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.