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Friday, 21 December 2012

Newbie in a kite buggy – semi-professional!

200th Post!

It is well over 12 months now since I started kite buggying and nearly 12 months since I started my blog. Reading back to the early days and my first tentative steps, that first downwind turn, my PB’s and the kites I have owned and sold, the distances travelled, the frustrations of winter and the OBE’s – it has been a blast!

I am still in my trusty Peter Lynn Comp XR+, mainly as I can’t afford anything better! And it is still doing the job, the tyres are bald and one is showing canvas, the bearings aren’t quite as smooth as they once were and the buggy is a lot dustier, it has a custom made belly pan to protect my … seat! – But it has taken me over 60kph and provided me with hours of enjoyment; though as I write this, it has been relegated to the shed as I am borrowing a Sysmic S2.

I still have my Ozone Flow 5m, this is the kite that is responsible for getting me hooked again and it comes out regularly as my low wind kite – fantastic construction, super stable and can generate a reasonable amount of speed. It has taken some knocks, as this is the kite I learnt to buggy with; it does look a bit worn but is an excellent all round kite.

Then I have my feisty Peter Lynn Core 3m, I bought this as my high wind kite to enable me to push my speed and this is the kite I got my PB with. It is on 20m lines and does need a fair breeze to get it going; otherwise it floats to the ground. And when it gets going it pulls and pulls, and can be pretty aggressive and scary – this kite was responsible for my first OBE as it lifted me un-gracefully and then dropped me. This may now have been superseded though…

I bought a second hand 8.5m Blade II as my low wind kite, it was in first class condition – I think I used it once before selling it on. It was bloody huge and slow and soon as the wind picked up started to become lifty – I’m not into buggy jumping or jumping out of buggies. So this now has a new home in Queensland.

Then it was the time for the Peter Lynn Vapor 2.7m – the fastest kite on the planet. This was an attempt to eventually replace the Core and push my speeds to the next level. An amazing kite, looked incredible, was very fast (as to be expected) and powerful. But could also be a bugger! This was the kite that caused my second OBE after a hot launch - in the end decided that this was too much kite for me and sold it on – practically as new.

Now I have another Ozone, a 4m Method, this is rapidly becoming my kite of choice and is replacing the 3m Core as my high wind kite. Superb Ozone construction, minimal bridals, super stable – with sports car performance. In low wind it lacks the grunt but as you work it the speed develops and give it a decent blow and it certainly performs but without any nasty surprises. I think this kite is going to take my buggying to the next level and how I would love to get the full quiver…

Bones has also lent be a 2m HQ Beamer as a seriously high wind kite, but this is yet to see the light of day.

Lake Walyungup is a great location to buggy and is good with the wind from pretty much any-direction. The surface is rock hard with a loose covering of sharp gravel, great for power-slides but chews the rubber off your tyres. We share it use with a model aero-club and the land yacht, but there is plenty of room. Given a good easterly or westerly then you can buggy all the way from the car-park!

The downside is the winter restriction which prevents vehicles driving onto the lake (the land yachts and model aero-club have vehicular access) which prevents us using it as well.

I would still like to try buggying on a beach – I have been told it’s a whole different experience. But with Lake Walyungup only 5 minutes from home I count my blessings. At some point I would like to go to Lake Lefroy and the beaches near Esperance – but in my opinion I have buggy heaven on my doorstep.

I am lucky to be able to get out most weekends usually early on a Sunday morning and most of the time the process of flying and buggying is instinctual with regular shots of adrenaline, this enables me to enjoy the whole experience. It has an addictive quality and if I miss out then I become sullen and depressed.

Throwing the kite around in the turns, power-sliding the buggy, pushing it to go harder and faster, kicking the rear end out to scrub the speed; all these are natural and require little or no thought, they just happen. I know my kites, I can tell what they are doing (even when I did an unintentional 360 the flow stayed in the air), where they are positioned through the pull through the harness and it only takes a quick glance to affirm this – yet there is not a better site than a kite against the perfect blue of the Western Australia sky.

None of this intuitive buggying takes away any of the pleasure but just goes to enhance the feelings and experiences of pushing your limits with the aid of the wind.

My other kit includes my Ozone SB harness, I have replaced the hooked spreader with a roller. This harness is great, comfortable to wear, spreads the load evenly and is the usual Ozone quality. Though does seem a little looser these days!

I have my GoPro HD Hero, which is a fantastic bit of kit, at present I just have my helmet mount and my custom buggy mount, as well as a tripod. It provides great HD video – which I like to watch again and again. I would love to be able to mount this on the kite and see that aerial footage.

My other couple of essentials are my ground stake and hammer (you need the hammer to get the stake into the ground!) and my Masters Mocha One – and of course the other items of morning tea! That all live in my little blue cool bag! Of course I have a few different spanners and a spare strop that usually all live in my Peter Lynn buggy bag.

I had forgotten the GPSr which attaches to the down tube of my PL with the Popeye the welder GPS holder. I use this to keep an eye on my speed (max), distance and average and always have some spare batteries. Along with this I often use the Endomondo sports tracker on my iphone to keep track of my tracks!

Where to from here?
A new buggy?
More Method’s?
Semi-professional? I joke about this with my kids; I am a semi-professional kite buggier! - No sponsorship deal on the horizon – but I would if I could!

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