Some weekend WA wind, swell — and rain…

For most of us in WA, it’s been since about Easter that anyone’s had a kite.  I must say, moving over I didn’t realise how infrequently there’d be any any kiteable wind through the winter season. You’d usually be expecting the sea breezes to start trickling back by about mid-September but no sign of that happening yet. But we do have a winter weather system moving through from tonight that will push some wind and some very big swell our way over the next three or four days. I’d be guessing that down south, we’re going to see some of the biggest waves of the season, if not for a few years.

Tonight there’s a 970hp low pressure system sitting about 1,000km SW of Margaret River and moving SE. By tomorrow, it’ll strengthen to around 965hp and by Sunday to about 955. That’s a seriously powerful storm.  Anyone in a vessel at sea in those sorts of conditions is going to be in for a serious fight.FridayBOM1

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For those of us in the Mid West, that means we’ll get some rain tomorrow, swell up to 6m and winds from the West around 25 knots. By Sunday afternoon, it goes all pear-shaped with lots more rain moving in and continuing big swell and 35-45+ knot Westerlies.

So, if you are up to the task, and have a decently small kite, tomorrow afternoon looks like the best time for a shot at it. But do expect to get rained on at times.

Rain and swell continuing til about late Tuesday and the wind trailling off to about 20 knots on Monday and next to nothing by Tuesday. The swell finally fades by mid-Wednesday, along with the bad weather.

Might be worth looking at in a few instances but do take care. You do recall the tragedies that happened last year round this time. Let’s not repeat those.

Take care,

Rob

New WA kitesurfing regs: Lifejackets, parachute flares and EPIRBs!?

Well folks, new WA marine regulations have been released, and despite best intentions, some of if seems a bit, well, just stupid.

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/kite-and-wind-surfers-forced-to-wear-life-jackets-20140802-zzr1j.html#ixzz39ClfeU1Y

“The laws state that if a kite surfer or wind surfer is between 400 meters and two nautical miles from shore they now require a lifejacket and can choose to carry either red and orange flares or an Emergency Radio Indicating Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon.”

Between two and five nautical miles operators must carry a lifejacket and EPIRB. Further offshore they must also carry parachute flares.

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/kite-and-wind-surfers-forced-to-wear-life-jackets-20140802-zzr1j.html#ixzz39DPzyW31

Two nautical miles offshore is a long way — I mean, really, unless you’re Ian Young, what business have you got being out that far anyway?  But parachute flares and EPIRBs? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to just carry a portable marine radio instead? Where are you going to (safely) stash parachute flares as well as an EPIRB? Realistically, no one is going to end up two nautical miles offshore on a kite INTENTIONALLY, so if you’re not intending to go out that far you wouldn’t be carrying all that stuff.

4oom is a different story — but first of all, on a kite, just how do you know how far 400 meters is? Can you really accurately guess how far that is? I wouldn’t have a clue when I’m more than 400m out or even how far out I am, just by looking back at the beach. So then, maybe it also makes more sense to require that people carry a GPS if you are going to fine them based on where they are relative to the beach?  Mixed feelings about the lifejacket thing. Yes, there probably are some benefits, but your harness does provide a significant degree of buoyancy, not far off a Type3 life jacket so is that really solving anything. I suppose, theoretically, if you knocked yourself out a lifejacke could POSSIBLY keep your head out of the water, but not sure. But lets look at the data — how many kitesurfers have drown in australia because they weren’t wearing life jackets? Well, none that I’m aware of.  And after the sport being pretty popular for nearly 15 years now and probably tens of thousands of Australians and others involved in the sport, it does seem like fixing something that’s not actually broken. Your thoughts ?

A short walk through the past. PLUS: Tell us what you’d like to see on the Kitesurfing.com.au site

Hi crew, Well, the kitesurfing.com.au site has been around for nearly 10 years now (though I’ve been posting kitesurfing photos on the web since 2001).

In the early days from 2001 – 2005 there was “KitePix”, which was just a subdomain of one of my other pages where I’d toss up the odd photo gallery. Believe it or not, it’s still online: http://www.smallwood.com.au/index2.htm

KitesurfingPage2006 Tom Kitepix Chris Tom5 Tom4 Tom3 Tom2

(With a few exceptions) almost every one of those photos on every one of those pages was taken with FILM or transparencies, then printed and scanned and uploaded via an internet connection that was probably running at about 128kb/s, at best. The water shots were all done with a Nikonos 3 water camera, vintage 1975 that contained no light meter, no through the lens focussing (you had to pick your distance, set it and then wait until your subject arrived at that distance, then push the shutter). The light was set by knowing what film you had, what time it was, which way you were facing and what month of the year it was and how much cloud there was. You had a leeway of about 1.5 f/stops to get it right. Still, the hit rate was pretty good!               http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/htmls/models/htmls/nikonos13.htm

I originally registered kitesurfing.com.au on 19 May2001, then just let it sit around for a few years without knowing what I’d do with it. Finally, digital cameras came on the scene in a big way in 2004. I got a Nikon D100 and in July 2005 started posting photos on the kitesurfing.com.au  site. Ironically — not having any idea that I’d one day be living here, the first post on the site was a photo gallery of the 2005 AKSA Nationals which took place here in Geraldton WA.

You can view the first kitesurfing.com.au post on the WayBackMachine archives here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20050712020534/http://www.kitesurfing.com.au/

The first proper page with links and background images and all that went up sometime later that year.

Then, there’s a big gap when there are no archives and the next archive appears in August 2006:

https://web.archive.org/web/20060820190254/http://kitesurfing.com.au/

A very young-looking Coert throwing some spray at Wanda in 2006

This post contains some of the very first photos of StandUp Paddleboarding, at the 2006 Mambo. Amazing how big it’s become in such a short time. If you feel like sampling more of the historical posts, you can find them at: ttps://web.archive.org/web/*/kitesurfing.com.au

Well, a lot of years passed and we packed up and moved west. At about that time some religious zealot hacked the page and deleted all the content and nothing much happened for a few months.

Then Mr. Pete took over things and gave the site a bit of class and brought things into the 21 century, which is what you see today. So, now that things have settled in a bit perhaps now it’s time to find out more about what you’d like to be seeing on the page going foward. I haven’t looked at the page stats in quite some time. At one stage we were getting upwards of 1,000 unique visitors a week and average visits of around 8 minutes. Those number aren’t huge, but those visit times are good, suggesting that what was there was valuable enough for people to stick around.

SO, here we are in almost July 2014 and it’s time to take a pulse of the community again and find out just what you’d like to see on the site.

Pete and I would love to hear from you.

To give you some ideas, here are some possible suggestions:

  • More photos?
  • More videos?
  • More “How-To” articles
  • More Weather Reports
  • Wind Alerts
  • Stuff to buy?
  • Product Reviews?
  • Visitor stories?
  • Travel stories?
  • Location  reports/analysis of specific Kite Spots?
  • More photos of Pete having a pee?

TALK TO US! SEND US YOUR IDEAS. 

Email us by clicking this LINK .

THANKS, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Rob and Pete

Wind Warning for the West Tues-Wed

Powerful frontal systems headed our way over the next few days. Gusty squalls guaranteed and unlikely to resemble the consistency of what you see on the forecast. Not the best conditions for kiting  and definitely not a day for beginners to be flying any sort of kite on the water or even on the beach.

Oh, did I mention that the swell is also forecast to build to 5 metres@18 seconds by afternoon?

http://www.seabreeze.com.au/graphs/wa3.asp

Weather Prognosis

Laurie at Seabreeze.com.au has put up a post worth reading:

http://www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Kitesurfing/General/Winter-warning-for-new-kitesurfers/

 

BOM forecast is here:

http://www.bom.gov.au/wa/forecasts/geraldton.shtml
Gerostorm

WA Update — been a great summer!

Hello crew,

Apologies for sparse reports this season — not had a lot of opportunities to take many photos and my GoPro equipment is limited to my original Non-HD version, so the content’s not really interesting any more compared to all the new whiz-bang stuff out there these days.

We’ve had sensational summer over here this year and unlike last year, with all the insane work hours, this year I’ve managed to get out for an afternoon after-work session at least a couple of times a week as well as a couple hours most days on the weekends.

The conditions and the consistency of the wind here in Geraldton is just incredible.

This is pretty much what it’s been like most every day for several months. (see below)  Admittedly, this wind meter is located on the 2nd channel marker out beyond the Port, around 1km offshore, so it tends to read about 10 knots stronger than what’s happening closer to the  beach but nevertheless,  it’s plenty strong and it’s a rare day that I’m not flying my 7m kite.  I’ve only flown my 9m a handful of times and not had the 11m up since about October I think.

One of the best things about the wind here is that the prevailing seabreezes are generally either dead south or SSE, which is straight cross-shore or just a tad cross-offshore late in the afternoon, making conditions for wave-riding just spectacular. Down-the-line riding is just perfect.  The only complaint I have is that because of the reef out back, most of the time the waves are as big as I’d like and they tend to be a bit rolly/mushy without clean, peeling faces. But they do break for a hundred metres or more at a few places like Coronation Beach and if you’re brave enough when there’s a big swell running Hells Gates near Point Moore will serve up some juicy waves — the only down side is that the break is out in the middle of the ocean about a km offshore and downwind of you is the Port and a  seal colony that tends to attract a lot of big grey fish that hang around there.

Seriously, look at what it’s like here most every day. Here’s today’s actuals and the forecast for the next week. Because it’s a bit inaccurate for what we see at the beach, I’ve just ordered a weather station that we’re going to install up the hill here in the next few weeks.  We’ll put a link to it on the page once it’s up and running.

Geraldton
Geraldton
Forecast
Forecast

And the weather here is just amazing. It’s almost too much sometimes — It’ hasn’t rained significantly (more than a few minutes) since late September, and probably won’t until sometime in April or later.  The sunsets are amazing every day. And it rarely gets cool enough for a jacket most times in the evenings.

Will keep you posted on anything of interest and we’ll put a email out to the list to announce the wind meter when it’s up and running.

Take care and please feel free to drop us a note and say hello now and again. Always great to hear from folks who are visiting the page.

Cheers,

 

Rob

 

 

Oz Day in the West + mutant news

Day of rest today but looking pretty schmick for Sunday and Monday over here.

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In fact, looking pretty darned good for the next week if you don’t have to work. Apologies for the long gaps between posts. Back at work in the office during the week these days so not much chance to kite or write posted for the site. Summer has kicked in with steroids this year. Cracking 35C pretty much every day these days, despite the forecast calling it 10 degrees less.  And it you’re sitting in an office facing west like I am right now, probably add another 5C to that –Infact, my little DickSmith digi thermo unit says 37.5 right now.

20-25 knots from the south tomorrow and Monday. A few of us are getting together for a BBQ at a friends in the mid-afternoon down near Separation Point on Sunday after the Foreshore activities then head out in the water somewhere between Seppos and Back Beach for a bit of fun. Not sure what the plan is for Monday — probably a little excursion up to Coronation.

Haven’t been shooting a lot of photos, GoPro or otherwise lately — that sort of photography is all a bit of an also-ran with so much of it around these days. I wonder what the next cool thing in photography is going to be/?

EXPERIMENTAL MUTANT PROJECT.

In case you haven’t seen my seabreeze posts, I’m trying some new setups on my old Underground Firebird mutant these past few weeks.  After accidentally losing a back fin I panicked and couldn’t work out how to replace it. Underground no longer made them and there were no after-market ones around to fit. SO, in desperation, I took and old surfboard fin I had in the car, cut the FCS tabs off, drilled out some holes and bolted it onto the bottom. Voilat! Much to my surprise, it worked better than the original. Love it! So much smoother, better transitions, less drag, etc.

So now, I’ve pulled the other original off and also replaced it with another type of surfboard fin. Here’s a shot of the initial config I’ve been using the past few weeks.  Original fin on the left, replacement surfboard fin on the right. Just used some stainless self-taping screws, carefully drilled some pilot holes in three increasingly larger diameters the put some stainless washers on the top to spread the load, and it’s solid as can be.

Will file another when there’s some news on the next trial run. Mutants just leave other strapped boards for dead for just about anything. Yet, it’s difficult to find one that incorporates the design elements necessary to make it all work.

Guess it’s time for me to do a mutant article next!

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