Wave riding - when it all goes pear-shaped

Gybes, aerials and waveriding, put it in here!
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Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:26 pm

I'm no wave rider. I'm no surfer. With the summer off this year perhaps I've barely graduated to kite boarder.

In Fuerteventura at the moment and today I decided to play in what I thought was considerably sized waves. The majority of boarders were way up the beach where it was less intense, only 3 riders were hacking and slashing the waves further down - this should have told me something.

I caught a few, not really riding the wave as such, more outrunning the whitewater, but a few times I felt a dropping down the wave, what a sensation of speed, looking behind me to see a raging sea.

The buzz and whooping didnt last long. On riding back out and trying to get over some whitewater my legs went out beneath me and I dropped the kite. GAME OVER. Despite a quick attempt to relaunch I didn't manage, my kite got a hammering. Away went my twintip. On each wave hitting the floundering kite under I went with the tensed lines dragging me under for a second our two. I went through the rinse about 5 times before all easing off and making it to shore, my first priority trying not to drink too much sea, my second an intact kite with a focus on not getting caught up in the lines. Thankfully a few minutes after dragging myself and the kite onshore my board washed up behind me.

It got me wondering what you more experienced guys do when the s**t hits the fan in the waves, aside from the obvious "dont drop it in the first place". I didn't release my chicken loop, no wrapping up of lines until I got onshore. Should I have released the chicken loop to put less strain on the kite as it was getting dumped on? Not many options other than get self ashore?

The 3 dudes - spanish locals with lovely ladies minding their gear and happy to lend me a pump :)

What a day - without sounding a hippy the whole thing was a soulful experience, made me feel alive. Inspired me to get a directional and learn/play some more.
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:05 am
Location: Team F-One UK - Fraserburgh

Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:43 am

Welcome to the joyous world of waves! Once you've had a sniff its hard to re-set the stoke dial. Firstly, everyone drops their kite in the drink and only experience will tell you when to release and when to hold on.

My preferred strategy is, when the kite hits the water, to immediately grab the appropriate line/side of bar to try and effect a rapid relaunch. You'll be amazed how quickly you can do this. It does of course rely on there still being tension in the lines. At all times be aware of where your QR is and be prepared to release it if you feel it is going pear shaped! If the waves are less than head high I tend not to release and just ride it out hoping to relaunch a bit further in when the waves have settled down. If it is bigger than head high and I can't relaunch I tend to hit the QR and save my kite from being trashed. If you do release, the chances are at some point you'll be floating among or be close to a spaghetti like mass of lines that will do their best to cocoon you. To avoid said cocooning I try and swim away from the kite slightly to keep some tension in the lines. Because you'll have flagged the kite out the chances are the canopy will be fine, and once you hit shore you'll be able to reset. Occasionally, if the surf is really big you have no option but to let the whole lot go and swim in.

If you have the time I'd recommend getting yourself on one of Dom Moore's Ocean Confidence courses http://www.surfsanctuary.co.uk/ where you'll learn all this stuff and much more. If you fancy coming to Scotland, Dom and I will be running one in October :-D See - http://www.synergykitesports.com/home/n ... nce-course
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Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:41 am

Thanks for the tips greenroom. Course looks like a great start, will check my schedule early September.
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Location: Big-Blue-Beach, Newgale, Pembrokeshire.

Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:57 am

I'm in-fact retired from going out-back unless it's only half my hight, the reason I retired was that the energy required to save myself after going down in a break started to get to be more than I could deliver.

I've broken kites in two pieces and twice I thought I might die, all the advise given my George above is highly recommended.

Oh-yes, and it's why I always have a bar that releases to both front lines rather than a single front. You're much more likely to re-launch the kite and get it out of the way of other riders inshore, surfers or swimmers who won't be able to see your lines, your board and won't know the damage your kite can do when floating around inside the break.

One cubic metre of water weighs a ton, imagine. :-D

I do miss that wall of water pushing me inshore.
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