Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall kiting and a bit of knee injury prevention

The last few days have been a late season south swell playground in Malibu. Vic and I flew some thermals in the morning and John and I scored some great wind and waves at County on
Friday morning. The weekend opened up some great paddle surfing and light but fun kitesurfing in the afternoon. Morning and afternoon rides on the road with Heidi or alone on the mountain bike under gorgeous California skies were the icing on my usual fantastic existence. Heidi had mentioned a bit about her knee pain and I have counseled she and many other friends and patients on sports related knee injury prevention and treatment and thought maybe a note here might help.

The knee is a quite unstable joint in respect to the other more stable joints of the body and requires a bit more care and maintenance.. A bit of weight lifting for joint stability including the old vastus medialas oblique muscle with short end range extension exercises is a good start. Yoga, stretching and a bit of bike riding in a nice light gear also help stabilize the para articular muscles of the knee. A big problem with kitesurfing is that many people ride their twin tip boards with externally rotated feet and when you point your rear leg toward the front leg you load up the medial collateral ligament with all those little micro traumas our sport is notorious for. Trying to load a twin tips edge is much easier on your knees if you can point your rear knee into the popliteal space of the knee in front. Still the femur and all that upper body weight wants to fly forward over your tibial plateau and little tears in the ACL start to build up. Add in jumping and the instant loading in this bad posture and you will begin to see the hell that is life as a knee in a twin tip board rider. A directional board allows fins to drive a board up wind rather than your knees with the edge of a twin tip. It is very nice to let the fins of a proper directional board do the work. My knees start to scream after many days on a directional relative to just a few minutes on a properly set up twin tip board. A bit of study in the biomechanics involved in the two styles demonstrates the problems right off. Many sports have fit issues where overuse and a slight malajustment will lead to long term and unfortunately even permanent disability to some. Bike riding, running, etc, etc, involve very specific fit and support activities to guarantee longevity in the particular sport, kite surfing is no different.

Sorry for the lecture, and this was just barely touching knee injury prevention, but I want all my buds out kite surfing with me when I am 90 and no knee excuses!!! Have Fun and don't forget the glucosamine water, good nutrition....ooops that is another pos

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rain Rain Go Away...

It's raining this morning! BOO~~! Wow, I haven't kited since we went up to Lake Isabella for the paragliding maneuvers clinic! That was about 4 weeks ago! I've been busy working or biking... Sigh... There are too many hobbies to try to keep up with - kitesurfing, cycling, paragliding, surfing, mountain biking - although I fall every single time that I ride my mountain bike.
The paragliding maneuvers clinic was awesome. We did maneuvers over the water - asymmetric folds, spirals, frontals, b-line stalls, etc. I went into a level 5 spiral where I thought I was going to fall straight into the water. The G-force was so strong that I couldn't keep my head up, and my brake lines were so long that I had a heck of a time coming out of it. Thank The instructor, Brad was able to talk me out of it and I finally came out safe and sound. That's something that I wouldn't experience with kitesurfing. But the maneuvers aren't something that I would do everyday on a paraglider either.... I still like kitesurfing better than paragliding though. After tows, the wind picked up in the late afternoon around 3pm and kept building. Yea! We kitesurfed all 3 days of the maneuvers clinic. Kitesurfing at Lake Isabella was pretty fun. Flat water, but windy! I was on my 10m Venom II. I learned to jump too which was fun. That jumping thing is pretty addicting, I must say. So I can see now why people keep doing it over and over at the expense of their knees. I'll choose to keep my knees thanks...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Epic Kitesurf Summer Condensed...

Somehow time flys by and a million great sessions on the water, air and even on land sneak by undocumented in the wonderful exciting blur that is our lives. As my knee defrosts a bag of Tia style geen beens to decrease it's swelling, guilt of missed blogs past slaped me up side the head. Ali, Bayless, Alex, Vic,Klaus, Strat and another 20 friends are still up at County Line in solid nine meter winds and fun wind swell "SHMAKIN!" the hell out of the lips. Putting some sort of info bits to the blogisphere was well overdo and here it goes. I got out into the water early to sneak some good waves with the early wind before the dreaded County heat bubble formed and the inside wind got forced out till the evening. Avoidance of jumping has been marginally effective at best and the knee is not happy after the past 50 days straight of non stop water time. Been on and off strapless surfboard rides since the beginning of this sport and that is a great wave to avoid knee trauma but when the wind is really going wth great waves and lots of bump, straps are a must.. Problem is that the water loged brain is always one neuro network short of realizing jumping that next close out set wave won't do that compromised Sponge Bob joint any good... It is all in the moment and adrenalin covers pain well. It's always when you are crawling to your car that jumping remorse sets in.. Mixing constant biking, paragliding, swimming and surfing in still does not get a wind addicted mind out the water consistently when it is blowing four to five hours a day. Diversions are just that, but balance is what kitesurfing longevity will be based on. Yoga, cardio and a full plate of other sports keeps the pasion for all of them alive. One trick ponies don't last long but do smile allot in the short term..

We had a great season of trips to Baja and did almost as much surfing as wave sailing and paragliding. The only problem with deriving all your enjoyment in sports is the extreme reduction in the possibility of a lucrative career plus a lived in back of truck that smells a bit like old socks and brine.

We had a phenomenal trip all the way down to Abreojos with wind and waves at all stops south and northbound. This was an early season trip with five riders of different abilities and styles reviewing this years kite offerings from a large number of brands. After thirty some odd years of traveling down there, the El Rosario cops got me for a double wammy of passing over the single yellow line with three other cars in tow and passing a 5 mph smoking hundai with one tire that held air on a bridge. A hundred dollar fine was all they could extort from me back at the police station. I aquessed thanks to a knowing look from Mo which said," take the deal and run Einstein"...It was half of what they originally asked and the head cop looked like he could use a steak dinner. My part in third world charity. A bit of info from our old bud Clark Merrit at the San Carlos wave and wind shop enlightened us to the fact that local cops can't write tickets on the Federal highway and are limited to five dollar max tickets where as the feds can write tickets on the main highway on banyo paper if they want to.. Clark says those Rosario flat foots had been trying to ticket his ride for years unsuccessfully. Moral to the story.. It was a low price to pay for a lot of years of great times in the Mexico Magic Kingdom without a freak in a mouse suit slapping me on the ass. (Another Disney story) .

The local summer winds here in Malibu have been fantastic and the GK Trix, Peter Lynn Scorpion, Caution Answer II, Ocean Rodeo Rise and the clasic Venom II from Peter Lynn have been keeping our gang's wave motors running non stop. Some big trips to the local islands with extreme sport film guru Klaus Obermeyer and company have been fun and netted some beautiful footage of our sport. MonkeyAir got mug shots on the "MYLA" TV show thanks to a roving reporter and a bunch of kite monkeys in the air. Our new local lifeguard supervisor John Regan is a great guy and old guarding bud and is a great addition to our local scene to back up our local kitesurf org meeting regular and great local guard John Drucker. Thanks for all the help with signs etc. you guys and thanks for cutting the wood and building it to our old lifeguard competitor bud Mark Clevenger.

Summer has been great with fun south swells, wind and 800fpm thermals yanking us far above the earths surface and only a few ocean swims with paragliding gear... DOOOOHHH!!!. We are looking forward to a great winter of kitesurf, surf, paragliding, snow kiting, biking and every other sort of athletic diversion trip possible. Hope you are coming with us... The first tofu scrambler is on me.

It has been fun ushering in a new group of kitesurfers this summer teaching season.. Thanks for the opportunity. Good Winds!!!(and waves)