Monday, December 19, 2005

0115 Wave

KAPing last Sunday (11th), kitesurfing solo at Vazon on the previous Monday (5th).

I'll since then, can't make a fist ...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

00114 Kitesurf meal

So we went out to this indian place for the kitesurf Christmas meal and we did a secret Santa thing - and Meriel got this hat.

Which was nice.

Drunk? Me?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

00113 KAP at last

Tuesday was a perfect KAP day, so I indulged my causeway obsession. New pics in the causeway set. Low winds, but just enough to get the rig up meant super-steady shots, and with teh wind - perfect. Must get out more.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

00112 Low wind upwind

Ladies for the first time in ages and it was really good. A NNW meant that we were traveling out from the beach and in to the bay. With the benefit of a little experience, I can now see why Mike yearns for a NWerly - flatter water and smooth passage over the sandbank. In the flatter sections I got to grips with the edge and release technique that I've wanted to try in these conditions. Little wake-style jumps with no kite movement. Soon as I've got that sussed I'll try a little more kite-lofting (but not like yesterday's).

Saturday, November 26, 2005

00111 Vazon and the air

After deliberating whether or not to try some KAPing this weekend, it would seem that the winds have turned favourable for a spot of kitesurfing. So out we went, me and Grif, off to Vazon - which is handy, 'cos that's where we're living now.
High tide, but neap, meant Richmond end. Started with a 15 and the 138 woody and I would have been fine if it hadn't picked up and I got lofted and dropped. A first for me, and a real eye opener. The wind increased and so did my speed on the water and by some sort of misguided instinct I lost ground downwind before raising the kite, which in turn raised me. I got dropped in shallow water - but not too shallow, thankfully. Wish I'd made inroads into getting further upwind and I'll make sure I do next time, rather than pissing about anywhere near the beach. Grif lost his board as he got overpowered on his 14 and a high speed body drag ensued, followed by a mile long walk to retrieve his board - bummer.
Tomorrow looks good, mind. Hope the wetsuit dries or it could be icky.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

00110 Maiden voyage

She goes! I took out the 138x36 (or 35.5, to be accurate) and she really flies upwind and scythes through the chop. Much better speed control than my other board - because of the flex I guess. I went down to Pembroke with Mike and started on my Mauricio Pro, thinking that if there was less swell I'd take out the ply board. I was imagining that one decent landing after hitting a wave might snap her in two and that might nearly break my heart. In the end I thought f*** it, and off we went. In a word, beautiful. And if there was a down side to the first outing it was that my Mauricio Pro just didn't perform as well - although the epoxy coating on the ply board isn't UV resistant and might break down over time, I like it much more - more flex and sharper rail and I'm sure the longer deeper fins had something to do with it. I'll look into UV-proofing any boards I make in future.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

00109 Stubby 120x38

Should I really be thinking of doing this when I haven't even taken the finished 138x36 on the water. Guess I'm just a boardbuilding slut. Spank me.
This time there's the allure of using glass fibre to keep down the weight and improve the strength.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

00108 The First Kitesurf Board Project Index (FKBPI)

This collects together the posts relating to the construction of my138x36 Marine ply kiteboard:

00080 New project -plywood kite board
00081 First design - the proposed 138x38
00082 The next iteration - 141x36
00085 The Fins are here
00086 Plywood arrives
00087 138x36
00088 Outline stuck to board
00088 138x36 in the wood
00089 Testing testing
00090 138x36 - Test run's dun
00091 Holey mid ply
00092 Laid up
00094 Thoughts on the layup
00096 Out of the jig
00099 Board n' bits
00101 Filling in
00102 Fin hole test
00105 The final coat
00107 138x36 finished

There - stick that on your feet.

00107 138x36 finished

So this is the finished article - it just needs a maiden voyage, which will hopefully be without a snappage. Now that would be a bummer.

00106 Hungover at Pembroke

After staying up to gone four o'clock in the morning, I was off to Pembroke for ten. Seven kites out there were, that's alot for these parts.
Wind was good, although it got gustier as the morning went on. Too choppy for trying any tricks, so I concentrated on controlling my speed and dealing with the random waves which kept trashing me. The good news was that going upwind was a no-brainer, it's totally there, so now I can concentrate on other things.

In board news, I'll be fitting the fins and pads today and the next session I'll try to take her out and see how she goes. Really wish I'd built a smaller board now - and the offcuts just aren't big enough.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

00105 The final coat

The final coat of epoxy is on my new board. It's not the best job in the world, but it's not half bad either. As soon as it's dry I'll fit he fins and straps and we'll be good to go.
So that's pretty much it. I'll try to take it out tomorrow if there's not too much swell, otherwise I'll wait until the wind changes direction so I can surf it at Ladies Bay where it won't get a baptism of waves.

I know I missed blogging the first coat, but what can I say? I put it on and sanded it when dery with 120 grit - wish I'd had 80 grit to start with, to take out the mottled bits.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

00103 Rippin' kiteboard sesh

This picture of my mum and her guest for the week, Jennifer. They walked past the beach right after I finished kitesurfing at Ladies Bay in good, but slowly deteriorating North Westerlies. Just in time to help me get my gear back to the car. It really did look like two ladies of a certain age walking back from a rather pleasant outing with their Flexifoils - no doubt dialing in some most singular backloops before a nice cup of tea.
The session was excelent, as moving and staying upwind, I managed to turn some 180s and then jibe the board as I turned the kite, carving round onto a new tack - just superb. Also started the edge and release technique that I've been reading about as a preparation for learning to jump.
Had a go on Mike's Wipika Serum in powered-up conditions and it was a reall eye opener. It really ran smoothly over the chop and handled the extra power superbly. As soon as the wind dropped a bit, it came to the end of it's usefulness and I started going futther downwind. so I switched back to my Mauricio Pro and off upwind again. It's made me think that if I evr get round to making another board, it'll be a 120cm model for higher winds.

Monday, November 07, 2005

00102 Fin hole test

Today I just thought I'd see how easy it is to drill three holes equidistant in a perfect line to fit the fins. Not, as it turns out, but at least I know that before I try it on the board itself. The idea of drilling and filling the fin bolt holes with epoxy/microbaloons is superb. The first coat of epoxy also worked a treat and the epoxy that spilled onto the top surfaces after the lamination give an idea of how smooth and shiny two coats of epoxy are going to look. It's really worth having this little test board as it's definately saved me from messing up the simplest things (which I am liable to do). I'll definately be recommending it to anyone starting a plyboard build for the first time. I'll also be recommending that when filoling the drilled out bolt insert holes that they stick the masking tape to the bottom of the board, not the top. Sounds intuitive I suppose, but for several reasons I did it on the top side and now regret it - although it's not going to cause any major headaches.
I sanded down the board today, taking a tiny bit off the topside of the rail and leaving the bottom edge sharp. I'll now be coating the board in two layers of epoxy and then drilling out the fin holes. I already drilled and countersunk the strap bolt holes with the intention of glueing in the bolts and filling over the countersunk bolt heads on the underside of the board. But now I think of it, it doesn't really matter and if I fill over the bolt heads and coat the board, the coating will most likey crack as I tighten the nuts to attach the straps. I'll fit the straps first and if it bugs me that much then I'll fill in over the bolt heads at the very end.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

00101 Filling in

With all the holes drilled, I made up a solution of epoxy and microbaloons to fill the holes. Once cured and sanded, I'll drill them out to take the bolts for fins and straps.
Just tried to use a roller to apply a coat of epoxy to the test board - just to see how easy it is before I coat the real board. As it turns out it'll probably be the easiest part of the process. I rested the test board on screws so that I can coat both sides in one go. On the real board I'll be leaving it topside-down, to avoid any roughness or stippling from the screws supporting the underside.

Friday, November 04, 2005

00100 Return to Vazon

Although we will all be returning to Vazon (Gods be willing sometime soon, so that the works can start), I went down today for a kitesurf session of the highest order.
I met Grif down at Ladies Bay, where he had already taken a wind reading - 17kts gusting to 30kts - not good. He was reluctant to go out, but suggested we go to Vazon "just to see".
As we pulled out of the car park, we passed Mike, who looked like he had persuaded Grif to turn round an rig up at Ladies. Grif turned around (again) and pulled up next to me saying "what d'you think". After a couple of secs I said we should hit Vazon - I like the variety of Beaches we have here and I really wanted to have an equal amount of experience of all of them. Besides which, if you hit a big gust I'd sure like a few hundred meters more of beach to get dragged up to give me a little more "release time" (that'll be the kite, but possibly also the bowels).
So Vazon it was, and how. It looked quite promising when we got down and afer a shaky self-launch and the usual twenty minutes of getting dragged off the board, it all clicked and I was upwind, really upwind. After that first twenty I spent the next hour zipping up and down the waves and across the beach and not once did I do the walk of shame - DO YOU HEAR ME? NOT ONCE! I even caught a but of carving waveriding action. Solid gold.
On landing we both agreed that it had be a most singular and acceptable afternoons activity and vowed to return when the wind blows West.
In other news the KAP was crap. Managed to knock off a quick half an hour and out of about 300 shots, the light was bad enough to reward me with one semi-sharp image (this one).

All in all - most excellent.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

00099 Board n' bits

As you can see I've got the deck pads now. Relatively comfy.
I've drilled out the holes for the fins and straps, ready to be filled with epoxy. Still don't know if I've done the right thing by drilling them right through the board (especially for the footstraps, because of the pressure they're under). Still, the board doesn't seem to have lost any strngth so what the hell.
So it's just a matter of time now. I'll fill up the holes, wait 'till they're cured, drill out the holes for the bolts and finally sand and epoxy the board to finish it.

In other news, decided to create a set for my causeway obsession and added an "Current obsessions" list to the sidebar of the blog. I am now driven to get out and KAP some causeways as well as capturing the horses for the "motion" theme. And exactly where will all this time come from, Mr Lenfestey, mmmm? I see you are overdrawn already, and yet you suggest we extend you a larger line of credit? Shit, how am I going to break the news about the looming extreme backgammon board constuction thing I'm brewing up.

So the next post will be a century. 'Spose I should have a big party.

Or maybe not.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

00098 Back in the water

After a two week layoff, I got back in the water today.
Firstly I went for a swim at Petit Port, this time with a wetsuit. Got an ice cream headache, so I stuck on a swimming cap. Then decided that the goggles would have to go, as they are blue tinted to too great a degree and fog too easily. When I finally did get to swim, the swell was really big and I got the heebie-geebies – I don’t really want to get dashed against the rocks, especially with no one around to help. Tried KAPing instead, but the wind was too turbulent around the cliffs. The KAP group theme this month is “Motion”, so maybe I’ll try to get some images of those horses running along the beach that I’ve been meaning to shoot for ages.
Oh, and secondly, Dan called up today to say he was going out to check the wind. I though tit was going to be unsurfable Southerlies today, so that came as a surprise. So we all went down and rigged up at Grand Roques. First ten minutes was great and I was really getting upwind. Then it started getting really gusty, to the point where the wind just died completely and then I was hoiked off my board – most undignified (not that any of the kitesurfing I do qualifies for any sort of dignity bonus). Won’t forget my boots again, it was like walking on … well it was actually walking on sharp pebbles. Ow.
After the surfing, we headed down to Dan’s house, where Lucy and Meriel were playing with the kids. As Dan said, it’s a kind of kitesurf widows’ benevolence thing.
The board construction is taking a back seat while I wait for deck pads. Surfstore gave me some bum ones, so I’m off looking for more elsewhere and sending theirs back.

In other news Brooks pointed out today a couple of World Wide Panorama entries that are really something else. I’ve recently stopped posting bumf from the interweb, but these are exceptionally good:
Dog composite pano and Child in a playground composite pano.
This is surely something that could produce awesome images from a KAP rig.
Ignore them and be blander for the ignorance.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

00097 Tintin rocket

Having just returned from a trip to Eindhoven with the family, I had to post this to remind me that I must make this at some stage. I think a lathe and a few quality blocks of wood glued together to give a wierd collage-of-grain thing would be cool - we'll see.
Didn't get to KAP, mind - bummer.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

00095 New Gentled AUTO for KAP

After helping James Gentles (but only by giving him the dubious benefit of my experience and opinion), I got the new Gentled AUTO in the post.
I've been neglecting my KAP recently, partly because of the kitesurfing and partly because I'm running out of original landmarks and good weather - not to mention the fact that we're not finding ourselves down on the beach with nothing to do. It's not summer anymore, y'know. So this gave me an incentive to get out to the (IMO) unfortunately named Fort Pezeries to take some shots of the fort and it's nearby slipway.
The wind was a good F5 and 3 sections of tail gave me enough stability once the kite got out of the wind shadow of the headland - you know that feeling of attaching your camera and rig to a bucking and diving kite ... well, maybe you don't, but hey.
As per usual I could have used some more height to get the Fort in full-frame, but I got a couple of decent shots along with the one I wanted of the slipway shown here. I later tried to stitch a pano together, but it was like pulling teeth and all I got was this. To be honest any slipway would have done, I just wanted to take a pic of one to see if slipways looked as good from the air as they do from the ground - and I think they do, so I'll be doing that again, time willing.

Anyway, to conclude, this AUTO thing was excellent, instead of the usual mucking about with a rubber band or a long timer interval with the associated "is it on? is it not?" problems, I got a no hassle setup with a velcro attachement, then I just turned on the camera and flicked the switch on the AUTO to start it capturing - easy peesy Japaneesy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

00094 Thoughts on the layup

I posted this on the Flexifoil forum thread on ply board building in reply to a couple of questions, but I'm posting it here too because it covers some details I meant to mention:

I've just stuck two battens of a suitable height to the floor (to give me the rocker), covered it all with a polythene dust sheet, put the laminated board on top, then covered the board with the dust sheet and then put the weights (bricks) on top. The majority of the weight from the bricks is placed at the point where I intend the outer footstrap bolts to go, this way I'll get a gentle progressive, almost eliptical rocker. I've used the poly sheet before in a test and it provides a cheap, perfect and very thin protective layer to stop the epoxy sticking where it shouldn't.
I did lightly brush (or rather spread) some epoxy on all ply contact surfaces before adding the epoxy/silica mix, so hopefully it'll bond well. The only bummer is that halfway through the process, my one-pump system started acting up, so I had to estimate the volumes of hardener & resin towards the end. I was doing so well, it'd be a bummer if the whole thing was messed up by faulty measuring pumps. I have a feeling it's going to be ok.

00093 Rocky surfin

So I almost forgot to add an entry for the kitesurfing at Pembroke on Thursday 13th (last week). I got down there extra early as Meriel had to drop me off before picking Jonah up from school – we won’t have to do this again as we have our new car now. I got there at 11:30 (too keen) and rigged up the 11 meter, a good choice for winds gusting up to 27 knots. Naturally by the time Grif arrived it was dropping, but there was still enough wind to be powered at least some of the time. Meriel arrived in time to see the end of a four hour session and proclaim that I have improved immeasurably since the last time she saw me at Ladies Bay. I really got to grips with tacking across quite large waves, hitting myself in the chest with my legs a few times as I absorbed the impacts. The tide meant that there were partially exposed rocks suddenly appearing in front of us, but as the tide went up these started to disappear thankfully – they were a real worry and a big confidence deminisher. Dan had a go on my board and pronounced it fit for general consumption and Grif leant me his SK8, which was really nice – a lot of flex and a hard rail.

00092 Laid up

Here's the board all layed up and weighed down to give it some rocker. It's quite an old set of floorboards and the bricks are getting on, so I guess you could say it's an ageing rocker (haw). I've got an image of the side view to get a better idea of how much rocker there is. There's a fair bit, but I envisage that it will spring back a little when I take off the bricks.
The laying up took longer than I thought (naturally), but without the aid of one of those epoxy squeegies (spreading tool), it would have been a nightmare. As it was, the epoxy got everywhere - but fortunately I'd covered everything with a polythene dust sheet. It seems that with all the best intentions in the world you can set out determined not to get the stuff on your hands and by the end of it you are practically hand painting the room with it.
Anyway it's done now, so I'll leave it well alone for a couple of days, possibly longer until it's properly cured. I had a bit of trouble with the "one pump" epoxy setup I had and the mixtures of resin and hardener weren't entirely consistent throughout, so fingers crossed that it actually works.
Next step will be to drill out the footstrap and fin holes, fill them with an epoxy/microbaloons mix and wait for it to cure before drilling out the holes, then I'm practically done.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

00091 Holey mid ply

Following Ben Vine's lead, I decided to bore out some holes in the mid ply of the board to save weight, making sure to leave well alone the areas where the strap bolts and fins will go. It'll definately help cut down the weight, now I just have to worry about the jig that I'm going to lay up the plys and the epoxy in. It has to be accessable from the underside to wipe any excess epoxy off as it oozes out when I apply pressure to the layup. Mmmmm.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

00090 138x36 - Test run's dun

I ran a test to see if epoxy would hold the rocker, add stiffness and if it would work at all. So it did work and I drilled some holes in the upper ply just to see if it would make any difference to the stiffness. To be honest it was difficult to see, because the test area was so small.
The picture top left is the small rocker table I fashioned while the plys were wrapped in plastic with bricks on top to weigh them down in the middle during curing (DURING CURING - excellent).
The board sprung back a bit when I removed the bricks (albeit twenty four hours too soon), but only by about a third and I imagine that this was also in part due to the small size of the test board. You can see the rocker I was left with in the top right shot and another view in the bottom left.
I filled up some of the holes with the remainder of the epoxy and bonding additive and drilled it out (bottom left shot) to accept a countersunk bolt - worked fine.
Now I have to decide if I plough on with the real thing or if I do another test, this time with the outside coat. It's a tricky one to call - on the one hand I don't want to waste my time (although I am rather good at that), and on the other I don't want to mess the whole thing up by not knowing what I'm doing.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

00089 Testing testing

I'll have a picture tomorrow of the two ply test I ran using the epoxy and two sheets of the marine ply. I made a "board" about a foot long out of two sheets of ply laminated together and with the help of a few house bricks, I added a little rocker (more that I'll have on te board itself), just to see what happened. I coated each sheet in epoxy, then added a bonding compound (I think it's a silicate additive - basically a glass thickener) to one layer and stuck the two together. I guess that the bonding additive would give a similar effect to the addition of a glass fibre layer. I also drilled a few holes in the top layer (as I'll be doing with the middle ply of the board) and filled them up with the remaining epoxy/bonding additive mix. This way Ill find out how reliable it'll be to drill out big holes to take fottstrap and fin bolts/inserts.
I've learned to always have more gloves to hand (heh), and never start the proces unprepared. Also I bought the "Glass Fibre Handbook" off Amazon the other day, full of stuff including a frustratingly small chapter on sandwich construction - basically foam and glass fibre (presumably carbon fibre would work in a similar way). Man, there's a lot to learn, as usual ...

Friday, October 14, 2005

00088 138x36 in the wood

The covers are off. I cut the ply with my trusty Bosch D1A0 - splinter free blade, nice, good anorakage.
All the drillings for foot straps and fins are marked up. Next thing is the epoxying/laying up.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

00088 Outline stuck to board

I've printed out the board outline, stuck it together and spray-mounted it onto the three pieces of 4mm ply, ready to be cut out. I screwed the ply together to make sure that they stay together when I cut them. I thought I'd be clever and drill through where the footstrap fixings will be, so that I could put screws into the holes and hold the boards together that way - naturally I drilled them in slightly the wong place. Ah well, you've got to get a mistake or two out of the way before you start working on something, otherwise you'd be left wondering what you've done wrong. At least I know what I've cocked-up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

00087 138x36

The final iteration before production begins. A thinner board and slightly more rounded edges. Slightly shorter too. I got the wood cut to 141cm and it looked a bit long - don't know why.

00086 Plywood arrives

The plywood arrived and we went down to get it cut down and pick it up. It looks much thinner that I thought it would, but that means I'll be able to put a rocker in it alot easier.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

00085 The Fins are here

Kitesurf board fins from Omnitech arrived the other day. I've got the epoxy, I've got the straps, I just need the micro baloons (or whatever) and as soon as I have the wood (tomorrow) the process of building the board can really begin.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

00084 Star Wars and low winds

Bought the box set of the IV-VI Starwars trilogy so that me and Jo could watch it together - should be here next week. Also got a book on Fibre Glass use - now what did I do that for?

In other news, went to Ladies with Mike. Waited an hour fro the wind to pick up as it was supposed to. It only just made it enough to get going on the 15 and when I finally did a few runs, the wind dropped with the kite way up high - so the kite dropped, wrapped itself in the 5th line and there weren't no wind to relaunch it, so we packed up and went home. Bummer.

Still, Thursday looks good. Nice.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

00083 Pembroke on the big board

Afternoon session with Grif at Pembroke yesterday. We agreed that it should be a big kites and big boards party, and so it was.
I'm becoming more and more convinced that the 5th line system installed on my kites is detracting from their power. I posted up a thread on the kiteboarder forum and there's one guy there who agrees with me. The up side is that, in the right conditions, there's a possibilty that I can fly the bigger kites in a higher wind than I first thought. Concerns for safety, however, mean that I can't just rig up the 15 whenever I please, I'm going to have to continue like this for a while.
Anyway I really liked the big board and it turns on a penny - worryingly saw a large rock revealed by a trough between waves, but the board reacted almost faster than I could think (if that's possible). I didn't really notice any advantage in the upwind, however, but maybe it's the board, the wind or just me, time will tell. It's certainly a different style of riding. The best thing for me was that I got really into riding over medium sized waves, dipping the kite for more power as I went over the edge of each wave - that's where I was losing speed before. I'm also better at predicting when to lean back as the kite pulls while sining, that way I don't lose so much ground downwind.

As for the board, I bought some epoxy today (expensive stuff) in order to bond the ply together. I'm erring towards using the original method of bricks and wedges to get the rocker, after having previously been through all sorts of loony ideas. After scanning through 1000 of the 1600 posts on teh Yahoo kiteboardbuilder group's message board, I keep toying with the idea of glass fibre. One step at a time, I think.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

00082 The next iteration - 141x36

The second iteration of the design. After looking through half of the 1600 posts on the Yahoo Kiteboardbuilder group, I've made the boards a little longer with straighter edges (to test how the upwind ability will be affected - favourable, I hope), it's also have less width for handling the chop better (although here I might make it 37-38cm). The rocker will probably be 3-3.5cm and be more eliptical, if I can make it happen. I've also given it a squarer look as I don't really need a board that'll turn well in the waves - that'll be for another board.

The Fins are on order from Omnitech - tracker fins, 2". I've ordered six, four for the ply board one pair for the Mauricio Pro. The straps will be my old Wipika ones and the deck pads will either be £20 from online order, or a cut up camping mat (yet to be decided).

As for the board, maybe shorter and a little wider - I don't know, it'll probably be decided as I cut the thing out. Also to be decided is whether or not to use epoxy (more expensive) or just do waterproof wood glue (tempting). If I use epoxy, there's the additional temptation to add a layer of glass fibre.

In addition to all this I'm wondering whether or not to drill out the center ply of the laminate to reduce weight as per Ben VInes board. It makes sense, but I'm worried it might make the board quite weak, especially if it's to be 141cm long.

Another question is whether to add some kind of cushioning or reinforcement to the area around the heels, where most pressure will be excerted. But then I'm only roughing this board, so why bother - I don't want to lose sight of the fun element, I just want to build it and take it out.

Monday, October 03, 2005

00081 First design - the proposed 138x38

It's supposed to be a way for me to experiment, so I thought I'd try a 138cm x 38 cm with nice rounded edges. I suspect I'll be coming across the usual design problems and mess up quite a bit on the way, but I've got to start somewhere.

It'll be 3 ply using 4mm marine ply sandwiched together with epoxy resin. Hopefully glass fibre rails will reinforce the edges, but I've never done this before, so we'll have to see ...

00080 New project -plywood kite board

So I’ve decided on my next homebrew project – a kitesurfing board. Everything I’ve read or heard leads me to believe that it’ll be fun and cheap, my two favourite words.
I’ll be using (or so the current intention goes) 3 sheets of 4mm marine ply laminated together with an epoxy resin and placed on wedges with bricks to weigh the board down, creating a rocker of 5-6 cm at the tips, leaving a flat section in the middle. Images of the design to follow.
My only decisions are what size to make the board (I reckon 145cm x 38 cm) where to get the fins from, whether or not to reinforce the edges with glass fibre and whether or not to add a design. I might even consider sticking a piece of fabric to the base of the board with epoxy.
The 8’x4’ sheet of marine ply is on the way, now I have to source the epoxy, glass fibre, footpads, stainless steel bolts to countersink into the underside and the fins.
What’s going to happen – no one knows.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

00079 Wavey day

Went to Pembroke today in a NNW started on the 11m and after the customary screw-ups, got out on a few tacks. But, my word, big old waves in the middle of the bay meant losing the board and wiping out quite alot. Still managed to stay upwind for a little while which meant I didn't get beasted by the waves too much. Big air (for me) off the biggest waves and I learned to move the kite after going over the wave - it really takes the speed out of you (I guess it's because you move nearer the kite on the crest, so the kite loses power). Quite enjoyable all in all and some new things to try next time: keep hands towards the center of the bar to avoid violent downwind aerials on my back followed by heavy deep-water impacts, and power up after a wave.
Wind died later on, so I tried the new F-one board, but it was too rough for me and the wind had died too much to carry on - shame. I'll wait to try it at ladies under "laboratory conditions".
Am now seriously considering making a board from ply. Mmmmmmm.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

00078 Boardy boardy

This is the F-one directional board that I got from Carl for a song (I'm really good at singing). Apparently I'll be able to get upwind really easily in the right conditions and it'll let me go out in lighter wind days when my other board would hold me back.

Oh yeah, I'll believe all that when I see it.

Incidentally I didn't get the kids with it, I already had those.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

00077 Windy 15

Tuesday, wrote Mr Lenfestey, I took advantage of the fine weather and travelled to Ladies Bay once again. I hoisted the 15 meter and proceeded to gain upwind ground taking me up and over the sand spit between the two bays. It got really windy after a couple of hours, so I pulled in the trim strap and just hung on in the high gusts - Mike reckoned it got up to 25 kts, which is alot for the 15.
I also found that if I need to get upwind to get some distance between me and the shore, I can hold the board against the force of the kite and edge really well to get me out and away from the beach, then I get a really good run and a better chance of getting upwind while surfing.
Got beasted several times and am very achy as a result.
Used Griff's waist harness, which wasn't as much of a revelation as I wanted it to be, but hey.
All in all it was an exceedingly good day.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

00076 Pics

Here they are

00075 Frantic Kitesurfing

After taking the kids to a party, shopping, cooking & cleaning, Mum came round to look after the kids for a couple of hours so that I could go out kitesurfing - what a diamond.
Started out really sketchy, which seems to be par for the course in my case. I was on the 11m, whereas everyone else seemed to be on 14s, so I had to work the kite alot to get around. After a while, though, the wind picked up and I was powered up and staying upwind quite well. There's definately some tuning to be done and it's not all fine, but the outlook is good. I did get beaten up a bit and dragged around, but mostly it wasn't too bad. One thing's for sure, when the wind's right, I can really get going. So now all I need is to hang around on the beach 24/7 and wait for the weather (like that's ever going to happen).
Simon (carrot) was there with his camera, so with any luck I'll have more photos to post later.

00074 Mauricio Pro

My board
So I bought this board of Chris Carter quite a while ago, but forgot to blog it. It's a Wipika Mauricio Pro, 130cm long and seems to suit me down to the ground, I like the graphics too (not that I concern myself with the aesthetics of something I barely notice when I'm clinging on to a large kite for dear life).
This is also one of the first images from my cameraphone wot I got for free. I'm trying to suss out how to blog direct to here without going through Flickr - that way I can fill up my blog with really useless crap (not like the really classy, solid gold, Pulitzer Prize winning stuff I've been ratlling off 'till now).

00073 Upwind

So in a force 4 on Friday 24th September I got upwind on about 6-7 tacks. There are a series of buoys set about 10 yds apart which I watched as I tacked Port & Staboard. When I started I was upwind of the first (nearest the beach), when I ended the run (wind died) I was upwind of the second. All I need now is a decent wind, a bit of time and I'll be cruising upwind and out into the bay, wherupon I will be boosting like there is no tomorrow.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

00072 Strike three

So this is just cathing up for me, but went kiteboarding 3 days out of 4 (which is unbelievable). 14th, 15th and 17th (Wed, Thurs, Sat). First two days were gusty, with the second giving me a taste of overpower and waves - the waves were awesome, the overpowered surfing was OK, bu tthe luls in between the gusts were pants.
The last day (Saturday) was very low wind, so I messed about with the kite (15m) and Griff let me have a go on his (ex Dan Harradine) 18m Amp with his Bic board (basically a surf board with straps) - what a great kite, but I can see it would be a handfull when ovepowered. As Griff was saying, you can go in next to no wind and still get a decent ride. First time with a high aspect kite too. Not as scary as I thought.

00071 Waking it up

So this was quite a while ago, but sound nonetheless. The full thing is on our family blog.
Basically Meriel came wakeboarding and love it. And I'm still loving it. We all love it. It's lovely.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

00070 My new swimming pool

And it's free.

In an effort to kickstart some sort of excercise program, I'm going to try out Swimming from here to the next bay and back every Sunday. I've got the wetsuits from kitesurfing, so I might even be able to do it year round.
Silly idea? Only time will tell.

I could have picked a better day to start, what with the screaming hangover and all, but the egg & bacon sarnie helped a little, not to mention the massive shock to the system that plunging into cold sea water gives you.

Surprised I din't have some sort of multiple organ shutdown. Still, the day is young ...

00069 Sarnie!

We went out to the Rockmount last night and came back a little the worse for wear.
This morning I was saved by this sarnie.
Without it my wife would be a widow and my children fatherless.
They say we are no longer as spiritual as our forefathers, but I disagree.
This was truly a religious experience.

Friday, September 02, 2005

00068 Wakey, wakey

Wakeboarding again last night with Dan and Carrot. Much more success than last time (although not too surprising as that was also the first time). I got straight up every time with no problem and managed almost a full circuit. I can really see how a flat, calm day with water like glass would be something to look forward to.

Oh, but of course with the staying up thing comes the going faster thing and with the going faster thing comes the falling off faster thing and with the falling off faster thing comes the concept of "water as a solid". I landed really heavily a couple of times, really heard the bells ringing there. Still children have turned my brain to jelly, so no harm done, it just swills around in my skull like any other inert substance.

Monday, August 29, 2005

00067 Catching sunshine

Catching sunshine
Catching sunshine,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
Two beaches today, Petit Port followed by Port Grat (where I got this image). I think I'm slowly running out of normal everyday subjects to take an interest in. I either need to swim out with the rig more, get nearer the airport, or get out in a boat with the gear (not that gear).

Friday, August 19, 2005

00066 Nailing the tacks

originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
Looking back on todays session, I guess I'm quite satisfied with the progress. I got the port tack down a bit better and learned alot about kite position and power management (in that I had it wrong and I don't have a clue repectively). It seemed a little frustrating at times, but I think it's because I'm getting tired of walking up the beach. Just a little while longer and I feel like I'll be spending much more time in the water.
Spoke to Dan about the going upwind thing and he said that it's all down to board skills. Bummer, I don't think I have any.
Still, got some cracking runs in and did pretty much what I set out to do. It's all good, but I did get spanked a bit - only to be expected.

Monday, August 15, 2005

00065 Paper modelling

Should I ever find the time to master 3D modelling software, I'll be trying this. Being a sucker for anything "flatpack" I truly believe this will make my dreams come true.

Well, maybe the really crap dreams about trivia and rubbish.

00064 Perfect conditions

It was Sunday the 14th (that's yesterday) at Ladies Bay when I got out of the water and shook Griff's hand and he said "welcome to kitesurfing". The conditions were spot on for me.
Powered up on the 11m I could have gone for miles (in one direction). The speed was amazing - I don't know if I was going as fast as I thought, but the perception was there.
Still got to work on the Port tack, but the feeling of progression was there again - I've definately cracked the Starboard tack and the Port is up to the same standard as my Starboard was last session. Next thing is to return to the starting point. I can go upwind on the Starboard, just need to nail the Port.
Pictures coming soon when I get the chance to nab someone to take them.

00063 Rakes n' outlets n' boats

Pipes n' doodles
Pipes n' doodles
I'm catching up here. Had a two flight day with the camera on Monday 8th August. George and Imogen were here and Jo was at pre-school, so lots of adults and one child means more airtime in my books. Quick doodle in the sand by the Richmond kiosk outlet (water, not sewage) and bob's your uncle. Quite pleased with this one as it goes.

Got down to Portelet later on and just managed to catch Duquie, Marley, Boz and others setting off from Portelet in their boats bound for town. Missed Duquie's boat, but swam out with the kite to get the second one - just got it.

Friday, August 05, 2005

00062 Engaging the rail

Off to ladies bay again. Another progression with the 11m. The beach was a little busy, but not so much as to be dangerous (that's how it felt anyway). This time the wind increased while I was out, so even though I began underpowered and had to work the kite to generate enough pull, later on I had a couple of half beach runs on the starboard tack which were so good that I can see, given the right kite in the right wind, I could work on sussing the going upwind thing.

As for the doorbell rig - well, the new batteries seem to give it a range of about 2-6 meters, so I'm going to play around with the power source to see if I've muffed the battery thing and will have tro go back to AAs.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

00061 Charge!

Home made charger for home made rechargeable battery pack
previous page on the rig design

The last piece of the geeky jigsaw has come together. I just finished the charger circuit, which lowers the current to a suitable level for charging the home-made battery packs. And it works!

The next thing will be to put it all together - I've glued the doorbell circuit to the timer circuit and bolted them both to the rig. Next up I'll probably reinforce the rig which will also give me a place to attach the battery pack.

When this is all over I'll be off on the next project in the continuing battle to prove that I have too much time on my hands - if you hadn't guessed yet, I'm winning and opposition is proving minimal.

And the next project is ... the kite messenger.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

00060 Rig five - work in progress

Rig five - work in progress

previous page on the rig design

Geeking out badly now.

After several iterations I've built the timer circuit to work with the wireless doorbell, which I'm sure will give me around 18 seconds of continuous shooting from the Optio.

James Gentles has been fantastic, answering all my questions about the electronics, however stupid. He also mentioned that I could save weight if I bought tagged 2/3 size rechargeable Ni-Mh AAA batteries - so I did that knowing full well that I'd have to build a battery charging circuit to recharge the packs that I'm soldering together. All that means that from an electronics point of view, I'm flying blind. I mean what the f"&%* are all these components doing? And why are they all minutely different from the ones I used in other circuits? I have a vague idea, but I feel like an old lady with foggy specs and a valium overload being guided across a busy road.
... well, probably something like that.

Anyway it's all coming together and I'm really tempted to find out when they'll be surf kayaking in offshore winds or if the horses are going for a swim on Vazon soon. Ooooo the possibilities are ... well the possibilities are fairly trivial, but, man, that's my tune.

next page of the rig design

Monday, July 18, 2005

00059 New rig

12 second timer
12 second timer,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
My new KAP rig is coming together slowly. This is a really tiny circuit designed by James Gentles. It's going to work with the wireless doorbell sent to me by Peter Bults. The idea is that I want to capture dynamic images, but that means taking pictures in quick succession. Even with the 1Gig SD card I bought for my Pentax Optio I will only get 10 minutes max if I jam the shutter button and loft the KAP rig. So this number is going to allow me to trigger a continuous burst of shots from the doorbell (tiny thing), which will last for about 12 or 24 seconds (depending on how many capacitors I add to the circuit).

I should point out that I know very very little about electronics, but bugger me - it works!

Upside: It's miles cheaper that a radio control system, and the transmitter and receiver are minute meaning you can still KAP in low winds and it's a doddle to transport anywhere.

Downside: It's got a range of 80 meters - but I reckon it's plenty.

The motivation for this was to capture images of Chris Harvey, a surf kayaker who I understand is ranked No.2 in the UK. He seems up for it, least I can do is try to make a rig to do the job.

More really fascinating images to follow (if this kind of thing flicks your switch). This is based on a set up by Peter Bults, using the wireless doorbell - although his rig takes one image at a time. Like Peter, I'll be using a Gentled, this particular one is an intervalometer with a low firing interval - man, that James Gentles is good, what a product!

next page of the rig design

00058 Beaches

Beach football - half time
Beach football - half time,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
This last week we have mostly been visiting beaches.

We've been at Petit Bot with the kids and occasionally friends and kayaks. The sit-on-top is proving to be money well spent and we're swapping between playing with the kids and exploring the gulleys and bays.

Thursday was a rush from beach to beach ending at Vazon where I got this undynamic photo of half-time at the Langlois/Jarrald's beach footie match. They all looked well serious about their game, so I just stuck up the Genki and ran up the beach to get the height to take the picture - but naturally, as soon as the rig was up, they called half-time. Bastards.
To make matters worse (ooooh my life is sooooo hard) as we packed up, a couple of horses (and riders) pitched up and went swimming in the glassy sea against the perfect sunset backdrop. Man that would have been the KAP shot.

No wind to speak of this week so the Mauricio Pro and the Kites are all staying in the garage. Bummer.

Friday, July 08, 2005

00057 Packed day

Sabre 1690
Sabre 1690,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
Ok so it started with a sedate coffee morning, but then I decided to head out to Ladies Bay to see if the wind was up. Sadly not enough wind to temp the experienced kitesurfers, so not safe for me on my todd (but, man I was tempted). I called up one of the guys, Dan, and he said he wasn't into a minimal wind day, but would I like to come wakeboarding. "would I?!?!", says I. I knocked off a quick Gig of KAP shots including this one and then took the call to go to the North Beach (it's a car park with a jetty attached).
So I go there and we go out at what seems to me like breakneck speed to a couple of places to find the least choppy water. Eventually we find a place that looks barely do-able and I fail miserably to get up on my kiteboard while Dan and Simon (windsurfer) are up and away. Second time around (after getting over some wierd whiplash thing in the tendons on my forearms that they warned me would happen if I held on too long) I was up! My new Mauricio Pro and me, flying along behind a rib. Needless to say it didn't last long, but I got up again a couple of times and I'll be chomping at the bit to have another go some other time.
Strangest thing is that I'd definately rather have kitesurfed.
As I mentioned to Dan when I arrived at the Jetty, I seldom associate the word "spontaneous" with the word "wakeboard", but there they were, together at last.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

00056 Finger nails

Finger nails
Finger nails,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
On a very mundane note I have fingernails for the first time in 35 years - proof that my life must be a really relaxed affair.
A good scary film should see them gone in no time.

Monday, July 04, 2005

00055 Two kayaks and a kite

Two kayaks by the rocks
Two kayaks by the rocks,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
Broken news - another kitesurfing outing, this time with the 11m. Tried a Wipika Maurizio Pro board and am now considering buying it off the present owner after falling in love with it. The worry was that any board that I learn on will soon become useless to me as I progress, but I got up on this one and even managed to ride "powered up" for a short spell and it looks like I'll be able to use it for years to come. It shall be mine.
In other news "Two kayaks by the rocks" just got sold to a guy called Rick (although surely where he's from is more relevant here - but I don't know where he's from so have his name in lieu)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

00054 Kites n' ships

After reading numerous seemingly rediculous and unbelievable articles about kites pulling boats, and also after conversely thinking that kites should be able to pull boats, I found this through the Yahoo! foils group. I would say OMG if I didn't think it was a crass thing to type.

Monday, June 27, 2005

00053 Rocks n' doodles n' stuff

Rocks n' doodles
Well, the Flickr KAP group made the Flickr blog, which I think is excellent. I was sad that it was just "Swimmies" that made it in recently, but now the whole group will get a good viewing. It was also featured on the Make: blog, which I guess is not so surprising after they featured Cris Benton and a rig making tutorial.
As is apparent here, the rake thing is coming along and each time I do it I want to try out something new - it's like the worlds largest doodle pad. Actually it's more like one of those magnetic doodle pads where the tide does the job of that thing that you sweep across the page to make the image disappear.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

00052 Squiggly

originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
My latest obsession is rake art. Originally inspired by this piece of work by Jim Denevan, I'm hoping to do alot of drawing in the sand (probably at Vazon where this image was taken) and then combine it with the KAP with hopefully fabulous results. Today was a no wind day and I had to run upwind to stop the rig hitting the ground, let alone get any height - there's always next time, but like a spoiled child I want next time to be NOW

Monday, June 20, 2005

00051 Flickr Blogstar

Wooooeeeeeee, I just looked at the "Swimmies" image (yes, the one below) and the number of views just jumped from 10 or so up to a round 250 and still rising.
I surfed around for a bit and eventually got to the Flickr Blog.
So that's why I'm getting so many hits. Man, I better make sure that I'm wearing clean underwear - I'm about to have alot of visitors (would it be too much if I posted up pictures of my clean underwear? probably).

00050 Up and away

originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
It's been remiss of me not to post up for a while, but to be honest nothing much has been happening in my "life of trivia". But today a breakthrough!
I took the 15 meter out to Ladies Bay and flew it for the first time. Not only that but I was up on the board and exhibiting something approximating control.
Apart from that, there've been several KAP sessions all with pretty good results. I'm really loving the "fishing in the sky" thing with my new vertical timer rig. The dog here is the latest one from the session on Sunday when we went to Vazon and took out the new sit-on-top kayak. More pics of kayaks and related activities on the Family Blog

Sunday, May 22, 2005

00049 Granite & Gorse

Granite & Gause
Granite & Gorse,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
The KAP group on Flickr has reached what has been described as critical mass - 24 members and 130 images. The discussions on composition (always a hot point when you take pictures without looking at how you're framing them), bringing out contrast with colour (an eye opener for me) and guides on how to "Make over" someone's image. And with some of the images being rather nice, I think it's finally beginning to motivate people to go out and take more pictures.
Oh, and the geotagging map is coming along nicely - pity I never travel distances of more that 5 miles.

Friday, May 20, 2005

00048 Kitesurfing, 3rd outing

Kitesurfing, 3rd outing
Kitesurfing, 3rd outing,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
So I got the call at two and was down the beach at three. After the body dragging thingy last week I was chompin' at the bit to get on the board. The wind was gusty and just died occasionally - so not ideal for learning.
The progression was slow at first, but it picked up pace and I got up on "the plane" for a reasonable time (for a first timer).
Oh, I did get lofted and dragged off towards the beach at speed, but just got back on the horse and carried on.
Now I know that all I need is practice and better conditions. I also know that this is excellent and I can't wait to do it all again and again and again.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

00047 EHW

Meriel has been shopping for clothes, but on her return finds that she needs to take them up. Out comes the sewing machine. Meriel frowns as she sews the trousers.
"Are you Hemming?" I ask.
"Yes", she replies.
"You're frowning", I say.
"The way in which you are hemming those trousers is ... ummm ..."
"That's it", I shout, "It's an ernest hemming way"

Did you see it coming? Did ya?

(based on a true, recent, accurate retold, but quite dull story)

Friday, May 13, 2005

00046 Rig number four

originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
Just finished adding the powersource for the infra-red timer shutter release. I seem to be always looking for the vertical shot, so I thought I'd just get rid of the RC axes and stck to a fixed setup like this. This rig is minute, but will still take 4MP images. As a result of the size, the kites, fixings and rig all pack into a small rucksack.