Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Salad Bowl fun fest

Sarah and I did some short late evening trips up the coast for hikes with Aiden in Malibu with the great Cholada Thai food and Baja Cantina food bonus thrown in of course. I was able to score 20 minutes of a dying thermal session with John Bayless and Dave Bonefont one evening and a few runs on a dying Topanga thermal after a couple of those hikes. Heard the wonder stories of great winds Monday at Leo and S gave me the green light to race up to BU at 230 on Tuesday. Hard to keep the foot from stomping the pedal and picking up an speeding ticket from the six hundred sheriffs on the way north, distracted by white caps and having seen the solid mid twenty averages at the Leo sensor on line. I had about an hour to put into the water before the return and the perfect spot was necessary to be efficient.

Leo was lit up and Gregor and some other wnidsurf buds were well powered in the slot. On reaching County, there sat Johnny B and Ronny Boyd waiting for the wind to fill in on the inside and the new guard in the tower to give the ok. I went down and talked with him. He was a highly consciencious new guard and worried about the people on the beach just south of his tower and the other people a good 400 meters down the beac and not sure if that was adequate for a kite launch. Of course it was and he thought it would be ok if I talked to one couple to move north during my launch however if more guys showed it was a not go and of course up walked another kiter who said "so can we launch here or what" and more tourists showed at the beach. The guard said he did not want a bunch of people going out and by the time the fellow ran to his car and came down in his suit it was a no launch for him. Unfortunate but the guard was doing the best job he could with the kiter experience he had accumulated to date. Needing to educate new guards is imperative for the longevity of our launches. WIth the minutes ticking away, my old standby Deer Creek or Salad Bowl would have to suffice. Threw a U turn in the old ford truck and headed north.
Fred was out at Salad Bowl on a larger foil and was having some difficulty on the inside but looked powered well on the outside. The wave at the north point of County had my name on it and wanted to just hang there if it would just fill in. Two other kiters on RRD kites and strapless but small surfboards were launching as well. The wind was dramatically backing off on the inside and the notorious County Line hot air bubble was poised to ruin it. I monkey rock climbed down the pseudo death fall trail and threw up the ten meter Griffin Argonaut with the old fat fish surfboard and immediately realized an advantage over my smaller board comrads in the water. They shloged down on the outside to North beach wind reapearance past the County hot air bubble that had reformed since the earlier good winds at Salad Bowl. It is an evening timing game we have played since the old windsurf wave sailing days. Once the heat at the beach backs off some, usually it will come back on up there though a gamble. Fortunately there was just enough wind for me to play at the point at County till the wind returned in force and a solid hour of fun little waves on the strapless fish ensued. The pinch of three quarters of a mile back up wind to launch was a gorgeous reminder of how beautiful this part of Malibu is with the dramatic clay colored eroded cliffs and still few yellow outposts of mustard fighting the summer temps. When you are no kiting every day and just getting a rare session, each session is just amazing. I landed my kite and watch two more guys kite out of SB to increasing later afternoon winds. Odd how the total kite stoke that once took six hours of wavesailing to achieve only took an hour this time with the few months off with our new baby. We have such a great sport in kitesurfing and this sole session up at my old County Point stomping grounds was just what was needed. John and a bunch of others were standing on the beach south of the County tower as I drove back home to the family and they were obviously setting up for a down wind adventure. I was so excited about the session just lived and jazzed on the possibility of finding time for a downwinder myself one day soon. The excitement of rediscovering the sport is way cool but not to say that three hundred days of kiting a year thing was not living large... You just appreciate it more when you miss it so much. Supposed to visit Sarah's family in Maine again this August and thinking of taking a kite along though not supposed to be a huge kite area. There is some decent surf though and the views are amazing. An email to a kitesurf blog spot there pointed out a few possibilities.. So now the quesion, to take a new proto PL inflato or the new charger 15 as no pump needed and will just borrow an old surfboard from Sarah's nephew? Not a bad problem to have. IF I can finds some spots to kite in Deer Island and Higgins Beach in Maine, that would be unreal. Gotta just love the views from the water of a new spot. That PL twin skin packs down really small. Probably fit it in the diaper bag. Yes, ms airline bagage official, this is just a large infant tent with a complex bar and line set to hold it up. Have a nice day and just ignore that wetsuit and harness.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Great Kiting at County Line

Hey all, County Line was really great on 2 July. Although I had to wait around for about an hour with the wind bouncing around, it finally came on good at 6 pm. Got out an a 12 but could have been on a 9. Had it all to myself for about 45 min and then Dave, who spotted me from his house, came out. Good waves and wind for almost 2 hours - NICE! Only a few others out at Nicholas. Cheers, John

Friday, July 02, 2010

Punta San Carlos Home sweet home....

An old friend Carlos, from way back in the windsurf wavesailing days gave me a call today as he needed some strap pads for a new surfboard he wants to kitesurf with down at San Carlos this coming weekend. The enthusiasm in his voice was identical to that twenty years ago when we would head down there with stacks of windsurf wavesailing gear, surfboards, mountainbikes and maybe a bag of potatoes to carry us through. The epic waves of San Carlos had us heading down to the desolate arid magical dessert location for any south swell that could possibly impact it's potential, perfect one mile right forming reefs. In-numerable trips started out as a four day and ended up two weeks with food brought in by other surf heads that happened to be heading down. Back then there were only a handful of us wavesailing the point and well before the Eu notification of the best wavesailing spot on the West Coast. Brian Caserio and his wife would be down there ripping it up after a drive from the Central Coast Ca and often on their way back from other great Baja wind and surf spots. Clark, Merritt, Morgan Runyan, Mark Moody, Bob B, Billy Wilson, Scott Richards, and a bunch of other Malibu surf nuts would pile into all forms of semi maintained four by fours for the long drive and nasty dirt road into the greatest escape Baja could offer.

Carlos would say good by to his family and fill up his van in a flash to secure a campsite near the cliffs overlooking the vertical bowl section of the SC wave. You could go for a surf in the morning and a run or bike ride and be sure if there was any heat in the desert, the wind would kick in by noon. The nights were an amazing panorama of stars so bright, you felt like a space traveler. No wonder the old native shawman that lived up on the messa a few thousand feet up built a observation center, He witnessed the arrival of the european scavengers and the introduction of syphilis, small pox, etc. that combined with slave labor would dessimate his tribe. The precious metals pulled from the area are no longer the draw for the gringos and other world travelers but rather the majestic beauty of a simple no frills adventurer getaway to the basic tenants of wave, water and advanced primate.
Clark Merritt, as the rest of us, hoped that this magical spot would not become overcrowded and untenable. He went in with Solo sports and decided the best way to keep the area maintained and open to all was to make sure the business started there would show respect to the local ahito while providing proper sanitation and garbage disposal for those who did the drive to camp or stay in there high end tent camping environment.

So much of my life revolved around any size south swell and saving up the gas money and insurance for the drive down to San Carlos. Remember friends coming to my lifeguard tower in Malibu to tell me a swell was about to hit and the four hours of packing as we staked heaps of boards, masts, tarps, tents, sleeping bags and cans of beans on top of the old truck for a four am start down the next morning. The State and County could find a guard to cover for me. Life was short and a chance at a huge areal on a 15 plus foot face of a wave repeatedly down the line would make up for any hours spent in a nine to five. Sure some of the gang flew down there in private planes to hit the remote strip but all those professionals shared the same credo as those of us limited to land transportaion. It is all about the adventure.

As the years went by, the crowds built up and along came kitesurfing. Now over 300 days semi localy was available and the long drive for sufficient wind to windsurf wavesail was not as necessary. The early trips down with non depowerable kitesurf gear kicked my arse a bit though still had fun. The PL arcs soaked up the gusts and San Carlos was THE destination again. Unfortunately could not take our new students there and south swells at San Quintin and great down winders were always follwed by reflections in my mind of what the conditions would have been like in San Carlos just another four hours drive south. I've broken the suspension arms clean off my truck on the road in as well as seeing a bazillion other hardships of the trips in and out and most importantly of course of the amazing destination itself and those memories skip through the old noggin every day. John Bayless, Stephan Cook, Vic Enright, Strat, and many other kite buds have gone down to San Carlos with me since the kite days began and it is always a stop on the way down to Abreojos and back.

Regardless of road conditions, stories of the unrest and criminal activity along the boarder, San Carlos will always be my spot of choice to get away from the pressures of the day to day and escape into the cool pacific shoulders of an early summer south swell. Tried to paraglide the place once though the wind was a bit strong and hope to soar the mesa some day as well as experience a solstice at the shawman's cave way up that long hike. Archeologic teams spend a lot of time in the area now and Clark has made some significant finds himself to bring them in. The white specked blue lines of wind blown new swells must have mezmorized the locals here in ancient times and the same feelings of peacefull bliss sooth those city shattered nerves for those of us riding the waves there now. Sure it is not the Thurston Howel posh island hotel spot with trade winds, waiters and a botique for the wife but rather a very fulfilling, sort of six hour session, bloody hand, wind dermabrasion experience endured with the assistance of Modello and tylenol for some, taquilla for others and chocolate soy milk for me. No night clubs and maybe it sometimes gets so windy that you fart dust. Saying that sort of thing is even ok in this non yuppie Yosemite. There is some very dusty five year old surf mags in the outhouses but you tend to not read them but rather leave the door of the plywood box open, watching the evening sun set and those laser beam bright stars come while taking in the crisp desert night air and just feeling the promise of tomorrows adventure. There should be a note on those outhouse walls that reads, "don't sit here too long looking at the views or proctological help might be necessitated" Just buy the great photo post card from Clarks lifetime camera lens skills in the memorabilia shop at the top of the camp grounds and next to the customer bar. They rent gear and show movies in their entertainment room if you are a customer there.
Here's to more San Carlos dreaming and new adventures. It would be nice to take the family there but in all honesty, if they don't like roughing it, you are better off at the Hyatt in Maui. This place just calls to a certain kind of person. Problem is, the place is still just screaming in my ear and won't stop.
Good Winds.