Day 1: Thursday June 7: Go to Spain, they said.
"Why don't you go to Spain for a week or two, hook up with Peter and test out the upcoming kites?" It sounded like a great idea so I jumped at the chance. "Just don't waste too much money on flights ..."
I can bargain hunt with the best of them ... flights to Barcelona via Schipoll a bargain at $240, the only issue I can see is that my first flight leaves at 6 AM and my last flight lands at 6 PM. I could kitesurf to Barcelona in less time than that.
I arrived at the airport for my first flight, to find that there was just me and one other passenger on my flight. I knew I should have gone direct, damn the expense.
Two inflight meals and 12 hours later, I arrive in Barcelona. Sebastian, our Euro sales manager, informs me that plans have changed, I'm not staying in Barcelona and I need to take a 2 hour train ride up the coast to Figureas. Great, I get to see Spain by train, just what I want after having seen it all by air.
Finally, after many hours travelling I'm picked up by a smiling Peter Stiewe, who'd headed off into the night, with no idea of how to get back to the campsite and little inclination to buy a map. An hour later, we finally arrive back at the campsite and Peter takes me inside our palatial residence.
Of course it's not all bad news, Peter has a bounty of 08 prototype kites all ready for testing, so with good wind in the forecast for tomorrow, there's finally something to look forward to.
<I>Ed.Notes: 1) If you're going to complain about a plane ride and a train ride, there are other people who would like to go jaunting off to Spain to test kites who won't complain about it. 2) You should have seen the team rider house in Brazil ... bats, cockroaches, no electricity, cold water ... so, those digs are looking pretty primo. And look! There's even a little protective fence on the bed so you won't roll onto the floor!
Day 2 Friday June 8th: Night-time visitors and promised wind
As you might expect, with most of the latest 08 prototype kites in our care, security is paramount. Peter and myself kept to a strict 'watch' schedule last night, taking it in turns to look over our prototype bounty during the night while the other slept. We were well into the third 'watch' of the night when I heard definite sounds of something or someone outside. Prepared for anything and with a large brush in hand to protect myself from would-be thieves, I pulled the screen door back and stepped outside into the dark, ready to tackle whatever lurked outside.
Well, it may not have been a crack troop of Ninja Spanish kite thieves, but he did have a big enough rucksack on his back to make off with most of our equipment, even it might not have made the quickest or getaways.
I thought it best not to worry Peter and kept our guest to myself.
After a great breakfast of strong coffee followed by more coffee we decided it was time to hit the beach. The wind was light, not much more than 10 knots, if that! We packed a 133 float, Peter's small surfboard, a 12m HP Proto and made our way to the beach.
The wind was up and down between 8 and 12 knots all morning, so conditions could be best described as light for a 12m kite. When we saw other kiters at the beach sat down with their 14m and 16m SLE's we didn't hold out much hope. Peter seemed worryingly enthusiastic about the conditions, 12knots ... it's hardly worth getting excited about.
I fitted a new version of the LE bridle onto the 12m HP, inflated it, attached a 45cm bar and lines and ran into the water with my new Float 133 under my arm. No surprises, I could just get going if I looped the kite and heading upwind was out of the question. Not my idea of fun.
During all of this Perter had been quietly setting up his board and putting on his shorty. I came in looking despondent, despite the fact I was more than happy with the way the kite looped on the 45cm bar, better than my 13m Waroo does on the 55cm bar, that's cool. "Not enough wind?" asked Peter. I just shrug my response.
So Peter takes the kite off me, grabs his skinny surf-board and rides straight off into the middle of the Bay. And proceeds to stay out for the next half hour while I make the most of the time with my camera, cursing his good fortune and small surfboard.
"She flies nicely in light wind," says Peter. "Yeh, she looks great" I respond. "Maybe you could try relaunching her and I can get it on camera." (I'm not a charitable person by nature. Peter's just enjoyed half an hours kitesurfing while I was stuck on the beach. If I'm going to be miserable, I see no reason why I shouldn't spread it around a little.) "Yah, let's do it," replies Peter. (Got him!)
Ok, so I've been 'schooled' ... in light-wind kitesurfing and light-wind relauncing on the same day. I now bow humbly at the altar of Peter Stiewe, kite flying and designing genius. I'm ... frankly ... not worthy.
All 'round good guy that he is Peter offers to take me for lunch, and we feast on that Spanish classic 'ham and cheese' sandwich before returning to the beach to take the photographs that will be used for the new product manuals, when I finally get round to them. So there you have it, Day 2 of testing. Don't ask me when the kites will be ready, don't ask me in what colours they'll be available, and definitely don't ask me to leak out details of all the new stuff that Peter has hidden away on the HP....
Day 3 Saturday June 9th: More light wind and mucho testing
Today we are blessed by the wind gods, all 13 knots of them ... sheesh. Once again, Peter looks supremely confident with his lightwind ability, and to put a smile on my face, Sami Gali came round this morning and dropped off a 55cm bar and a spare line set. He forget the fin screws for the Float 133, so my board is still finless. (My evil plan includes getting Peter to try the 10m Nemesis HP all day on the 45cm bar while I head out into the bay and rip hard on the 12m with the 55cm bar).
Of course, Peter has other plans, and these include back-to-back testing of both the 03 and 04 revision bridles on rev 2 of the 12m HP. I could try waiting until he falls asleep for an afternoon siesta and then burying him in the sand and sailing off into the sunset, but given my past experience with the marginal winds, I doubt it is very likely that events will fall in my favour.
"Maybe you'd like to take some pictures while I go out on the surf board" ... er no, maybe I'd like to sit here all day eating ice cream and photographing the Senoritas. You can guess what I ended up doing...
The wind picks up, Peter comes in, and eventually, I jump on the finless 133 Float and head out onto the water with the 12m Nemesis HP and the later bridle revision. For a kite that's going to replace the Waroo Pro it certainly doesn't handle like the Waroo Pro. I'm not going to tell you it jumps like a rocket ship in 13 knots, because it doesn't ... I can barely hold my line on the water ... but jump she does, and despite the wind, she floats nicely.
The most noticable thing is that you can take the kite from completely stalled to completely depowered on bar travel alone. In fact, you don't even need the last 10cm of bar travel to achieve it. That's definately a step in right direction; looks like the new front bridle configuration is going to make it into production for sure. With the wind being so light for the kite size, every transition is a downloop or a downturn frontloop transition, and the HP comes careening out the other side of the window after each transition and it's smoother than the Bularoo. He might be onto something here with the new bridle!
Whether it's the fact that I'm the only rider jumping today, even though other guys are riding 16m and 18m kites, or because I'm the only guy riding a kite that has no logo, there appears to be a small crowd gathering near our spot on the beach. I come in to find Peter holding court with a few locals, explaining the new features on the Nemesis HP to the local Best riders. (SO much for impressing the locals with my hot riding.)
I can't really complain, I've had a good session, wiped the cobwebs away a little bit and definitely made myself a new friend with the 12m Nemesis HP. Peter, on the other hand, has made himself an entire entourage of new friends and, if he was an ice cream he'd apparently be raspberry or pistachio or some other popular flavour, whereas it would appear that I'd be pralines and 'dick' flavour.
I have a sneaking suspicion that tomorrow will be my day. I can feel it in my sunburn: I'm destined for greatness. Now where did I put that SPF30 suntan cream, my head feels all funny ...
Day 4: Sunday June 10th, Blessed by Wind
Something is wrong this morning. I'm not sure what it is yet, but I can feel it in my bones. Something is very wrong. Maybe I had too much sun yesterday, maybe I had too much San Miguel last night.
I emerge from under my bedsheet and poke my head out into the morning. The sun is shining, I think that might be wind I can hear outside. Doesn't seem too bad so far ... perhaps my sense of foreboding was without due cause. Hell no... it's 6:30 AM on a Sunday morning and Peter is up already. To make it worse, he sounds like he's being cheerful. Yes, I'm sure I can hear him whistling to himself in a German accent. This can't be happening. It's Sunday. No one has any right to be up this time on a Sunday unless they are a Vicar, yet here Peter is wide awake and whistling Wagner's Ride Of The Valkyrie whilst he makes himself a pot of coffee.
I have to say something. This is intolerable. "Good---Morning Peter", I say archly. He doesn't even notice the heavy pause between 'good' and 'morning.' I am damned, and I've gone to hell and Peter is here to make sure I atone for all my previous sins. At least the day can't get any worse, can it?
Far from getting worse the day quickly gets much better, I quickly forgive Peter his happy musical state, as he's not only made coffee, for both of us, but he has the rest of breakfast lined up as well.
A quick look online shows it to be blowing a steady 15mph already, and once the daily thermals kick in, we might be looking at 20-25mph ... awesome ... real wind at last.
By 10 AM, it's already blowing 20mph so we head off to the beach with the 9m, 10m and 12m Nemesis HP's in tow. Peter takes the 10m, grabs the pump, and gets ready while I find myself a decent vantage point to take some pictures.
After 60 seconds of pumping, Peter is all ready to go. He steps onto his trusty yellow surfboard and heads straight out with the 10m. The sight of Peter disappearing into the distance is becoming all too familiar these days.
I hang round and shoot a few more pics before inflating the 12m, grab my finless Float 133 and head out over the chop. It makes a real difference to be riding the 12m powered up. It didn't feel the least bit sluggish over the last 3 days, even with the lack of any real wind, but today it's on fire. I see Peter throw a big backloop-kiteloop way out back, his yellow surfboard glinting in the sun as it goes over his head. That's a pretty stylish move on a directional, more so because he's at least half a mile out from the beach. Like a true professional, he stuffs it badly and slams the kite into the water at mach 3. "Nice kite ... let's take it off some sweet jumps," I chuckle to myself. Within ten seconds, he has the kite out of the water and back up on his board and heading for the shore.
"I think I'll try the 9m," Peter say. "Do you want the 10m?" "Sure, why not?" SO I follow him in. We swap kites, and I take a quick picture and leave him on the beach wondering how he's going to self launch in the undulating sands. (Charity begins at home, what can I say, you'd do the same thing. It was blowing ...)
Peter must have been launched by someone as he's quickly back on the water and proceeds to outpoint me on his first tack, despite his smaller kite and disappears off into the distance. Behind me, I can hear a strange woosh-plop, woosh-plop. I turn around and look behind me, just in time to see a stretched-out kitesurfer airborne behind his out-of-control Nova2 looping his way madly across the water. He manages to catch his breath, then he's off again, totally out of control on a demented kite. He proceeds to cover a good half mile like this, teabagged out of the water as his kite loops again and again. Eventually, he gets a brief respite as it hits the water ... then he's off again. It's times like this that you realise why you carry a small knife. If that had been me, I would have cut my lines long ago, damn the expense. Some things just aren't worth suffering for.
The problem with our out-of-control-compadre is that he's heading towards the busy lane. The picture below shows the beach just before we went out. At last count, there were over 100 kites on the water, so this could get messy. Eventually, some community-spirited Cabrinha rider takes his life in his hands, kicks off his board and jumps onto the guys briefly downed kite, while still attached to his. This guy must have balls of steel ... major respect, he saves the day. No doubt the Nova rider is the happiest guy in the world at this precise moment in time. They drag in together to the beach.
I head back in. The wind has shifted slightly offshore by this time and kites are falling out of the sky in the hands of less experienced kiters. That's a sure sign it's time to go.
I look round for Peter, but he's nowhere to be seen. He's left the 12m on the beach, he's left the pump and all the bags, the spare bar, my camera bag and he's left me. So I pack up and carry two lots of kit home across the beach to the campsite, knowing he's made his way home with one board and one kite leaving me to packhorse all the gear. When I get back, he's busying himself in the kitchen, smiling and whistling Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side Of Life ... da dum da dum da dam da da dada."
I've get the feeling I've been paid back for leaving him to self-launch. Royally. I can smell revenge in the air for tomorrow...
Day 5: Monday June 11th, Who's Laughing Now?
Ok, so the holiday is over, the weekend is finished and it's back to work. Well, it's back to work for some of us...
I wake up at 7:00 AM, the sun is shining, there's a touch of wind already, and absolutely no sign of Peter. Maybe the San Miguel got the better of him last night. I start my morning by being as loud as I can possibly be. I decide to clean all the dirty dishes we have amassed over the past 4 days, making sure that I rattle those pots and pans and make as much noice as is humanly possible by swirling all the cutlery around the metal sink until I can bear the noise no more. I then move all the furniture around our 'shed', dragging the table and chairs across the floor as I sweep under them to remove the sand. (Question: where does all the sand come from? I understand we are at the beach and sand is a given in this location but I've been religiously kicking off my flip flops before I enter the 'shed' and making sure I don't drag anything from the beach in with me.) Anyway, the sand ends up in a neat pile that is easily swept under the door to Peters bedroom.
I then take the world's nosiest shower, making sure I leave the bathroom door open and flushing the toilet a few times for effect, just in case Peter has managed to become deaf during the night. Finally, just before I give up all hope of making enough noise to force Peter out of bed early, I hear the noises and the swishing of bed sheets coming from Peter's room. A slumbering Peter emerges from his room, just as I start loudly clinking together the empty beer bottles into a bag for recycling. "Morning, Peter," I say, greeting my still half-asleep house mate as he makes his way towards the bathroom. "Yah, ah, guten morgen," he replies as he shuffles past, stepping into his newly acquired pile of sand. "I didn't realise you were up yet," says Peter, looking vaguely annoyed as he scrubs the sand off his feet. He then fishes into his ears and pulls out two bright yellow foam ear plugs and places then down on the side of the sink next to my pile of newly sparkling plates and cutlery. "Have you been up long?" he enquires as he closes the toilet door behind him.
Things aren't going to plan so far this morning. That's for sure. Luckily, I have an ace up my sleeve ... "Scheise, wo das Toilletpapperen ist?" (The toilet paper is hidden under my bed, and that's where it's staying, Peter will unfortunately just have to make do with the one slightly damp sheet that is sat on the edge of the sink. Result ...)
The normally good humoured Peter doesn't seem to be able to shake off his bad toilet paper experience from this morning as he sits down to breakfast. An exemplary spread that any first class hotel would be proud of, lukewarm coffe, cheese slices, (not any junk cheese, just your finest quality processed sliced cheese) and yesterdays bread. Mmmmmm. The breakfast of champions.
Did I mention it was windy?
It certainly is, today we are blessed with fine wind early in the morning, a good sign seeing as the local wind is thermal and doesn't kick in until after lunch. We could be onto a winner here. I leave Peter with his own personal black cloud forming and take the 10m HP off to the beach. I've attacked my footpads with a sharp knife this morning so they will better accomodate my high arch and narrow feet, and frankly life couldn't be any sweeter.
To cut a long story short, the wind builds and builds, the thunder clouds roll in, I start boosting 30 foot air to the amazement of the locals,and then before you can say, "More like 15 foot, mate, maybe 18 at a push," the heavens open up and we are treated to a downpour of biblical proportions. The locals run for cover ... they've obviously never seen rain before ... while I stay out boosting large and throwing downloops with wanton abandon until I get too cocky, go too close to the beach, and overshoot the water by ten feet, coming down hard on the sand. Luckily, I slide it in without landing hard on my feet,come to an abrupt stop and look up to find that my kite has flipped over into a perfect self-landing position. I quickly realise that now might be the time to make it look like I had that all planned, and nonchalantly start winding my lines in like it happens just like this every time I go kiting. The locals look bemused. I assume they've never been in the presence of greatness before. I later find out that they really never have seen rain before. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.
Now, you'll just have to take my word on the big air, huge jumps, and 'secret agent' style beach landings. I can't honestly be expected to do all that, smile for the camera and take the picture. But be assured that the rain was very real.
If I'd have known it was going to rain like this, I could have stayed at home ...
Day #6: Tuesday 12th: Introducing my hero
So I didn't manage to escape yesterday's beach landing quite as I thought. As I lie in bed this morning, listening to Peter concoct haute cuisine from stale bread and cheese spread, all I can think about is acquiring painkillers. Big painkillers, strong painkillers. Painkillers that would send a small horse to sleep permanently (no offense to lovers of Shetland Ponies).
The left hand side of my room looks great this morning, that's not the problem. The problem I'm faced with, or rather half faced with, is that I can't turn my head to the right, it just won't go, no way no how. Kitesurifng is definately off the cards today, at least for me.
Peter seems to be his usual cheery self as he hands me a mug of coffee from outside my field of view. "Something is wrong with your neck?" enquires my unseen house mate from over my right shoulder. "Yeh, I think I've strained something, do you have any painkillers?" Cut through thirty minute interlude during which time Peter regails me with the time Sonya dislocated her shoulder in Brazil and was operated on by the Fortaleza football team doctor. Apparently he was schooled in France, practiced in Australia, and a whole host of other interesting little snippets of info, the only valuable part of which was the fact that physiotherapy in Brazil costs buttons and that Peter has some small orange pills, which he might be willing to sell me if the price is right and I'm prepared to sign a legal disclaimer releasing him from the threat of legal action should I be poisoned by said pills.
I agree to his terms, he additionally screws me over by making me agree to do all the dishes for the rest of the trip. I concede to his wishes, knowing that I might be able to win my freedom back by offering him much needed toilet roll from the secret stash I've had hidden my bed since yesterdaY. We shake on the deal and two small Ibruprofen and handed over.
Thirty minutes later I can see both sides of the room, and I'm ready for kiting action. Then the rain starts, five minutes later, Sami Gali, local hero and speedsailing king of the bay, arrives.
Sami looks like a kitesurifng advert, smiling, suntanned, sunglasses perched on his head. Sami has arrived to test the new kites, having heard rumours of a crazy flying Englishman on the beach the previous day, and also to challenge Peter to race across the bay. I can smell a photo-opportunity in the air, I grab my camera and follow the guys down to the beach.
You don't notice the shape of the kites when you are riding them, but when you see two kites in the air next to each other it's easy to see where one looks better than the other. Cleaner canopy shapes become apparent as they glide past. It's easy to see which kites stays higher in the window as it makes a transition and heads out back in the opposite direction. This is all the more impressive when you know one rider is on a 9m with 55cm bar and the other guy is on a prototype 12m with a 45cm bar. Who ever said good things don't come to those who wait.
Sami wastes no time in limbering up for his race across the bar with Peter. He makes a few fast runs holding the power in deep on the Nemesis HP while cutting a sharp line against the wind.
This looks pretty good. Maybe today's ritual humiliation for Peter could be unwittingly served up by Sami, thus ensuring him pride of place as my new hero. Both kiters take to the water, Peter on the 10m and Sami on the 12m. Peter gets off to a flying start jumping on his board before Sami is ready and heads off for the middle for the bay. The format is simple: once around the buoy and back, winner gets back first, loser comes next. Peter has made good ground on Sami with his flying start and has held onto his cheater's lead all the eay to the buoy. On the way back, I can see Sami starting to edge upwind of Peter, it looks like he's gaining upwind advantage so he can make a last minute downwind reach. As luck would have it, that's exactly what he does, beating Peter back to the beach by a good 20 metres.
Ladies and gentlemen, Sami Gali, my new hero.
Later that evening I barter more painkillers from Peter in exchange for 'my' toilet paper. "But dis is the toilet paper that went missing yesterday!"... ( Sure is...)
Day #7: Wednesday June 13th: A deepeer understanding
I'm not sure how long I can keep this up.I genuinely am running out of ideas to torment Peter with, maybe I should start a thread on the forum and each day I can enact the best suggestions. (No that's just asking for trouble!)
Bright and early this morning, a parcel arrives for Peter. Being a gracious kind of guy, he lets me open it and extract its rich bounty. Inside we have two brand new and shiny HP prototypes, additionally revised 10m and 9m kites, in red once again. Buried deep within the bags these kites are packed in are some of the lesser known parts of the kite designer's trade. Working for the best kite company in the world, I'm party to some pretty neat stuff long before it hits the shelves or the pages of the world's press and kiteforums. But, there are some things in here the likes of which I have never seen before. It's like the scene from 'Toy Story' where the toys go next door and they find other toys with bits missing and limbs strategically removed.
I always considered that when you made a new part you just went straight ahead and integrated it into a kite design. EZ-pump, 'kerpow,' add it straight in, test it, if it fails revert back. Canopy support, 'shazam,' add it in, and remove it if you need to. But that's not how it works; it's more subtle than that. If you want to test an evolution of your current EZ-pump system, then you make a little leading edge section, make a little strut, make two tiny bladders, and stitch the whole thing together like some sort of dismembodied limb. These things look awesome ... we have a bag full of them: canopy framing samples, Ez-pump samples, canopy support patches, even two -foot sections of the new leading edge construction. Check it out ...
Peter even has prototypes of every different material and seam that he uses made for testing before they go anywhere near a kite. Here's a different LE section with a new Kevlar ring reinforcement as part of our Solid Airframe Construction. This is awesome ... it's like kitesurfing parts' bin heaven. These would look so cool on display in a shop.
I grab the new 10m Hp, splash on the nearest sun-tan cream, leaving Peter jumping up and down on a small section of leading edge as if he's just caught it trying to steal his wallet. "Don't get sunburnt; it looks real hot out there," says Peter as I leave.
To cut a long story short, it blew from the left, it blew from the right, it blew cross-off, the sun shone, and I stayed out for five hours enjoying every minute of it. The newer rev' of the 10m HP is even better than the last, a little smoother and noticably faster once again. It kiteloops right at the top of the window if you commit really hard; if you go hard core and ease off the bar a little, it will spit you out brutally as it traverses the full window. Sweet. I ache all over.
I return from the day's kitesurfing to find Peter still at his desk, hard at work. When I left, this page was empty; when I returned, it was full of crazy little sums and there are another three just like it in the bin. Peter has been busy.
Despite having liberally slapped factor 30 all over, I am frankly burnt to a crisp. (Note to self: re-apply suntan cream when coming out of the water, as per the manufacturer's instructions).
Days 8 and 9, June 14th and 15th: Visitors and Victory
Thursday was meant to be the day. The wind was guaranteed, the forecast had been good the whole week ... 20 knots plus. We'd been looking forward to testing the small kites and throwing some big air to catch on film.
Well you can guess what happened. Thursday came and went and the wind never picked up more than 15mph. The Barcelona crew showed up and bless them, they tried their best to bust big air for the camera, but truth be told no amount of skill and commitment is going to make up for 15mph when your biggest kite is a 12m. I spent the entire afternoon with the camera poised ready for action. So here is the best we got.
I'm desperate for a 25 knot day to take that 10m out and give it a real thrashing. I know it's going to go so high and so sweet.
Friday June 15th: Victory
We had yet another delivery this morning. It's like Christmass every day when you're with Peter. Today's delivery was a newer revision of the 12m, complete with a potential graphics option. The kite looks sweet, all the product features are labelled, the leading edge has its own graphics over the Cuben centre section, the wingtips have new markings to indicate the 3-way turning speed settings. It's nice to get the chance to ride a kite that looks like a finished version rather than a test mule.
We put the 12m through its paces all day. More disappointing light wind, but the 12m gets a great work out all day on the 45cm bar. Damn, this thing turns fast. I've never been a fan of shorter bars ... I like the real estate that a 55cm bar gives, but it's going to be overkill on this. Even in light winds, it loops faster than anything bigger than a 9m from this year's range. It's fast, fast, no lag into the turn and powers out nice and evenly.
After a day's riding, we can't help but get the feeling that the graphic layout really doesn't do the performance justice. It needs something more, something a litle bit special, I'm not sure what. It sure as hell doesn't need go faster stripes ... that would be like a custom paint job on a Bentley Continental. But it definitely needs something ... a 'Marque' all of its own to show that it's a cut above the rest.
We pack up for the day and head back, switch on the laptops and start talking with the US office. We discuss the graphics and the need for that little something extra, and we think we have the perfect solution. But you'll just have to wait until the kite comes out to see what it is.
Being Friday night Peter and myself head off into town. We live fast, die young, party hard, and are back by 10:15 PM ready for bed. (No one ever said product testing was the rock-and-roll of kitesurfing.) On the way back to the beach shed we inhabit, I spy something in the game's room. It can't be! It is ...
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to table air-hockey, that staple of amusement arcades, bowling alleys and the better-equipped university dormitories. Peter is up for a game ... he fancies his chances ... and I like the idea of striking a blow for England and gaining some credibility back after a series of poor football World Cup runs ever since the 1960's. Just imagine England v. Germany, relived. (For US readers, the World Cup is a small international event that takes place every four years, where hundreds of countries compete against each other in the hope of being crowned the 'soccer' champions of the world. Unlike the Baseball World Series, entries from more than one country are positively encouraged. It may even catch on in the States now that you have the Beckhams.)
I'll let you in on a little secret that Peter wasn't aware of. My parents live on the coast in the UK, right on the coast, in a little touristy sea-side town. A little sea-side town that is full of amusement arcades. Naturally, much of my mispent youth was wasted playing air-hockey and table football. I might be a little rusty, but I'm going to strike a major blow for British sporting superiority today.
England starts off strong and takes a commanding four point lead against a poorly prepared German team.
Germany make a comeback just before half-time, and rally strongly to recover one goal against an obviously superior England side. Their team is obviously jubilant, but is it too little too late?
Germany recovers another goal late in the game, could this be the start of a come back?
No, they've left it too late, it's all over.
More kitesurfing talk tomorrow, I promise. It's the weekend, there has to be wind. (And maybe we might go round again, this time mercilessly beating the Germans at Foosball).
Days 10 and 11: Big air
Ok let's get Saturday out of the way. Peter went to see a friend, i stayed in and finished off some research, ( it's not all play you know...) No wind, no fun, nothing to report.
Sunday came round, bringing with it the sound of rustling trees and early morning wind. The good thing about this beach is that the wind is largely thermal, so any wind before noon is going to be in addition to the thermals that kick in around lunchtime. By 11 am it was already blowing 10-15mph, add this to the average 12-17mph that we've been having and 'Bingo' it's going to be fun time.
The problem with having a kite that you know jumps well even in light wind is that no one wants to see your little hops in 15mph, they want to see you going big. The problem with that is that i have a joint role in these proceedings, i'm here to chronicle what happens, write the blog and take the pictures. The issue with that is i can't take pictures of myself from the beach when i'm actually 50m out into the bay and 25 foot in the air. Luckily today we had company, so ladies and gentlemen a big hand please for 'Mysu', who dislocated his shoulder a month ago and as a result performed camera duty today.
There's not much that i can add to what you see in the pictures. The Nemesis HP goes big, and it does it easily. You can get away with mistiming jumps and it still shoots you into the air and drops you down like a feather. It loops through right at the top of the window if you ask it to, or it can throw you out hard and low if that's what you want. I like to loop, a lot, but you simply can't beat the feeling of charging in towards the beach, kite low, edging hard, then sending it back as fast as you can and snapping the bar back right as the kite hits the apex. For me that's perfection, and today served that up with 30mph cross off gusty winds that the HP simply took in its stride. Even if i sometimes managed to struggle to keep the board on my feet.
Peter has made an excellent kite. It delivers everything a high performance kite should and then adds in real usability. It's that simple. This kite charges hard but lets you get away with murder.The 10m HP was the perfect choice for a super gusty cross-off afternoon of kitesurfing. I barely had to touch the trimstrap all session, just pulling it occasionally as the gusts squaled down the beach. In flat water the 10m starts pulling around 16mph and goes comfortably to 30mph, and beyond as today proved.
Everybody who rode the kite was over the moon with the the new Nemesis HP.
So that's it, Peter moves onto Tarifa for further testing as he comes close to signing off versions that will go to the rest of the team for final approval. I make my way back to the UK, to start the long process of creating the product write ups and descriptions that will eventually make there way onto the website. Once Peter has signed off on the final version for production i'll complete the user manual for the Nemesis HP, and before you guys what day it is you'll be online telling us what an awesome kite we've made and how it's changed your life forever.
At least those of you who are lucky enough to get your hands on one will.
Goodbye Spain, hello airport, see you on the forums..