Wind and Waves at Watergate Bay

Another Sunday and yet more wind! The sun put in an appearance and with a brisk but not too violent Northwesterly breeze a North Coast kite opportunity popped up. In this wind direction you’ve got plenty of choice with The Bluff (at Hayle) and Daymer being two old favourites but many more amazing beaches to choose from…

Due mainly to lack of organisation (as usual) I opted for Watergate Bay. As always I dragged Claire, Tom and Katie along with me and I always feel a bit less guilty if I’m taking them to a nice place with plenty to do (even if it’s somewhere a little windswept). At Watergate the parking’s easy (and happened to be free thanks to a broken machine) and right by the beach. There’s a choice of cafe so I can pay off the kids with their obligatory hot chocolates and more importantly there’s a stoney stream which they spent the entire time re-engineering with various damming and diversion schemes. I’d love to be seven again and be content to stand in cold water for hours on end shifting sand with a trusty plastic spade.   Claire set about the time honoured hunt for ‘Lego Lost at Sea’ and the other various strand line prizes that can be had such as Newfoundland lobster tags, gun cartridges from the Teal season on the other side of the Atlantic and other prized bits of plastic pollution! I have to say, it always amazes me to see the sheer volume of plastic washed up on the beach in onshore conditions. If that’s just what you can see the ocean must be so badly clogged up with this crap. Anyway, that said, it’s alway a challenge hunting through it and if I feel so strongly about it I should be down there cleaning it up. If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem etc. etc…

With the family amused on the beach I was able to take my kite (which is quite old now) a 10 square metre North Evo from 2009 and begin the set up. Kiting is dangerous and I’ve had some pretty close calls over the years. If you ever think of taking it up, you should but whatever you do get lessons! My friends and I have learnt the hard way as when we started equipment wasn’t as safe as it is now. Today we are much more aware of the potential hazards and try to anticipate them in how we set up our equipment, where we launch and land and the locations we choose to kite. My minor incidents over time have ranged from scaring myself silly (no harm done) when a bridle line snapped sending my kite into a power loop I couldn’t control to actually featuring on seaside rescue in a heavily embellished segment about me dropping my kite in the sea and getting a lift in the Perranporth Lifeguard’s boat.

I signed the form saying they could use the footage not thinking they would make a story out of it and set it to “Bad Moon Rising”…

– a song which still haunts me when they play it on Radio Cornwall. Along the way I’ve smashed up my calf muscle when an early version of a leash sent the board pinging back into my leg and I’ve been lofted 30 feet in the air before crashing the kite next to an alarmed family back in the days when kites were huge and safety systems didn’t always work. So, I tell you this partly as they are my battle scars/ pub stories but more to get across the things I’m thinking about when I set up a kite.

You can self launch but helpfully a fellow kiter came over and offered to launch my kite this time which is safer and easier. We try to help each other whether you know the kiter or not. There’s a code of conduct that everyone tries to stick to to keep things as safe as possible for everyone and partly to keep the beaches kite friendly too. There’s a local kite surf club Kernow Kitesurf Club which is affiliated to British Kitesports and does provide third party insurance for us. A must for anyone getting into it.

Once up and running I had a great kite. It’s hard to describe the feelings to non-kiters but the main one is freedom. There’s a massive satisfaction level when things are going right and the jumps are fantastic. Much higher and longer than windsurfing and, when they go right you can land perfectly smoothly. The tricks possible are endless, being a ‘weekend warrior’ my repertoire is pretty limited but even the simplest little hop or carve onto a wave can be seriously satisfying. I loved being out and this my first kitesurf in a long time making it more enjoyable still. Something I’d completely forgotten and took me by surprise is the colour of the sea just outside the breaking surf but before the water gets too deep. I looked down and was astounded by the vibrant milky emerald colour. I think coming out of winter you are used to expecting variations on a grey theme so a bright sunny day like this in the sea is just beautiful and pointless trying to describe in words.

Having had a really great kite I decided to call it a day when I made a mistake and dropped my kite in the sea. With twisted lines and and a soggy kite I decided to quit whilst ahead and wandered up to see what the others were doing.

 

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