Since my last post, I've had a few sessions at Shacks and Montones. I have been doing okay, but not really progressing. I realized that the deep ocean at Montones and shallow reef at Shacks were making me nervous and keeping me from working on anything that would make me lose my board.
After two great days at Shacks, I went over to Montones to kite with two new guys I met. I had a leak in my 9m, and they were waiting on their boards from a buddy who was held up at the dentist. It was perfect: I had a board, they had kites.
Merry Christmas to me! I got to kite three days in a row in PR! I honestly didn’t think I’d be having my third ocean session at Shacks Beach. It’s a spot that is coveted by kiters, but it can be a more advanced spot. Lucky for me, I have a number of people looking out for and encouraging me.
OK, so today was THE DAY! My first Ocean Kiting experience! I have been waiting for this day for what feels like an eternity! I went to a spot on the north coast of Puerto Rico called Montones. It's a cove that has a huge rock on one side where sets of waves wrap around and break. The beach is beautiful and there is a mix of sand and reef bottom. The water gets shallow in spots but mostly its pretty deep. Luckily, it's sandy by the shore so its easy to get in and out of the water.
The sun was out, but it was about 50 degrees and blowing strong. I had been out the day before in the clouds and wind and was cold but I figured the sun would warm everything up. I had a posse of 9 people ready to do a downwinder. The weathervane on top of the building was going nuts when we arrived at Kitty Hawk Kites. One minute it was south west, the next it was turning east.
I was on a staycation - That’s a term I adopted from my friend Billy. It’s when you take time off work and enjoy everything your home has to offer. In my case, surfing and kiting! So I woke up early and headed over to Kite Point down near Buxton.
After my day of light wind and a lesson with Kite Club Hatteras, I was able to go on a downwinder known as Planet of the Apes. I started at MP 46 and was going to the Kitty Hawk Kites location in Waves.
With a new 9M Epic Renegade and a borrowed Aggression kiteboard, I was curious to see what a lesson could do for my progress. I headed down to Avon to meet up with a Bulgarian and his girlfriend. They run a kite school and I had met them up at Jockeys Ridge a couple weeks prior to this meeting.
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.
I went to JR after Scott told me it was blowing well until a rainstorm chased him out. He said it would continue to blow, but to watch out for storm bands. I got there and there were four kites in the air. Dimitri and his son were rocking some custom wet suits in bright colors that made them look like super heros (which I think they are!).
It’s a pretty cool experience when you live on the Outer Banks and get to watch Dimitri Miramenides kite on his home turf. As Scott and I arrived to JR, it was blowing almost 20 knots! YEY! 7M time! While I was pumping my kite, Dimitri shows up and is pumping right next to me.
After the completely disappointing month of August (for wind and waves), the Outerbanks was met with hurricane Irene. Although she brought us a little much needed swell in the ocean, she destroyed many parts of Hatteras, Manteo, and sound-side residents and businesses.
I dove the kite and was instantly lit. I raced across the water out into the sound trying my best to keep my form, but I don’t think I had ever been this powered up. It was scary and fun at the same time. I had some tacks upwind, but since I was traveling so fast, when I sat down to turn I would instantly lose ground (note to self: Must work on transition turns as soon as I can stay upwind).
It was like a switch flipped when she arrived. The wind picked up A LOT. Tami brought her 9, and I ran back to get my 7 from my car. I was still a little nervous to launch so close to land, so Tami said she didn’t mind walking out a little ways. There were a lot of people at Jockey's Ridge that day, so we were the only ones kiting.
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.
Today started off like all my other sessions. Scott and I dropped a car off at Jockeys Ridge and went down behind the golf course in Nags Head to pump up our kites. It wasn’t blowing too strong, so I pumped up my 9M and attached my bar from my 7M.
After kiting with Allison, I heard that Scott was on his way over to Jockey's Ridge. I was stoked because I had been walking upwind all day and was ready to do a bonafide downwinder without worrying about staying upwind. Scott arrived around 5:30pm, so I threw my gear in his car and we drove down about 3 miles south.
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.”
As I approach the pass (now driving with my hazards on at about 25 mph), I start thinking this is insane…what am I thinking?? I took this sport up as a ‘fair weather’ kiter, and this is a scary white-out…
I promised myself when I learned to kiteboard in the water that I was not going to go out in light winds. Unfortunately, in the mountains, there are no exact wind meters and websites to check that will allow you to know what the wind is doing. Maybe there is somekind of wind dance to perform that would bring perfect winds???
I was shocked the first time I pulled the kite into the power zone and it just lifted me and my board so gently, sending me gliding across soft snow. It was surprisingly easy! I would say a hundred times easier than being in the water. The wind was only blowing 10-12mph so it was real mellow and that gave me the confidence to glide a decent way before ungracefully crashing the kite and attempting to switch directions.
OK, here’s my deal: I am 29 years old and have been snowboarding and surfing for about five years. I have been living in Colorado in the winters and the Outer Banks if North Carolina in the summers. I guess its only natural I attempt to get into the kite world. When I first saw kiteboarding I thought ‘whoa! That is f*ing cool!’ I was in Key West and was 21 years old. Almost nine years later (gosh that sounds like a decade!), I finally had the opportunity to try it out.
It’s time to face a simple truth about kiteboarding: it’s growing, and local beaches everywhere are getting crowded. A few years ago, when it was rare to see more than 20 kiteboarders on the water together, there was almost always enough room for everyone to do their own thing and not bother anyone else