Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Relentlessly Windy

Well it seems that October and November have just been off the scale in terms of wind and waves. We’ve had day in and day out of 20+ knots often hitting 35 knots and above! It has been crazy. I’ve got to be honest no matter how much I love the UK there just aren’t many days on the trot f wind, wind and more wind. Until now. It is a rare time when you can say ‘today Im tired of kitesurfing’. This passed couple of months Ive caught myself feeling that way twice! It has been phenomenal.

(Heading out in 40knots at Bigbury)

Pretty much the only kites out of the bag lately have been my 6m Torch and 7m Helix. However there was one day last week where we were lucky enough to be basked in sunshine and 10m weather. The waves were well over head high and the 5’7” Custom Global Naish waveboard came out to play.

(Neal Gent test rider for Kiteworld joining us a for a powered up small kite session)

With such a lot of wind this season there has been a lot of time to mix and match my riding. My wave riding is improving a lot while my freestyle although not going downhill has had to be put on the back burner a little. Its pretty tough to motivate yourself to keep working on unhooked tricks in this wind, so although I have been keeping my feet in and my level up I have been spending much more time on the wave board.

(Nailing some freestyle in 40knots... or was it getting nailed in 40 knots?? One of the two!)

This year I have two most memorable sessions which leave me talking endlessly for days about this one wave, or the sun setting and still riding or having my kite fully powered while making a blind judge. These days are a Tuesday in August and a Sunday earlier this month. Ive ranted about Tuesday enough and with Sunday being more recent I feel that I need to unleash about this epic day.

(The view down towards The Bluff in Cornwall)

I headed down to Cornwall for a 17ft swell forecast on Magic Seaweed. It was a Northerly wind of 30mph and wall to wall sunshine. Not bad for a Autumn day in the UK. I set off with Dan Parkinson a local RRD rider from Bigbury and Bantham and rocked up to Gwithian to watch monster size waves pulling through and endless white caps behind that. Not a soul in sight. It was a day to remember for sure. Together we walked down the beach with our smallest kites on our backs, wave boards tucked under our arms... And for me the die hard freestlyer just dabbling with the wave riding the twin tip as well.

We walked in an excited, perhaps slightly nervous silence and said to ourselves that we would play around on the inside for 20 minutes just to say we had been out. The waves were enormous pitching up fast and then menacingly breaking in one big frieght train like manner. Being caught in the wrong spot at the wrong time was definately not on our list of priorities especially considering the water rips out and just when you think you are out of the thick of it – it has only just really begun. So we pumped up.

(Testing the conditions in Bigbury)

Riding out on the first few runs gave us an insight to their real size. Standing tall Dan could reach his arm high and the wave would still be above that. Its was two times over head at least, but at times even bigger. Once on the water your nerves calm a little as you tentaively work out the timing. There was plenty of chicken gybing going on as you made it passed one wave but could see another peaking just behind that and another just behind that, but once you made it out back you were safe. This day was just phenomenal. I did ride some of these waves as the day went on, but to be fair I just spent a lot of time hugging in close to them as the peaked behind me. I would watch them form just yards from them and then let them break with the white water crashing up on my heels, back, shoulders... But just far enough ahead to keep myself away from a major munching.

(This photo courtesy of www.expix.co.uk)

Dan spent the entire day on his strapless surfboard and for a while I watch from the beach in wonderment. Every crashing wave dwarfing Dan, but it wasn’t long before i headed out strapless to. I have to confess Im not quite up to this level yet and spent a good half an hour or so trying. I made it out the back with good timing on two occasions, but far too often found myself caught on the inside and once I felt my heart beating enough I grabbed the twin tip on which I feel most comfortable with.

Dan and I could not tare ourselves off the water on this Sunday. We rode from mid morning until after sunset with just half an hour break to knock back a drink and a sandwich. It was truely one of those epics that will never be forgotten and one that we will look out for in the furture. This is kitesurfing in the UK at its finest and more to come.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. They are taken by Scot Baston whose website is currently being developed. For more of his awesome images you can check out his Flickr page. Thank you Scot

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