Erin Swain has been writing about her experiences learning to snowkite and is now transitioning to the water. We will continue to bring you updates from Erin about her experiences throughout the season. You can follow Erin’s blog at http://www.thekiteboarder.com/tag/erin-swain/
So, as a newbie to the sport, I called a local bud of mine and said, “Hey, do you know any chicks that kite? I could really use someone on my level that is eager to get out there on days when I can go.” With that, my bud says he thinks his friend’s wife is on the same level. Two days later I get a text msg that reads: “Hey Erin, I got your number from Chirs, my name’s Allison.”
I soon discovered that she was pretty much on the exact same level as myself. We were both staying upwind sometimes, both trying transitions, and both a bit clueless. It was perfect! I told her we should go ride sometime, and that time turned up to be later that week.
We met at jockeys ridge, and she was so cute. A smiley blonde that was psyched to kite, and she brought her cousin Kate along (Kate doesn’t kite…yet). We decided to pump up her 9M and my 7M. It was great how we talked about the equipment together and shared our beginner knowledge.
We decided that she would launch me and we would meet out a ways in the sound. Her board looked way newer/cooler than mine, so I was definitely excited to try hers out. She launched me successfully from the beach and then ‘board caddied’ her board to me. It took me a while to dive the kite cause I was hesitant around these two young boogie boarder kids playing on the ankle deep sandbar right next to me.
As a beginner, its really hard to judge exactly where you will be heading as soon as you get up and stand. I was being a total skirt and was not diving the kite. Also, since Allison’s board was smaller than the one I am used to, that was another caveat. Allison realized this quickly and became my ‘board caddy’, running to shore to grab mine. While she was getting my board, I practiced a few body drags which helped me understand how to work the kite in the present conditions.
When she returned with my board, I popped up with ease this time and headed out into the sound. As I got further and further from Allison, I decided to tack back upwind. I tried to get back to her, but was not staying upwind at all. Shoot. I had to walk back to her upwind. It’s a lot of wasted energy and time to walk upwind. You’d think this would be enough motivation to stay upwind, but unfortunately it’s not that easy.
I finally get back to Allison and we trade the kite off. Allison popped right up and also seemed to get back to me easier. We traded a couple times more, both of us having to walk the kite upwind back to each other. At one point Allison crashed the kite leading edge right into the water. The kite slammed down and started deflating. I was hoping that the bladder didn’t pop.
I walked down to the kite and started rolling it up. I undid the lines so Allison could wrap the lines up and we could walk in to examine the damage. It’s pretty embarrassing walking a kite into shore when a seven year old (Dimitri Maramenides’s son Cameron) is literally busting airs and make it look easy! Oh well. Happens to everyone at some point.
The kite turned out to be fine, it just crashed so hard that the deflate valve blew open. All we had to do was re-pump and we were at it some more. I got pretty tired and decided to rest on shore. Allison did great messing around by herself and I ran into some kite buds on the beach. I saw my buddy Michael and he told me Scott wanted to do a downwinder with me when he got off work.
I was stoked cause I was sick of walking upwind. I chilled on the beach and waited for Allison to come closer to shore and signal me when she was ready to land. I landed her successfully, and we were both so happy to kite together. She is the perfect kite girl since we are around the same size and could share gear, swap tips, and are on the same level of learning. We will definitely be kiting together as much as our schedules permit!