Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kiting the Lobby

On the first day of the conference, all of the attendees of "The Lobby" were given instructions on what we were to do - in the form of ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs that ultimately had to be translated into the 12 letter Hawaiian alphabet in order to understand what was to occur. After a visit to a Hawaiian goddess in a temple, set atop a once active volcano, we were led on a spiritual journey to a spot on the island that locals refer to as "The End of the World". From here on out I definitely CAN'T write about what actually happened there, as it later became clear there are real ramifications.

retribution - waking sunday morning to fire rapidly approaching The Lobby venueWhile I kept my cool, and my lips sealed, it's clear that not everone else did. By Saturday, several posts had appeared on Valleywag, and by then, the Gods were awakened and EXTREMELY angered. By early Sunday morning, those of us still there awoke to the smell of smoke. A wild fire had been sent along with 30 mph winds whipping embers in our direction. It had gotten out of control, forcing a shut down of the main highway to the north.

 fire encroaching on the golf course 100 yard from the hotelBy 11 AM, the fires had reached the golf course just on the other side of the road from the Lobby venue.

Roads closing, people fleeing. Time to scramble outta there... enough said.

tall map of South Kohala, click on the pic to enlargeNow back to kiting... Kiting die hards Saar Gur, P-Air Wolff and I teamed up with the regulars at Anaeho'omalu Bay to kite the mid day thermals. On the map to the left, "A-bay" is detailed with the number 2 (click the pic to enlarge). "K-Bay" is just below that, approximately 10 minutes to the south.

On normal thermals, people kite "A-Bay" but if the wind has a slighty higher westerly component, everyone kites "K-Bay" (Kiholo Bay) .

There are a couple things one must know about kiting "A-Bay".

1) The SW thermals blow from roughly 11 - 2 when the sky is clear, leading to a temperature differential strong enough to suck wind in from the south west in the face of NW trade winds whipping around the northern tip. The day we were there, the thermals were roughly 16-17, with trade winds around the rest of the island gusting 20 to 30 in the opposite direction. When the thermals shut off, they shut off hard. Easy to get stranded in the bay when they shut off. Thus:

2) bring a big kite. I normally fly anywhere from a 9 to 11 in SF Bay area winds, and 7 - 9 on Maui. I borrowed Lyndon Rive's 14 Best Waroo and used my larger board. DON'T kite too far out- else face a sudden shift into trade winds - in this case 30 mph trades with a 14. Next stop is Fiji with many a great white waiting along the way.

3) Absolutely bring booties. The rigging area is sandy, but once in the water, a wade through volcanic rock is required.

4) While one can hold a line and kite back to the launch area, the safe convention is to kite downwind to land (in this case north east from launch) at a sandy beach sans sharp, jagged volcanic rock to tear up your skin and your kite.

5) more info is available at iPRAYforWIND

I had a great 45 minute session on flat water, saar with one of the main guys at Anaeho'omalu baycrusing back and forth with my 14 and a 133 cm Jimmy Lewis twin tip. Saar was able to kite and hold his own with a Cabrinha Omega 12 and a 150 cm board. P-Air brought a surf board - I wish I had done the same as the extra flotation would have helped for sure. Very scenic, and very fun.

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