So you have been checking the forecast all week, it is friday night and the conditions look epic. Whatever epic is for you – flat water and 25mph cross onshore, or huge swells, perfect waves and cross off 5m weather. If you want to get the most out of this you will need to make sure you dont make some key mistakes. Epic forecasts are few and far between and should not be wasted!
Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:
1) Sort your shit out. Make sure your lines are not tangled from last time. You dont want your wetsuit to be wet from your previous session so bring it indoors to dry (especially in winter). Make sure you have everything together so you dont have to turn around and come back for something, or worse not have it at all. Do any maintenance you have been putting off. That fin a bit loose? Depower rope a bit worn? Sort it out now. Charge your GoPro etc.
2) Make sure you have the right gear. If it is going to be really windy, dont turn up with nothing smaller than a 12m. If it is going to be cold dont turn up in your summer suit. Bring something to drink and eat. Bring all your kites as even though the forecast was for 5m weather, it may well be 12m weather. You would feel stupid if you only had your 5m or even your 5 and 7m.
3) Research the spot. Make sure you know the tide times and at what point the spot works – many beaches only work at high tide or low tide and many more have a sweet point somewhere in between. Learn if there are hazards you need to be aware of like a sketchy launch area or a shipwreck only visible at certain times or strong rip currents.
4) If in doubt don’t go out. Even if the forecast was epic, when you get to the spot things may well be different. If you are not used to riding big waves and small kites and the wind is currently blowing 40mph cross off then you should probably give it a miss. If your smallest kite is a 9m and everyone else is on a smaller kite you should probably keep dry. It sounds rubbish but it is way better than drowning/nearly drowning/losing your gear/breaking your gear/breaking someone elses gear/having to call the RNLI out.
5) Chat to the locals. If you see someone coming out of the water ask about their session. What size were they on? Were they overpowered? Is the wind picking up or dropping? How gusty is it? It is good for locals to recognise your face and know your new in the area so they can warn you of any dangers.
6) Try new things. It is a great idea to try new things once you are confident with riding back and forth. Try a new jump, try spins, try using a wave as a kicker. If someone offers to let you try their kite or board take them up on it. Don’t do anything stupid as it will be expensive if you have to replace someones new board but trying new gear keeps things interesting. Riding with people who are better than you can help with this a lot!
7) Find some kite buddies. Kiting alone and having a bit of a soul session from time to time is good for everyone. There is an amazing feeling (though also a bit scary) when you have the beach to yourself. Kiting with friends is best though. It is good to speak to people before the session and discuss the conditions and pick kite size. It is fun to hear someone whoop when you do a big jump. It is comforting to know a friend is nearby when your almost drowning after being eaten by a massive wave. It is great to warm up with a coffee and some cake and chat about your session afterwards too.
There we go – if you follow those tips you should be on track for an amazing session which will keep you going till next weekend. Got any other tips? Let us know in the comments!