Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Poles and Teabags

Well, not sure what good this post will do me, but here it goes.

The summer has been pretty lame for wind. From my perspective anyway. It's pretty clear from my last couple of posts that I have clearly put myself in this position by semi-refusing to go >5.3. First I'll explain why.

In New Zealand, there was so much wind and so frequent, that I downsized my 5.7/5.0/4.5/3.7 quiver down to 5.0 and down. Yep, sold off that huge 5.7. After all that 4.5 sailing, the 5.7 started to feel real heavy and cumbersome - and there was plenty of 5.0 and down, so it seemed useless. We returned to Canada about 3 years ago now and at the time, I restocked a new quiver of 6.2 and down. Also at the time, I'd say I was in the best sailing condition of my life, and a decent level of fitness and weight. Somehow, while friends were out on 6.0's, I generally could make the 5.3 work well enough with my 105. For some reason, I never felt I could get much more out of that 6.2, and never felt I could match the fun I was having with the 5.3, even if it was sporadic planing with the odd trick thrown in. So, I ditched the 6.2... and have been a sailor with 5.3/105 as my big combo since.

Unfortunately, it has been a lengthy 3 years since returning from NZ, I'm 20lbs heavier and with way less action on the water. I'd say now, I am in probably my worst sailing conditioning of all time, with seemingly less wind each summer, less time on the water and more donuts. I think this info is somewhat misleading though - cuz, in fact, we have had a reasonable number of 15-17kt days - probably sufficient to get me going with a 6.0 semi-regularly. Unfortunately, I don't own one. Finally I am beginning to see the light...

So what's my problem? Well, several: i) Stubborn-ness to get a big sail again & ii) pure laziness for not dropping the 20lbs. Pure and simple. Then there is iii) family life. My kids are at such an awesome age right now that heading home to have a lightsaber battle or build them some star destroyers out of lego is actually pretty damn fun. Regardless, I still love windsurfing and still pine over it every day. So why not buy a 6.0 and go already?

Here comes the pickle. My wife has yet to demonstrate a whole lot of interest in windsurfing. She has sailed a couple of times and we haven't managed to get that stoke factor going (and I am partly to blame). Add to that the lack of a windsurf-based social scene here in Kingston, and it just doesn't turn her crank. Enter kiteboarding. Yes, I said it. Kiteboarding. She played with a kite a number of years back while living in Venezuela and kinda liked it. Tack onto that a number of fellow Kingston Ultimate frisbee players into kiting, and throw in a reasonably thriving social environment with some other like-minded females to boot, and she is keen.

My options: Spend the sparse $ on a 6.0 and don't get into kiting. Or, ditch that idea and let lighter-wind kiteboarding fill that 15kt range. Ideally, I would do both. Alas, the cash flow is at an all time low as well, so the reality is, the choice is one or the other, for now. (As a sidebar - check out this recent posting that was cruising around Facebook: "Who Needs Money when you can go Windsurfing!")

So, kiting it is... We bought a used 12m 2010 Ocean Rodeo Rise, a couple of harnesses and a wetsuit for Cheryl, and off we go. A local kiteboarder named Stan Woodman was Über-generous and supportive of helping us get into the sport and is lending us one of his own Windego 138cm kiteboards to start learning on, suggesting that perhaps saving some coin on a board initially could help us get going. And he was right! Thanks Stan! On top of that, Brian Taguchi, part owner of Kiteboarding Kingston also helped us out a bit with a trainer and some words of wisdom.

So, how does this feel? Honestly, it feels wierd. I feel like a traitor. ;)

One thing I know: if Cheryl gets hooked, or at least semi-keen on kiteboarding, it will certainly help with aligning our vacation priorities and maybe in the near future, she will understand why I never get all that excited about a holiday, unless we are heading somewhere windy. Certainly at the moment, I can say with certainty that when I look at kite videos, and when I look at kite magazines, the stoke factor just ain't quite there like windsurfing. It will definitely be interesting to see how this all evolves and unfolds for the Fischer family.

This changes nothing for the kiddies! I am still committed to buying us a big fat beginner board next year!!!! The question becomes, which home renovation or car upkeep project is going to get put off to fund that?!

As an update (I started writing this weeks ago, but never posted it), we just returned from two weeks in Shippagan. My next post will be a report on that trip and how the kitekooking thing is progressing.


Catapulting Aaron said...

hoo boy!

Speaking of lightsaber battles, it sounds like we know who in the family will be playing the role of Darth Vader!

I don't necessarily blame your wind snobbery or the kite purchase. I'm a believer in using the best tool for the conditions.

best of luck!

Fish said...

Thanks for the note Aaron. There are lots of people around here who swing both ways, particularly using the kite for their light-wind weapon. Just gonna see how it evolves....

My boys have the green and blue lightsabers, but I have yet to track down the red one at a garage sale. I'm confident that the Force will show me the way and I can kick some 3.5yr old butt.

Nicolas said...

I fealt that way as well Fish. That's why it took me so long to get into kiting. I for sure want to remain a WS but Kiting as opened many wonderful doors. Anyhow, I can always have respect for people like Peter Williamson who excel at both. If he can, so can I. Have fun and may the force be with you.

Mark said...

It makes sense to me too (i'm a windsurfer). You are, in effect, using kiting to keep your windsurfing stoke alive. No shame in that! For me, kiting = low winds, windsurfing = high winds. As Aaron said, 'best tool for the conditions'. On a side note, i just sailed overpowered on a 3.4 (i'm 150 lbs) at the Old Man Dam in Alberta. I watched the one kiter that was out there and it looked incredibly scary. Especially when he was attempting to stop his forward momentum by Fred Flintstoning down the rocky beach!


Erick said...

"So, how does this feel? Honestly, it feels weird. I feel like a traitor. ;) "

... weeeeellll ... :-)

At least you are making it a family sport. That is priceless. Even if it is .. **brrr** teabagging.

It seems in the end that is the problem with windsurfing.. $$$.. you refuse to spring up for another sail.. I refuse to get a car :-) .. I am missing out on some epic days in Kitmøller and the likes.. but whatever... my true wet dreams these days are about Indo waves and so. In a way, I guess we did all in the end cross over to something else didn't we?. LOL!..