Friday, April 24, 2015

Breaking through the Wall

Week 2 of the St.FYC Thursday Night Kiteboarding Series.

1 mark at a time, I'm going to get around this course- even if it takes me the whole series.
It took just about everything I had to make downwind to the starting line, up the 1st beat, around the weather mark then back to the beach in survival conditions. The wind was a spastic 15-25k and I had the 7m ozone edge out on the foil board for the 2nd time ever.

Normally I switch to windsurfing when its over 20k but this was race night.
It was time to take my beatings!

I've reached a plateau of sorts in that I can ride the foil board pretty steadily - and even make my way upwind but for the life of me, I can't go deeper than a beam reach on starboard tack.  Port tack's a bit easier downwind but still another 20-30 degrees to go.

There's both a mental and physical barrier to get through this wall. I've crossed it once before and omfg- was it scary. The generation 1 spots foil starts wobbling side to side instead of the normal front to back when you send it fast downwind but then, so Ive heard, it becomes a bit easier once the apparent wind comes forward and the kite moves down in the window. The hesitation comes from being yanked over the front repeatingly when trying to send it deep.

I can picture it in my head.
I understand the concept.
But my body just isn't letting me do it yet.

Granted I'm in this way deeper than I ever imagined.
Foiling is one of the most exciting things I've ever done.
The feeling of flying above the water, with out a sound is awesome.
But I realize I'm still in my infancy in this sport- putting in less than 75 days over the past 2 seasons.
What comes for granted for some who've been at this sport for the past 10 years, is taking me everything just to figure out.

But there lies the fun of it- or so I try to convince myself.
While I would love to just skip this step and jump into expert mode, I'm prepared to pay my dues on this one. The most rewarding things in life are usually the things you have to overcome yourself.
A personal transformation of sorts.
One step at a time.

Monday, April 20, 2015

slalom racing is back!

Lots of slalom racing planned for this summer in San Francisco and the Delta with 3 different race series in the works!

After a trial run last season, slalom is back on the schedule at the St. Francis Yacht Club. 4 dedicated slalom races are being run as part of the Friday Night Series on May 29 , June 26, July 24 & August 21. A 4-5 mark downwind slalom course will be set with a start at Anita Rock and a finish off the St.FYC race deck with an A fleet start for experienced racers and a B fleet start for less experienced racers.  The series will count your best 3 scores and 1 night of RC is required to be counted for the overall series championship.  You can also register for drop in races any night of the series.  Series and race information available here.

In addition to the Friday Night slalom series at the StFYC, there will be more racing on Saturdays afternoons off Crissy Field using the same course on the following dates: May 30, June 27, July 25 & August 22. Its set up to follow the Friday Night races so come on Friday afternoon and get 2 days of racing in.  The Crissy Field Slalom Series is being crowd funded up until 1 week before the 1st race, so if you want to make sure the event happens and get in on a discounted early registration fee – donate now at The Crissy Field Slalom Series Fundraizr site.  More event info can be found at the registration page.
Finally – there is the Rio Vista Grand Slam in Sherman Island on July 9-12 with slalom racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday and freestyle and demos added to the mix.  More info can be found here.

PS- Despite the rumors of kite foiling fever – the  reports of my windsurfing death have been greatly exaggerated!

Friday, April 10, 2015

1st kite foil race: postmortem

After nearly 17 days of learning and getting the hang of the foiling kiteboard- I thought I might be able to get around the course. A major feat still- seeing how I can't even go downwind, tack or gybe yet but even the the worse case scenario was- a ride back in the safety boat supplied by the St.FYC and the Thursday night kiteboarding series.

The wind was light to medium so I laid both the 10m and 13m race kite on the beach but quickly realized I had only 1 race bar that fit them both. What could possibly go wrong?

I launched the 13.5 ASV and was quickly overpowered in the gusts but underwhelmed in the holes near shore. I foiled downwind to the starting line, checked in and made a few practice runs across the starting line. It certainly was a bit un nerving being around 30 other kites when I dont even have that good of control myself but I managed to start a good 30 seconds late and avoid any conflicts. 
Whoohoo- last year at the this time when I first started on the raceboard, it took me several races just to get across the start line. At least, Id made some progress. 

This year it seems like I'm starting over again for the 3rd year in a row.
Year 1 saw me learning to kite on the directional board.
Year 2 saw me learning to ride the course board
Year 3 seems me learning to ride the foil.

For the most part- the first beat was good. I stayed foiling upwind and locked in but when I went to transition at the beach, the kite became unhooked from the harness. Oh boy! 
A quick struggle and lack of relaunch in the light wind had me pulling the plug and swimming in as I was just downwind from Anita rock. The safety boat saw me swimming and offered a lift to the beach. 
Maybe, Id be able to make the next race but realized my 1 working bar was tightly wound with no chance for an easy transfer. 

Sometimes, preparation is just as important as skill in any stage of the game. I was out for the night but got to watch the remainder from shore- getting a better idea of how its all done. 
The video from race 3 shows the light air at the beach and everyones attempt to tack through it. Vlad has some choice works for Daniela, his daughter when she decides to gybe instead of tack and puts her foil kite in the water. Its the same spot where I went down and Ill be the 1st to admit- I should have just avoided that area all together and just went outside to where there was more breeze. 
Live and learn. 
Next weeks goal: Get around the course!