We arrived at our house in SPI shortly before midnight. Roger and I came down to hang out with the Lakawa kiteboarding crew with hopes of improving our skills and having some fun. We were successful at both.
After arriving late we stayed up even later chatting about what to expect. The house was full and we got the last beds in the living room but we didn’t come this far for the accommodations. Waking up to the smell of coffee and the sea breeze was a nice change from the daily grind. I rolled out of bed and started the greetings with everyone I missed the night before. The winds were predicted to be strong and I only have one kite – a Kahoona 13.5m. It was nice that people were ready to get us on the water as soon as possible to hopefully get out before the wind got too strong. I made some scrambled eggs, grabbed some joe and prepared my gear for the day. The house has several vehicles so those of us who were ready earlier hopped in and headed out. Mike took us on a little sight-seeing drive to check out the north end of the Island. It isn’t really the north end but the road gets overrun by sand dunes and he wanted to show us that. It was worth the detour.
Now on the beach, the wind was howling. Although every day for me is a 13.5 day, this one would have been dangerous with that kite. So I watched everyone gear up, launch, kite and land. I was trying to pick up whatever tips and tricks I could by watching. But there is no doubt with only three days of kiting available to me I was bummed not to be riding and taking advantage of my short time on the island. I started thinking about renting a smaller kite for the day as well as looking at any other alternative. Being a newb and not being seen before by any of the folks out there, no one was willing to bum a kite to me. This is totally understandable and I would probably feel the same way. But anyway, a guy looking out for me found another guy on the beach who was willing to sell a 7m Cabrihna for $75. I thought about it for about a second and before I could say yes Roger told the guy it was sold. It was $130 to rent so it made perfect sense to buy the kite.
Now that we had a small kite to use, we pumped it up and strutted out to the beginner area away from the better kiters. Dorian walked out with us to give us a hand. I went first. I was able to get up for short periods but nothing longer than about 30 yards. Apparently I kept going upwind to soon and taking the kite out of the window so I would lose my power and sink. It wasn’t that graceful every time, I had some good face plants and short drags as well. But the beauty of this place is you can stand up anywhere in this water. Most of the time I was more worried about hitting my head on the bottom than anything else. After getting tired, Roger took a shot with Dorian giving him basic kite flying instruction. Afterwards Dorian decided to give the kite a try and then we called it quits for a while.
When we got back to the vehicles some of the best convenience store burritos I have ever had waiting for us. After some food and some line adjustments Roger and I went back out to see what else we could learn with this little kite. We took turns getting beat up and swallowing lagoon water. At the end of the day we hadn’t had much success but did get some good time picking up our kite flying and body dragging skills.
A little frustrated but hopeful for tomorrow I watched the sun begin to set and the real kiters move from sea to shore. With the vehicles packed we headed back into town where we cleaned up and headed out to eat. At a table set for fifteen in the Padre Island Brew Pub, we enjoyed getting to know each other, telling stories and making fun of each other and ourselves. After dinner, back to the ranch for some more stories and bed – or the couch for me.
Even without the success I was hoping for on the water, it was a good day on the beach. An interesting place, interesting people and an inviting day tomorrow. I know it is cheesy but I can’t help but think about the Zac Brown Band’s “Toes” after a day like this.