Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Great Memorial Day trip to SQ

San Quintin delivered daily epic paragliding and all but one day of kitesurfing for a great trip. The gloomy forcast only held for two days and one of those was kiteable. There were basically no motor heads down there on the beach and it was just three of us on the entire beach doing six mile down winders with screaming wind and fun shoulder high waves to destroy all day Memorial Day. Crazy fun solid wind every morning for paragliding had Vic and I hucking our cheese with fun wingovers taveling the full extent of the sand dunes from Sycarro (our paddle in surf spot) to the north/west end of the dunes below Pabion where we spent a few nights camping when not spending the night in the dunes and enjoying the rich Baja star filled nights.

No straps for the entire trip had my knee feeling great and short lines on the trix kites and strapless fish with synergy 15 proved wave leathal long distance lip smacking combos. Vic lived on his 12 m synergy and John was a trix pilot. Mike and Tom Mc Gill were trading off on using my 5'10" underground directional with straps and both absolutely love that board.

Mike Flanagan, John Bayless with his daughter Aly doing great on her second lesson session along with Adam and Mike of the Bayless crew plus, Tom, Jeff and Blair Frank, Jeramy and a few San Diego kiters made up our good time crew. What a fantastic time with friends and good vegan food at our new haunt down there. Cooked cactus is mui bueno. Some pictures I shot while Vic and I chased each other around the sky show the north and south end of the birms and you can see the increase in wind speed on the water that would be our reminder to land the air toys and get on the water with the kites for another four hours... YEEEEHAAAAW!!!

Unfortunately had to leave solid wind and a forcast for another five days of the same to come back for a gig here in work/work to impress the gringo land. It was so good down there that though getting home by one in the afternoon today and seeing good wind at Leo, let it go in order to get some work done and do some rehab exercise at the gym. John Bayless gave me a ride to his place to pick up the turbo P wagon from his house and told of a great solo County session. Tomorrow morning is a long hill climb road bike ride and then a late afternoon fitting in Hollywierd for a two day shoot with some funny dialogue.. Life is fun. After about 185 out of the last 200 days with a good kitesurf session, a few days off won't hurt. The strapless stuff with 20m lines and the 6'4 surfboard had me spoiled down in SQ anyway.. Can't wait to go back down. Just missing a nice sports gal to share it with.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Epic Leo

Saw some fantasic waves while driving by Leo slot today and spun around for a quick surf session. There was wind in my face at the top of the stairs and reeling waves from the point well past the stairs. Got two and a half hours of perfection to myself with the fish and 15m synergy before a winsurfer bud joined in the wave riding magic session. The rest of the crew showed a bit later. Five and a half hours later I got out with a huge grin that is still glued on the mug.

The water was so clear, you could see fish over the rocks while bottom turning and cutting back at the boil rock.

One bonehead windsurfer was snaking us left and right and even hit me with his board while trying to pinch me into the boil rock. Gave him a little piece of mind on wave ediquite and then realized it was a total waste of time. Like talking to a brick. Three of us yelled at him that I saw during the day, and there were probably many more, but the Bardman will never learn or listen. What a hazard in the lineup. Snaking, shoulder hopping and kicking his rig out at you are his three best moves. Comical: Even visiting Ian was yelling and giving the dork the indicator finger when Bardman totally pinched him and forced him into a close out section strapless for the umpteenth time. The word was that Bard actually jumped on Ronny's back later and was trying to shove him under water or was just really horny, after a mast versus line tap incident. His goat at home must not be giving him any. Ron should have tied him to a rock and left him on the bottom.. ha, ha.. Even with this sort of foolery, we laughed and cheered each other on through the epic session. Even the ding dongs add to the variety of the days entertainment. Fun, fun, fun. You just have to laugh at some people and move on. Life is too much fun to waste on them.

I was supposed to head down to San Quintin at four in the morning tomorrow but a last minute request casting is keeping me here for an extra day...Darn... work always comes first. Luckily the students are not showing till later. Hopefully the forcast down there comes round. Should be some great surf and wind the next few days and then a lull in wind with some clouds prior to returning to regular conditions with the following weekend.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

109 degree bike ride, paraglide, kitesurf sesh..nice

This mornings hill climb three hour bike ride with the group over in Agura had temps showing 109 on one of my fellow riders watch thermometer.. Yikes, Puerco did not seam that hot but I was guzzling my water and steam was coming out my ears with my nose whistling
An hour at the auto shop afterwards and it was off to Deer Creek to pick up Vic from PCH where he had landed paragliding and to huck my cheese of of the cliff for a flight. Vic's colapse crash in the bush on launch should have been a good indicator. The wind was going really West and I ended up runing around and through every bush and bit of cactus on the hill before stalling the wing down and relaunching for a very bumpy and wacko wind change flight with a landing with Vic at the beach below. Vic thought he was going to re-inact my hillside..er landing at the bowl with a heli ride out. Tons of sink there.

Deer Creek was coming on for kitesurfing and Bayless showed up to check it. It was a classic day where Deer Creek was the best spot within 50 miles early on. Got out there with a tip flick from Vic and had a hoot hucking the 15 synergy and actually using a straped board against my own advice to see how floaty it was. This kite boosts HUGE!!! John drove south to check Leo again and Vic had to run to a friend party. Playground all mine.... An hour and a half all to myself at Deer was enough and wrapped it up to drive south and check Bayless and company at North Beach Leo. It looked a bit packed with kiters but fun and even saw a few synergy kites lit up very well down at Zeroes. Must have been Alidad and another. The traffic on PCH was so bad, I ended up going to Starbucks for some fruit juice and water and read the paper till the bumper to bumper opened enough to take the back way home to Point Dume. The crowding on PCH this early in the season, is a scary omen for this summers comute to wind, waves and flights.. Might be taking the bicycle to the beach and leaving the gear there.

Friday, May 16, 2008

San Quintin for Memorial Day Monkey Air trip again

It has been pretty much wind with or without surf daliy for the last four months around here it seems and the season opener San Quintin MonkeyAir kitesurfing clinc is here already. I am leaving Tuesday the 20th and coming back the 27th for a gig. Others will be staaying down longer and heading down different days during the week. If you would like to get wave sailing lessons from us, upwind lessons or even the basics with the option of just a basic guide fee service, give us a call or email. We hope the south swell on the way will not be too steep and hit our beach down there for some great wave sailing. It looks like a fun small group for this trip and new sand tires and brakes are on the truck as of three days ago for the beach driving. We will be camping or staying at the Desert Inn hotel in SQ. Paraglide, surf or exercise mornings followed by landboard and kitesurfing downwinders is the usual course of daily events. Swithching up the restaurants each night and just having a nice relaxing time.

The wind has been cranking here each evening this week. It has generally started up slow with a great early peak and then backing of enough to make many pack up and head home before the real wind show till dark. The late evening sessions have been stupendous. An early morning bike ride, get some work done, a surf ski or other early afternoon workout and then kite till dark has been daily grind this week.

A clicking noise in the newly done front wheel and brake area means a possible drive to the auto shop in the morning and maybe do a club bike ride before since will be over the hill anyway. Have not ridden with the group in a heck of a long time.

A few shots that bring back some good memories down at SQ.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Low tide was all that was missing.

Friday was three hours on the road bike in the hills with the "Scatante ciao!!" jersey. Billy Wilson pulled along side me on my last sprint hill home to yell,"what are you Italian Traig?" The bike was followed by a gym workout, a phenomenal paraglide flight with just a great late evening lone one hour kite session and a hint of a promising south swell.

Saturday was 2 hour mountain bike around a trail runners race way up Puerco and across the Backbone trail. I miss running every day hope to be able to go at lest three days a week again soon. My mountain bike ride was a great workout after the prior days road bike hill training. It is much easier to get a great workout on the mountain bike than my roadbike in general and there is some actual adrenaline over rock gardens,singltrack etc. You don't even have to contend with the gold chain, manicured road bike team spandex yuppie scene. There are some really nice people on road bikes but man are there ever some grumblers. Everything around here is a 40 minute minimum climb up before starting the other climb and trails so mountain bike works.

The problem with mountain biking is of course when you are doing the technical bits and the inevitable dab over numbers of days ridden. You can just do the easy stuff and get a great workout...but... Doing the rides to help rehab the knee and of course smacked it good with a front wheel wheelie dismount bike frame knee smack. Laceration, heaps of swelling.. Errr..sort of defeated the purpose Saturday..Oh well. It was still fun and a great workout.

Fridays flight with Vic and Jeff ramping back and fourth to the second and third bowl from Deer Creek south, with solid kitesurfable winds was great. I finally landing at County with full speed bar and heaps of altitude to kill. Vic went for the field on the east side of PCH and in the lee of the Bay Club.. He got droped severaly and thought he might crater. Scary time for him and last time he tries to land there in the strong stuff.

Next came a kitesurf session with a bit light winds when the tide was low enough and then good winds as the tide was too high to get much out of that new showing south swell. Heaps of my old buds were doing the annual Mugu to Leo paddleboard race my old lifeguarding partner Gary Fortune puts on annualy. Cool to catch up with friends after so long.

Today was to start with a run but a late start secondary to work meant paraglide was the first activity. A great paraglide with Jeff and Rod off of the 800 the first time as white out conditions prevailed and you could not even see off of the 1500. Great solid West bowl ridge lift with a landing at Salad Bowl. Rod did his first day at the West Bowl. We got a ride back up and as it cleared a tiny bit, flew off of the 1500. Lucked out and hooked a super tight string of thermals just West of Neal's house and played it for about thirty minutes as Jeff and Rod first landed on the 500 and then relaunched to hit the bowl. That mustang really can turn and pulling it tight snap turns is where that kite has been at for me with huge rewards in performance and altitude when there is lift. The problem only comes when it is a bit light and Vic weighing forty pounds less on the same size wings can get me on the ridgelift stuff.. Darn..Might have to start sneaking a cynder block into his harness while he is not watching prior to launch..

The altidude from the thermal over "The rock and cactus store" allowed me to make a straight run for the third bowl with just enough altitude to work the lift up into it and away from the PCH power lines. Jeff did an amazing show of flying by making up a few hundred feet of altitude at Salad Bowl and working his way up the second bowl and then up into the third to land with me at County. Rod said Jeff was lifting his legs to clear the power lines at second bowl to scratch back up.. I would have just landed as I did yesterday there on the first flight in similar circumstances. .. YIKES!! The Deer Master can sure fly that wing.

Cruised on down to County Line with insane tail wind and speed. Hucked the last turn hard over the water to coast in and unlike yesterday did not need the speed bar to penetrate and land. Turning early and drifting backwards is a nice technique, I should practice more when the wind on the beach wind is solid. Yesterdays flight had enough onshore wind to ridge lift off of the Whalers village condos on the beach.

A couple of ranger buds were at County and after B.Sing with them and Disco who was waiting for wind, it was back up the hill to get the wheels and on to North Beach for my appointment wiht the new South Swell and some kitesurfing as first one out test dummy again. The tide was getting high quick but that first half hour had some fun waves all to myself with good wind prior to all of Malibu and Ventura showing to kite. I got the ultimate test dummy needed treatment with friends setting up my gear as I put on my wetsuit as they wanted to know if it was Leo or to Zuma as it was going off down there already. It would have been stellar if the tide had just been lower at Leo. Ian showed and came to B.S a bit later. The kid is a good guy and a ripper. Watch for him in the pro tour wave riding some day. He is young enough and seems driven that way. Note to self.. Need to get that J footage of us from that studio. Ooooppps... Got a patient. Gotta run Had to race home to take care of her. As she walked out I realized that low tide was all that was missing the last few days.. Tom and his girlfriend actually even got me to go out to see our buds Regae band. Not a bad weekend and never went to Barns and Noble.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Kitesurf Recluse

Having always been fortunate to be participating in numerous sports while involved in several jobs to pay for them, watching football games and other sports on TV or even turning the thing on, only happened a few times this lifetime. Not that I don't admire the athleticism of any pro athlete regardless of their mastered atheletic event, Mother Nature and her waves, wind, etc kept my running, bike, etc shoes, wetsuits, reserve chutes on and in the activity and never sitting with a beer in hand in front of the boob tube turning the brain to mush and the stomach into a spare tire, or so that was my excuse to avoid the idiot box in the past.

So it was just another day up at five am to drive down to Long Beach to do a shoot with some guy named Payton Manning and dude named James Brown who would be doing the job I was originally cast for. Happens all the time and just part of the game. Always flattered and stoked to get work. Figured these guys probably did not kitesurf, whomever they were, but if this was James Brown the singer, this could be one very fun guy to hang with and I was lucky for the opportunity.. Found out who Peyton Manning was pretty quickly on set as well as James Brown and he wasn't the singer but the very personable and fun sports anouncer on a bazillion TV shows.. Quarterback Payton told great inside football stories/insights and James went on about all sorts of fun stuff while the photog did his thing. The photog and his crew would throw a football around on the breaks as the energy of one of the sports stars turned them into kids again, just craving to get some of that fun. Like groms learning to surf or kitesurf in the waves. The session was a hell of a lot of fun and eye opening. Payton was as pasionate about his sport/profession as many of my kitesurf, surf, bicycle racer, lifeguard competitor, paraglider,chiropractor, surgeon etc. friends. What they want to talk about and who they are. The person embodies the sport or profession and exudes the excitement and enjoyment of the activity through their skin. James would have been the loquatious ex pro surf rider type who talks the talk and knows all the players/surf rippers on the beach and Payton Manning playing the role of Kelly Slater. Same personas but different sport with the bottom line of, all great people to be around and football reaching a lot more housholds than kitesurfing/surfing of course, with the associated ga,ga factor and pressure on it's players to be public image figures.

Good people, and when driving by the white caps at Topanga on the way home from work, the experience had me smiling and not bumed to have missed a kitesurf session, with the realization, that maybe looking at sports illustrated/ people magazine instead of scientific american, at Barnes and Noble this Saturday evening could re-open my world again. Who knows maybe even get on Match.com and get a date and start doing stand up again. See, work can be eye opening.

It's easy to shrink away from society and become a kitesurf, triathalon, etc recluse. The awareness of disasociasion from the other semi advanced primate tribes out there you used to like interacting with, is not always easily grasped or noticed. It is a subtle thing as you slip away and sort of become a hermit in the mountainous boundaries of the "new sport"/ girlfriend or whatever you uncounscioulsy form. I like being a social monkey so might put down these books being studied and board dings in the process of repair and turn on the tube. How do you get that quarter inch layer of dust off of the screen and who has an old couch I can borrow? Can I get a supersize popcorn bag with that? Hold the trans fats...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Good old California

It was a two hour road bicycle ride in the local mountains with an escape home as the wind on top of the hills had me thinking along with the wind flow vector forcast that Leo would be coming on soon. The wind, ended up not coming up early so it was a fun paraglide flight off of the 800 with some tight little thermals followed by a surfing session at Heavens with the Xanadu 5'10" fish strapless. There were some great peaks and texture on the water so left my synergy 15m rolled up on the beach with the harness and bar. After about forty minutes of surfing, the wind had come up enough to make me consider, as there were now white caps on the outside. Tossed up the 15 syn with the strapless Xanadu and had a great time of consistent shoulder high waves down the beach with one tack returns with the synergy's great upwind performance. That Xanadu strapless is the perfect atribute to the syergy's flying performance needs. It took an hour for the gang to show up and storm the beach, pumping up kites like mad men. Kited another hour with them but the tide got a bit too high and killed the surf so in I came with another great Ca. day under my harness.

A gal was sitting in the back of her truck with her dog "April" when I landed at the 500 from paragliding and offered to give me a ride back up the hill. She asked me how I managed to have so much fun after hearing about my bike ride that morning and the paraglide flight. I just told her you are as young as you want to be and work just enough to pay the bills and still enjoy life. Sure would be nice to have some really flashy toys, but it is not worth it if you have to give up the lifestyle and not play till you are 80 yo. Been fortunate enough to have worked every morning this week and still have gotten back to BU for a kitesurf session each day with yesterdays late evening 45 minute go out do to a callback the least play day. I think Niki and her dog understood the lifestyle and offered to give us a ride back up the hill the next time she sees us flying up above her. Some people get it and some never have enough wealth and will chase the mighty green back to the grave. Whatever does it for you as long as you keep that exercise/stress management and stoke time available. The best is of course if you can have both sides of the coin and many of my friends do. You are my heroes.

Tom went back out on his 13 VII for a last wave or two yesterday evening and here is one of the shots.