- albe falzon
- angie takanami
- beginners surfing
- beginner surfer
- belinda baggs
- big wave surfing
- bleach festival
- boat projects
- boat yard
- bob mctavish
- body surfing
- byron bay
- catamaran sailing
- eastern caribbean
- gerry lopez
- gold coast
- hayato maki
- james mcmillan
- johnny abegg
- karlee mackie
- kelly slater
- kuni takanami
- laird hamilton
- learning to surf
- learn to surf
- mal riding
- new year
- new zealand
- no surf
- nuclear emergency
- outer hebrides
- paddling out
- pregnant surfing
- quiksilver pro
- road trip
- rules of surfing
- safety and security
- sandy beach
- second hand vehicles
- south africa
- south african surfing
- south african waves
- st maarten
- st martin
- surfboard design
- surfboard shapes
- surfers health
- surf heroes
- surfing in south africa
- surfing lifestyle
- surfing manoeuvres
- surfing moves
- surfing mummas
- surfing western isles
- surf travel
- surf trip
- the wirie
- tom wegener
- traveling to south africa
- tropical surfing
- wifi on boats
- wireless internet
Competitors are already training hard for our local event. Come and see some of the best regional and international kiteboarders and windsurfers compete for freestyle and race crown.
Lots of prizes to be won, as always the party scene at night will be pumping....
see you there!
Our little island way down south.
With only a handful of local riders, Tobago is a well kept secret..........
Not many people have heard of Tobago but the answer is YES, we do exist, there is wind, there are waves and with our rich cultural heritage, you will definately find something to pass the time. When in Tobago, come see us for an exhilerating kitesurfing or widsurfing experience, visit our website for more info;
Over the last couple of weeks, there has been somewhat of a panic in the online kiting community about the alleged ban on kiting on Greek public beaches. Rash decisions have been made, such as canceling holidays, and many “expert opinions” about Greek politics, economy, and other unrelated issues seem to have overshadowed the key aspects of the new law: WHAT is being regulated, HOW, and WHY? As someone living on an island where windsurfing and kite surfing tourism is an important source of revenue, I believe it is unfair to be spreading a panic based on unfounded rumors. So, let’s clarify a couple of points.
The regulation that has been passed is BY NO MEANS a ban on kiting, but an introduction of designated kiting zones. These, according to the new requirements, must comply with a set of safety regulations, and have a designated supervisor, who has to be insured and personally responsible for ensuring the safety of the kiters.
Among other things, the law requires that the kiting beach:
- Is of adequate size (600 meters minimum), with designated and marked launch corridors
- Is removed from densely populated areas, recreational facilities, roads, and airports
- Has rescue facilities, with an equipped rescue speedboat
- Has enough open space for kiters to keep a distance of at least 50 meters from each other
You made it through winter, spring is moving in and kiting is on your mind. All those great times on the water are coming back soon! Here are some ideas to try to get the most out of your time back on the water.
First, check your gear
The goal is to avoid breakage or loss of control while you are out kiting. Kite gear can be under tremendous loads and will wear out over time. We can have the tendency to ignore or put off repairs, this can result in accelerated wear, lost gear and injured kiters. If your gear needs fixing, do it without delay. People considering buying used gear should particularly look things over.
Inflate your kite and see if all the bladders hold air. Kite leaks can cause problems, sometimes serious ones. If you have bladder leaks repair or replace them if not readily patchable. Pulling and replacing bladders can be pain but your speed improves with practice! Make sure none of the bladders are twisted within the kite pockets.
Check your bridle lines, pulleys and pigtails. This stuff doesn't last forever and needs to be periodically replaced. It is important to remember that breakage of components can not only impact control but it also may limit or remove critical depowering. Emergencies can come with heavy loading of your gear and loss of depowering in such a case is not what you want to happen. If there is discoloration or visible abrasion wear on pigtails or bridles look to replace them. It can be surprising how they can break much more easily with some visible wear. Make sure your bridles move well through the pulleys which should be free from corrosion or grit. They shouldn't be bent or otherwise deformed, if so, change them out with appropriate replacements. Not all pulleys are the same so use the right ones.
We are Zenith Ocean Voyages and we're very happy to be here!
It’s an ongoing joke here that the UK has a reputation amongst the rest of the world for just being wet and dreary most of the time. And I’d be lying if I said that the reputation wasn’t justified. We tend to have long periods (especially this time of year) when low pressure systems sit over the bulk of the UK and it is, well, wet and dreary! We’re are fairly lucky in one respect though – the Gulf Stream (a warm water current that ebbs up this way) keeps our climate artificially warm (we’re on the same latitude as Canada for instance – and Canada’s pretty chilly in winter I hear!).
Whereas much of the UK seems to wallow in the dreary weather, however, Cornwall (the very western tip of England) tends to feel more like the front line in the UK’s never ending war with the Atlantic Ocean – in short: we get a lot of weather! At this time of year, when low pressure systems tend to rampage from Central America all the way through to the North Sea, Cornwall plays a daily game of roulette with mother nature, with some pressure systems staying out to the west (generally giving us great surf), but many clattering straight into Cornwall. Which generally makes for very wet weather.... But also very windy weather – and who cares if it’s raining when you’re out on the water?
A classic day?
So, last Friday morning having been checking ‘the guru’ all week, I knew that we had a very deep low pressure system heading our way and that – even by English standards – we were in for some serious weather: happy days! With the van pre-loaded as ever with three kites and three surfboards, I left home expecting to check a few spots and get in for either a sheltered-from-the-wind surf, or for a kitesurf at one of the 10 or so beaches within half-an-hour of here.
A few reflections on how sports can come to shape and define your life...
The Surfing Years
I’m 35 years old so for me, growing up by the beach in southwest England, surfing was always in my life. Surfing in the 80s was an established (although much more underground) sport and, once I’d progressed from the polystyrene ‘Kingsurfer’ bodyboards of my childhood (polystyrene, it quickly became clear, doesn’t have the same strength as the now ubiquitous boogie board, and my brother and I would generally get through a few pocket-money-sapping Kingsurfer per season), and I’d got my first ‘proper’ epoxy surfboard – I was hooked. And I still am, some 25-years later.
Had I been born 30 or so years earlier then surfing wouldn’t have been the option that it was – in fact seeing people riding waves would probably have inspired the same sense of disbelief experienced by Captain Cook when he spotted the first Polynesians hurtling shoreward on their self-shaped wooden boards back in 1778. So, I guess I’m lucky to have slotted into history where I did, and to have discovered a sport and lifestyle that has defined who I am, where I live, and how I pay the mortgage.
It wasn’t until I was well into my 20s that rumours began to circulate about this crazy new sport: ‘kitesurfing’. I was aware of and had dabbled with power-kites, which had been around for a while – but the notion of powering yourself through the water behind one of these seemed, well, ludicrous at best, suicidal at worst. Eventually a few pictures appeared in magazines (no, not much internet then either!), and you began to spot the odd person getting dragged around the beach behind one of the early LEI kites (Leading Edge Inflatable – meaning that it wouldn’t sink if it ended up in the water!).
Having plenty of sailing and surfing experience, I decided that maybe this could be a great sport for me – and would give me more time on the water when the wind was wreaking havoc on the surf (which it did much of the time).
Wind moves us, literally in kitesurfing ... or not, if there isn't enough. If there is too much it might just move us to the hospital ward. Then comes time off the water, perhaps work, painful lengthy rehab, or worse. It happens and more than it should too. People ignore weather at times, may be more concerned about kite pants than understanding winds that can make a stellar session or a real painful one.
Last year there was a video of a dozen or more guys riding all around a funnel cloud in Italy (see the photo above). They seemed to ignore it as if it wasn’t a threat at all. Two riders were lofted with one thrown into a car totaling the front end and another was hurled into a house. Tragically he didn’t survive the experience. Then earlier this year there were dozens of guys riding in the UK in front of a shelf cloud straight out of Hollywood movie special effects, this cloud looked EVIL (see first photo). Despite that these guys just rode around until the winds boosted to 50 kts. or more, sent kites & kiters flying all over. No one was killed, that time. Then in the last year, there was a young guy riding in Spain, hazardous weather was forecast and another black cloud from hell moved in. The resulting winds lofted him at speed inland to an impact he failed to live through. There was the man several years ago who was lofted and blown over 100 m high and 500 m downwind into a mountain in Portugal. He didn’t make it either. There have been many dozens of others worldwide over the years. Virtually every one avoidable to varying degrees. More to come too sad to say.
The sense of elation that you get when you’ve finally mastered how to get yourself going on a kiteboard can all too quickly turn to frustration when you find that you’re struggling to stay upwind. (Staying upwind basically means that you are going out and in to the same part of the beach. If you have to stop after each run and walk back to where you set off from then you’re not staying upwind!). The truth is that staying upwind marks your transition from ‘absolute beginner’ to ‘beginner/intermediate’, and once you can stay upwind then, hey, you can do pretty much anything else you set your mind to!
Staying upwind can feel like something of a dark art: some days you’ll do it no problem, and others you’ll be cursing your way back up the beach on foot. If you break it down though, then it’s not quite so unfathomable. Generally speaking the days when it’s windy and you’ve got the right sized kite up are the days when you find yourself staying upwind easily, the days when you’re having to move the kite around more and work a bit harder are the days when you’ll struggle. Understanding the principals is important whatever the conditions though, so here are a few pointers that will keep you in the water for two–hours, not on the water for an hour and doing the ‘walk of shame’ for the other hour!
Board Direction vs. Speed. At the heart of good upwind kiting is the payoff between where you point your board and how much speed you’ve got: it’s easy to point your board upwind, but if you don’t get this balance right then you will just stall the board and stop. So (especially if you’re just starting from the beach or have just turned around), make sure that you have plenty of speed before you point upwind. You should be comfortably planing but not going too fast – If you find that you are flying in and out from the beach with plenty of speed but losing ground downwind, then slow down a bit and concentrate on pointing your board more upwind.
Kitesurfing is a fantastically exciting sport and great to watch from the beach. In fact, when you started out with kitesurfing, one of the reasons is probably that you saw other guys launching themselves skyward and thought: ‘I want a piece of that!’
The good news is that jumping is relatively easy to get started with – but then 1) you can always go higher and bigger, and 2) the ‘basic jump’ opens the door to the hundreds of other tricks that make kitesurfing such an exciting and diverse sport.
So, before you try your first jump you need to be competent at turning around, staying upwind, and you need to be able to re-launch your kite (practice in shallow water if you’ve not accidently dropped the kite yet).
So, Part 1 hopefully got you on the right beach, on the right day, with the right kite – and you’re now standing by the water screaming: ok, got it! Now what! So here’s how to get safely up on your board and properly kitesurfing...
You should still be holding your board in your upwind hand and have your kite fairly low in the window. So:
1) Start making your way out into the water. Hopefully you’re at a nice sandy spot where the beach shelves slowly and you can wade out until you’re about waist deep. Make sure that you’re not pulling on the bar too much – as you head into the water you’ll have less traction on the ground so keep the kite depowered.
Ok, so we’re assuming that you’ve already had a couple of kitesurfing lessons, that you’ve flown a powerkite on the beach, and maybe you’ve done a bit of body-dragging. So now it’s time for the exciting bit: time to get yourself down to the water and ready to take those first few tentative steps towards becoming a kitesurfer extraordinaire!
The main thing to remember is that everyone has been there – we’ve all had that first session when you’re looking warily up at that kite in the sky with your heart racing, and the truth is that it is nerve racking – but the great thing about kitesurfing is that it really does just get easier, so step up and enjoy it!
Choose the right day
The main ingredient for a successful first session is picking your moment. Here are a few essential things to consider that will help ensure you’re up and riding trouble free before the day’s out: