Saturday, March 29, 2008

Magic March kitesurfing to the loss of the other sports.

Between here at home in Bu and up at the C Street point break playground, there has been wind and waves 98 percent of this month. Just incredible conditions making it very hard to sneak in a workout of any other sorts. Luckily I was able to do a quick two hours of climbing in the hills with my road bike yesterday prior to a till dark wavesailing session up at County...again.. Todays anticipated trip to the pool to swim laps wasinstantly canceled with Vic's call to say Deer Creek is going off with three paragliders thermaling to the moon and you had better get up here quick.

It was a fantastic paragliding flight with bullet thermals. The wristwatch altimeter showed max altitude when chasing a beautiful red tailed hawk who was kind enough to show me the way to some great altitude. Not long after I was whited out as the clouds along the coast shot in very quickly. Jeff the "Deermaster" was up there with me when the clouds rushed in and we had a heck of a time avoiding each other when all you could see was a faint gray arc of the other guys wing coming at you in between bullets of lifting air. These were not the smooth thermals we love so much but sharp hard tight ones that whip your canopy back and you need to bank very hard as to not be spit out them and loose significant altiude while low where your really can't afford to. Casey, Vic and a couple of other guys were able to escape below the rush of low clouds/fog, as they were lower and landed at the 500 foot launch or there abouts. Jeff went for the lower launch through the clouds in hopes of some visiblity. I climbed up the mountain in a small V shaped area of limited blue sky cleared by, you guesed it, a strong thermal. Dooohhhh...Going straight up when you need to go down with what looks like a inpenetrable sea of white about to swallow you. Now I was trying to use big ears to reduce my paragliders projected lifting area to land but the stong thermal lift would have none of that as my vario screamed it's beep, beep, beep you are going up like a rocket song. Drastic measures needed to be taken or I would be forced to land in some very turbulent winds in the leeward rotor of the hills above or in the huge jagged rocks and cactus fields imediately below. By going full hands up for speed forward and then performing few tight spirals with some g's, enough altitude was lost in the base of the canyon and speed gained to accelerate towards the clearing spot just at the intersection of two dirt roads at the most wind shadowed area of the entrance to our 850 ft altitude launch area. Unfortunately, where there is a strong upward thermal, there is equally strong sink near it. With my speed increasing in the dive and the sink added, it looked like the side of the mountain in nasty terrain would be my fate but not so bad as you can flare and come in soft on a paragliding wing. Forutnately my speed through the sink was maniupulated into suden lift with a turn and flair, and a landing at the instersecion worked out perfectly.

Five minutes later, the ground hugging fog cleared up and the gang came back in the back of Casey's truck and yelled "cool, good to see you still alive Traig and that you did not crater in. We totaly lost sight of you as we escaped to a lower launch for a landing and had no idea what happened to you."

We usually use radios but today only a few of the guys had them and the conditions on launch did not suggest such rapid movement of the clouds inland and the crew thought it was not necessary...Another lesson..again.... So, after this flight, running some errands to get ready for PV, and on the way back home, finding some pre frontal winds at Zuma to share with a bunch of my buds kitesurfing was a nice addition to another great day in another wonderful month in a very fortunate life.

Saw Heidi riding her bike (or at least it looked like a very cute asian gal on a bike that was jamming in with a good lead over two other gals on PCH, that could have been Heidi and I appologize for honking if it wasn't her) on the way to the paraglide hill today and felt guilty not being on my bike but heck.. can always ride. Rode the hills yesterday morning... why the guilt? The exercise addiction has just been there since childhood so superseeds the adrenalin rush in some ways probably though that has been there from the first base jump head first when the darn doc droped me on child birth... You don't always get wind and flying conditions like this so live it while you can. Life is far too short.

Puerto Vallarta for Anushes and Hedis wedding next Wed and Gideon is down there now with a report of solid thermals each day plus there is to be a good swell hitting when we arive... Man, I won the fun lottery. Not a heap of money but at least the sport opportunities are golden.

Yesterday as John Bayless and I joked and thanked our lucky stars for another great four or five hours of kitesurfing, Ali had just shown up to get a session. My knee was too sore to hang out and kite more with my bud so got a few pictures. He got some great waves at twilight and this is one of the pictures attached. He is having a great time on his synergy kites. This is Ali on the 15 m synergy with his 5 foot UG surfboard directional. He also uses a fish surfboard for light wind wavesailing.


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