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Erin Swain: Lost Board

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/

Lost a Board: I am a real kiteboarder now!

The last time I kited, I started to realize that I needed a smaller board. I finally decided to buy a used one, and Dimitiri Maramenides happened to have one great for me.  It was 129 cm long which was perfect for me.  I was stoked.  Not only did I grab the board just in time for a session, but Dimitri had a 10M screamer  for me to demo.

As I grabbed the gear at the parking lot at JR, Scott came running out to tell me there were a lot of beginners out, and it would be better for me to go to Windmill Point and do a downwinder.   was so excited: a new kite, a new board, and a downwinder partner: what more do you need? It was the recipe for a perfect evening.

I got to Windmill Point, and man, the mosquitoes were the size of small birds. If there’s anything that will expedite your set-up, its giant mosquitoes! Scott launched me first and I was pretty confident to get straight out there.  I had to make it between the land and a small island, and then I was in the clear. Great wind, and I kept diving the kite to the left. I was doing really well on these tacks, so I decided to try the other way.

Sometimes I don’t dive the kite enough to tack the other way on the very first try, and it takes me 2 dives.  This was the case, yet again. Once I finally got my dive right, I put my board in the right position and tacked completely upwind. I was heading all the way back where I just came from.  It felt amazing.  I was powered up enough to let go and ride with one hand.  This was the best feeling! iI am doing it!  UPWIND!!! YEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

As I went back the other way, I felt the wind lull and watched my kite fall from the sky.  Shoot! Ok, I got this!  Just re-launch the kite!  As I frantically pull on one side, I see the kite travel to the edge of the window. I was patient and let the kite do its thing.  A gust comes, and, BOOM, the kite is back in the air.  But the lines are crossed.  I take my leash off, spin the bar and uncross the lines and re-hook my safety leash to the outside line.

Things are going well, until my kite falls out of the sky when I was way out in deep water.  I tread for a while  I am holding my board.  I realize that I need to get the kite back up, but can’t do that with one hand.  So, I let the board go and try and try to re-launch the kite.  And try and try and try. The wind is dying even more.  I realize that I can’t re-launch and I will have to walk in and do a self rescue.

By the time I perform my self rescue and get my gear to shore, the board is gone.  I stood on the bulkhead behind the golf course and stared out at the choppy water for a while.  You can’t imagine how many kiteboards I hallucinated against the choppy waters with the sun reflecting off the surface.  I see Scott downwind of me and realize he couldn’t make it either, his kite was down and he too was performing a self rescue.

I swam out and looked for my board since I knew Scott was going to hitch a ride back to the car.  I looked and looked, but no luck.  I love how when something bad happens, any other kiteboarder will just say “Oh, I’ve done that!  You’re a real kiteboarder now.”  It’s like some messed up rite of passage.  So I guess I hit another milestone…

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