After a good first day kiting on the snow I was hoping for another but the forecast didn’t look good. It was a sunny and warm Sunday morning. I was looking out the window at the smoke coming off a sugar beet plant miles away from my parents home in Moorhead, MN. I could see the wind was blowing straight away to the North but it was hard to tell how fast. So I debated packing up and heading back to Bismarck. I was moving slow and enjoying conversation with the family when my friend from the lake called. He said it was good and I should come back down. So I jumped in the car and was there in about 40 minutes – just after lunch time.
He was right. The wind was blowing steady in the 14 mph range. It was a little gusty and I think the average speed picked up as we were out there. We just played for a while. Today we were able to go about 20-30 mph across the soft white blanket on the lake. The snow is uniform across the whole lake but you need to stay away from the large pressure ridges at the openings of the bays and around the shore. But the middle of the lake is wide open with nothing in your way. I did get some jumps off the snow drifts around the ice houses but then it was back to work.
I practiced getting up from a seated position to mimic coming out of the water. This is something I will need to be able to do in Padre. I also practiced getting some air while standing stationary. This was just for the fun of it and because I have no idea how I am going to change direction on my kiteboard so I thought it might come in handy if I need to get some help hopping the board to switch my feet around.
If you read my last post you know I haven’t been able to change direction very well. I usually end up with my kite coming around too much and getting up wind of me. Obviously that doesn’t work very well. Basically, this puts the kite out of the wind window so it falls gently to the ground. I spent a little time watching my friend make turns and the light bulb went on. I had been turning to late. I was waiting to feel the pull of the kite before I started my turn. I was thinking the kite should pull me around in order to keep it powered up. But I was wrong. As I watched him I realized I needed to start turning when the kite does – maybe even a little before. This is what he had been telling me all along but it didn’t register until I saw it. Once I figured that out I was able to make turns the rest of the afternoon without any trouble. By the end of the day I could make slalom type turns one after another without any trouble. Thanks buddy. I guess the gist of that is to start turning your body when you initiate the turning of the kite. It will take the kite longer to make the turn but you will be able to keep the diving motion of the kite going and maintain the power because you are already in position to head the other direction. It also gives you a lot more control over the kite when it comes around. So if you need to power up or down you can easily do so.
We did some more figure eights today too. My friend asked me to get closer to him today. I warned him what that might mean with a newb like myself but he was willing to risk the tangled lines for my benefit. So we weaved back and forth around each other with our kites and lines coming within just a couple feet of each other several times. I think we got this down now.
All in all it was a great day. Got some good speed, a little air and learned to change direction effectively.