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Old 12-16-2004, 05:55 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Default Erik's 225 ft. High Lofting In Oahu, Hawaii

This is from the kitesurf list on yahoogroups at:

http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group.../message/68921

"In kitesurf@yahoogroups.com, John Foster <jfoster@p...> wrote:
> This "kite footage that will blow your mind, I am just a teabag" on
> Dec 15 Sailing Anarchy, is a 14 MB Windows Media Player (and yes,
> there is an OSX version of WMP) video of a guy being tea bagged many
> tens of feet in the air for something like 30 to 40 seconds of air
> time.
>
> Kite board videos routinely show lots of board riders jumping into
> the air for a few seconds at a time, but a few tens of seconds....
> that really raises the bar for them....(grin)
>
> <http://video.tododo.com/airtime/airtime_by...mv9_320x240.wmv> is the
> video, check it out!
>
> Tophat is real. He kites with that hat on, his gimmick as it were.
> Kevin Sean is his real name. Pretty well known. Runs a shop in
> Florida I believe. Gets interviewed a lot 'cause he just attracts a
> lot of attention. As far as I know the guy in the video, Erik, is
> still kiting as much as possible. He just looks out for odd weather
> phenomena a bit more, though...
>
> They closed kiteboarding at Kanaha after that incident, and a few
> similar kites getting lose and heading towards the tarmac at the
> airport!
>

I finally got a chance to see the video footage after hearing about it
for years along with Erik's interview comments as an extra on the DVD
"13 Daze." For years I had thought that this was a case of thermal
uplift or lofting from discussion at the time.

Looking at conditions in the video, it seems to have been more a case
of classic ridge lift or uplift lofting. Thermals and ridge lift are
both important to hang gliders and paragliders looking to thermal or
soar respectively. The wind hits a vertical surface (hill, wall,
etc.) and is deflected upward creating a standing pressure wave or
area of ridge lift. You can fly into a zone of ridge lift and
depending upon the wind speed and other factors almost hover there or
move slowly back and forth along the zone of lift.

If you go downwind behind the zone of lift you hit an area or rotor or
turbulence that will cause you to sinkout or descend. If you watch
the video you will see Erick first encounter an area of lift after he
escapes gravity by jumping up slightly (I did the same thing before my
nasty lofting years ago), drift downwind and take a nice pop up when
he enters a stronger area of lift, flys up and downwind until he sinks
out. Given the wind speed and apparent response to what seemed to be
areas of lift, it doesn't outwardly appear that thermals necessarily
were needed to send Erik up skyward.

In steady winds, guys soaring can stay up there indefinitely or until
they have to go to the bathroom, i.e. hours. So, the short answer is
no, it isn't a documented record at least when compared to hang
gliders and paragliders who do it for hours. For a kiteboarder it may
well be one of the longest times aloft if not the longest time.

There have been a number of other cases of uplift lofting although I
think Erik went higher than the others that I have heard about to
date. So, watchout for areas of uplift and don't jump on land with a
kite. Strange and painful things may happen."
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transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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