So two days ago I hit a solid 10m. WOOT.
Before i continue I will admit that I had to cheat. So in the sense of E1’s goals I would say that this one is half ticked off.
Here’s the list of goals for this Winter Season, displayed I might add in a wonderful flow chart of epicness, and my progress so far.
Goal 1: Mega Loops
Mini Loops (Sub 2m) Jumps over 7m
- Mega Loops (Sketchy AF!)
- Mega Loop Back Roll
Goal 2: Jump Over 10m
Over 10m (Kicker)
- Over 10m (Off Flats)
- Over 15m (Kicker)
- Over 15m (Off Flats)
Goal 3: Handle Passes
- Dangle Pass (Practice Bar) – Some, but not every time.
- Dangle Pass (Kite)
- Blind Judge
- Kite Loop 3
Less Than Perfect
So the season is cracking on and between the storms and the lessons I am still doing my best to eek out some time to ride for myself, often on the gusty less desirable days, but hey, anything is better than nothing.
Two days ago I was out on an Easterly, traditionally a pretty gusty direction for Marazion, but with a solid southerly swell it looked like quite a bit of fun so I decided to head out.
The problem often with an easterly is that you get a few very contrasting bands of wind, this is often due to the interference of St Michaels Mount which casts a rather large wind shadow, but if you get it right also creates a rather tasty Venturi Effect which allows for extra juice.
Its difficult to judge what kite to take on such occasions, often I would take a 10m, feeling fine on the beach and then a little way out suddenly so over powered it was no longer comfortable, other times I would take a 8m feeling massively underpowered until I hit a gust.
Anyway, I took the 8m as technically I was meant to be practicing my MegaLoops and to be frank they still terrify me so I wanted a fast kite that would whip round before I would realise what I had done.
Off I go and do a few jumps, not much power in the kite and lots of variation in the wind strength meant that there was an awful lot of back stalling going on. No matter how I trimmed at one point or another the kite wanted to drop backwards.
Call me Kenny.
So after a few test jumps and my heart in my mouth I decided to attempt another mega loop, this would be my third ever one. I sent the kite and bottled it. I dint feel comfortable in the gusts and was worried that the kite wouldn’t come back up. I sent the kite again and decided to do a down loop, just to feel it out, landed nice and soft, glorious. Okay, i said to myself, it’s either going to hurt or it isn’t.
As a quick aside, this is one of the reasons I absolutely love kitesurfing, everything’s so binary, land on your feet, or not, life is simple.
I sent the kite again, hit the peak and pulled the loop, a little late (if i’m honest)
—->> YEEEEEEEEEEEE —>>
I flew through the sky and came down super hot, slamming into the water, stomping the landing and riding away like a boss, but not high enough for the kite to catch me and slow my decent. Not a mega loop, just a really big kiteloop.
As I rode away I realised that I had just entered the “Danger Zone” (Kenny Loggins – Get it?) The danger zone is that zone above 2m and below 7m where you are not high enough for the kite to catch you after your loop, which means you are coming down with the full force of the loop and your body weight, which done wrong can lead to serious injury.
Right then, send it again, pull the trigger, perfect timing, not enough height, hit the deck with enough force to feel it jar up my ankles and through my shins, felt my weight move over my front knee as my board stuck to the water like a fly to tape, and then just at that moment when I thought i was about to tear my knee to shreds the board started to move. Close one.
After that I rode around for a few tacks just feeling myself out, legs hurt but nothing feels loose, weak or squelchy (generally a good sign tat you’re Proper F£$%^!, always a nice. System diagnostics complete, I now had a choice to make, more mega loops, or just do something else. I considered the situation, and opted for the latter. I was in the Danger Zone because:
- a) I didn’t have enough power – because
- b) The wind was shitty – or perhaps it was
- c) I was not skilled enough to hit the plus 7’s in these conditions.
I decided that Option C was the right answer and decided that perhaps now as a good time to try and sort that out. The swell was building and there were a few really nice kickers being chucked up by the receding tide. (I had been launching off the flat for the whole session up until now)
Here we go, full speed, edge hard, weight on the front foot, send the kite, “meh” I thought. Didn’t feel that big (certainly not 7m) so I just rode it out and rode away, no mega loops, after a few more attempts and some similar jumps I decided to call it a day.
Not particularly happy with the session, failed mega loops and nothing else notable I headed home.
Once I got home I uploaded my results from the Woo and had a look at the session. I was only out for 20 mins, it felt like hours. I had beaten my personal best and jumped 10.3 meters, which should have made me feel happy, but really all it made me feel was cheated, it certainly didn’t feel high when I did it. It din’t feel like how I imagined it to feel.
I guess I had put the big ten oh on a pedestal and now having reached it realised that actually it is pretty trivial, in regards to the feeling of being up there. The meter or so difference between my previous 9m jumps and this one didn’t feel any different.
The use of kickers really surprised me as well. I got that 10m easily, i didn’t dig in anywhere near as much as I could have, my lines weren’t loaded up as they should have been, and my takeoff was a little sloppy. Which begs the question, if getting 10 off a wave is relatively easy in sub-standard gusty conditions, with a not at all perfect take off, what height is possible?
Looking at some of the other data, I managed to confirm that all of my Mega loop attempts had been between the 5.5m and 6.8m range which explains the hard landings. Danger Zone confirmed!
I haven’t ticked off the 10m target on my progression chart, as I reckon I haven’t truly earned it yet. Until I smash a solid 10m off the flats (it’s also worth noting that I don’t do the whole swing the board above my head move either) it will stay on the list. But having realised that actually by using kickers more than 10m is actually well within reach I have added a new goal to the list. 15m – Off a kicker and 15m Off the Flats.
Lastly the hunt for the mega loop continues. I haven’t crossed it off the list either as, whilst my on first two attempts the kite did catch me, I din’t have time to get the down loop in before hitting the water. So for now, until I get that lovely soft down loop in, the mega loop stays on the list.
But I feel myself inching closer, and i’m definitely looking forward to combining kickers with mega loops in the near future. 🙂