Fall Kite Mission to Canada

We headed out early to Canada. It was cold and rainy on our drive. As we were driving onto the beach, the clouds broke to let in some gorgeous morning light against the stormy day.

The wind was cranking and I wound up riding my 7m Envy on short line really really powered. The waves never quite got to the usual size we were expecting, but I still had a blast. I took out the foil for a few tacks and took some good beatings.

We then packed up and headed back to the states and drove a little north to surf. As we arrived it looked FLAT. But we found a small wave in a little cove and wound up surfing for over two hours.

Early Fall Kiteboarding in Muskegon

Tom and I headed to Muskegon. It was a great warm fall day. the wind was cranking and there were some fun waves. The old time crew was all there. The session started out powered on wakeboards then to surfboards then to foils and finally wound up paddling into some really fun clean waves on the surfboards. We were toast by the end of the day.

Ice Kiting on Whitmore Lake

It has not been a great winter for snowkiting. But the lake finally froze so we decided to head out for a little fun. The wind was really light but it was more than enough to ride around for a few hours and practice shooting with the drone. Here is a look at out morning…

Maple Bay Kite Adventure

Heading out to the point at Maple Bay is always a gamble if you don’t have a boat. There was a slight breeze enough to make me nervous that we wouldn’t have enough wind to ride. The family decided to venture with me. From the parking area its a good 45 minute to an hour hike. You hike through the woods to the beach then along the coast up to the point. There was a bad storm about a month ago that left a numerous trees down. This made the adventure a bit more challenging.

We made it to the point to see Matt coming in overpowered on his 15m Liquid Force Solo. My face turned into a giant smile. Matt let me borrow his gear and I wound up riding the 15m for the rest of the day. It was a blast. The water was a perfect temperature. There were a ton of boats out celebrating the Labor Day weekend. It got a little congested but it was a great group of kiters and boaters. Everyone was having a blast.

Late Summer Muskegon Kite Adventure

I ventured to Muskegon for the first big SW push in weeks. It was a beautiful day. I arrived at 9 to a stormy seascape. I rigged on the Northside of the inlet. I tacked upwind to the inside of the pier heads to find the Mackite crew having an awesome flat water session. I rode with them for a while before they headed off to work.

As I downwinded back to the North the sun started glaring through the dark clouds making an amazing view. It later cleared completely, and the rest of the day on the Northside hitting waves. At least 25 surfers showed up and a bunch of kiters. Everyone got great rides. The water was warm and we only wore boardshorts! It was a great day.

Mid-Summer Lexington Kiteboard Session

It was an early drive to the East coast of Michigan. The wind was blowing all night and we were hoping for a solid wave day. We arrived to find some solid waist high waves, but not really what we were expecting. We rigged up and and sessions at Lexington for a few hours and then met up with some of the crew for a downwinder. There were some great sections of waves during the 10+ mile session. We ended the day with a quick wake and SUP session.

Frankfort Kite/Surf Session

We had a great session at Frankfort, Mi. As we arrived we were socked in with fog. There was a fun tiny wave coming through very consistently. I surfed for a while then kited for a few hours to cap off the session. It was a great day.

Learning to Ride a Foil + Kiteboarding

Edgar and I hit the West-side of Michigan for what was supposed to be a high-wind, fun wave day. We arrived to find light wind and tiny waves. We drove South to visit our friends at MacKiteBoarding. We got our hands on a bunch of light wind gear to demo including a Liquid Force Foil Fish. I haven’t tried foiling in over 7 years, when Jason Slezak, Sam Bell and I demoed the Carafino Foil.

The LF foil was much easier to learn on. Before I hit the water, I watched the Liquid Force Foil Intro videos, which proved extremely helpful. The LF wing was much more forgiving than the Carafino. The breaking waves made it challenging at first, so the conditions were a little rough to learn, but we made it work. There was a steep learning curve but by the end of the session I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it.

The first thing you notice is the overall size of the board and the wing. It can be a lot to manage when getting it in and out of the water. It can also be a bit scary in shore break. But don’t let that freak you out, it’s well worth it. I had Edgar carry the board to the water’s edge for me. I then took a surfboard out to test various points of depth so I had a good idea of how far I needed to body drag out as to not hit the foil on the bottom of the Lake. I came back for the foil and made it through the shorebreak. Once I felt I was far enough out from the shallows and the breaking waves, I used the footstrap to angle the board towards me as if I were starting to wakeboard behind a boat.

I started off trying to ride by keeping the board on the water trying to ride back and forth, very slowly, as I would with a surfboard. It felt like there was a slight drag on my surfboard, like seaweed that gets stuck on a fin. As you increase the speed, you start feeling the tracking of the wing in the water. This let my body get use to the wing under the water. I did this for 1/3 – 1/2 the session.

I then started to increase the speed and the height of the board out of the water. It’s truly a different feeling. It was really fun! It’s pretty crazy when you hit a certain speed the board just goes silent and you start flying. I found I had the best rides the less I thought of trying to control the board and squared off by shoulders to the direction I wanted to go. It is also hard to train your brain to tell your body to add more front foot weight when you start wheeling. This typically leads to a bucking bronco type roller coaster ride, and finishes off with a spectacular crash. So keep weight on that front foot!

Along with the speed came a few scary moments too. The foil can be hazardous. I had 3 really close calls with the foil. As recommended by many, as soon as you start to think your going to bite it, get away from the foil. Especially, when you are out of the water with the foil, the wing acts like a fulcrum and when you crash, the wing can hit you faster than you would expect.

The board I demoed had only one front strap and loved that setup. I found that by moving my backfoot forward and back I could control the lift and decent of the wing (not sure if that’s the right way to do it). The front strap was great to body drag with the board, handling the board in the water and getting up and going. I would one day love to try riding it strapless, but for starting out it was great.

By the end of the session, I was able to ride both directions, completed a couple toe-side and heel-side transitions and rode toe-side in one direction. The next day, you may find your hamstrings took a beating, but I bet that smile will still be on your face. All in all, it was a terrific time I would highly recommend it.

Thanks to Edgar for the photos.

Whitmore Lake Powder Day

A large storm hit the middle of Michigan that dropped between 8-12″ of snow. Lucky for us, the wind was suppose to be up the next morning. We had a great session for a couple hours before the wind died. There were endless piles of powered on the lake.