Offshore Riding?

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Offshore Riding?

Postby mrgrey » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:56 pm

This might sound like a dumb question but entertain a newbie pls... Is it considered safe to ride side off or off shore to take advatage of smooth water on the big lake if there is jet ski support? Just wondering.. I got access to one and was just curious.

thanks!
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby adseguy » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:21 pm

The water may be smooth, but the wind will certainly not be. Even slightly off can really be a P.I.T.A with the gusts/lulls.

Jetski support may not be ideal, but it works. I wouldn't venture too far out either cause now you are not relying on swimming in if all else fails. Smooth water can be attained other ways with jetties and sandbars. So all in all...kinda. It's not recommended, but if everything is in place for it and you can keep it safe, then yeah you could use it if you can't get back in or need help.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby 4w7s » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:24 am

It's a question that many new riders ask.

I would say don't even consider it - even with a jetski.

You are asking for trouble and the big lake and cold water can be unforgiving.

If you take a lesson and/or learn enough from other smart riders all the reasons (not to kite in off-shore winds) will become crystal clear to you. This is not something you want to learn the hard way.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:23 am

Like Adrien and 4w7s say. I wouldn't consider off shore conditions. I've seen it last year some one went out in Waukegan. Glad I was back on shore before the wind complete shifted. The poor guy dropped his kite in the water and was drifter up north while struggling to get his kite back up in the water. Before he went out I warned him already that the conditions were very iffy but not listening he went out. After an half an hour swim he got his kite back up and came back to shore.

Don't wanna think about laying for so long in the cold lake.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby mrgrey » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:38 am

I was pretty sure that was the response that I was gonna get when I typed the question. It is still a little funny that some of the training videos that I have indicate that if there is a level of support that this is an acceptable practice. I have had a few lessons and know enough to not try it, yet was curious if it was a common practice amongst expert riders anywhere. Thanks.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby ironben » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:39 am

riding in conditions like that is nothing new. a lot of popular destination are based on riding side-off like fuerteventura place where they compete.
it is super gusty, and these guys are train in rescue of you and your gear plus they on the constant look out.
Around here few people do it but it is really up to your skills and person on jet ski or boat.
if you ask few veterans around here they will share stories with u,about ditching kite and swimming for they live;but with a rescue in place, on a nice day, i would do it
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby ironben » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:48 am

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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby 4w7s » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:17 pm

I thought I had double posted and deleted my intended message.

Teaching in offshore winds is acceptabe in the right places with the right personnel, right equipment, and backup plans...i.e. in SPI TX, teaching in the Laguna Madre is the norm, where the wind is best 1 mile to leeward of the buildings...but everyone has a radio and there are always several boats/skis around and fisherman nearby...but even then sketchy sh!t has happened in the warm shallow waters.

A few years ago I was at a comp in Islamorada (FL keys) and the wind was off-shore 20-25 kts. Riders had come from all over the country so they were determined to run the event - so they ran it about a mile south of the beach. They had 6 or more jetskis to retrieve riders after the event and they had to run out in relays to get everyone. The last riders being picked up were freaking out because they kept drifiting further and further away. It ain't no fun being in this situation even for these expereinced riders. They do habe some large fish down there, but we have the cold which is probably more likely to get you.

And even slightly off-shore winds can feck you good if there are bluffs or high obstructions near shore to dirty the wind. In some cases swimming/self rescue is NOT a good option if the wind and currents are too much...bottom line: use good judgement and dont' get too greeedy or desperate to ride.

ps/ re: dutchkiteboarders comment: although slightly off-topic, that incident goes to show what can happen when tthings go horribly wrong with boat support, but there were several other factors involved.
Last edited by 4w7s on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:46 pm

There are a lot of places even kite schools that teach in offshore conditions. But these guys train for it if something would go wrong. But still lets don't forget the story from a couple of months ago with a instructor in his boat.

Done it myself in offshore conditions with the careful eye of the coastguards that I was close friends with. Would I recommend it, no main reason kite kept dropping out the air as soon as I approached the beach and the super gusty conditions! Not safe for the people around you and for yourself.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby Kevin » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:36 pm

I had the same questions when I first started kiting a few years ago, posted it here:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6507

I thought it would be nice to have a jetski to get out around here on SW days for example. I've since concluded it is not practical, not a good idea on the big lake. Roberto has summed it up well presently and on the previous thread. You are just asking for trouble. Offshore wind is gusty, which is no fun, and to get clean wind you have to head offshore. When shit goes wrong in choppy conditions in cold water way offshore, you are asking for trouble. Managing a ski and a kite with its lines, etc., especially a beginner kiter, bad scenario.

I think by far the best way to learn/progress is to take a trip someplace with steady wind and preferable flat-water - i.e. Hatteras, Padre, Key West, many places in Caribbean. Jetskis are often used in these places to take you back upwind quickly after you've drifted downwind. Around here, seek nice long beaches when the wind is clean - side-on wind - so you can ride, drift downwind, walk back up, repeat. i.e. Waukegan on S or SE, Zion (though shorter stretch of beach) on N or NE, and many MI beaches on a SW. Indiana beaches can work too but as many people have stated the wind at the bottom of the lake can be less predictable.

Hopefully see ya on the water.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby dbur » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:21 pm

I used to windsurf regularly when it's offshore, normally you'd need to be at least half a mile out to get to more or less clean wind, but even then there will be some big gusts and some lulls and some chop, not much fun in other words... at least on a windsurfing board i can always get back even if i have to tack many times, wave runner can be helpful of course but they also do break once in a while...
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby FSP » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:02 am

I have done many, many great offshore sessions over the years where i spend my summer at mc. surreal is all i can say and truly some of the most memorable I have ever experienced in my kiting anywhere. The serenity, the extreme blue water, the eireness, or just plain strong steady wind to go off in, is hard to describe. I have done this for years and been so far out you cannot see land or me. That said, this has been with planned support and strategic survival backup plans that in a whole other way actually added to the experience!

It all came about throughout many past spring and early to mid summer days when I would leave mc in the morning on a south or southwest to go up the lake for onshore conditions like st joe and there would be no wind. I would come back and it would be going off even stronger than when i left.

I later come to learn that the south winds didnt have to cross any water and would just kiss the mc angled beaches on a southwest to not be affected by the bubble effect or on a south be absolutely lit up by the cool water just off the very hot mt baldy sand dune. 2 different causes but both very reliable to the point that it was looking the same as lsp every time i made it out.

It got to the point that i would tell people not to consider kiting unless you owned a jet ski because that was where 80 of all wind occurred! Problem was and still is, the interest, and skis to do the sessions. Fact is, almost any s to sw days that time of year, you will find big wind develop there. The meter does not always show the wind because it can be more over and out from baldy on a south or really windy from shore out to the pier on sw. Many days it however, can be followed on the meter though.

I wont get into the operations and techniques we used to pull it off but we tried it all with kiters and non kiters. Many times on SW days I left baldy straight off shore and found the wind being sucked along the hot sand shores otherside of the pier, to make it all the way back on my own without my help assisting. The sand and the angle really pull it side ways north side of pier, but stay it south on the south side which is just crazy. Many times I head out to sea and then next thing you know I am behind the pier in butter with a massive crowd to greet me. Its a very cool scenario because the sand is so hot on baldy many of these days you cant walk on it and so cold in the water (upwelling) you need a full suit but that is what makes it tick. Many south wind days we would rig and get off the beach at mc on a 12m and by the time we signwaved out to the pier it would be solid 7m.

This phenom is written about in book by Dashew that explains it if you want to learn more. Many lake sailors know about it and know that you stay away from this area due to the high winds. I came to worship it and days i could not line up help, would be so depressed watching it fire, so would love to develop it safely with a good crew.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby 4w7s » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:43 am

I'm not so much interested in debating the wind phenomenon described above...and maybe this is where the subject becomes a mix of philosophy and pragmatism. I often worry that mentioning this sort of stunt encourages the wrong attitude with respect to safety.

I've taught a good deal of lessons with and without jetskis/boats. I prefer teaching without jetski/boat support because I think many things are glossed over when teaching in the water only. There are a lot of skills that are better learned from the beach. Launching/landing/beach ettiquette are extremely important. And 99% of people will go on to ride from spots where shore launching is the norm, and where the cardinal rules of acceptable wind orientations should be respected.

This said...I think that one of the things that appeals to me about this sport is the "independence" and self-reliance that characterizes kitesurfing. To rely on a boat or jetski is not appealing to me at all for a lot of reasons, (these are just my opinions and preferences). To me it would be a real bummer to see people start chasing the wind on jetskis/boats. To me that defeats much of the purpose of the entire sport. Perhaps I am biased, but I try to share and instill the same sentiments in my students and other people I ride with.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby FSP » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:14 pm

Roberto, with all do respect:

1. I am not advising a teaching scenario for this.

2. I will clear it up right away, that this is not for beginners or those without a clear plan, and not without risk,
though oddly enough,it limits risk in some ways.

3. Jetskis suck BUT...if it adds to the experience and takes an 8hour drive out of the equation I am interested.

4. I have lived there for 15 years on the beach watching it and riding it, so its for real and there is not much better proof.

5. Never say never. It can be done safely if all calculations are mapped out.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby adseguy » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:42 pm

I'm a little with FSP on this one. If done correctly it can work and be fairly safe. We can't just blanket statement that it doesn't really work.

Roberto, you are right though, that without proper context and good explanation it shouldn't be tried and especially by beginners. I think that's the point of these forums though to be able to elaborate and talk about our ideas and practices. A simple sentence probably isn't enough (and even my small paragraph might not be enough), but after a lot of this explanation I think it's OK to say it works if you have all the right pieces and experience.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby 4w7s » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:00 pm

OK, thanks for elaborating.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby rmanecke » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:33 pm

To quote Petra from Airpadre... "Remember, in this sport, the paranoid survive".

If you are questioning the safety of the conditions against your own ability... well, you know the rest.
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby mrgrey » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:16 am

Thanks for the thoughtful debate... I am no stranger to danger yet know enough now to keep my butt safe as a newb. I have got an itch to get this new hobby underway and wanna learn as much as I can while I am waiting for snow or warmer water. In the meantime I got a way to get lit and boost like nobodys buisness and make my own wind in the face;

[youtube]eI_6Rdd0yRU[/youtube]
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby West » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:47 am

LONG LIVE THE MECCA, and those who worship it!!!!!!!!!!!! :wink: and god bless those that have the good fourtune to live on the beach and relish every opportunity not to leave it!!!!!! :wink:
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Re: Offshore Riding?

Postby adseguy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:46 pm

mrgrey wrote:Thanks for the thoughtful debate... I am no stranger to danger yet know enough now to keep my butt safe as a newb. I have got an itch to get this new hobby underway and wanna learn as much as I can while I am waiting for snow or warmer water. In the meantime I got a way to get lit and boost like nobodys buisness and make my own wind in the face;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI_6Rdd0yRU


That looks awesome!! I really would like to get into that. Maybe we can trade experiences :) .
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