Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sherman Island :: The Sequel

Today I had my second kite surfing lesson at Sherman Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. I was able to do a lot more, but also realized that things were not quite as straightforward as I thought last time I was out. Then, I was surprised, and impressed, that I was able to hold my position in the river during an ebb tide. That was thinking like a kayaker, not a kiter. What actually happened then was that the wind and current more or less canceled each other out. I was not really working my way up wind.
This session began on a flood and ended on an ebb so I started with flat water with the wind and current both working against me and ended on the ebb with good chop & the two working against each other. But, my skills were much better and on many runs I was able to work my way upwind.
I learned a few interesting things about setting up kites.
  • Since the front lines are always under tension, they stretch faster than the outside lines. That is why there are three attachment points: they accommodate stretching lines. I thought it was a tuning issue.
  • A couple nice mnemonics for thinking about line placement:
    • Outback -- outside lines go to the back of the kite (bottom)
    • Front and Center -- center lines go to the front, the top, the leading edge
  • The truly unexpected thing is that the kite is steered from the back of the kite (outside lines). Once you remember this, all the other pieces are logical, but this is odd.
My runs were good enough, that learning to stop became important -- the river is only so wide and its good to stay in the shipping lanes as those are almost guaranteed to be free of obstacles.
Most runs ended in a crash & that was usually caused by working the kite too much & not holding an edge. I'm just not getting the body position good enough to use the edge and back of the board as a brake. Once my kite starts working too much, I go too fast and when the kite goes up I have lift and guess what? I'm bouncing across the tops of waves going straight down wind.

Another lesson, this time on SF Bay, on Friday.

About 3 hours on the water with absolutely first clas instruction (again) from Ki'topia. What a treat.