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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Last day...

...of winter - tomorrow is spring.

Picture: Danella Bevis/Countryma

After a record breaking warmest and wettest August we are set for a few more days of showers before we get some sunshine and the spring weather really kicks in...

From the West Australian 30th August 2013
"The Weather Bureau’s history books are set to be rewritten tomorrow as Perth prepares to see off its warmest August on record.

If the mercury reaches 19.5C – the forecast top is 22C – Perth will have enjoyed its highest average August maximum since records began in 1897.

Barring an unexpected and dramatic cold change, four of the hottest five Augusts have come in the last seven years.

Earlier this month, Perth slept through its hottest August night on record, when the temperature bottomed out at 17.1C on August 7.

But it has also been the wettest August since 2004, with more than 160mm of rain compensating for a dry start to the winter.

Bureau spokesman Glenn Cook said the unusual weather was due to the unusually warm water off the WA coast.

“The winds have maintained their direction off the water so you tend to get warmer conditions, because those sea surface temperatures are a bit above average,” he said.

Perth had its biggest August downpour in a decade on August 8 when 45.4mm of rain fell on the city over a 24-hour period.

The deluge also reached most of the Wheatbelt and South West, lifting the spirits of desperate farmers and causing several rivers to flood.

The Bureau expects more warm weather over spring, forecasting a 75-80 per cent chance of above average minimums."

I'm just hoping after the rain of the last week that the lake is going to be dry enough tomorrow to buggy on as we have some wind forecast...

Friday, 30 August 2013


The last of my original barrow tyres is now showing canvas. This is on the front wheel of the buggy. 

I have a new tyre on order (a Father's Day present) that should arrive this week - another 6 ply highway rated tyre.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

YouTube to Vimeo

I have moved some of my older videos from YouTube to my Vimeo page (link over there on the right)...

Or click on this link - Mark Crook Vimeo

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


It works for the kids and has occasionally worked for me, I am trying to convince my wife to let me get a 2013 Ozone Fenzy 5m that is listed on Extreme kites...

$700 - that's half price for a as new kite! I don't fancy my chances...

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

No video!

On Sunday I managed to dodge the showers and get out on the buggy for a couple of hours, leaving the GoPro at home!

I also left my Manta at home as there was a fair bit of wind when I left, but on the lake I was struggling to get moving with the 5m Ozone Flow and desperately wishing I had the big kite with me!

After a few spots of rain the wind picked up and I started to get some decent runs and some slides. I had about an hour of fun...

Then the clouds started to roll in and I decided to head back before the forecast storms hit!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Video - Ozone Quantum Race Kite, pre-release

More video of the new race kite from ozone - the Quantum...

Goes on sale from the 1st September (fathers day in Australia!)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pansh Aurora

I really like flying my Ozone Manta II 10m, flying on a bar in the buggy is great especially with my SB Harness. I have been looking at other de-power options and they all seem quite expensive and definitely way beyond my budget. Then I came across the latest kite from Pansh - the Aurora...

Info from the Pansh website-

"PANSH AURORA is a great high performance closed-cell depower kite for land kiting, snow kiting, buggy kiting and kite boarding/surfing. It is a 5-line intermediate to advanced level kite. The kite comes in 5 sizes- 8m², 10m², 12m², 15m² and 19m².

PANSH AURORA is made of superb high quality material. The material is waterproofed with perfect coating. The material is extremely light. The PANSH AURORA kite has great wind range. It flies well even in the light wind. The kite has the dirt-outs in tips, special Pansh-designed air intakes with efficient Dual-way Alternate Inflation System, four deflation zippers, bridle plan design with completely new Pansh depower system, and the special design of the flag out safe system.

PANSH AURORA depower kite is a high performance depower kite for people who is interested in land kiting, snow kiting, buggy kiting and kite boarding/surfing. Flyers will enjoy the happiest flying time with the kite. PANSH AURORA is a very stable depower kite. It is extremely stable in gusty conditions. The kite has big amount of lift, hang time and high flying speed. These can make you experience a really good time no matter you are on sands, snow, grass or water.

We believe if you choose the Pansh AURORA you will find out how well and easily control the kite is. You will be very impressed by its amazing performance."

It's a great looking kite and the colours are fully customisable. I have read a few reviews about the Aurora and they are mixed, some talk about issues with the bridle needing modifications and the pulleys. I would also be interested to see pictures of the bar/ready to fly set up. 

I know that Pansh are continually updating/modifying their designs to improve the performance and handling of their kites - all based on customer feedback. I have contacted them to see if I get some more info on the bar and bridles

The Pansh Aurora could be a serious contender for my next kite - well maybe kites! As at present they have a buy one get one free offer!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


...much happening!

The weather for Sunday is a bit contradictory - the forecast says 15-20kph which would suit the Manta II, the wind forecast says nothing! 

We will see...

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Video - Muddy puddles!

Muddy puddles! from Mark Crook on Vimeo.

Gusty winds and showers made for a tricky morning, wind ranged from 5kph to 43kph! And I had to pack the kite away three times to avoid it getting a soaking - but there were some puddles to play in!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Friday Friday Friday!

Friday! Friday! Friday!

Well it's not Friday yet - but the good news is I have a day off on Friday!

And the weather is improving, we have some showers forecast but it does mean that Lake Walyungup is drying out...

And the wind is looking awesome...

Fingers crossed that the wind stays and we have a few more dry days.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

GoPro kite line mount - part II

After my first flight with the line mount and having to edit and crop the picture, I have now got the camera mounted at 90 degrees.



This means the image only needs rotating and I don't lose any of the quality...

Sunday, 11 August 2013

I want some...

But at $1150 (+postage) they are a bit out of my price range - some Landsegler disc wheels...

they would probably be worth more than my buggy!

Here is Popeye the welder putting some through there paces (just an excuse to post the video really ;-) )

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Something new...

Fathers day is approaching (1st September) and of course I am already planning ahead.

I need a new front tyre for the buggy...
I'm also after a head strap for my GoPro as we are planning on visiting Otway Fly Tree Top Adventure in January...

Friday, 9 August 2013

Review - Flysurfer Rookie 2 GE 9m

This review was originally posted on racekites back in 2005 and I have also added it to my review section over there on the right...

As there is always a lot of anticipation around the launch of a new kite I have decided to post my initial impressions of this kite after only a couple of flights. I will update the post when I have gained more experience with it.

I received my Rookie2 at the beginning of June after buying it from, I ordered prior to going on holiday and it was delivered to work on my return.

I have been flying a 5m Samurai for the past 12 months initially with handles and more recently with a bar and harness. I loved the Samurai but needed to extend my kite bag to encompass a bigger wind range – so decided to go for a depowerable foil. This would not only have the flexibility to fly in a big wind range but the potential for getting more air and for use with my board as well as static flying.

The Frenzy was out of my price range, so after much research opted for the cheaper Flysurfer as it is supposed to have similar characteristics – I am not planning (at the moment) to go on the water so the opened cell design was perfect.

The things that really sold me on it apart from the price (£450) was while reading the PDF instructions from the flysurfer website I came across these 2 lines under the section called Kite-control in extreme situations -

“If you get lifted up very high… Don’t panic! You actually have a small paraglider over top of you and you will be able to control your flight with gentle steering impulses.”

“If the kite collapses, this is called front-stall or luff. Fortunately, you have a FLYSURFER kite and you will notice this phenomenon more often when watching other kites”

It may have been describing the Psycho2, but it was a deal clincher!

What you get

The whole package comes in a large grey and black rucksack, with gold Flysurfer logo’s on it. It has a large main pocket which has room for the kite, bar and lines, but also swallows my harness and pads. It has 3 small pockets (one on the top and two at the bottom) which will take keys, phone, instructions, etc. It would benefit from a couple more, larger external pockets, but is more than adequate for the job, comfy to wear and looks good in a subtle understated way. There is no zip on the main compartment, just draw string inner cover and Velcro lid. So no chance of getting the kite caught and torn in a zip.

Kite – gold (not yellow!), black and grey. 18 cells, all with large open vents (large enough to swallow a pigeon in the middle!), with double stitched and reinforced internal bracing. The fabric feels lighter than the Samurai but remains very crisp. There are no problems with loose threads as was reported in the review of the Psycho2’s (Psycho2 review) and all the stitching and bridle attachments are excellent. It comes with lines and bar attached – ready to fly.

There are four 18m lines, two (red and green) depower-flying-lines as well as two white steering-lines attached to the ends of the bar. They all appear to be sleeved dyneema and thicker than on my 5m Samurai, particularly the coloured lines.

The gold edition (available in 6 and 9m) comes with the 50cm control bar (looks the same as on the psycho2, but I don’t think it is carbon) with the trimmer (only available on the gold edition) to adjust the angle of attack to power or depower the kite for different conditions. The bar is also colour coded so that you know which way round it should be. The Rotor-Kite-Leash (RKL), which should allow for multiple bar rotations without the safety system becoming tangled around the depower loop, and gust absorber. It does not have the multiwac system of the psycho2.

The depower loop has a safety system activated by pulling and then letting go of the red ball (not forgetting to let go of the bar!). This allows the trailing edge and wing tips to fold up allowing the kite to fall to the ground with greatly reduced pull (1:3).

The kite is also secured to the rotor-kite-leash to stop it blowing away, which also has a similar safety quick release – though this means the kite is free to blow away!

Both safety systems are simple to reassemble after practising a couple of times.

The instructions are comprehensive with good pictures; they are generic for the Rookie2, Psycho2 and Extasy (Flysurfer instructions PDF). Again it would be nice to have a DVD showing how to setup, launch, fly and pack away the kite especially as I have never flown a depowerable kite before.

First Flight

A gusty Shropshire day wind blowing anything from 0 – 15mph (approx), first time out with a depowerable foil, so a nice nervous knot in my gut!

Unpacked it all, hooked in ready to go, adjusted the trimmer for minimal power, pulled on the webbing attached to the power lines and it started to rise gracefully into the sky then collapsed. I tried a couple more times with the same result – have I bought a dud? why did I sell my Samurai?

After playing around with the trimmer for 5 or 10 minutes I decided that it wasn’t windy enough for full trim so launched with minimal trim. Different story, the kite flew to the zenith and was much more stable, it started to generate some good pull and lift when the wind picked up, handled the gusts well, but it still tended to collapse whenever the wind disappeared (which it did frequently). Though if one wing tip collapsed or folded in it could be shaken out while still in the air and would continue flying.

With minimal trim launching and landing were straightforward and could be done without assistance – as the kite was sat there, inflated, waiting to go. To launch, after attaching the RKL to the spreader and the depower loop to the hook on the harness, all I needed to do was take a couple of steps back or pull on the webbing of the central power lines and up it would go.

Landing it is even easier, as recommended in the instructions, either unhook or pull the safety on the depower loop and it would flutter down completely depowered onto the trailing edge. You can then either stake it through the loop on the RKL and then weigh the down trailing edge or hook back in and have another go.

Reverse starts were simple, by pulling on the thick steering leader lines the kite would launch backwards and could be turned to land on the trailing edge and then launched as normal.

Later on I had about 10 minutes of steady, clean wind, I am guessing about 5 or 8 mph (from experience) in which the kite became a different beast – it was smooth and stable, and turned really quickly almost on its tips at which point it felt very similar to my Sammi – the grin started to appear. The wind then picked up and the gusts came back, the kite started to generate some good pull enabling me to skud down wind (about 10 – 15m) and it started to show its potential for plenty of lift – unlike the Sammi and one of the reasons I bought this kite.

The control through the bar was excellent, with subtle movements of the bar resulting in subtle movements of the kite. But pull hard on one side and the kite responds in kind, with a tight hard turn. The feedback through the bar was good. Without looking at the kite and while it moved through the window, I was able to feel the change in direction, power and wind strength (sounds a bit Jedi I know). To my surprise the gust absorber (a dense foam cylinder on the depower line, which the bar pushes against when the kite is caught by a gust) seamed took work and did absorb some of that excess energy.

My hour of fun was then up and I had to pack away and head back into work.

Following an e-mail from Gary at I was told that the problems with the kite collapsing and small wind window should resolve with the 6m line extensions and as the kite settles in. This has also been suggested by other members of the forum.

My initial impression, following the early frustration is – that this is going to be a very stable kite, quick to turn and with the potential for loads of power and lift but with the controllability and safety of the depower. Yellow (I mean gold!) wouldn’t normally be my first choice of colour for a kite, but it looks great when flying. Nevertheless it is going to need the line extensions; I am not sure why flysurfer sell the kite with the 18m lines.

The line extensions – four lengths of 6m sleeved and looped dyneema colour coded to match the lines on the kite. Easily attached in 5-10 minutes. Increases the total line length to 24m – lets see what difference these make to the performance. In theory, they should increase the size of the wind window, improve low wind performance and overall give an increase in the stability, power and lift. The only draw back is they may take some of the edge off the handling as shorter lines tend to equal greater responsiveness.

Harlech Beach, North Wales

With the line extensions attached I took the kite out for a couple of hours on the beach.

Wind blowing 8 mph (approx.), sun shining and the beach was very quiet considering it was 20°C, the tide was just about on its way out when we arrived.

Unpacked, bar out of the bag unwound the lines (no tangles) and staked it out through the safety on the RKL. Went back to the bag and got out the kite, unfolded it and it instantly filled and sat there like an eager puppy, ready to fly.

I returned to the bar attached the RKL to the spreader on the harness, hooked into the depower loop and up it went straight to the zenith with a nice steady pull where it sat. I added a slight bit of trim, to prevent it overflying and it sat there happily with only minor touches on the bar to keep its position.

I spent a good 1 ½ hours just static flying it, getting used to the size of the wind window and the feeling of the power zone, lift etc. This kite is awesome, with the line extensions it is very stable, and the wind window is huge. It is pretty quick through the air and I would imagine the speed would increase with the wind speed. It turns on its wing tips and at no point was there any sign of the tips collapsing or luffing.

There is no or very minimal loss of responsiveness with the line extensions, and the bar forces allow for constant feedback at all times.

The power delivery is smooth and constant through-out the middle of the window and as you near the top the lift kicks in. I was able to scud effortlessly and spent 10 minutes filling my shorts with sand while butt scudding and having a real laugh. I managed a few small jumps (2 or 3 feet high) I am positive these will be bigger with more wind.

For the last ½ hour I tried it out with my board, I am still in the early stages of board riding, but this kite dramatically increased my ability, as I was able to do a few good runs and stay in control and slide to a stop – fantastic! it was the best session I have had for ages.

Overall I rate this kite very highly; my initial concerns have been wiped out with the introduction of the line extensions (why don’t flysurfer sell this kite with the longer lines?).

It is well made, looks fantastic in the air, and has great smooth power delivery and the potential for loads of lift. It is quick through the air and turns on a wing tip, but is hugely stable and with the line extensions doesn’t luff or collapse. The safety systems work well and are easy to reassemble. The kite can easily be launched and landed if you are on you own.

I would recommend it for static flying and boarding and in particular on the board my confidence and ability have increased dramatically with this kite.

If you are considering a depowerable foil take a look at the rookie2 as you get a lot of kite for your cash and the performance to match.

Thursday, 8 August 2013


I have always parapacked my kites for as long as I can remember...

Otherwise it was hours of untangling, and time wasted from flying. Even when I had my first depower kite, a Flysurfer Rookie 2 9m, rather than wrap the lines onto the bar I used to parapack it.

Things have now changed...!

Since owning the Ozone Manta I wrap the lines around the bar in a nice figure eight and haven't had any tangles - it's so easy.

I have to say I am still parapacking my fixed bridle kites (that is until I can convince my wife to let me get an Ozone Turbo Bar for my 4m Method!).

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


It's amazing, people have checked out my blog from all over the world...

How to beat the 24 hour solo distance record...


08:00am - getting up
09:00am - breakfast, driving to the beach
10:30am - equipment check, attaching the gps to the buggy
10:40am - wind: wsw 9-13kn, start with zebra z3 6.5m²
11:50am - wind: wsw 12-15kn, peter lynn vapor 5.4m²
12:00pm - notifying the other drivers at the beach
12:30pm - wind: wsw 15-19kn, peter lynn vapor 3.8m², short break
02:00pm - wind: w 16-22kn, peter lynn vapor 2.7m², 156km
02:10pm - wind: w 16-22kn, peter lynn vapor 3.8m²
03:30pm - wind: wsw 15-21kn
03:50pm - wind: wsw 15-21kn, 250km, short break
06:00pm - wind: wsw 16-21kn
06:55pm - wind: wsw 14-18kn, short break, changing the batteries, 412km
07:45pm - wind: wsw 13-19kn, peter lynn vapor 5.4m²
09:25pm - wind: wsw 14-19kn, changing the bearing in front tire, attaching the lamp to helmet and snap light sticks to the rear axle
09:40pm - wind: wsw 14-19kn, loosing presure in front tire, changing front tire
10:00pm - adding snap light sticks near the turning points

Day 2 

01:00am - wind: wsw 13-19kn, adding 40 smaller snap light sticks along the track
01:30am - wind: wsw 11-18kn, short rain (a few drops)
02:30am - wind: w 12-18kn
02:50am - wind: wnw 12-16kn, short break, changing the batteries again, 742km
03:30am - wind: nw 11-17kn, zebra z3 6.5m²
04:30am - wind: w 9-13kn, short break, peter lynn vapor 7.8m², 795km
06:00am - removing the snap light sticks
06:30am - wind: w 9-15kn, short break, 872km
08:00am - wind: w 10-15kn
09:00am - wind: w 10-17kn, short break, peter lynn vapor 5.4m², 963km
09:45am - wind: w 14-21kn, peter lynn vapor 3.8m²
10:00am - storm from west
10:20am - storm starts with lightning over the sea, aborting
10:30am - first congratulations from other kiters
10:40am - packaging all stuff during the rain, driving home, breakfast

total distance within 24h: 1035km – new world record
time in motion: 22:10h
average speed: 46,7km
driver: Stefan Berkner aka Ska (G2107)
track on kitetrax:

Support: Vera K., Martin H., Christian B., Tobias P, Michael P.

libre protask, peter lynn vapor 2.7m², 3.8m², 5.4m², 7.8m², zebra z3 6.5m²
peter lynn radical harness, ball bearing snatch block
3 garmin foretrex 101, 1 garming foretrex 301, 24 batteries
cm3 led lamp with cree xm-l t6 led
a lot of snap light sticks


1035Km or 643.11 miles  -  

Stefan Berkner  G2017 aka Ska

Stefan Berkner G2017 aka Ska

Tuesday, 6 August 2013


I used it for the first time on Sunday - it told me how crap the wind was to start with (7-9 kph) and how much better it was when I had to leave (19-20 kph), as my parents had decided to visit , which meant I had to cut my session short!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Video - just crusin'

A beautiful winters day yesterday, low wind to start with (7-10 kph) which gradually increased as the morning went on (19-20 kph). Flying the Ozone Manta 2 10m on Lake Walyungup. I got quite a lot of use out of the GoPro line mount for some aerial shots...

It was good to get out in the buggy after about 3 weeks of bad weather!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Good news and bad news...

The good news was Lake Walyungup was dry...

The bad news was...

when I got down there the wind was only blowing 7-10 kph and when I left it had picked up to 19-20 kph (can you tell who got an anemometer?) and my session was cut short by my parents visiting us! Which meant I had to pack up and head home just when it was getting good.

I did have a good run with the Ozone Manta II 10m and have got some video to play with...

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Weight - Part 7

72.5 kgs!

Different scales, but my weight seems to have stabilized around the 72-74 kgs mark.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Video -Fano 2013

It has been raining all week, we have a dry couple of days before more rain to come Sunday arvo. I'm not sure if the Lake is going to dry out enough over the next couple of days for a run out on Sunday morning.

In the mean time Vimeo is keeping me sane!

Some great aerial footage in this video from Fano, Denmark...