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Erin Swain: Walk of Shame

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/

OK, so I went kiting with Scott and Tami today. A quick back ground on Tami: we have been texting about kiting for an entire year, and have not gotten together. Today was finally the day we were able to go. It wasn’t too windy, so when I got he message from Scott saying he was heading down south, I jumped right on the invitation to kite and I invited Tami.

We parked a car at the Salvo day use lot and drove about four miles south to somewhere known as the Planet of the Apes. Why? Well, I would find out for sure on this session.

Scott told me and Tami to pump up our twelves as he pumped his 10m up. Tami launched him as I was still pumping my kite. I remembered that I hadn’t kited on my 12M since the last self rescue disaster, so I had to re-attach my outside line so that my lines were all the same length. I ran out my lines and had Tami launch me. Success! This was the closest I had been to shore with confidence to launch and that felt great.

The wind was light, so I had to keep the kite flying as Tami walked my board to me. I grabbed my board and thanked her for bringing it to me. I thought I was off, but I wasn’t. I felt nervous and had to walk out a bit so I was further away from shore. When I was finally up and riding, I felt a bit unsteady. I was only going up with my left foot forward (which is my weak foot since I am goofy in all other board sports). I had a lot of trouble until Scott kited by and told me to really work the kite in the air. Once I got that advice, I was back to my old mantra ‘keep the kite moving’ over and over again.

My form went right out the window as I was struggling to keep my board above water. Oh well. I better just keep moving now that I am on this downwinder. I eventually got into a rhythm and found myself cruising along. I was closer to shore since there was so much west in the wind, but I tried to focus on Tami and Scott’s kites way out in front of me. I felt good and then I came upon Tami and she had lost her board. I stopped near her board and pulled my kite to 12 o’clock. I grabbed her board and sent it towards her. I felt good that I had the first time ever that I could actually help someone else while kiting. Unfortunately, that favor would too soon be returned in a moment.

Once Tami got her board back, we were both off and riding and doing well until I crashed my kite in the light wind. Nooo!! Pop back Up!!! I willed the kite to fly back into the air, but to no avail. It sat in the water and my I lost my board. My board was further and further away from me and I was being slowly pulled by the kite.

I realized quickly that I was not getting that kite up without help. I did notice that Tami had grabbed my board and was about a hundred yards behind me holding both our boards waiting for me to relaunch. Luckily, Scott came by and flipped my kite up so it could relaunch.

I was back up and riding and cruising along when all of a sudden I did it again! As I watched my kite fall I saw Tami and Scott’s kites too far away. Unlike last time, I didn’t panic. I tried as hard as I could to relaunch. I pulled on one side, I ran towards the kite, nothing worked. My kite was practically on shore before I decided to perform the self rescue so my kite wouldn’t get destroyed and torn by twigs on shore. I had lost my board a ways back and did my self rescue.

I put my kite upside down as I looked out into the sound for my board. It took me a bit of time, but I finally found it. It took me twenty minutes to go grab my board and get it back to shore.

I looked around me when I was safely onshore with all my gear and realized I can’t just walk to the road. I was literally in the middle of nowhere! I will never make it to the road with my gear and bare feet. So I assessed the situation. I decided to keep my kite inflated and walk along the shoreline. This way, if Scott came back I could re-rig my kite and maybe finish the downwinder.

Well, I walked and walked and walk and walked…you get the idea.I finally came to a break in the islands and had to get back in the water and drag my kite and board across the to the next island. Suddenly, the grass wasn’t soft anymore, and I was just praying I didn’t see any snakes. As I got to the edge of an island and looked over and saw how deep it was to the next one, I decided to let my kite dry out and fold it up.

As I was folding my kite up, I saw a jet ski pull up. It was Scott and some guy! I was really rescued! This was a relief as I was over the walk of shame. I did Shamelessly jump on the jet ski and happily accepted the five minute ride which would have taken me and hour.

Nothing beats a water taxi to save the walk of shame. This time I remembered that my spirits have to remain up, because the last time I panicked and cried, everything remained the same eccept my mindset. This time, my mindset was upbeat, and so was the end of my session! I guess the walk of shame isn’t always so bad. It beats staying on shore and never knowing the feeling of kiting on a beautiful day!

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