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Archive for the ‘kitesurfing’ Category
When we originally started this blog it was kite surfing that was our initial inspiration. Having dipped our toes into the world of extreme sports we realised that the subject encompassed so much more than just kite surfing.
And although we say ‘just’ kite surfing this extreme sport still holds a soft spot in our minds – it is without doubt one of the more ‘beautiful’ of the extreme sports. Not only does it look spectacular, is practiced by some very lovely people – both in mind and physical appearance – but we also really appreciate the fact that it is an extreme activity that requires little more than the earth’s natural elements – water and wind.
So it is with pleasure that we announce the that the Spanish Kitesurfing Championship started today in Lanzarote and runs through to the 12th July.
And for those of you who don’t know Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands situated approximately 100 miles off the west coast of Africa and 800 miles south of Spain in the Atlantic.
Kite surfing has been regularly practised by enthusiasts at the beach in Famara, on the north west coast of the island, which will also be the location for the Spanish Championships and will combine board-riding with parascending. Impressive aerial acrobatics will be evident above the waves.
The five day tournament will cover Freestyle, Race and Wave categories and has been opened for the first time to include Veterans or Masters at the sport. Participants compete within their group, according to age and gender, with prizes also due to be awarded to the best amateurs and Canarian competitors.
For your further enjoyment we are pleased to present this very cool kite surfing action from OutdoorAction – with big Atlantic surf and some strong consistent winds the action in Lanzarote is going to be just as hot!
You might have noticed something new on our sidebar. SocialVibe has created a way of helping good causes and charities, and we have chosen to support a project that is close to our hearts – the protection of our oceans.
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit, grassroots, environmental organisation dedicated to protection and enjoyment of our oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of surfers in Malibu, California, the organisation has grown exponentially.
So you see, surfers are not just beachbums!
Apart from being avid followers of the surfing life, why choose this particular project?
Well, this is something we’ve ranted about before – but did you know that there is a plastic soup in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – known as the dead zone? Here’s a depressing, but important short video from StrangeDaysAction spelling out a few facts for us:
Marine scientist Captain Charles Moore of the Agalita Marine Research Foundation describes a dead zone, an oceanic desert, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which he calls: Plastic Soup. This trashbin is a huge – I mean seriously HUGE – deep churning cesspool of plastic bits definitely bigger than the state of Texas, and, some say, even bigger, possibly, than AFRICA ! These plastic bits are ingested daily by marine life. And guess what? Who eats marine life? We do.
Scary stuff hmmm?
Captain Moore has measured 6 pounds of plastic for every 1 pound of plankton. He predicts that, unless we do something, in 30 years there will be 60 pounds of plastic particles for every pound of plankton.
And what eats plankton? Plankton is literally the food of life. It is vitally important in the food chain of all marine life.
And lest you are a bit casual about this topic and shrug your shoulders and say, “well, it’s only the Pacific. It’s not our problem, someone will be able to sort it out in due course…” Don’t be misled – there is a similar cesspool in the Atlantic.
Here’s a photograph from National Geographic of an open-air garbage dump which tarnishes the sapphire coast of Barrow, Alaska. Disgusting, isn’t it.
And why should we get personally involved? Well, if you windsurf, kitesurf, scuba dive, snorkel, surf, sail, kayak, freedive, deep water solo to name but a few – you should be concerned. It concerns you directly.
This problem is very nearly out of control. We seriously need to do something about it. And we need to do something NOW.
So click on the sidebar please!
And I’ll leave you on an equally miserable note. Here’s a video from seareport01 on the problem in the Pacific…
So come on guys, let’s do our bit to save our oceans…
The other day we had one of our regular rants about the environment, global warming and the awful destruction of the rainforests, amongst other things, and we showed you the video made by The Prince’s Rainforest Project.
This video has now been viewed more than 500,000 times over various sites and their next initiative is to launch their Supporter of the Week.
This week it is Richard Branson, entrepreneur, adventurer and founder of the Virgin group, who was filmed with ‘the frog‘ to demonstrate that there is a global determination for change on this issue.
Although he had little success on the video in changing the frog into a beautiful woman, there was obviously, from the following photo, a delayed but successful result to his efforts:
Richard Branson and Denni Parkinson. ‘I only wish I had eyes in the
back of my head’ he told the Daily Mail.
(Photo credit: Stephane Gautronneau)
In fact, so successful was his kite surfing weekend on Necker Island, that the Alinghi (defender of the America’s Cup) coach and and performance analysts, Pierre Yves Jorand (SUI) and Peter Evans (NZL) spent a lot of time studying and analyzing the photographs from Mr Bransons kitesurfing weekend and were able to give this exclusive report for World Sailing News.
¨From what we can tell it looks like it was blowing on shore at the time, suggesting an afternoon seabreeze, as the wind would have been sucked onto the land – probably in the region of 13 knots to begin with the pressure rising steadily throughout the afternoon, maybe up to 17 or 18 knots. The technique is good, his feet are in the correct position and he seems to have good control. When wet, the board shorts and long hair will be adding to the drag a little – the added weight will not help his performance therefore but nevertheless, judging by the smile on his face he is clearly enjoying himself. This has the effect of helping him to relax and at least feel phsycologically that he is giving the best performance possible. This is the key thing – and it´s therefore something we will be recommending as part of their training regime to both Brad Butterworth and Ed Baird before they compete at their next D 35 regatta¨
Responding to the recommendations from the Alinghi performace analysts, Ed Baird, said, ´One of the great things about working for a team like Alinghi is that all the people around you are constantly searching for that little bit of something special to help make the boat go faster. Pierre Yves and Peter Evans seem to have nailed it again, and I for one look forward to joining in the process, learning from it, sharing that experience and getting in amongst it¨
Brad Butterworth said, ´Yes, lets go´!
But to end on a serious note, let us quickly remind you that:
- the destruction of tropical rainforests accounts for 17% of CO2 emissions…
- that the Amazon alone circulates 20 billion tonnes of water every day which helps water the crops that feed the global population…
- that an area of tropical rainforest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every 4 seconds…
Note that Branson has chosen a very eco-friendly sport!
Kitesurfing, as you well know, is an extreme sport and a mixture of paragliding, wakeboarding, surfing and windsurfing, so it appeals to a really large target group. All you need is a board that is just two metres long and weighs between 3 and 5 kilos, a kite that folds up to rucksack size, and a control bar and kite lines.
Whatever you do, don’t try kitesurfing via the “do it yourself” approach. It’s absolutely essential to take part in a course in order to be aware of the potential dangers – and above all to know how to cope with them. Be smart and get taught properly! A kite that’s out of control is a danger to people on the beach as well as to the pilot.
So, you’re thinking of giving it a go? Maybe for the first time, or just wanting to improve your technique, so… how to you classify your level?
Which Kitesurfing level are you?
Kitesurfing level 0 – New Kiter
You are totally new to kitesports (power and sport) or you are currently training with smaller power kites along with a kite control class and/or DVD.
Kitesurfing level 1 – Novice Flyer
You just learned the ropes and can properly set up and launch with assistance. You’re body dragging with control and are now working on smooth starts & riding skills. This is where most students are after their first “on-the-board” lesson.
Kitesurfing level 2 – Intermediate Pilot
You’re up and riding, though may be stopping during direction changes. Staying upwind is not your goal as you’re probably focused on keeping your kite stabilized in the air, and out of the water.
Kitesurfing level 3 – Advanced Rider
Making basic turns and riding in both directions is comfortable. You’re staying upwind more and are experimenting with different power techniques. “Water launch fear” is behind you as you might be trying your first jumps.
Kitesurfing level 4 – Progressive Kiteboarder
Staying upwind is second nature. You’re actively jumping, landing and working on specific tricks. Your kite rarely crashes and you have mastered basic techniques. You are now addicted and have become an avid wind chaser.
Taking courses is highly advisable when learning to kitesurf as it can be extremely dangerous.
People skipping basic kite control training (Level 0) significantly increase their kiteboarding learning curve. Stats show those who skip kite control average a 10% success rate only. Those students taking an introduction course and mastering the simulation exercises show a 90% success rate. Remember, success is defined as being able to get up on a kiteboard and sustaining a short distance ride.
People skipping the safety & rigging course significantly increase their risk of injury. Stats show those who skip kite control average a 98% error rate. Those students mastering proper rigging and safety techniques show only a 2% error rate. Error rate is defined as a students needing assistance during self-rescue drills.
Those are just a few things to think about. And whilst we’re on the subject of education, we’ll end with some kitesurfing guidelines that you would be wise to take on board too:
- Always use a safety system that depowers the kite.
- Always use a kite leash with “Quick Release” device.
- Stay clear of power lines and overhead obstructions.
- Select a safe launching site.
- Always maintain a downwind safety buffer zone.
- Keep windsurfers outside the power-cone.
- Maintain a 200 ft clear zone around all divers.
- Observe all mapped kitesurfing boundaries.
- Do not lay kite lines across any ones path.
- Do not launch or land at crowded areas.
- Always announce you are launching a kite.
- Give way to all other water users.
- Incoming kitesurfer gives way to the outgoing kiter.
- When consideration has been given to the above, normal sailing rules apply.
- Prevent kites from re-launching with sand.
- Disable unattended kites.
- Kite with a friend.
- America’s beaches, airspace and ocean environment belong to everyone. Keep our beaches safe, clean and free.
We’ll follow this lot up with more in the future. Watch this space….
And to end on a cheerier note, enjoy this video from from nuwakite, and remember – kiteboarding is meant to be fun!
When we walked outside first thing this morning there was not a breath of wind – huh – no good for kite surfing we mused and wandered back inside to have our first cup of tea. But it got us thinking – kite surfing – its getting to that time of year – when isn’t it? – when you will see more and more people out on the sea riding their kite boards. Yes – but which kite board?
For those of you who may be new to the sport the videos below are a must see. And for those seasoned pros the depth of knowledge that KHK Kiteboarding goes into in discussing the make up of the board, the components used, the accessories required and what this will mean to the performance of a board makes the second video a must see.
So the first video is all about choosing which board or boards to buy. Body weight to board height and width ratios are discussed – will it be a 158 x 40 board for a 200lbs bloke. What are the advantages of the bigger board over the smaller board – more volume, less kite power, lighter winds, floatability. Or should you go for a smaller board of say 127 cms allowing you to take to the water with more wind, a board that will give you more ‘popping’ power and the ability to do more tricks.
Of course it rather depends on your prowess and the style of kite surfer you are – are you an agressive rider wanting to fly through the sky doing tricks all the time or are you more of a cruiser? Whatever your situation you will not be surprised that KHK Kiteboarding are telling us that you will need to buy at least two boards……..and they are probably right.
The only thing we would add is that you must try before you commit!
The second part of the blog on which kite board to choose goes into rather more detail on the construction of the board – the various components used, the flexibilty of the board, what makes it flexible, the shape, the accessories – foot pads, foot straps, centre handle, fins – and what helps to give you the control of the board. All in all good instuctional stuff on what kind of board(s) to go for – lets not forget this is not an insignificant purchase in terms of $s.
So there you have it and after two cups of tea and some toast guess what – the wind has started to blow and there is not a cloud in the sky…….mmmmmmmmm very tempting, lets hope our cable trade works out and we can take some time out!