Saturday, May 29, 2010

Big South last weekend, wind today, Baby tomorrow?

It was 4:48 on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. The P.C.H would be bumper to bumper with folks who only see the ocean and challenge their dermatologists advice for this one holiday a year and cautiously driving their kid stuffed SUV's at 28 mph en route to overcapacity campsites and hotels up north. The weather forecast had confirmed it; the seabreeze had been in the upper twenties at County Line with at least some wind swell and even Topanga was averaging 17mph. The 10 m Griffin argonaut would be perfect with the strapless fish surfboard..
Sarah and I had spent the day at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica shopping, walking, climbing stairs and anything else we could think of to prompt the little guy to come out into the world without the help of pitocin induced eviction notice. The excitement of his arrival and fun with S, eradicated any frustration of missing the first big south swell and high twenty and above winds up in Bu three days last week. I was able to get exactly one hour in last Friday evening at about six with the tide way to high and just enough surfers at Topanga to limit access to the point break wave in front of County LG headquarters,
I had arrived about five PM last Friday and enjoying the sole session when up at Klaus's house the 10.5 RRD obsession I had sold to him for his girlfriend Michelle popped up.. Funny thing is that either M gained a lot of height and weight or Klaus was under that kite and Michelle was on the beach with wetsuit and harness on but no kite to go. Klaus weighs in at 265 and if he was doing well under that kite, she knew it was way to big for her. It is great when the normal gravitationally challenged, become gravitationally blessed and Newton's physics tosses some good wind their scale defying way. M ran back to the house to get the proper equipment while Klaus enjoyed his good fortune.

Watching the wrist watch, it was time to roll it up after an hour. Michele had put up a 7 m GK trix and was doing well when in came Klaus with a lot of red on the side of his face. He had been doing his sky high jumps and spins when one contorted tweaked board twist put his face and board tip uncomfortably close."Can I go back out?" was what he asked though it came out as "what do you think" HIs board had smacked him next to his eye and though difficult to see through the blood, was obvious to a nearsighted pelican that he needed some stitches. Klaus and M reluctantly walked back to his place to glance in a mirror for himself and returned with some home done tape strips and bandaging to hold the split skin together and he was ready to go out again.. Told my old bud once again that he should just go to the ER and get stitches and the water here is not exactly sterile.....The blurry vision from the blood in his eye and the fortunate abatement of the wind when he went back out got him to the ER at Saint Johns in a few minutes. Three stitches later he was up and filming a commercial in Arroyo Laguna the next day good as new.
So it is a week later and it was almost five with S saying go for it, i'm fine, no baby today. The normal 15minutes to Topaga took about fifty, No way to get to the better wind and at least some local wind swell generated surf up at County and more importantly, not good to be more than a few minutes from Sarah, just in case. Allan Sarlo was just launching his kite and a few other guys were out as well. Time restraints demanded a speed jump into the wetsuit without accidentally flashing the tourist packed PCH, throwing the kite on my back. old strapless fish surfboard under the arm and pumping up the kite in a hydraullic blur. Laid out the lines and was ready to launch in minutes.... The thing about self launching is that you need to be just that much more careful and luckily I paid a bit more attention to my gear though in a rush. Just one strand of spectra holding the chicken loop together at the top of the hoop hidden by the frayed outer layers... DOOOOOHHHHH!! The phone rang in the bag on the beach and first thought, "the water broke???" Nope, it was S's mom thought the phone reception on beach is horribly garbled.. It's Sarahs I heard her. With the complexity of tech on phones these days, why can't the other person just get a computer generated voice that says " he would of course normally know who is on line and is very embarrased, but could not make out your voice do to a terrible connection, sand and wind in his ears and a Fox news helicopter hovering ten feet over the beach"? Apparently S's very nice and understandably concerned mother can't get through to S on either home or cell line and worried something might be up. Jogged back up to the truck and called S myself. She called back in a few minutes with an, all is well, having just walked to Starbucks down the street. Pheeeeewww...Now I could dig through the entire truck just to realize that the screwdriver needed to pull of the system that held the chicken loop line, was left at home after assembling some furniture for the babies arrival. What is nice about teaching and showing gear is that there are always a lot of different kite bars in the car. A bit of adjusting, adding pigtails and wala!! The eclispe Kima bar with 20 m lines is on the Monkey Griffin kite and the sun is still up.
The longer throw of the bar was a marked improvement on the kite and worked the charm. Allan and I shared the tiny surf with one windsurfer in front of the County Topanga LG station with the Argonout eating up the big gusts and the big fat board floating through lulls. One hour of this fun and it was time to run back to the truck. Alex Kaminskas and David Kramer pulled over in their cars on the way back from kitesurf sessions of their own to ask about the babies arrival. They were stoked on the thermals conveniently sitting in a sand covered lump on my front seat and looking for a new home with a couple of friends.
Allan and the crew were so cool in congratulating S and I on the imminent arrival of our little boy and Dave made a point of mentioning how much fun we were going to have. Wow, Sarah and i are so stoked for all the support of our many friends and family who always have a positive word to share through this new and exciting phase of our lives.
Tom is up in Ventura teaching lessons for us over the holiday. Vic, Bayless, Michelle H, Robby, Paul, etc. are heading down to our old Baja wave sailing, surfing and paragliding stomping grounds and we are contentedly hanging here waiting for junior to arrive and maybe even stop by to say happy B Day to Gregor Vassilev and Paul Hill at their kitesurf B Day party at Topanga State Beach tomorrow. That is unless the little man in S's tummy does not decide to demand a holiday road trip to Cedars Med center for a little outside entertainment.
Ain't life grand?
We think so.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The vicarious and spiritual thrills in life

Was working on the new website yesterday with my sister and brother in law who have always been phenomenal help through this life of water,waves, wind and deadlines. My cell phone kept ringing and the emails kept popping up of friends reporting great wind and wave sessions at the beach, viewings of our bud Allidad in his Nissan commercial kitesurfing for Nissan (viewed during the Philli pro football game.), a high level Tibetan Monk with Dr Vasilev and his very kind offering of blessing our baby if he came while the monk was still here and a plethora of calls involving friends who had a day of paragliding, biking, stand up paddling and just enjoying life. The greatest voice of course was Sarah's at home working and telling me about the babies hyjinx in the belly penthouse. He is hanging out as long as possible and ignoring the OB's friendly eviction notice. He is going to come when he is darn ready. Though behind a computer screen, it was a fantastic day of living life and interacting with a everyones adventures second hand.
Gregor and his wife Lisa are both M.D.s and G has been studying the Budhist traditions for many years now with innumerable trips to Asia and even having many Tibetan Monks visit him here, once even going in his racing go carts.. Now those were some funny pictures of robes and burning rubber.. This brought to mind my wonderful experience with Sarah at the Hindu Temple in Kaui recently. We had gone there twice to take in the amazing beauty and meditate while the monks were chanting mantras behind the red curtains. The enormous Lemurian crystal in front of us with the other art felt extra worldly for someone like myself who has not spent the time around such artifacts as my wife has. Having just been wearing shorts on my arrival at the temple, I was obliged to put on a sorang to fit with the rules. So after having been rousted by a friendly but assertive monk apprentice that we were seated on the wrong sides of the temple as there is a girl's and guy's side, figured it was time to walk the grounds and take in the beauty. The visitors we saw in the two days of our visit there were all quite involved in introspection and worship. The monks could be seen walking the amazing grounds beyond the "do not enter this area" sign in their red robes and even swimming in the most amazing sacred pool below the two cascading water falls. I can only say I am very flattered for the mistake but a very nice Indian couple politely asked me if it was ok first, to walk past a small treed area to view a statue and I answered, "I suppose so, we did, so why not"... They then found me a bit later and asked if they could proceed past a small fence and maybe head down towards the monks' area of the pools, etc.. I was in the process of giving them the " I think the keep out sign means we really should not be going there, but you could probably pull it off without anyone chasing you down with a club", when I realized they had somehow mistaken me for a monk.. Yeah, had to be flattered with that. Maybe it was my tattered brown beachbones t shirt and the perfect sarong picked by Sarah for me to wear that had them fooled. I was in hopes it was the deep look of contemplation on my Simian Brow, the errrrrrr intelligence and understanding in my salt and sand crusted eyes or more likely, or the explosive excitement of finally marrying Sarah on the beach that afternoon, that had convinced them I in fact not only had seen the face of the universe but had a weekly golf date.
Sarah came out of her longer meditation session to catch the smirk on my face. Just had to tell her that I was so happy, I could even appear Monkley to those mildly impaired by altitude sickness and a very generous heart. Maybe that couple vicariously felt the peace and energy of my happiest day with the icing of Kauai's surf, sand and energy thrown in.
My old bud Dave Dabiri just called. His flight just landed from China, he had some info for us on nice materials from all over the globe and oh yeah, how is the wind up the coast right now as there are white caps down here on the PCH at the California Grade... Yeah Dave,it is blowing up at Malibu.. Go get it.. There's a DaVinchi exhibit up at the Getty museum today and Grego is having a little ceremony down at his place. Hmmmm, Whatever we don't do, doesn't matter as our friends will fill us in..
It's all fun.
Monk for a day.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Great surf and wind today at County Line

I was able to race up to County Line just as most the gang was exiting the water but still leaving about ten kites out. Alidad was ripping up some waves on the ten meter charger with a strapped Underground 5' board. The tide was coming in and would soon ruin the solid six foot sets. Bonked my head on the bike rack on my rush to pull equipment out of the back of the truck and almost KO'd myself on PCH in the process. Strapless 6'4" old trusty underground surfboard that had seen it't day about four years ago but still going good on daily duty and under the 10 m Giffin Argonaut. Depowered the kite as to allow handling gusts in the 25mph range and had an absolute blast. More of flick the kite into first bottom turn and then let sit up and out front as you just surf top to bottom. Had a fantastic couple of hours as the tide slowly killed the surf and put the walls closer to shore so as to allow a couple of hits going left, one big bottom to top hit right and then exit stage left..... Lost the board on my last wave and it found a rock square on the nose, folding the tip a bit. Some five minute epoxy, three ounce cloth and a bit of sanding should put it back on the water again. What a rush driving down the coast after that session just thinking about the waves and an ear to ear smile. When you don't get out as much, you appreciate it that much more. Racing down the coast to meet my wife at her friends Point
Dume party, saw a kite outside of T3 at Leo and what looked like someone on a paddle board assisting. Apparently the paddle boarder came back into the beach at Leo and left the kite. Pulled over to pick up Fred who was walking up PCH with just a board but someone else got him before could U turn. A couple of the gang pulled over in front of me to tell me they had also seen the orange kite and the paddle board. Seemed like another kite with a broken leash drifting. Then came the inevitable two county lifeguard units though State water, one with a jet ski racing up PCH with lights and siren going. Must have gotten a 911 call from some PCH cruiser. Wish State Guards had a 911 connection. The State guys make the mass majority of the kite rescues in this coast section but once off duty and with no emergency call back except for through ranger headquarters up at Sycamore cove, they would have no way of knowing at 7:30 of a pos rescue. Guess is that the paddle boarder was a closing unit of State guard and emergency unit of County was dispatched on kit.e for cell caller. Hopefully people will self rescue and retrieve own kites and let the guards know there is not anyone in harms way out there behind a drifting kite.
Great day overall and stoked to be out there...Speaking of stoke, here is our happyinsurf necklace with the stoke on back and the happy in surf onesies. Sarah and I shot these while in Kaui making it a real working wedding trip. Life sure is fun.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A few shots of our Kaui adventure and some friends.

A few shot of Dr Stan under his eight meter Peter Lynn Charger he uses pretty much all the time in his Kaui paradise. The turning power and boosting is what he likes about it. The goofy guy in the clown pants is yours truly having one heck of a good time under the Griffon Argonaut. It turns and parks well in the waves. Going to be getting some students on them this year for sure. Just got my first nick in it a few days ago in an initial solo session up at Leo the day after the big blow when landed it on a rock as to land a beginner. Thing about the arcs is any beginner can feel safe flagging it out. Going to be a challenge this year picking between Argonaut, Epic, Ocean Rodeo, Caution and PL for a new bee. Really is an applications issue now. Tom and I hashed it out for an hour on the phone a day ago regarding a new student who is an old surfer but wants to do a lot of snow kiting as well. The ram air Peter Lynn Charger is the obvious initial choice. Then add in size and weight of rider and if he will be using a proper low rocker surfboard and media and beach hype affecting his fun factor post purchase. Can't believe you really need to be a shrink to teach and sell kite gear. Sometimes it is a junior high (my kite is better than your kite) on the beach but, at least we are all having a great time in the process.. Truth is everything is working pretty good these days and the details are making the difference. The charger actually got a great review from the tube kite only mag the other day. They of course did not know how to launch and land a soft kite (very easy) but outside that, sign of the times. The PL tube kite demo I have been experimenting with has proven to me that Pepijin is a real wizard on all kite fronts. Needs some minor mods as mine was an early proto but it really pulls well, turns, relaunches like a charm and did not have a mile long bridles with a one pump, flatter design. Bridles are in the biggest state of flux though. They like to make everything that flys at PL and this is not the first of the tube ideas over there.
Get wet out there!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Waves, wind, wife and baby on way

It's been a while gang. A lot of waves and wind, soaring thermals, a few crashes and major life changes since my last post. Sarah and I eloped in Kaui and our baby boy is do in a few weeks. No to paragliding, no to motorcycles and yes to a baby finally will keep us together and me as dad and happy. It has been a lot of fun and a real challenge but tenacity finally paid off and did win her hand.
The eight hours a day of sports dropped off precipitously with responsibilities and been working the business along with MonkeyAir and the other jobs. No grumps in the surf lineup or on the slopes is our goal. We developed a happyinsnow aluminum adhesive emblem to back up the joyous happyinsurf one to stick on the paint of your ride. Cool jewelry, baby onesies and adult clothes add to the lineup with more coming out soon. Amazing how much time is spent developing and working on this stuff. Seeing patients as well as teaching the advanced kite wavesailing lessons with Tom teaching our new students and Vic also doing many the last year and a half rounded out the calendar.
Had some amazing days of kitesurfing over the last year in our local Malibu Hood as well as a few great hours in Kaui. That place has phenom wave and wind combos with a nice laid back crew. Strapless square bottom turns under the new Griffin Argonaut ten meter, nailed down what my old AU kiteshop owner bud Lachlan has been telling me all their summer... This kit is a great all arounder. It pivots well without stall unlike many of the D kites, while still offering up great power per size and depower. One kite quiver with a rented fish surfboard over there. Just wish we had the time and a strapped directional for the epic day of surf and wind Sarah and I saw at Tunnels.
We did heaps of great skin diving with the sea turtles coming right up to Sarah's belly to say hi to our little boy. Truly amazing stuff. My old bud Dr Stan Schiller our team riding Peter Lynn charger pilot set us up with a fantastic island gal to wed us in a traditional spiritual Kaui wedding at Ship Wreck Beach. The Hindu temple with it's unbelievably gorgeous waterfalls and pools backed by the green peaks of the highlands was one of our favorite spots. A great wave sailing spot at the base of the canyon it is situated on where the river mouth enters the ocean, gave me a fantastic session while Sarah did a bit of shopping one day. There are a few canyons that appear to have sick paragliding potential. The views would be unbelievable. Everyone over there is just so cool and laid back. Not the high energy fight for every wave energy so prevalent on the other islands when paddling or kiting in the surf. So far, it is certainly the island we would most like to live on.
The world of kitesurfing kites and boards is progressing at a frantic pace. The Kima is still a great kite but Dimitri has taken the design up a bit with different ranges under the Epic logo and a bud under one a couple of days ago gave me a vis on the turning and power potential of that number. The Peter Lynn Charger is absolutely light years higher performance than the previous PL synergy in power per size and turning. It is much stiffer with all the extra cells and higher internal pressure. The kites are on 23 m lines with a set of extensions. Stan is light but basically lives under the little more C shaped charger the majority of the time. Been testing a prototype PeterLynn inflato from Pepijn as he does like to have a kite that covers every possible need. The one I have is not in the final stage but still great performing and the nine pulls well, turns and relaunches well.
My final flight paragliding this year was a spontaneous and rushed flight while looking for another spot to ask S to marry me. Had planed on just dropping off another wing to a bud on the hill and got talked into tossing up a wing. Sometimes you need to listen to that voice in your head. Not being focused and throwing up my wing... not that it took that much talking, got me turning too tight and too low leading to a very bad spin and poor outcome. i am usually the safety guru on the hill and well, really messed up this time as been used to being able to load the heck out of that wing and pull G 's to thermal up once at acceptable safe altitude in so many prior flights. A tight turn, shift in wind and edge of a popping thermal added up to a nice plummet under a spun wing. Thank goodness for overwater maneuvers course to save my cheese. Got to take every second of launching and landing very seriously and not let overconfidence or distraction sneak in. Big oooops on that one and well, so much of me paragliding again, Maybe someday if I have a big life insurance to cover my wife and new baby. Going to really miss the sport It really is quite safe when performed properly. The feeling of lift while thermalling to high altitude in absolute silence above the jaw dropping vistas of the bright mustard and spring time grasses rushing by below alongside the sparkling Pacific will always be locked in my memory. This is a sport for everyone at pretty much any age. Not the cardio of our mountain biking, road biking, running swimming, etc but one that really rewards the senses.
Plan to start posting consistently again and sorry for the time off gang. Sure look forward to introducing you to Sarah and our boy Aiden soon. Look forward to posting some pictures and hearing from all our buds out there living the great outdoor lifestyles.