Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Dude Abides

Suddenly Aiden is ten months old. It's crazy how fast this all has come around. Sarah took a trip to Az with Aiden in tow for a nice week visiting her mom. The little guy is an absolute water bug and daily calls described joyous frolicking, big arms and kicking in the clubs kiddie pool. He suddenly is pulling him self to a standing position as well. A stream of photos showed all and got me thinking about quickly getting Aiden and Sarah on a stand up paddle board asap as well as playing with trainer kites.
The Peter Lynn inflatable kite in my hands here is an eleven meter and has been getting a heap of air time in the last few months. Huge range, a fantastic bottom end and good turning for a flatter kite have kept it up there on a long throw bar. The bridles moved forward have given the kite a great no stall character which makes wave riding in the light stuff easier. Dr Stan Schiller out in Hi has been going in the absolute lightest of conditions on the nine meter proto we sent him and swears by the kite though still having his 10 m PL charger out much of the time as well.
C Street gets the perfect side off winds with the great down the line surf on the Santa Anna switch around days. Last week the forecast looked good for local Topanga and County line. Gregor called a bunch of times from the OR saying local would be good and lets get up there. Something kept telling me not to fall for the old few minute fake out winds locally to lead to skunkage which has haunted us for thirty years of windsurfing and kitesurfing. The gas and time saved to stay local often leads to the bad decision to try to get it locally. After scouting County Line, we raced down to the Slot at Leo to get out. The wind line was solid on the outside but quickly died as soon as I got a hundred meters of shore. Total shift to SE winds in a matter of seconds and splash went the PL tube. Swam it in and it faired the surf no problem. It was three by this point and late to consider the fourty minute drive up to C Street with the road construction and detours adding another fifteen minutes. Sarah had said go for it so the dude abided and shot up to C Street in the little red miata with a couple of boards and a kite cramned in. The wind had been smocking up there all day and there were at least 15 kites when I showed up. By the time I rigged the PL eleven meter tube kite, most the kiters has gotten off the water as the wind was starting to fade from the high twenties and riders had had a full day at this point. Some old buds like Colgate stopped to say high and Steph even launched my kite. All were asking about the stealth kite and asking about Sarah and baby Aiden. It is really hard to get into the water as time flies when talking about my two favorite people. Bayless had seen me drive by while he was checking Magu Beacch and decided to chase me up to C Steet after checking County one more time. Saw him pull up as I was going down the line on about the tenth 200 meter,gorgeous shoulder high wave,since getting in the water about twenty minutes earlier... My cheeks hurt from grinning the smile of the blessed lunatic.
Was initially worried about the high winds with only the eleven meter kite in the car but with its huge range, it worked perfectly in the first few minutes of high winds and the lighter but still very adequate 18 mph average later. You could park it and get two good shmacks out of the lip of the wave and then down loop or top loop the kite to get another two hits. Was testing it with the smaller ninety nine dollar six foot cornflake but wide tailed board I had picked up off of Craig's list. Really amazing upwind on this flatter tube kite but it still can turn people on the beach were telling me later. I was sheeting in like crazy and snap turning it. It is not an Eclipse Kima or even my Griffin Argonaut in the turns but it does have power and upwind those do not. For wave riding I do like faster turning kites, but this one is a great all around. Managed to drop the kite twice in the drink in seeing how low I could get in while on the wave face. The kite re launched in seconds each time and suffered no damage in wave tugs. Hope the production version of this kite comes out very soon for our customers.
Dr Channin called from Co to ask about kites and say that he had some interest from the ski reps up there for our happyinsnow, happyinsurf emblems, shirts, etc. Very cool to get a positive response for a product based on stoke. Just wanting to see happy faces around must be a common thread with us sport nut earth monkeys. Apparently the snow kiting has been epic up in Utah and elsewhere this year.
We had a huge wind day this last week with all meters up and down the coast showing thirties to forty knots. Drove by Topanga to get to the better wind swell and wind that County usually offers. Gregor was there and said it looked heaps better than our local Sunset Beach conditions. Bayless threw a U turn and let me know the meter at Topanga only said 14 mph (later found out T came on the meter the same as C ten minutes later) and it was showing 26 average at Leo and gusting to the mid thirties. The waves were peaking randomly and it was not looking like classic County conditions. Greg Sax was the only one on the beach rigging up and we let him test dummie his Kahuna. He got blown off the water in short order and was going to rig down. I threw up a six meter eclipse Kima that has been aging like a fine wine in the kite cellar confines of my truck's bed. The kite has huge depower and turning like no other. The strapless ninety nine dollar store recycled thruster strapless under foot and plowing over heavy current and walls of white water to reach the outside. On the second run out and about a half mile from shore and not even one hundred yards ahead a gray whale breached with a graceful quarter twist and the white coating of his fins reflecting a brilliant light as he crashed back into the water in my path... WOW... I had seen this many times over the years kiting and windsurfing but distances are generally greater. POW. Up he comes again, must be a juvenile but still the size of a bus and another rotation now just fifty yards and my upwind tack is right at him. BAGOK Chicken snap jibe with eyes over the should taking in the worlds best belly flop of my big gray friend. Stoke through the roof and this smile is not coming off the face as I take the far outside tack and maximise the hypotenuse way up coast to the point and best waves of County Line. Can't wait to talk to the gang on the beach and ask if any saw the whale with me way off the coast. Must have looked like an ant with the small kite size dwarfed by the whale.
You can catch the outside swell at County far off shore with significant ground or big wind swell. Today was no different except the waves were sectioning heavily and you could make sections but all the way through was a tough call. Two hours of this was great and the constant hoots back and forth with Bayless and crowd further lifted my spirits. Finally landed the kite for a moment and a huge gust picked up the 99 buck special and broke a fcs in off on a rock. End of session one. Stoked to race to the truck and call Sarah with the whale story to relive. A fast drive to visit my old buds at Becker surfboards and pick up a new set of fins for the ninety niner...or now one hundred forty nine board. Surf rider was packed with surfers so no session there. Topanga was going off and Sarlo and Ogle had the bowl down south to them selves and were on small kites. Threw on a dry bunch of second had store scrap wetsuit pieces from the truck storage and did the speed rig of the six again after seeing a bit of carnage a fellow had suffered there by rigging to larger and not playing it safe on launch. Bummer is people do have a bit of ego and often over estimate ability and under estimate conditions. Kite surfing is a safe sport. Riders make mistakes and often try to blame the sport rather than themselves as in paragliding. Sarlo and Ogle came in as it looked like the wind was dying down below headquarters and they had tired after a long session. Our good friend cameraman Stewart gave me a launch and met me out there with me on a six and he wound on a twin tip. The waves were fantastic and down the line and we shared them for about two hours of bliss. Smack, smack, smack went the lips with cut backs thrown in to stall for the next vertical section. Stew was doing his big jumps and the usual pro wake board style was there. The wind started to fade toward sunset and we both came in laughing with joy about our fantastic session. He said, the one really smart thing he had done was to call me for kite lessons ten years ago. In the last two weeks he had snow kited fantastic Utah conditions, kited in trunks in Florida, kited some big surf with Mark in Cayucus and this was after a session in Aftrica. Just as we put our deflated kites in our bags four more riders showed up and with them came the wind again. We just looked at each other and smiled that contented smile that says, we had our share of heaven and lets let these guys get it without us taking more of the waves. Sarah said she would love to have dinner accross the street at our favorite Thai restaurant Cholada when she got back from the gym. Janet our baby sitter was good with Aiden, so it was a drive home and a splash into the hundred degree plus jacuzi for twenty minutes, a shower and some sand and salt free clothes to meet my lady for the spice of curry life and to tell stories of our fantastic day.
Sarah got her fist day on the stand up paddle board and we celebrated our first year wedding anniversary last week and things are only looking better. Sarah loved the stand up board and did not fall a single time down at Mothers Beach in Marina Del Ray. David Kramer showed up to help everything go well in her fist lesson and he was a great help. Good friends and a great life in a So Cal spring to say the least. Here's a shot of a few old Peter Lynn alumni around my eleven meter PL tube kite.
Good winds.
Traig, Sarah and AIden