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Old 11-10-2004, 10:21 PM
toykites toykites is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: St. Augustine, Florida
Posts: 11
Default Kite carnage in the surf

Yesterday here in St. Augustine the wind was pretty much off the hook. I got to the north side of Matanzas Inlet around 10 a.m. and it was blowing 28-40 mph out of the ENE. The tide was outgoing, creating the trademark opposing current. Being experienced in these type of conditions, I rigged my smallest kite, a 2003 Cabrinha CO2 9 meter on 20 meter lines, with the back lines set all the way out on the attachment points. I had recently rerigged my bar for teaching, and had shortened the center lines by about an inch and a half. With the adjustment on the kite, that meant that with the bar pulled in all the way, I was still 4 about 3 inches undersheeted. I noticed that I didn't have much bar pressure when I took off from the beach, but it was so windy that I figured I needed the extra depower, especially with the current. I like riding waves, so my plan was to use the current to go upwind as far as possible, then head out into the surf and ride waves downwind a ways before heading back in to do it all over again. I was out for about half an hour having fun despite the gusty winds and feeling overpowered at times. I had tacked as far upwind as possible when a 4 foot overhead bomb came through and I decided to go left. I had the kite near 10 o'clock and was driving down the line. I bottom turned and carved off the lip as I turned the kite to the right across the power zone to avoid luffing the kite in the onshore conditions. A gust hit and yanked me downwind about the time the whitewater was catching up, so I couldn't turn any more to the right to get tension on the kite. About that time the wind died and the depowered kite went right past the edge of the wind window and fell out of the sky. I watched with disappointment as the kite hit the water and went inside out several times as the whitewater continued to push me towards the kite. I unhooked and prepared to ditch the bar as the whitewater beared down on the kite. As it turned out it didn't pull much, so I held onto the kite, but when the wave had past I noticed that my kite was in a balled up mess and there was no way it was going to relaunch. The wave had mauled my kite, tearing a huge whole in the leading edge, which popped the bladder and caused the kite to lose all shape and detiorate into a worthless piece of soggy nylon. Luckily I still had my board, so I started swimming towards the kite so I could grab it and swim in. Unfortunately, about that point a huge wave hit me and knocked my board out of my hand. There was no chance of recovering the board, so I swam to the kite and hoped that another rider would find the board or it would wash in eventually. As I was getting pummeled by continuous piles of whitewater, I realized that the outgoing current was sucking my kite and me out to sea, back into the growing surf. About that time Daryl Drown, owner of Extreme Kites, rode up on the new Airush Reactor 5 meter. I told him that I was alright, but my board was missing. I quickly spotted the board a second later and Daryl grabbed it and brought it back to the beach. In order to avoid being sucked out to sea, I rolled my kite up and laid down on top of it like a surfboard. I paddled in against the current, and was able to walk in most of the way because of all the shallow sandbars created from the recent hurricanes. This afternoon I had the pleasure of spending an hour detangling the mess of lines that had formed during my swim.

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. First of all, know your equipment, and make sure you are on the right kite for the conditions. If I had flown a 7 instead of a 9, I could have flown close to full power or slightly depowered and the kite wouldn't have gone past the edge of the wind window as readily. Also, in onshore condition, be aware that when you are dropping in on a wave, you are going towards the kite, and there is often a strong current pushing you towards the kite as well. This can cause the lines to slack and put you in a dangerous position. As it is, I'll be paying for a kite repair and a new leading edge bladder, which isn't cheap. Obviously it could have been worse. I should have gotten a clue when my hat blew off 3 times as I tried to pump up my kite and I had to chase it 100 yards down the beach. If you have been watching the wind meters you will see that St. Augustine has been the windiest place in the state for several days running. If you like strong, gusty winds and big waves, maybe you should come for a visit. Just make sure and bring a small kite!

Eddie Toy
Extreme Kites
http://www.oceanextremesports.com
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Eddie Toy
Extreme Kites
http://www.oceanextremesports.com
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  #2  
Old 11-10-2004, 10:21 PM
toykites toykites is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: St. Augustine, Florida
Posts: 11
Default Kite carnage in the surf

Yesterday here in St. Augustine the wind was pretty much off the hook. I got to the north side of Matanzas Inlet around 10 a.m. and it was blowing 28-40 mph out of the ENE. The tide was outgoing, creating the trademark opposing current. Being experienced in these type of conditions, I rigged my smallest kite, a 2003 Cabrinha CO2 9 meter on 20 meter lines, with the back lines set all the way out on the attachment points. I had recently rerigged my bar for teaching, and had shortened the center lines by about an inch and a half. With the adjustment on the kite, that meant that with the bar pulled in all the way, I was still 4 about 3 inches undersheeted. I noticed that I didn't have much bar pressure when I took off from the beach, but it was so windy that I figured I needed the extra depower, especially with the current. I like riding waves, so my plan was to use the current to go upwind as far as possible, then head out into the surf and ride waves downwind a ways before heading back in to do it all over again. I was out for about half an hour having fun despite the gusty winds and feeling overpowered at times. I had tacked as far upwind as possible when a 4 foot overhead bomb came through and I decided to go left. I had the kite near 10 o'clock and was driving down the line. I bottom turned and carved off the lip as I turned the kite to the right across the power zone to avoid luffing the kite in the onshore conditions. A gust hit and yanked me downwind about the time the whitewater was catching up, so I couldn't turn any more to the right to get tension on the kite. About that time the wind died and the depowered kite went right past the edge of the wind window and fell out of the sky. I watched with disappointment as the kite hit the water and went inside out several times as the whitewater continued to push me towards the kite. I unhooked and prepared to ditch the bar as the whitewater beared down on the kite. As it turned out it didn't pull much, so I held onto the kite, but when the wave had past I noticed that my kite was in a balled up mess and there was no way it was going to relaunch. The wave had mauled my kite, tearing a huge whole in the leading edge, which popped the bladder and caused the kite to lose all shape and detiorate into a worthless piece of soggy nylon. Luckily I still had my board, so I started swimming towards the kite so I could grab it and swim in. Unfortunately, about that point a huge wave hit me and knocked my board out of my hand. There was no chance of recovering the board, so I swam to the kite and hoped that another rider would find the board or it would wash in eventually. As I was getting pummeled by continuous piles of whitewater, I realized that the outgoing current was sucking my kite and me out to sea, back into the growing surf. About that time Daryl Drown, owner of Extreme Kites, rode up on the new Airush Reactor 5 meter. I told him that I was alright, but my board was missing. I quickly spotted the board a second later and Daryl grabbed it and brought it back to the beach. In order to avoid being sucked out to sea, I rolled my kite up and laid down on top of it like a surfboard. I paddled in against the current, and was able to walk in most of the way because of all the shallow sandbars created from the recent hurricanes. This afternoon I had the pleasure of spending an hour detangling the mess of lines that had formed during my swim.

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. First of all, know your equipment, and make sure you are on the right kite for the conditions. If I had flown a 7 instead of a 9, I could have flown close to full power or slightly depowered and the kite wouldn't have gone past the edge of the wind window as readily. Also, in onshore condition, be aware that when you are dropping in on a wave, you are going towards the kite, and there is often a strong current pushing you towards the kite as well. This can cause the lines to slack and put you in a dangerous position. As it is, I'll be paying for a kite repair and a new leading edge bladder, which isn't cheap. Obviously it could have been worse. I should have gotten a clue when my hat blew off 3 times as I tried to pump up my kite and I had to chase it 100 yards down the beach. If you have been watching the wind meters you will see that St. Augustine has been the windiest place in the state for several days running. If you like strong, gusty winds and big waves, maybe you should come for a visit. Just make sure and bring a small kite!

Eddie Toy
Extreme Kites
http://www.oceanextremesports.com
__________________
Eddie Toy
Extreme Kites
http://www.oceanextremesports.com
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2004, 10:22 PM
RickI's Avatar
RickI RickI is offline
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A map of the area.


The wind record off of St. Augustine the day of Eddie's story.

Of course as most of us know, ACTUAL conditions frequently differ out on the water at a remote location from the recorded readings.

Checkout the day before:


They have been getting some STRONG winds off NE Florida lately!
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FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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  #4  
Old 11-11-2004, 10:22 PM
RickI's Avatar
RickI RickI is offline
Administrator
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,679
Default


A map of the area.


The wind record off of St. Augustine the day of Eddie's story.

Of course as most of us know, ACTUAL conditions frequently differ out on the water at a remote location from the recorded readings.

Checkout the day before:


They have been getting some STRONG winds off NE Florida lately!
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FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2004, 11:29 AM
robertovillate robertovillate is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: St. Pete, Hatteras, MI
Posts: 191
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Eddie,

Nice account of the conditions and your experience on Big Tuesday. When I arrived in St Augustine last Monday night I was stoked to get out on Tuesday morning. My smallest kite was a 7m, which might have worked, but all the other factors added up to be very challenging and a bit risky. Tempting as it was I decided to pass. I was not eager to lose a kite or a board (or worse), especially if there wasnt' someone else out to offer support. 30-40 kts is a lot of wind and not being familiar with the local conditions made me err on the side of caution. The ebb currents can prove to be dangerous and a flood current could present it's own set of problems. Recently a friend of mine and solid rider got "sushi-rolled" in 10' surf on Lake Michigan...he seriously thought it was game over, but he managed to free himself...a lot of the same factors were at work.

But it looked like it could have been a blast at the same time. Todd (?) looked solid with his 5m, but as you said one kite size can make a big difference in that kind of pressure.


Some great lessons contained in your post. Thanks for the detailed account, and great meeting you and some of the other St. Aug crew!

cheers
__________________
Roberto Villate
4 Winds 7 Seas
PASA Level III Instructor
rvillate@msn.com
http://www.kitesurfatlas.com/schools/4winds7seas
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2004, 11:29 AM
robertovillate robertovillate is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: St. Pete, Hatteras, MI
Posts: 191
Default

Eddie,

Nice account of the conditions and your experience on Big Tuesday. When I arrived in St Augustine last Monday night I was stoked to get out on Tuesday morning. My smallest kite was a 7m, which might have worked, but all the other factors added up to be very challenging and a bit risky. Tempting as it was I decided to pass. I was not eager to lose a kite or a board (or worse), especially if there wasnt' someone else out to offer support. 30-40 kts is a lot of wind and not being familiar with the local conditions made me err on the side of caution. The ebb currents can prove to be dangerous and a flood current could present it's own set of problems. Recently a friend of mine and solid rider got "sushi-rolled" in 10' surf on Lake Michigan...he seriously thought it was game over, but he managed to free himself...a lot of the same factors were at work.

But it looked like it could have been a blast at the same time. Todd (?) looked solid with his 5m, but as you said one kite size can make a big difference in that kind of pressure.


Some great lessons contained in your post. Thanks for the detailed account, and great meeting you and some of the other St. Aug crew!

cheers
__________________
Roberto Villate
4 Winds 7 Seas
PASA Level III Instructor
rvillate@msn.com
http://www.kitesurfatlas.com/schools/4winds7seas
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