Steve Ross Kiting with Mike Campanaro and Fred Wasson in the Florida Keys at Anne’s beach and Whale Harbor. All Shot on the GoPro 2.


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Mike Campanaro

Received this link http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/09/the_short_but_eventful_life_of.html Great photos. Worth a gander. When Hanna was fast approaching our home here in Savannah I was wondering what it would take to make me evacuate and at the time it would have been a Category 3+ storm. We aren’t really near the water so we wouldn’t have the surge to worry about as far inland as we are but, now it makes me wonder if staying at all would be wise. Especially with the power situation. Makes you realize how much you take for granted.

Kiteboarding: Don't ever try it...

September 17th, 2008

...Unless you want to spend a bunch of money on an addiction that will have you watching weather bouys and wind forecasts every time you mind starts wandering from whatever it is you should be doing.

Yep, I have been out on the water probably 6-8 times since my last post. I now have 2 kites and one board. Actually I should keep track of the number of times I have ridden but, who cares, the only thing you’ll ever remember when you aren’t kiteboarding is that you need to find wind so that you can feed that need once again. I feel like I am addicted to crack or something. Seriously, its that bad.

My progression is going well, I can “upwind” well now (that means when you leave your launch spot on the beach you aren’t blown so far downwind that you have to stop riding and walk back up the beach to where you launched in the first place). I have also mastered catching some air off some waves and throwing in a few grabs while I’m at it. This is probably more due to the fact that I have done a bunch of board sports before (skimboarding, wakeboarding, surfing etc.) Now around my second or third time I decided I would try to boost a nice big floaty air by using the kite to send me up into the stratosphere.

This amounts to turning the kite upward very quickly and all that power is then translated from a horizontal plane to a vertical one and it sends you flying (literally) into the air anywhere from 10-40ft (depending on the wind speed and your skill). So I see an approaching wave and decide I’m going to send it and boom up I go into the air probably 15-18ft off the water. Now I had no idea what I was doing and knew I was going to crash when I came down (I didn’t crash hard so that was good). I came up grinning and looking for my board. As if I needed anything more in this sport that was the icing on the cake and the addiction was fed with even more adrenaline.

It turns out in order to land one of these big airs you have to keep flying the kite and after you send it vertical you have to pull it back down so that you don’t catch up with the velocity of the kite and send it flying backward through the air only to leave you and the kite down in the water. So that needs some practice on my part and from the looks of it this week would have been the perfect wind to give it another shot in. However I am on a job site this week while looking at the weather report back home.

Oh well hopefully we’ll still have the wind when I get back in town this Saturday.

Kiteboarding Lesson 2

August 4th, 2008

Lesson 2 == tired, sore, and in love. We’ll I can’t say I didn’t see this one coming, I mean what is not to love about combining practically all the things I love and do on the water into one sport. Surfing: check, Wakeboarding: check, Skimboarding: check, Harnessing the power of nature: check. The first thing to note about this lesson was that it was a bit intimidating. You have a 14 meter kite attached to your body and after a few minutes taxiing out to the surf you hang on to your instructor who does “body drags” (no board just let the kite pull you through the water) with you hanging onto their harness. Lots of waves in the face and ongoing instruction while He flies the kite and you try to pay attention in the surf.

Next its my turn, few minutes flying the kite on land (making sure I am comfortable with a kite that is twice the surface area of the previous lesson). You feel it pull, and man does it, the impression it leaves is that this kite will take you wherever it wants to go. That is while on land, in the water its a whole different feeling. So I wade into the water, lie down and begin my own body drags, getting used to steering the kite with one hand while holding your opposite hand in the water to create some resistance. Kite stays up, I learn how to “upwind” or move myself and the kite back toward the beach while hopefully gaining some ground toward the opposite direction that the wind is blowing. This skill is essential for picking up your board when it comes off your foot or not getting a mile down the beach and having to huff it back with all your gear.

So 30-45 mins later after a bunch of body drags and feeling comfortable flying the kite one handed its time to take the board on a body drag. Now this doesn’t sound too difficult but, to my surprise you add one more thing into the mix (trying to keep the board on a plane while flying the kite) and suddenly your brain practically has a conniption fit trying to handle the two tasks at the same time and both become very difficult. I got the hang of this and it was an important lesson. At first I thought “body dragging is easy, this will be too”. I think my instructor knew that and this is where your first test of truly managing all the gear comes into play and first pass (heading downwind was easy) coming back upwind I just couldn’t get my left arm to hold the board right.

So back on land again, took a small break, trying to catch my breath (arms and chest getting a major workout). Instructor took the kite out and showed off (doing airs, ripping it, etc). Comes back in and asks me if I am ready to give it a go with trying to get up and actually riding the board. We go over the launch position how to power up the kite for the launch etc. He asks me if I’m ready, I’m not, but I lie and say why not! So I get out there and strap in, try to power up the kite and didn’t give it enough juice, try two more times and I get the feeling of getting out of the water but, didn’t pay attention to where the kite was and fly the kite “out of the wind window”.

Fourth time: surreal bliss. I’m up, tracking along keeping the kite in the air and heading out to sea, I’m clipping along for about 100 yards and I start thinking about trying to turn the kite and head back to the beach. I go over one small swell and then a larger one, boom, lose my balance and eat it head first into the waves. Board is behind me about 30 feet and I’m trying to get back to it, proving very difficult and I didn’t body drag far enough to upwind back to the board. Instructor makes the swim out and rescues the board while I body drag back to the beach. Tide was ripping in hard and we head back past the sand bar (which is now covered up) and onto the beach for another break. Success, feels good, time to order some gear!

Last night won an auction on eBay for some last year model gear (one kite) need to win a board and a buy a harness, and I am set. Its going to be a fun rest of the summer and fall.

So I just created a new section of my blog: “Life Outside the Box” where I am going to start putting some stuff that really has nothing to do with anything with the other sections of the site. Well duh, you might say. Anyway, so I have taken up a new hobby, well to be more specific its not really a hobby. Hobby’s to me don’t involve moving at a high rate of speed, flying through the air, and massive consequences for a screwup. I am about to take lesson 2 of 3 with a kiteboarding instructor this afternoon. Now to explain what kiteboarding is… well I’ll let youtube speak for myself in this one:

So its also interesting to note that there are all these big name internet guru’s kiting out in silicon valley (founders of google etc), not that just seeing the video alone isn’t enough to get you started. So anyone else out there kiteboarding? I first caught the bug down in south florida watching these kiters blow by windsurfers and launch to great heights. I mean isn’t this a surfers dream? When the waves suck and are all washed out and choppy you can still ride!

Next week I’ll give an update on my first water lesson no board this time but, I should get dragged around in the water for awhile just to improve my proficiency in relaunching the kite and what to do in case the thing won’t relaunch after a crash in the water. Totally looking forward to it!

I stumbled on this yesterday, take the challenge! Seriously, I know I know sitting in front of the computer all day long really exercises your mind and all but, take care of your body! My brother-in-law and myself are putting this plan in effect starting today. So if you don’t have a wii-fit you can join in on the fun. Visit HundredPushups.com for your customized chart.