Road Trip Day 11: Finally some kiting

I finally used the kite gear I’ve dragged one thousand one hundred and two miles.

As eager as I was to actually use the gear I’ve been dragging in and out of hotel rooms and my car you’d think I’d have gotten out on the water quicker.

This is the first time I’ve kited a new spot in, in, I can’t even remember how long. It looks intimidating. Big rambunctious looking hills and mountains surrounding the water. A fast moving current. The launch is called The Spit because it is a spit of land surrounded by boulders on one side and mean looking sharp large gravel on the launch side.

The strip of land is set up for kiting and windsurfing. Mats run the length of the launch area & there are big rubber tiles to secure gear. It’s tight and crowded and chaotic. But a certain rhythm and order emerges when you watch for a minute.

And there are the usual people new to the spot who don’t stop to find out how it works. One guy was ready to launch in what, even after a few minutes there, I could tell had potential for disaster. One of the locals ran up and sorted him out to a launch spot safer for all of us.

So many days of navigating new and uncertainty. Suddenly my familiar sport felt completely new and uncertain. I lurked around waiting to watch someone launch so I could see angles & arrangement. I asked someone how landing worked.

Chatting with a few people at a new beach is one of my safety strategies. One it’s the polite and responsible thing to do to learn how things work. Two, if people have talked to you they’re more likely to notice and assist if things go awry on the water. It is also just comforting to wave at a person or two out on the water.

I was the queen of dragging my heels setting up. I decided on my 5m, even though it would be an unusual choice for the spot. I thought maybe I should go 7 in case the wind backed off to it’s more usual speeds.

I started to put on my booties, but they were so stiff & dry from not being worn for a year. I shoved them back in my bag. When I started walking down the rocks on the launch beach to run out my lines I decided on the booties again. Not sure about landing in this spot and my back not 100% I didn’t want to ad navigating painful rocks to the mix.¬†It took several minutes of grappling to get them on. (For those not following my every post on Facebook – I pulled a muscle in my back on Monday and missed Seattle sitting in a hotel room concentrating on healing as fast as possible.)

In the time I sent wrestling with my booties the wind had messed with my lines. The ends were rat’s nest. Lines untangled. Sorted, hooked up.

Someone gave me a a launch. Not sure what happened. My kite wilted right into the rocks. Relaunch. This time I maneuvered to make sure it launched.

Finally cruising out. Seriously?! All that fussing? And I’ll be nice to myself. I’ve been living on the edge of unknown for 11 days now. I have my little pockets of “this is my bed for the night, I don’t have to worry about anything right now. I have my pillow and my blanket” but over all I’m navigating new and unknown and uncertain everyday.

You’d think I’d be developing an tolerance to it. But every situation is a new one so it’s new all over again.

Once I got out I was laughing at myself. This spot is well within my experience level. ¬†Apparently I’ve been in a bit of a kiting rut as well if this little bit of new paralyzed me this much.

It was a fun little session. Just what my back needed. It’s flat and I could do long stretches and stretch my body. Wide flat areas where I could carve just for the fun of it.

Then big round dark clouds started rolling up over the mountains. The wind got holey and gustier. I’d had enough to sort out my back, soul and mind out no need to tempt Mother Nature in a place where I don’t know her temperament. Besides, it’s flat water. I was getting bored. If I kited here regularly I’d have to make some of the bad ass moves the bad ass dudes throw by the spit my goal.

Now I’ve got to go figure out the ferry to Victoria. More new to navigate. But more kiting on the other end.

Squamish Kiteboarding at the spit