Wednesday, October 20, 2010

plywood,epoxy,hacksaw, inlaws and Charger 15m

We went to Maine to introduce Sarah's relatives to our new baby boy in August along with hitting every store in Maine to show them Aiden in his oneies. There were a few opportunities to go out surfing in Portland with some fun East Coast short period storm surf in front of granpa's house. Unfortunately the closest wind spot was about an hour away. There was my buds 15m PL charger and bar under the 25 pounds of baby clothes in my backpack and I was in high hopes of getting in at least one kitesurf session on this trip.
Upon reaching Deer Island Maine, Sarah, her mom and Aiden kindly agreed to sit in the small rental car in the Deer Island Hardware store parking lot while I did a speed shop for the materials needed to build a plywood twin tip kite board. There were two straps in my back pack so all that was needed was wood, epoxy, hack saw, t bolts, polyurethane waterproof wood treatment, sand paper, a floor mat to be cut up for pads and some contact cement to hold them on. A few hours in grandma's garage later, two completed boards were sitting out in the gorgeous forest on the beach setting to let the urethane dry. One of the boards had way too much rocker secondary to a super fast setting five minute epoxy and the fireplace bricks used for the rocker table. The second board looked just fine with a very wide and flat shape like the boards we used to make for customers for light wind use. WIshed I had a big flat fish surfboard but we say in kitesurfing, "any piece of plywood for a storm"....

With a thousand events each day, the opportunity to catch the intermittent winds with a gap of time would be a challenge. The first shot at such a session with even grandma and husband in tow ended with getting the beach a bit late as the wind was just dying and a simple one run and walk back in at a gorgeous location ensued. Sarah got some nice shots of this spot for me to just think about possibilities for next time. The highway had heaps of cars pulling over to check out kitesurfing for the first time, They witnessed a total wind drop off and leading edge down relaunch. The charger stayed in the air better than any other could of in these no wind drop outs.

A couple of days later Sarah's favorite childhood beach was showing some super gusty and shifty wind rotoring over the pine covered islands upwind. Sarah offered to help but not wanting my wife to suffer the blustery cold and strong conditions, I told her to wait in the car with the camera and I would self launch... Big mistake, as the super shifty and gusty conditions yanked the borrowed inflated kite into some razor sharp rock and muscle shells putting a nice little slice across a cell and putting what looked like curtains on my kitesurfing possibility on this years trip to Maine. I was doing the expletive jig in the wind with my hands in the sky with my clown suit red harness shorts over my wetsuit when I noticed Sarah had come out of the car and was watching my shenanigans. Dooohhh.. If this had been an inflatable all bets would have been off with a shredded bladder as well as casing, Grandma was watching Aiden with her husband and they had a big tennis event they were leading at the local country club in a very short time. I figured driving to the hardware store down a formula one worthy course of narrow serpentine two lane then back to kite, would take more time than we had. Sarah said, lets go for it and I can zip back up to Grandma's house if it is getting late.

Cut to the Sunday holiday, ultra small town general store locals being highly entertained by the parking lot repair show. A strange guy wearing red shorts with a hook over a wetsuit (clearly from California that nut state) put white duct tape on a huge pillow like kite he says he rides under. The locals were probably surprised I did not buy aluminum foil to rap around my head to complete the classic Ca. wacko picture.

The wind was showing 6 to 26 with small direction shifts as our rental cars tires cooled from the warp speed drive back. Sarah said go for it and she would shoot a few pictures and then race up to grandmas to grab Aiden and come back. I launched with Sarah's help and the charger handled the crazy gusts and lulls as I lost a bit of plywood board on the rocks and shells below and above the shallow low tide waters. Sarah had just reached the car for the drive to get Aiden when Grandma with husband Don holding Aiden came zipping down the hill. There was a slight communication breakdown on the time for return. There I sat under a kite about a hundred meters off shore.... Game, set, match, this kiter and the image of kite surfing just did an elaborate dive into the slow cooker..

The wind was all over the place and the wind smoothing effects of a good directional would have been nice, however it was all overshadowed by the absolutely gorgeous environment I was so lucky to be kitesurfing in and the smile on Sarah's face actually seeing her favorite beach kitesurfed. A few more runs to soak up the grandeur and it was time to head in The next day was to dawn with smooth wind from a far better direction and a better looking launch a little hike from the prior days rock garden. Schedule wasn't up for it but know where to go on next years visit with the different directions and maybe even a fish surfboard shipped over there to get some waves and wind in Portland.

Maine is not exactly a kitesurfing destination but that Peter Lynn Charger tucked under the baby stuff sure did add to the fun. Who knows, maybe next year Sarah will have taken up the sport and will want to do a few runs in her home waters and I will be taking the pictures. You can just tell by the look on Aiden's face while watching the kite in the air the first time, that he can't wait to fly one. Come on dad, where's that .001 meter kite for me... What do you mean, wait till I'm nine and can work with plywood? We'll talk about it buddy..

Here are some shots from Sarah's lens in Deer Island Maine with the borrowed 15 m charger and navigator bar over the glued up pieces of plywood left at grandma's garage in Maine.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

White sharks, Sunset Beach, Topanga Beach LA, kitesurfing gray suit buds

It was about a month ago or so when our bud, renowned Hollywood action commercial director/ photographer Klaus Obermeyer, called to say his girlfriend Michelle had just kitesurfed over what she thought was the submerged back of good sized great white shark just off of his Topanga Beach home. Klaus and Michelle are old kitesurf students of and real water people, These are not ones to exaggerate. Klaus's business Aero Film is based at Santa Monica airport, so getting a hellicopter with a bud flying it with camera who would also direct Klaus with his boat on the water below by radio, was not a stretch at all. Low and behold Michelle had been correct and there is a group of about five great white sharks, or white pointers that hang about a hundred meters just off the north point of our old Sunset Beach winter kiteing spot and just in front of the popular Gladstones fish restaurant.

The helicopter with his bud directed Klaus in his boat just over the largest of the sharks, they guess is at least 16 feet and also got some shots of one of the twelve footers. The helicopters go up and down the coast at least a couple of days a week and they frequently see this little school of sharks. There is a large daily group of surfers there at Sunset as well as SUP guys paddling around the point. I often just hop off of my strapless board, apparently, in the middle of their club house to adjust my harness and waterproof headset during those lone clearing wind with surf opportunities. Not that our big gray friends frolicking in the functionally more scary filthy local water, are going to do a taste test on this tofu based diet vegan necessarily....butt, maybe I will do quicker water starts and not make it a one tack, way to sea sort of thing after each wave and do two closer to shore tacks again. Nice to see our buds in gray are happyinsurf and we will say hi from a distance and share all the waves they would like. You got all the priority on those tasty little rights next spring bud and I'll keep the eyes open for you. By the way, I am the guy paddling around on the short little fish surfboard up at Topanga and have very low nutritional value for a growing young white pointer like yourself. Cheers Mate...

These are some shots from the helicopter literally just a hundred meters off of the point where sunset meets PCH and they are there quite frequently according to the pilots.
Big smiles and please don't feed the fish...