Today Ryan and I began Day 2. First we began on the sand rigging the kite and practicing moving it across the wind window. This skill matches tacking and jibing of a sailboat to get up and down wind. Once he felt I could successfully arc the kite back and forth he assisted me in the water.
As the student progresses he or she must learn to gently handle the bar single-handed. Rather than having to look a good kiter can feel it in the gentle gusts and lulls of the kite making mid course corrections by feel. Also as one switches sides of the windows, switch hands to the opposite side. Here pulling in or out on the bar increase or decrease power respectively.
Part of kiting includes being able to travel without your board when you might lose it. Ryan pretended to be the board as I went downwind and had to tack and jibe back. The key things here were to rest so-to-speak at 12 o’clock straight above while lowering to ether 45 degrees right or left.
To get up on the board as with surfing, one needs a gust of power. To achieve this my instructor guided me on how to power-up, or pull-in, arc 45 degrees down one side of the window and then quickly arc back up to 12 o’clock then powering-down as needed to avoid launching out of the water for a noob – me.
Don’t Cross the Lines
Once we felt I could do solo, I began to solo in the water. There were two runs of body-dragging. On the second run a more experienced kiter crossed our lines. Rather than get stuck I punched-out immediately. Although I had done a water recovery already, this time my lines became entangled with the bar. Two times I hooked-in, both times, lines got entangled.
What better time to test my self-rescue skills. I began the drill as taught forgetting one key thing, “only have tension on one line, the lead line.” Thus I began to be dragged down wind toward the reef and who knows what else! Luckily I listened well enough and am an extremely strong swimmer. I got as close to the kite as possible and began to drag my happy ass in. At this point I looked and saw Ryan giving me the halt signal.
Ryan met me as I got close enough to the shore to almost walk and we came in together. It was quite a day where I got to handle my biggest fears in kiting. I knew beforehand the ones that would induce panic:
- Dropping the kite and not being able to relaunch.
- Getting stuck out there unable to tack or jibe in.
- Getting tangled with someone.
- Having to swim in at risk of reefs, power boats or some unknown.
When I started this I was not sure if I would continue which is why I only chose two lessons. I can tell you the kiteboarding community has a great spirit which I intend to pursue further. This evening I plan to do yoga and tomorrow some of the kiters will yoga with me on the sand. We are natural partners.