf shore coastline for quite a ways, like down to the Treasure Island area, and still have a ride back...a FREE ride back at that. The Suncoast Beach Trolly runs up and down Gulf Blvd. transporting people all along the gulf coast beaches for free. I THINK they may charge a buck if you wish to bring "that thing"(Board and or kite) on the bus with you. Anyway, I dunno how long the ride is or could be, I imagine you can cut it off at a mile or so or you could go all the way down to Upham Beach or further into Treasure Island or onto St Pete Beach which is several(maybe 15-20miles??) miles further. Obviously you could just keep going down the coast as far as you'd like, but the free ride back ends at St. Pete Beach. I've included a picture of this downinders dream for you to see. Anyone who enjoys doing downwinders, maybe just for the sake of launching jump after jump after jump after jump without having to worry about staying upwind or just wishing to scream balls out on a downwinder, really does have it pretty good here in Florida. We are freakin surrounded by water and beaches!!

One of the launch spots is shown by a star on the below map, but the most common place to launch for this downwinder is Sand Key Park which you can find at the northern coast end of map. From there you are free to blow downwind to your hearts content(provided the wind direction is ok) while knowing that you will have a free ride back. Now HOW ABOUT THAT!?!?

Friends that visit from Hawaii always try to drag me out for that downwinder, telling me that we dont realize how good we have it here. They say they have NO place to do that kinda thing there for that long of distance.

Personally, doing downwinders isn't my thing. I like to come back into where I left from...chances are I will have a few things laying on the beach there anyway. But, for those who do them, I imagine that you could quickly improve your jumping skills by doing a leaping downwinder or two, expecially if it is of this length.

Thanx for the story Rick! Mucha gracias senior! You guy's have fun....
Image

Pea's Out!
Johnny


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 4:03 pm 
Had a line break on my ARC 8.4 trying to do a downwinder from torri to naha (in okinawa) I was about 3 miles off shore when I had to climb on top of it and use it as a raft and pull one side of it up and use it as a sail to get me back to shore. After one hour of wondering what was below me I finally got picked up by a small japanese fishing boat on the way back to the marina.

J


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 4:19 pm 
The day i finally learned to kite up wind, was the same day my buds took me seven miles upwind shoved me in the Baja sea and said we'll see ya back at camp, I sailed for two hours but i was still seven miles up wind, everyone has that magic day,this was mine,when i got back to camp. I WAS A KITSURFER


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 4:30 pm 
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Three miles offshore,jeez! I thought my swim in from 2 miles was a long haul. It was when I finally tumbled to the fact that riding in offshore wind wasn't a good idea at all. I was out with an AR5 15.5 m and the offshore wind petered out to almost nothing to where I couldn't even water relaunch. I had managed to relaunch it at least ten times that session in light failing winds up to that point. It took a while to swim in, with the leading edge of the kite deflated and side stoking dragging everything.

They should make and sell strait jackets or wind chastity belts for guys jonsing a bit too hard for a shred session beyond sensible conditions.

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 4:40 pm 
Dont ride offshore people....keep it simple.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 4:44 pm 
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1 kite for sale !!!! yipes I'm getting a volvo!!!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 4:52 pm 
Yeah offshore winds will disappoint you if it's light and you stray too far. done that swim too. :smile:

J


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