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Kite ND hopes to make the sport of kiteboarding more approachable for newbies.

2nd annual Chicken Loop event – a gathering of ND kiteboarders

Get your friends together for a gathering of western ND kiteboarding enthusiasts. If you or someone you know is interested in kiteboarding, this is the place to be. Whether you just want to watch, learn, or show-off your latest tricks. All levels of riders are welcome. This is a great opportunity for those who haven’t kited but are interested in learning about the sport as well. We would love to have you join us.

This is an informal gathering with the purpose of getting kiters together to ride, share stories, gear gawk and whatever else. If that isn’t enough, we will hook you up with some stickers or something. Come camp for the whole weekend or just show up for a few hours. Feel free to bring the family for an outdoor weekend. Tell your friends and neighbors.

Location: New Johns Lake

Dates: Friday, July 16 through July. 18, 2017

Friday: Informal meet-up, riding and camping

Saturday: Meet around 10 am by the north side boat launch at the shelter to get things kicked off.

There is no registration so don’t worry if you miss the meet up times. We will get together with those who are around, evaluate the wind and make a plan for the first ride. If the wind doesn’t provide for upwind travel or people can’t stay up wind we can arrange for a down-wind ride and transportation to get those folks back. Camp sites are available free of charge on a first come basis. Some sites have vault toilets. The boat launches provide areas for gear set up and staging.

Don’t kite but have a boat and want to be a part of the event. That would be great. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and folks end up in situations that would make it useful to have a boat – like no wind or getting blown off course. Having someone to pick you up is nice.

Come join the fun. Hope for wind.

More Info

 

New Johns Saturday Jun. 3

Roger and I rode New Johns last Saturday, June 3. Winds were cycling from 10 to 35 and back. This wasn’t gusty but more like ten minute intervals. Unpredictable even for ND.

They were on the light side when we hit the water. We started looking at a spot near the South boat ramp as it was a WNW wind which is mostly on-side-shore. I was worried we would hit shore right away if the wind dropped for very long so we moved to the North side of the lake on the point by the North boat ramp. Strangely, there the wind was more WSW. I know that doesn’t make sense but that is kind of how New Johns is – the wind seems to swirl or maybe it is just the shoreline that makes it seem that way.

We wore shorties and I didn’t even notice the water temp – really comfortable. It is early for water this warm. Get out and enjoy it.

I was debating over using my 13m or 17m. Glad I went with the 17 Zephyr. Roger went out on a 13m. We left a vehicle for the ride back downwind since we figured we would be doing some floats with the crazy wind.

Roger was working it with the 13. I had a pretty good time of it with the 17. I have been happy with the depower of the Zephyr when the gusts come up. It doesn’t feel scary like I thought it would. I was able to maintain position when the wind was up but kept losing ground when it died. I actually got some good tacks in but I realized I need a lot of board and body position work. I should have had no problem out there but I find myself stalling my kite at times when the wind goes down. I need to learn to use the board better and lay off on the sheeting when the wind lulls.

I did have one problem out there. Twice my chicken loop came undone. The first time was no problem as I was already bobbing with the kite down. The second time it happened I was sinking and I must have pulled back on the bar so hard it knocked the loop off my harness. This resulted in a lot of slack in the line and the kite rolled which stuck me with inverted lines. I know there is a way to undue those but I haven’t had any success doing it in the water. If you know of a good video on how to do that post it in the comments. Anyway, this resulted in a self-rescue situation which I don’t like doing that much with this Ozone system. I was fairly close to shore so I just floated in till I could touch and then straightened things out. Roger came down and grabbed my kite shortly after so all was well at that point. But if I had been in the middle of the lake, this would have been a miserable float in. Not sure what the takeaway on that is. Maybe just be aware of the potential. I am sure I caused the chicken loop to jump out, just not sure how.

St. Paddy’s Day Session

All it took was a text from fellow kiteboarder and a note to my boss and next thing you know I am out on the riding in a way I doubt St. Paddy ever invisioned. We thought the best place to ride would be a frozen lake because of the warm weather. We were wrong. It turns out the ice was melting fast and there was open water. What we didn’t expect was the amount of snow in field we have ridden before. It wasn’t bad at all. There were bare spots but for the most part, the snow was good. Winds were 22+ with the usual ND gusts. Nothing is more fun than boosting in the sun. I had a few really big boosts and a couple epic fails. Not sure yet if I got a concussion. It was a great day and probably the last one of the winter season. It was a good one to end on.

Check out the video!

2017 Kite Crossing Recap

6am wake up call. Coffeed up and on the road to Garrison, MN, for the Mille Lacs Kite Crossing. Registration was the night before so the race was out for me. The race is the big event of the day and the reason for the event but it wasn’t the main reason I made the trek. My interest was in meeting other kiters, learning what I could and making connections. To me, being a kiteboarding pioneer in ND means to exploring the scene around us and bringing that back to share. Not to offend any of the real kiteboarding pioneers and innovators, what I meant by a ND pioneer is that there just isn’t much of a scene here and I am doing what I can to grow the tribe.

You are probably here for the event itself though. So here we go, the location was great, the wind was good, temps pushed 40 and a couple inches of flour were neatly blanketed across the ice. I would guess there were fifty kiters on the ice representing all skill levels. I would say there were twenty-five kites in the air at any given moment for a good part of the day.

Upon arriving to Garrison, I found a buddy of mine who drove up from the Twin Cities. We took a quick walk around the camp to talk to folks and get a feeling for what was going on.

As a side-note, we did stop by the Slingshot rep’s van and had a quick chat with him. I was hoping he would give my buddy some guidance or information. I didn’t expect a free lesson but maybe the use of a trainer or something. This is a thought for Slingshot and other kite makers. Maybe you guys should have trainers and demo kites available to introduce people to the sport. Otherwise it is like saying hey looks like fun huh? Too bad you don’t have a few hundred just to try a kite. It just doesnt seem like letting folks use demo gear would be a bad way to grow the sport and sell some kites. Enough of the soap box though.

The other guy I met is the owner of Lakawa, a trainer company in the twin cities. He won the race last year and won it this year as well – in a tuxedo. He spent most of his day after the race trying to keep people from driving over his lines. That was comical. Not that getting your lines ruined is funny, I just couldn’t understand why he didn’t move his stuff out of the main traffic area. We talked to some good guys who were set up next to us. They were knowledgable and fun to talk to. I have found kiters to be a good group of folks to hang with and talk to. I definately want to come back next year and participate in the race.

But for this run, I got some good runs in. The other kiters were inspiring and pushed me to boost higher and ride faster. I started out with my 9m but it didn’t have the power so I ran the 17m most of the day. There were a lot of 12s flying around and a few big foils. I love the wind range on my Zephyr. But that isn’t what this is about.

We had lunch at the best Burger King – it had a bar connected to it! After lunch we rode some more and then went looking for the party and awards ceremony. I say looking because no one seemed to know where the party was. We tried one place but it turned out to be wrong so we headed to another spot and found the post event dinner. It was great and hosted at the local VFW. After dinner I headed out for the long ride home.

If you are expecting a well-oiled machine of an event – this is not it. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. If you are looking for a good ride with some mostly friendly folks, then give this event a try. If you are looking for white glove treatment, this might not be the event for you. I am not that guy so I had fun and I think you will too.

Innaugural flight of the Zephyr 17

Kitable days are limited in ND. Winds, work, family, weather, difficult travel, commitments and a million other things keep us from getting out and riding whenever we want.  Therefore, it is necessary to make the most out of each opportunity. After several days this summer when a 14 wasn’t enough kite I decided if a good deal for a light wind kite came up I would take it. Come November, I ran across a good deal on a demo Zephyr but it sold before I could get the deal done. The sales lady at Kiteboarding.com new I was disappointed and called me back a bit later with the same deal on a new 2016 kite. I was all over that. Fast forward a few months and a couple no-wind failures for a first flight I finally got my chance.

I met a friend at McKenzie Slough. The wind read 15 on average with a high of 18. I am pretty sure it was gusting in the mid 20s by the time I got rigged up. I was hesitant about putting up a 17 in that wind but I really wanted to give my new toy a shot. Justin’s encouragement gave me the juice I needed to blow it up. We decided he would watch for a bit and if I was too overpowered he would help me get it down.

Just a note about the oversized pump – worth it on a big kite like this.

Justin gave me a launch and I was off for first impressions. I was initially surprised by how much control there was over this big kite – especially since this should be the upper wind range for this kite. I was definitely lit completely depowered. The kite was rigged on the middle notch so no tweaking there. I was hesitant to unleash the hounds and found it surprisingly easy to tame this lion. I don’t know if they intended this kite to be flown in 20+ with ND gusts but the kite handled it so I would say it has good depower. After a few overpowered runs back and forth I decided to switch kites so I could work the kite a little more. I dropped the kite with help and switched to a 9. That might give you an idea of the range of the Zephyr. I rode my 9m Rally until my legs and core were shot. We played on the snow drifts for quite a while. I was working on landing my jumps softly rather than the alternative – it feels a lot better. My legs were burning and ready to quit but since the wind had let down a bit, I decided to give the 17 another try. I got a few good airs in and made some fast runs up and down. It was a good day but I was gassed and decided to call it a day before I got hurt.

Takeaways:

  • I like Ozone’s fit and finish. The kite seems solid, durable and there are some nice features like the big valve. Not sure why kite makers don’t have a valve you can lock the hose to either by screwing it in or some other method. Something to prevent hose blow out would seem to be a good thing.
  • I think the Ozone bar is decent. Because the wind was strong I didn’t really play with the power adjustment much.
  • I was surprised by the big Zephyr’s wind range. Although I have tried it around 9-10mph and had trouble getting the kite up. I had hoped it would fly in the 8-9 range.
  • I have heard the kite referenced as being fast for a big kite. I thought it responded a lot like my 13.5m Kahoona. I suppose that comment validates the claims that it flies like a smaller kite. I wouldn’t say is fast or nimble. But I didn’t really expect it to be real agile. I did make a few turns too fast and got downwind of the kite – causing it to fall out of the sky. I didn’t wait for the kite to get around before I started my turn. My Kahoona usually ends up with inverted lines when that happens and the Zephyr did not so I was happy about that.
  • I haven’t found it to be the easiest to launch either. When it is leading-edge down, it takes a little effort to get those big wings turned and off the ground.
  • From what I have experienced thus far, I am thinking this kite has enough range to replace my old 13.5 in most conditions.

 

 

2017 Mille Lacs Kite Crossing

The 13th annual kite race/event at Mille Lacs Lake, near Garrison, MN is scheduled for March 3-5.

A weekend of freeriding, endurance race, expression session, gear demos, instruction and more. Riders are encouraged to spend the weekend in Garrison or nearby. The Welcome party, On the Ice Festivities, Riders Party and Saturday’s Banquet is free to all registered riders and guests.

Details

Categories: Ski Men, Snowboard Men, Ski Men Masters, Snowboard Men Masters, Ski Women, Snowboard Women, Juniors
Qualifications: Anyone willing to give it a try.
Format: The race will be a long-distance, kite endurance run.
The Race Committee will determine the course based upon the conditions of the day. Details of the race are provided at the Racer’s meeting. If you intend to race you must attend the Racer’s meeting. We will try to provide a total distance of 16-28 miles. Snowmobile support will be provided along the course. Helmets are Mandatory. Awards: Awards will be based on timed finishes and presented at the Awards Ceremony on the day of the race.

Schedule

  • Friday: registration and racers meeting
  • Friday: welcome party at Harbor Inn
  • Saturday: racers meeting
  • Saturday: race events weather permitting
  • Saturday: party and banquet at the Y Club
  • Sunday: backup day, free ride & socialize
  • Sunday: awards presentation

More Info

 

First Annual Chicken Loop Event is a Success

North Dakota’s premiere kiteboarding extravaganza took place this past weekend on New Johns Lake, near Wilton, ND. Kite enthusiasts arrived from across the state to take part in the event which was in its inaugural year. The success of this year’s events has led the planning dept. to conclude there will definitely be a year two event.

Ok, that last paragraph may have stretched the truth a bit. While I think it is ND’s premiere event, as far as I know it is the only one. We did get a rider from Fargo and one from Beach. For those of you who don’t know, those two cities are on the bookends of the state. So technically, we did get riders from across the state. I feel better that now that you know the truth. It really was a better turn out than I thought it would be. At one point, there were six kites on the water and possibly a trainer up on land. I had expected to spend the weekend by myself so having other riders was a bonus.

The event lacked sponsored riders, big banners, live music and crowds. But Mac Kites and Kiteboarding.com provided some swag and riders appreciated their generosity. So to them I say, thanks for supporting our event. A couple guys noted the missing kite girls, open bar and band. To those folks I say, I will see what I can do for year two.

IMG_2164
Chicken Loop – early risers on day 2

What about the weather, right? Day one started off with some folks arriving to New Johns about 3. It was rainy and cool but the wind wasn’t bad. A couple guys got out for a session. I arrived about an hour to late to take part. It rained most of the rest of the evening.

Day two started out sunny and nice. It really would have been a great day for anything but wind sports. A group of folks met up in the morning. They set up gear and waited for the wind. You all know the drill. Eventually, someone got overly  confident or bored and decided to go for it. Of course that is enough to get the rest of the folks going and then it was on. Six kites got into the water. The experienced rider with the sixteen got off pretty good. The less experienced riders and smaller kites ended up floating quite a bit. One poor soul ended up on an island. In his defense, he couldn’t have known it wasn’t the main land at the time.

Two light wind sessions were ultimately had that day. Boat support was provided for the first one but an incident with gas evaporation led to a lack of support for the second try. There was some trainer kite action and some new interest in the sport. Hopefully that leads to new members of the growing ND kite scene.

As a side note, if anyone who was camping on the lake that weekend is reading this. For those of us who missed our target quitting area and washed up on camp sites not our own, I thank you for allowing us to temporarily disturb your solitude while we waited to get picked up. Also, thanks to the local popo who helped us round up our lost sheep.

Day three started with promise. The two folks that camped on the lake took advantage of a short burst of 13mph winds. They got in a quick session and attempted another after a third kiter arrived. But that was cut short due to a lack of wind.

New friends and discoveries were made. Many were surprised how well the lake works for kiteboarding. The camping was great. Minus the short rain and lack of wind, the weather was good too. No one was hurt and a board that was lost was found by friendly campers who were happy to return it the owner. The trip might sell some light wind kites so if you are a dealer and want to provide a Chicken Loop discount… just saying.

For a final point of business, several wives asked what a chicken loop is and why on earth we would call the event that? I just said I didn’t think it was appropriate to use the name of the other piece of kite gear I wanted to use. That is an inside joke for the kiters out there.

 

 

 

Chickenloop – the 1st annual western ND kiteboarder gathering

Get your friends together for a gathering of western ND kiteboarding enthusiasts. If you or someone you know is interested in kiteboarding, this is the place to be. Whether you just want to watch, learn, or show-off your latest tricks. All levels of riders are welcome. This is a great opportunity for those who haven’t kited but are interested in learning about the sport as well. We would love to have you join us.

This is an informal gathering with the purpose this year of just getting kiters together to ride, share stories, talk shop, gear gawk, and whatever else. If that isn’t enough, how about door prizes! Come camp for the whole weekend or just show up for a few hours.

Location: New Johns Lake
Dates: Friday, Aug. 19 through Aug. 21, 2016
Friday: Informal meet-up
Saturday: Meet around 10am by the north side boat launch at the shelter to get things kicked off.

There is no registration so don’t worry if you miss the meet up times. But we will get together with those who are there to meet-up, evaluate the wind and make a plan for the day. If the wind doesn’t provide for upwind travel or people can’t stay up wind we can arrange for a down-winder and transportation to get those folks back. Some folks have talked about bringing a boat so there MAY be some boat support. Camp sites are available and a couple sites have toilets. The boat launches provide areas for gear set up. The weather reports look cool so you may want to pack your wetsuit.

Come join the fun. Hope for wind.

More Info