Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Leo doesn't get much better

Been taking it easy and just riding strapless only the last few days to rest the knee and hip. The south swell they have been talking about started to show with intermittant sets yesterday evening in the last hours before dark of our kitesurf session. Coming back from work down town, it was obvious the wind was on this morning. Gregor called from the OR where he had already found out it was blowing and went on about his Maui trip and obivously trying to talk himself out of the necessity of going out again today here after two weeks in Maui.. We can all see through each others water time psychosis but pretend not to notice when yakin to one another.

Got on the water at North Beach Leo at one oclock with a 12 m synergy and the old strapless becker fish. The sets were really showing and the wind swell added to the wave height and began building on it's own. After a couple of hours it was time for a less floaty strapless 6'4" underground directional and ear to ear grins for all of us in the super consistent surf and solid 20mph wind.

The place was getting packed with kiters and many were heading up the coast towards County with about 35 at one point at Leo. The waves were so consistent it was not as much of a problem as you would imagine. Vic was lit well on his 12 synergy and after four hours of constant fun came in along with Tom on his 13 VII and myself as the wind just boosted up big time.

The 10 m synergy had gone to a customer and all that was small in my car was a 9 m GK trix on 20 m lines. Put up the kite with the small for my weight lightwave directional and had a kite chasing hoot for an hour along side Ian from SB strapless and then when the wind died a bit joined in the strapless riding with the UG again. This was the session of the day with nonstop short period but sizable, perfect peeling wind swell off of Heaven's reef. Had the tunes in my ears the entire time and ended up keeping my old floppy head lid fishermans cap till one of the last wipeouts of the day delivered it to King Neptune. It disapeared with the rushing down coast current and the setting sun. Many stayed on just to BS with bros and marinate themselves in the glow of a great surf session under kites. It just does not get a lot better than this. Morgan, Frym and even Ian's photographer echoed our corous of "what an amazing sesh". We had hooted at each other on crossing paths through the stoke mist to the point of loosing our voices. Never seen a bigger smile on Vic's face after a rigth from the other side of Heavens' to the mid of North Beach. He said he still had more depower on his 12 m syn and was blown away by it's range.. Talk about a happy camper. Tom McGill went out again late and Jeff, Fish, Mara and I yaked and shot a few shots of him as he got a few on his good old trusty Sithsonian worthy UG 147 wave tray.
Gotta luvit.. This sport still rocks!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kitesurf addiction rehab

A nice little ripping sensation zippered through my right hip about four weeks ago while heading out on a goofy foot stance through a wave kitesurfing. There was an obvious s/s injury but the pain was very low and managable/ trivial at the time and the waves were good so ignoring my own advice, I kept kitesurfing...for the next four weeks daily as well as surfing, biking, running, etc... as the condition worsened and could no longer be ignored along with my painful right knee which greatly prefers no strap kiting now (though some camera stuff had me doing otherwise) and proper and consistant joint support work/crosstraining, our perfect kitesurf weather of late would just not allow.

Not being able to sleep last night with the pain in my hip and an aching knee put me on the wind rejection train for...er... well one day so far. They say start fighting an addiction one day at a time. The wind was smoking all day and fortunately shipping, kites, tons of work on the phone, internet, customers and paitients coming by kept me from going absolutely crazy. When the wind bowed over trees outside of my door, had me doing the kitesurf withdrawel two step, the good old lap swimming pool up at Malibu Park saved me. It was windy enough to even kite there today, darn it. Almost rigged my 12 m synergy on the pool deck.

Got a call from our paragliding bud Steve who took the nasty fall and destroyed one lumbar vertebrae(replaced with spindle) and severely compromised another. He has a year of rehab in front of him and is in hopes of getting back under his paragliding wing in seven months. Point is... there actually is one this time...honest, really,,what the hell was it?? Oh,yeah; When you injure yourself, take the time to properly rehab. Scar tissue now can lead to a very serious surgery later that could well be disabling. That and cary a trash bag in your car, when it fills up you can just toss it in the can...More so the first point though as Steve Martin already belabored the second.

So it is no straps after time for resting the hip and lots of joint support work for this water monkey. Indoors at a gym on a nice day is the most counter intuitive thing possible to my outside mind but will do it for the knee and other joints. The local one is pretty quiet and the girls stop talking to you in about three minutes when they see your watch is not a real Rolex/you make a joke about their plastic surgeon choice or... so distractions from the job at hand (joint support and not watching the wind and waves out the window) are transient and self limiting.

Tomorrow it is another mountain bike ride early, then the gym, work on the P wagon, audition work and talk myself out of kitesurfig for just a few minutes more till the pool opens and escape from the arenaline kite wave sailing craving in favor of the endorphin rush of a good swim workout. Maybe a paraglide in the morning.

These are a few pictures of a couple of heffer babes who are always there to help me launch my paraglider. Once again, it is always good to have friends.. MOOOOOOOOOve your but monkeyboy and get in the air!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

South Swell and wind magic

Yesterday was all time County line magic with a 12 m synergy and a strapless thruster surfboard then the good old Xanadu 5'10" fish. A four hour bicycle ride in the local hills provided me a great view of the perfect but very crowded glassy sets rushing every south facining beach in Bu. The eddy broke down and the wind came up. I was first on the water and imdediately having an absolutely great time. Bowls to hit everywhere and rides from the point all the way down the south tower frequent. The one shreder surfer out was hooting and chearing me on. What a rare thing. Cool dude and we exchanged a few waves at the point and I pulled out a heaps so he could drop in. Vic and John hit it about forty minutes after my water entrance and Vic got a sic in and out barrel on his goofy foot stance with a hucking left. Three hours of absolute wave heaven and I came in. Kiters just kept coming and Ali went out as we left. He was getting some fun waves lit well on his synergy 12 and could have used his 10m. Somebody found and did not return his underground 141 firebird mutant that washed down to North Beach last week. Hopefully it will show up.

This morning was a fanstasic paragliding flight off of the 1300 foot launch of Deer Creek with great lift marked by loads of acrobatic hawks and a few crows. Real bullets going up and it was nice to see Vic's truck with a few other pilots pull up below me while coring a tight bullet thermal. He got on the radio and let me know it looked like I was really getting whacked around up there. It was so much fun with the unreal bright spring colors below and sparkling blue ocean to fly over today. Must have been up an hour and a half and landed as the gang was coming down and did not want to be an air hog. We had plenty of altitude to transistion just about anywhere to look for thermals but were very stoked with what we already got. After not flying for quite a few days, this was a real treat.

Driving up the coast to County Line from the flight, a bit of wind was evident though the swell had droped dramatically from yesterday. We checked Leo and wind was on with nobody out but the waves were minimal. I was able to sneak out with my 15 synergy and the lei gang sat on the beach or tried to get out and drifted back down wind and in at County Line. Some ok waves at the point but the inside got really light after a while and a down winder to Leo was in order as a bunch of kites looked powered down there by this time. Staircase was rockin and got a bunch of glassy waves there before spending an hour or so at Leo before heading back up the coast to see who was on a syunergy at County as the wind was smoking now. These kites FLY upwind. It took two tacks to get to County. Amazing!!! It was Gary from Ventura getting some good waves at Bombora and mid beach at County. He came in to tell me how much he was digging the kite and put a big grin on my mug to hear it. Bayless ran down to the beach at County to see why I came in and decided his Leo session was enough as well. The thin surf suit today did not quite keep me warm after three hours or so and the core temp was well down. Air and water temp was down. The tunes on the little swiman ipod shuffel once again added a great bit of pleasure to another great session. What a fantastic spring. I was going to head up to Santa Cruz to get some wind and waves but it has been so good here, the necesity has just not been there as of yet. Whales and porpoise around again today and it always feels like hanging with family when they are in the water around you. You just know those playful surf nut porpoises are saying "this guy is dropping in on us again??" Man, watch me zip past him again on this right."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax day twofur kitesessions.

Everything that can bloom is in full display on the gorgeous drive into Jalama. The yellows of mustard contrasting the bright greens with orange california poppies, purple blossoms, etc, add into a calidascope of visual delight only bettered by the addition of glimpses of a white capped Pacific near the end of the canyon in. Have I ever missed the J!!!
The film team was there on time and my old bud and J local Penetentiary Paul was rigging his windsurfer to go out before it got way to strong with the "50mph gusts like yesterday" I threw up the 12 m synergy with a spot from the paid Au surfer on the shoot. Was getting some massive airs and quickly realized it was gusting far in excess of 30 mph and the UG fish was under my feet to make it through lulls and over set waves. Half an hour of to the moon jumps with time to stop at the Lunar Taco Bell for a few seven layers no cheese, no sour cream on each boost had me head in after half an hour for a kite change. Aussy ran up to me to tell me the crew had not been filming me as the camera was not ready to shoot yet. Hollywood generaly does not have the water sports thing dialed and this is par for the course and I got a good chuckle out of it as they were raving about the jumps and appologized for the camera not running yet thinking I had come in to pack it up. No, no, just getting the brand new 10 m, synergy that was supposed to be sold out.. What a great kite,and made the next hour and a half in the extremely gusty stuff manageable. About this time a bunch of my buds from the Santa Barbara kite group showed up. This gave me a quick in to land the kite. I rand over the John, Ian and crew and pointing at the camera and crew said "work the camera. That is the brand new high def three dimentional big screen camera they are testing for their new feature film!" You don't need to tell kids twice to thow it all down for a motion picture camera and crew. The strapless show came on as the wind steadied out.. Really wierd thing happened, in that I felt satiated and wanted to rest my knee and riped abdominal muscles and shook all my buds hands and said goodby to the camera crew to take a few pictures while heading back out through the canyon with my little dig camera. Everyone shook their heads and said" your leaving?????" Granted I do like to stay out for five or six hours a lot but today the thought of shooting the beauty on the way out and getting back to Bu to kite with my buds for a second go out had me rolling.

Malibu was blowing on my return and Mo and Billy had called while I drove south to alert me that County was the spot. On return the 12 synergy and Xanadu bought my admition for a heap of fun little waves for an hour twilight session. Mara stoped by just as I was about to leave to show me how well her chin had healed up post surf accident and lots of stiches. Great to see her bubbly and positive attitude and bouncing back to surf again already and looking for a twin tip board prior to going directional on her kite. She will make a nice addition to our kite group in Bu. My friends come out of the woodwork to come chat when she is around. It is always good for a laugh. Chatting with friends always makes me feel very, very lucky to be living this life. Tax day is good with me. They can't tax you for having to many friends.

Some Jalama drive in and beach shots above with the photo crew slaving away to catch the kids on film I passed off to them. I am going to bring my road bicycle up to the off ramp of the 101 to do the road out and the side road to J and back loop. The visuals are out of this world after this winters well spaced rains and concomitant blooms... WOW!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chase the camera boat

Today was spent driving back and forth up and down the coast in a vain attempt to conect with a boat with a high tech three d camera that was to film us kitsurfing. Looks like I am heading up to the J manyana with the big wind and 11 foot surf forcast to meet them though it will probably be good here and not risking the 20 knot differential of top to bottom gusts if the current forcast holds up there. I have been so darn fortunate to spend years of my life chasing wind and waves up at the gorgeous Jalama location that iregardless it will be fun to visit as it has been to long away from the J.

The wind came on here early and then backed off as I was on the phone in my car. Got back out around one and then handed off my 15 syn to Tom as to drive down the coast to check it for the boat and film team. It is very hard to explain the dynamics of kitesurfing to the uninitiated in Hollywood. No, the wind is good out to sea a few miles where you are but it is only 2 mph at Topanga...No, really... Always fun when you actually get them into the sport and then you get the..."I get it now!" . I got back to Leo again around two and a session for myself with some fun wind swell through Leo North Beach. The mustard in the hills and wales at the kelp bed were but a few of high points of the areas beauty today. The wind really came on and started screaming later on and in came the 15 synergy after three hours in the air and up went a 9 m trix as to fly something different for the first time in a while. About this time Heidi and her friend showed up and I got Tom to jog over as my kite was in the air already, to be sure her assistant knew how to launch her synergy ten in such strong/ gusty wind. She got off ok with her friend giving the kite a mid shove accidentally and producing a momentary taco. The kites inherent stability saved the launch and Tom told her friend never to push on the kite in the middle as you might with an lei that way in the future. Heidi got a few fun waves and was jetting straight up wind. The picture above is of her setting up on a right, for a bottom turn on her 10 m synergy kite on one of the inside waves at North Beach Leo.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Felt like summer today

Started out with a nice ten mile run with Loren's girlfriend up Sycamore Canyon with Lauren chasing on my mountain bike. Next came a drive to the bike shop to set them up with new road bikes. While there a phone call alerted me to 19mph winds up at C Street, already!!!....It was noon...yeeeehaw.. Bolted to C Street for a fun three hour session. We taked all the way up to Emma Wood again and did the usuial chase every wave you can on the way back. Went to TJ's to load up on frozen food for the cave and while driving home saw Leo coming on.. Raced down to the beach and got another fun in warm air summer feeling session to the setting sun at Leo. What a great day. We were all hooting and cheering each other on. Great time. The 15 syn with the fish was once again the perfect combo for the day at Leo and C Street. The defrosted bags of 250 dollar TJ food was a small price to pay.. It should all still be good...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great kitesurf Saturday at C Street with old buds

A call came in from Lauren our San Diego based,world traveling seal bud, that he was going to be up at Mugu with his great girlfriend and whatryaoin? After a way to hot and late in the day mountain bike ride to the top of the hills and several computer checks and phone calls to rally the gang, we all shot up to C Street. It is sure a lot more fun taking the high mileage old turbo P wagon up the coast with that racing exhuast hum resonating off of the seaside cliff walls up PCH. Saw Heidi on her new exotic road bike pulling away from some dude who was chasing her. Cool to see she is having a blast in the bike scene.

Arival at C Street had Lauren/girlfriend, Alex and Vic with his Vet watching some very fun conditions with quite a few kites out. The wind only got better throughout the day and the gang of us on PL kites upwinded all the way to Emma Wood and riding anything that resembled a wave on the way up and back. Next came the point wave with about ten of us hitting it. What a blast. Lauren had not kited do to a heavy travel schedule since last Christmas and was very happy with the go out. His girlfriend is a competitive half marathon runner and tomorow morning has me running with his girlfriend up Sycamore Canyon in the morning as he paces us along side on my mountainbike. Then it is off to performance bike shop for the couple to look over his and her road bikes and maybe if Loran can find a used mountain bike. He is a bit shorter than and there is someone I know with a barely used full suspension bike that might want to sell it. Hmmmm??..

Gary was ripping it up at C Street on his new 12 Synergy. He has figured it out already. He did come in to borrow my Xanadu later.. He has the bug and needs one.. Vic and I were on them as well and tried to convince Lauren to use his fish instead of his twin with the 16 VII. He did well on his combo but would probably have had more fun with the little waves on his fish. Hope tomorrow afternoon goes off as well. Lauens gal unfortunately has to take a train back to SD and then a flight home to Canada and her hospital job so no kitesurf water lesson for her. They are to come on the Fourth of J trip to SQ so that one will be even more fun. Our visit to our buds Tips Tia food in Ventura was a blast. It was great to see Chang and we all had some great laughs. The drive home in the P wagon, chasing Vic in his Vet down the freeway for a while was fun and the clear night sky through the sunroof with my 5'10" twinfin Xanadu" girlfriend in the passenger seat was the icing on the beach life cake.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Steve's paragliding crash and Gary's first day on synergy

On the eve of my leaving for Sayulita, near Puerto Vallarta for Hedi and Anoush's wedding, Steve had called in the morning asking if I wanted to go paragliding at the 850 foot launch at Deer Creek. I was up at Eva Hollman's boat yard and the amazing board repair doc had just put my trusty 5'10" xanadu old school fish board back together in time for the trip. Having to run errands all over town, turning down Steve's invitation to go play was the only choice. Steve and I had been talking after a previous very good flight a few days prior and he had commented on how many paragliding friends had broken their backs. I made the usual observations about people going out in unsafe conditions and trying to make their often only or at least favorite sport "work". Gusty and strong winds, etc. are easily overlooked when previous flights in those sort of conditions just luckily worked out. Unfortunately Mr Fate has a way of catching up with you. It was with great sadness that I heard of Steve's plumit from the air to the hard asphalt below after a perfect launch. The initial cause guess by a reporting pilot bud who was there was the timing of changing wind direction that afternoon with the associated rotors created. The paramedics came and an ambulance took him away. It was only later that we learned he had brocken his back. The degree of injury was not clear and intial phone calls could of course not be answered as he was heavily sedated. Thank goodness he is now abulatory and his condition improving. Steve is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and lived to paraglide. We had planed on getting him down to Baja this summer to teach him to kitesurf. Be sure to send some good vibes his way and drop him a phone call to wish him a quick recovery. Think safety and mixing your sports so there is always another fun and healthy activity to participate in when another should be avoided do to non favorable conditions. We are all guilty of taking controled risks and a good friend being injured should raise a question as to our motivation in taking those risks beyond a logical level so often. Lets have fun but stay alive and in one piece so we can keep the most important thing in this life close to us; our friends.

Gary from Ventura came down to my BU cave this afternoon to pick up a bar to use with his new synergy as he sold Heidis old 13 VII and 10m VII with his bar to a fellow in the bay area to pay for his new 12 m synergy. It is to be his one kite quiver for a while. Though there were heaps of things to do business wise afer seven days away, his energy to get into the water was contagious and out the door we went to Leo with a 15 mph average ikitesurf reported a few hours prior. The wind had backed off by the time we arrived around 4 but slowly built a few miles per hour towards dark. We started in around 10 mph average and got some 14 mph average stuff with gusts to 17 or so. I used the 15 syn with the good old becker 5'10" no strap surfboard with about a million miles on it and Gary tried my xanadu with his new 12 m syn. He was intitially chocking the kite unbeknownst to him and not getting the potetntial speed/power generation out of it though he was raving about it's great performance. A bit of tweaking with him tightening depower strap an inch each run had him ripping up some fun little waves and zipping up wind in very light condtions to his delight. He couldn't stop talking about how great a combination the synergy and the fast and floaty surtech Xanadu wave rocket was. He is now saving to add one of the boards to complement his now one and only kite for his local wave at C Street.

You can really control the power of the kite with the substantial fins of the fish boards and the efficacy of the flat rockered and wide tailed, energy conserving design makes all condtions a joy. A little mutant and one of these or a small directional and a fish make a great quiver for most of our local lighter kiters with heavier guys like myself running a couple of different dimentioned fish and a good real shortboard thruster surfboard with good rocker and volume we could surf on normally but with the ability to add straps if needed on the choppy days of kitesurfing.

Tomorrow morning is knee rehab again on the road or mountain bike preferably with a swim in the evening if this colds symptoms decrease by o swim thirty manyana arvo.

So long as space remains
So long as sentient beings remain,
I will remain,
In order to help, in order to serve,
In order to make my own contribution.

A nice little prayer from the Dalai Lama. His lessons on taking the focus away from ones self, the development of compassion and people putting too much effort on material development neglecting their inner values can add a lot to a guys airflight home from Mex... His book, "An open heart" really gets you thinking about our daily motivations, actions and focus. Good stuff... Nice spirituality without the nasty religous aftertaste. Available at a bookstore near you..snicker...

Heidi and Anoushes wedding in kitsurf paradise

Thanks for the pick up from the airport and the complicity in the beach shinanigans Gideon.
Yep the picture of Gideon sailing away under a synergy with the "Club Yuppie's with Sand" (think Caddy Shack) beach restaurant menu/slash surfboard under his feet would have had me down there rolling on the sand laughing still.. The longboard/menu would have been returned and gained the extra value of a great gringo story to go along with the exorbitant costs of the food posted on it.

I was able to walk self assuredly past the platoon of radio clad guards two more times before being caught on the day of best wind and surf by the guards/guest servies special forces. When they stopped me to ask where my colored wrist band of the day was, no visitors were in sight to sneak a peak and do the hungover vistior who forgot to put it on improv. So, it was the "is the front desk this way?" quesion came out while standing two hundred meters into their complex whilst overlooking the wind and waves reeling off of the reef....DOOOOHHH!! The gave me guard escort fitting for Julio Eglacias to the front desk and watched my face show no reaction as the front desk manageger gave me a very thourough quoute of room rates for villas amid my quesions of daily massages and perfectly dimentioned kite rigging babe request. Using the pirated dirt trail just outside of the guards shack would have to wait three days.. Nuts....

I got wind all seven days down there with great 15 synergy and 12 synergy conditions and a quick two hour sneak drive north away from my buds wedding facilities confirmed good thermal winds into some great wave zones up there. Even local fisherman there could say " you should have been here yesteday senior!!". Though my syns were vacum bagged down and I had reprimanded myself to be content with a good swim workout and surf in Sayulita in the morning, the sight of perfect wind again at the north of Buceria wave spot produced a frantic unpack, rig and one hour kite session. The white facial salt crust adorned durring the session, cernainly cracked around the corners of my smiiling sun leathered face on my flight home whilst conversing with and gazing into the gorgeous brown eyes of the beautiful tv travel show host gal seated in front of me. You just gotta love Mex. Aididad and Anoush were good and stuck with the wedding party throughout the trip and will come back down with us next year for the wave sailing group trip. Hedi and Anoush had the best wedding and beach party I have ever been to under the gorgeous Mainland Mexico moon and with the benefit of a Cuban band one night and mixed bands the next. Unreal event put on by some real beach people to tie the knot properly with surf wax. Great friends and gorgeous Sayulita Mexico again as a home for the festiveties. Come with us next year!!!

Thanks to our great friend and team rider John Bayless for dealing with a UPS custom clearance nightmare here in our absence. 366 bucks for just one box for custom clearance alone of three synergy kites from the factory.. yikes... The EU/Dollar bit is really spinning things these days.