After the fires comes the rain on the south coast, and after about 300mm of rain over many days and no decent wind I was getting tetchy. The forecast yesterday was for a light southerly which is weak on our main kite beach but at least the rain was abating. Perhaps this was time to try another beach in a local estuary where the southerly is usually stronger but has a sketchy launch. Aaron joined me also with a 5m Peak4 and his foil. I figured that the 5m Peak4 would be safe hot launching between trees if I got the location correct. I had to position the kite at the shore while I walked out with the lines, as the wind was onshore. Once I tightened the lines and gave a quick tug the kite came straight up between the trees and with handfuls of seagrass on the lines. Fortunately the seagrass shook off easily and I picked up my board and trudged out to where I hoped I could find enough depth for my foil.
The first 50m the water got gradually deeper and just when I thought I was close to enough depth the water got shallower as I found a seagrass bed. Bugger! I now remember this being present when I last swam at this beach. I tried dragging a bit further out and across the beach hoping the bed wasn't too large. When I felt I had enough depth I tried getting going again and this time tried keeping the board on an angle so I didn't let the foil go too deep and find more weed. The wind varied between 12 knot gusts & 7 knots in the lulls and I found a gust to lift me up and onto the foil and foiled away from the weed bed. The last time I had been on a wind powered craft here was on a sailboard, so depth and weed wasn't so much of an issue. Now I hoped the weed wouldn't be distributed all over the place making foiling as frustrating as the launch.
Meanwhile Aaron figured a better launch could be had 100m along the beach and set up there. Apparently his calculations were slightly out and the kite hit a tree on the way up nearly finishing the session before it had began However a quick shake of the kite and it sorted itself out in the air and he walked and dragged out to where he could launch. It was because of the Peak4 kites we decided we could kite from this location without shore assistance. (The beach was deserted.) It would be harder with any other kite to launch unassisted as there was no sandy beach and trees right to the waters edge in places. A sudden gust could easily put LEI/Twinskin kites into a tree with the onshore wind or have them slide into other obstacles on the beach deposited by a recent storm.
Anyway once out on the water the foiling was better than expected. The rain stayed away and the weed drifting in the water was mainly confined to one end of the beach which we avoided. Due to the shallower water the chop was smaller and better speeds were achieved on our surf foils without too many crashes. A bit of side by side racing also ensued pushing our minimal race skills to their limits. Apparently we covered approx. 32km according to Aaron's GPS watch. Although the wind was gusty it was easy to handle on the 5m Peak4's with even 7 knot lulls not being a problem if we were up and foiling. Apparent wind is a big friend on a Peak4 and my 65kg had no problems. Aaron had nearly 20kg on me and avoided turning or falling in the light bits. However the stronger wind runs were great, both of us being able to point high or bear away with sufficient power.
On my return to the beach I figured if I kept the foil riding high I could get most of the way in to the point where I could jump off and land my kite at the waters edge or against a tree. Even though the wind was gustier closer to shore, I was able to get to where I wanted, jump off and then steered the kite down to place it against a small 300mm eroded bank near the waters edge where it collapsed and held until I could get to it and make it safe. Aaron also successfully made his way in and I landed his kite.
Of course this is an unabashed post which shows the Peak4 being a great kite for situations where you have a challenging launch site, gusty wind and no help. Also if not for hydrofoils we wouldn't have been out on any kite really. But it was fun, we needed a session and a good one was had