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Light wind board / kite suggestions?

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reyrivera
Medium Poster
Posts: 90
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:18 pm
Kiting since: 2005
Local Beach: Santa Cruz, CA.
Alameda, CA.
Pittsburgh, CA.
Style: Strapless boards
Gear: Caution Kites
Home made C kites
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Northern California
Has thanked: 2 times
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Re: Light wind board / kite suggestions?

Postby reyrivera » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:23 am

Unfortunately, wind in Alameda is shutting down fast. It has been an unusual season getting 20 mph winds this month. Most of the people you have been seeing riding there this past week (including me) are foilers. What works for me there at the moment is a 8 or 10 meter kite and a F4 surf foil. I barely make it out from the beach to the ferry markers. The ferry markers is where the wind is, so if you make it out there, you get consistent winds. Inside, its a crap shoot. Once I get to the ferry markers I stay there and ride until I get tired and them come back to the beach.

Your best bet this time of the year is talk to the people at Sherman island who can ferry you upwind on their boat, from there you can do downwinders until you get back to the island. You can get assisted boat support maybe one or two sessions, and then once you get comfortable, you can just pay for the ride up the other islands and do unassisted downwinder.

Surfboards also work here in Alameda. I still use my 8 foot wavestorm foam board Costco special on light wind days with my 17 meter fuel. It is slow and clunky, but it works. You will also still be fine with your current 160 twin tip and big kite, but expect to go downwind half the time since you have not fully figured out how light wind sessions work in Alameda.

Buy a cheap shortboard on craigslist if you want to try the surfboard setup. Any 6 foot shortboard will do, at least you will not spend hundreds of dollars on boards and find out its not for you.

At this time of the year, Alameda is considered an advanced light wind spot, because if you are a beginner, chances are, you are either gonna go straight downwind due to light wind conditions, or will master self rescue because your kite will be down in the water most of the time.

Best time to go to Alameda is around 3 pm, ... wait for the thermal winds to kick in, ..., this means the heat in the valley will start breaking down and cooling, then we get a rush of cold winds from the ocean going into the bay around 4 pm, probably will get an hour or two rideable winds with a big kite and a twin tip, and then a complete shutdown.... its a waiting game until you figured out your personal light wind setup.

If you need additional help and guidance, I usually rig downwind of the (boardsports) shack by the bathrooms. Me and a bunch of locals there have switched to foiling this time of the year because wind in Alameda is unpredictable.

Rey

thesleeve
Rare Poster
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:00 am
Kiting since: 2017
Local Beach: Alameda Beach, San Francisco Bay, California USA
Favorite Beaches: Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. Kite Beach, Maui. Los Barilles, Mexico.
Style: Freeride
Gear: 2017 Naish Pivot 14m
2018 Cabrinha Switchblade 10m, 7m
2018 Nobile T5 Twin-Tip 137cm
2018 Ride Engine Hex Core Harness
2018 Cabrinha Trimlite 52cm Control Bar
Brand Affiliation: None
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Re: Light wind board / kite suggestions?

Postby thesleeve » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:12 am

Thanks, everybody. My buyer's remorse is cured. I'll stick with the 160x50 for now and see how it goes. Should be a fun experiment, at least!

Rey, thanks for the insight into Alameda. I've done about 10 sessions there, and I've had to use my 14m for all but two where I was able to use my 10m. It's never gotten good enough this year to warrant getting out the 7m. I tend to go on Fridays around 1~2pm and ride until the wind shuts down around 5~6pm. I've definitely been dead in the water on a few occasions but usually it picks up again if I just hang out in the water and keep the kite hovering. I've only had to do the walk of shame up the beach once, and luckily no self rescues yet. :) It's kind of a bummer that the winds are so light this year, but hopefully my new giant door board will help with that.

I've definitely seen a lot of foilers out the last few weekends. A few weeks ago, I was basically the last twin tip rider out on the water after the wind shut down and I was valiantly trying to keep the session going on my 14m. All of you foilers must have thought I was insane, haha. Anyway, I'll swing by the area where you set up to say hello sometime.

One thing that has kept me away from surfboards and foils so far is the fact that I don't own a car. I need to be able to carry all of my gear on my back and my board in my hand in order to get to the beach. Living in downtown Oakland and owning a car just doesn't make sense. I mean, I *could* buy a car just for the purpose of kiteboarding, but that's kind of hard to justify! I'd rather use the money on trips to Hawaii and Mexico. :lol:

thesleeve
Rare Poster
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:00 am
Kiting since: 2017
Local Beach: Alameda Beach, San Francisco Bay, California USA
Favorite Beaches: Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. Kite Beach, Maui. Los Barilles, Mexico.
Style: Freeride
Gear: 2017 Naish Pivot 14m
2018 Cabrinha Switchblade 10m, 7m
2018 Nobile T5 Twin-Tip 137cm
2018 Ride Engine Hex Core Harness
2018 Cabrinha Trimlite 52cm Control Bar
Brand Affiliation: None
Has thanked: 4 times
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Re: Light wind board / kite suggestions?

Postby thesleeve » Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:01 am

Image

The door board just arrived. It really is the size of a small door, haha. I'll be trying it out on Sunday, which is forecast to be 9~13 kts, just the conditions I was hoping to use as a test. Will let you all know how it goes!

apollo4000
Frequent Poster
Posts: 225
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Re: Light wind board / kite suggestions?

Postby apollo4000 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:47 pm

thesleeve wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:01 am
Image

The door board just arrived. It really is the size of a small door, haha. I'll be trying it out on Sunday, which is forecast to be 9~13 kts, just the conditions I was hoping to use as a test. Will let you all know how it goes!
Sweet ride. I hope you have a great session and it works for you.

thesleeve
Rare Poster
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:00 am
Kiting since: 2017
Local Beach: Alameda Beach, San Francisco Bay, California USA
Favorite Beaches: Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. Kite Beach, Maui. Los Barilles, Mexico.
Style: Freeride
Gear: 2017 Naish Pivot 14m
2018 Cabrinha Switchblade 10m, 7m
2018 Nobile T5 Twin-Tip 137cm
2018 Ride Engine Hex Core Harness
2018 Cabrinha Trimlite 52cm Control Bar
Brand Affiliation: None
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Light wind board / kite suggestions?

Postby thesleeve » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:40 am

OK, well that was quite a session. Reporting back here in case anybody is interested.

So, I was on the water from 2:30pm until about 4:30pm. You can see the wind strength in the chart below for that timeframe. Y-axis is wind speed in mph (yes, miles per hour... ugh. :roll: ). Green is lulls, Blue is average, Red is gusts.

Image

I saw 3 kiters on the water during my session - everybody else stayed on the beach. I was on the 14m Naish Pivot and Liquid Force 160x50 board, my friend Chris was on a 17m Cabrinha Contra and a similarly sized board, and there was also a foiler with a single strut kite. Believe it or not, I managed to have a somewhat fun session even during that chunk of time where lulls were sub-5mph, the average was about 7, and gusts were in the 11-12 range. I had to work the kite pretty hard, but I was surprisingly able to stay upwind, or at least even with my starting point on the beach. I just couldn't keep the kite still, almost ever. It had to move constantly. If I put it up to 12 o'clock (for example, when getting my feet into the straps), it would start to back-stall. I finally dropped the kite into the water around 4:15pm when the lulls went to ZERO and the average windspeed was 2 to 3mph, with gusts at 6 or 7. Even the foiler had come in at that point, and the windsurfers were basically standing still. I guess when you have zero wind, nothing's going to save you.

It was a pain having to land the kite in the water and do a self-rescue, especially since the place was busy with lots of beach-goers today, but overall it was fun and I think it was a success. It was fun seeing how far I could push myself into the lightwind zone, and there's something fun about trying to eek out every little bit of performance and efficiency in order to stay upwind in the lightest conditions possible. I even managed to get a small jump in at one point.

Anyway, long story short, I think this setup will keep me going in pretty much anything up until the kite basically won't fly anymore.


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