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.
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.
- 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.
The predictions were for snow early and wind about 2. The snow was more like oatmeal but the wind did come up quickly about 3pm. This is a reality of our sport out here on the prairie. People often say the wind blows all the time here. I tell them to buy a kite and it will stop. Of course the wind doesn’t cease but owning a kite increases your awareness to the wind and the quality of the wind. You start to understand even when the wind is blowing it may be too light or dangerously on the other end. It isn’t uncommon to get what happened today – the wind was still as Mona Lisa’s smile for most of the day. Within an hour or two it quickly rose to around 16mph with gusts over 20mph. Then, like an angry toddler given an iPad, the wind quickly stilled as darkness fell. In just a couple hours the tantrum was over and so was my kiting session.
Perhaps I should get to the point. All the wind towers dotting the ND prairie confirm this is a windy region (Side note – you do not want to kite into one of those). But before you join the “wind energy is all we need” advocates you need to get a kite. You should to do that anyway. The reason I say this is because the wind is really inconsistent out here. It will blow at a perfect 15-20mph while your at work and then drop to zed when your not. Seriously, a flexible schedule is necessary to maximize the use of your kiteboard up here. Unfortunately the wind doesn’t blow just the way we want on the weekends. I have watched blizzards coming in to try and catch that sweet hour or two between flag down and flag ripped off the pole. This isn’t the gulf where the wind makes a decision and sticks with it most of the day. Our wind is variable and gusty. If you want the perfect day you need to be patient, vigilant and opportunistic. You have to watch for those perfect conditions and then drop everything and go when they arrive. If you aren’t so picky, and I am not, you go when you can and make the best of it. And there are many of those days. Don’t worry, once your kite is in the air and your sailing 25mph across a frozen lake, you won’t be thinking “I wish I was back at work.” You will be smiling, relaxed and happy.
Now a note about my session yesterday. The wind came up and the sun was getting ready to go the other way. I quickly grabbed my stuff after work and was on McKenzie Slough in half an hour. I keep my stuff together so I don’t have to look for it when the time is right. The ice was good. The snow cover was patchy but navigable. I forgot my ice screw but at 16mph the setup was pretty easy so it wasn’t necessary. It was a quick session but fun and I got to finally give my 10m Rally a good run. It will take a little getting used to .vs my 13.5m Kahoona. The 10 is quite a bit quicker and surprised me on a couple turns and jumps. Looking forward to the next session to dial in the timing with this kite.
See you out there soon.
Calling all kiters! Don’t forget about the Regatta this August 22 and 23 in North Dakota’s Fort Stevenson State Park on beautiful Lake Sakakawea. Kiteboard and other wind riders are welcome. A sign-up is available on the DYC Racing site below but if you don’t want to or forget or whatever just show up on Friday or Saturday and hang out. There are a handful of kiters already planning on coming but you are all welcome. Come to kite or just watch. Just come.
Hope you can make it up for the fun.
I often get asked what the big lake is like for kiteboarding. I have not been out on Sakakawea but some kiters got together and hired a trainer (see video below) out of NC to come up for a few days.
Here are some notes from Courtney on the lake:
“I think the best way to Kite on the Biglake is doing a water launch in a pontoon boat or Jetski. With the high water that we had this year most of the beaches are fairly small but 15 miles east of Williston there’s good beach on the North and south side of the lake. The good part of high water is there are numerous days that are large enough to kite on in Highwinds with flatwater. Not good if you can’t ride up wind but if you’re riding up when the bays are great. We launched from shore two days and the third day we did a water launch. I boarded out of the bay at Lunds Landing on Friday with an offshore wind. The way the lake twists and turns if you are in a boat you can always find place with side onshore wind. Both beaches we were on nice sandy beaches.”
The sailboat crowd has invited the kiteboarding crowd to join them in their regatta this year. The events take place at the Fort Stevenson State Park on Lake Sakakawea starting Friday, August 22, 2014. This will be a great chance to get together and meet other wind sport enthusiasts. For those just getting into the sport of kiteboarding, this will be a good place to ask some questions and check out gear.
The sailboats will be racing on Saturday with an exhibition area for the kiteboarders. With enough interest we may be able to set up a kiteboard race as well. Without enough interest we will just get together to freeride and hang out. It may be possible to arrange for a professional kiteboard trainer to come out and join us as well if we could get enough interest in that.
There will be Saturday entertainment for those who stick around. Tickets and food will be extra, I will try to have a few bracelets available for sale on the docks for those interested. Those who want to stay in the park should make arrangements through the Fort Stevenson office by calling 701-337-5576.
If you’re interested, sign up through the link below and we’ll make sure your contact info gets filtered to the right folks. Yes this includes the kiteboarders.
Feel free to call if you have questions, comments or ideas,
Please sign up for the event so we can get an idea of how many folks are going to show up. It will help organize this and future events.
Follow this link to find Fort Stevenson State Park on Google Maps.
Friday, Aug. 22
- 7:00 pm: Social & Rules Refresher at De Trobian Marina
Saturday, Aug. 23
- 9:00 am: Skippers Meeting at De Trobian Marina
- Noon: Race Start at the mouth of De Trobian Bay
- 7:30pm: Garrison Beach Party at De Trobian Marina with music from Billy D and the Crystals
Kiteboarders are used to sharing the beach with their brethren but in western ND wind lovers are more likely to go it alone. This picture shows three kites which is an unusual site out here on the prairie. But it isn’t like the beach was overcrowded. No, there is a lot of room for more so come join us next time.
Chris, Al and I met up at New Johns Lake, NE of Wilton, ND. We didn’t get a good reading so we aren’t sure what the wind was but our guess was about 15-20 mph with gusts of 25+ when we started about 2 pm. and it went down slowly to probably about 10 mph by 5 . The wind was tough from where we started. We were going to try and stay up wind and if it didn’t work we would just ride down wind and have someone pick us up. That is pretty much what happened. Both Chris and I found the wind going one direction to be nice and very rider friendly but coming back was difficult and we couldn’t get back up-wind. The closer we got back to the South side, where we started, we would lose the wind. There isn’t much out there to block it but it did. So we both ended up down the lake. Chris got a ride back from a nice lady camping along the lake and I got a ride from Al’s wife who was nice enough to come get me. Al didn’t trust the conditions with his kite. He got it in the air but backed it down and elected to go fishing instead. The water temp was warm enough to go without a wetsuit but I wore a shorty anyway.
It wouldn’t be a day of kiting without some kind of story right. I was trying to get upwind of an island and I knew I would be cutting it close but I really thought I was going to be able to ride the edge of it. See where this is going? I should preface the rest of the story with some background info for those who have not kited in ND. The wind is gusty here. On this day it was more variable than usual. Back to the story. I was edging hard just a few feet from land and the wind died so I wasn’t going to make it anymore. I ditched but not without issue. I did slide across a couple submerged rocks that led to some scrapes on me and the board. The thing that I was most concerned with was the fact that the kite lines were now caught up in the three foot grass leaving he kite hanging out on its own without supervision. The lines were slack and I was worried if the kite powered up it was going to be hard to control the power. I am writing this so you probably already know it turned out ok. Afterwards I asked myself why I didn’t just stop outside of the danger zone and look for another route. All I could attribute it to was my competitive nature and a need to push my limits. My wife would likely give you a different reason and it would likely rhyme with dupid.
Next time, you should come out and if nothing else, just sit back, enjoy the outdoors and watch the folly.
We got some folks together this past weekend. We only had five show up, including me, but I think it was worth the effort. Stories, contact info and an interest in power kiting were shared. There was gear to check out and compare so I got to see some other systems up close that I hadn’t before. There were several landboards there but the wind was so light no one went for a ride. It was good to meet some more kiters in the area and hopefully we can hook up in the water or on the snow for some real fun. The day was nice and we got to hang out and talk about the sport a bit. Watch for another opportunity to get together later this summer. In the meantime, hope for steady winds.
Free up your calendar Saturday afternoon, June 7. We will be having the first semi-organized meet and greet of kiteboarders in western North Dakota. The goal for this meeting is to connect kiteboarders in the area, exchange numbers, check out gear, ask questions and tell stories.
Meet at Horizon Middle School in Bismarck, ND. Go around to the North side or back of the school where the soccer and football fields are located. I chose this spot because the wind is predicted to be low (6mph). So I picked a spot with an open area where we could possibly play with trainer kites and if people wanted to put gear out to show off or check out they could. Hopefully we can meet on the water next time.
1:00pm Saturday, June 7. If no one shows at 1 I will wait until about 2 for people to show. I will stay and talk with people as long as they want to be there.
What to expect:
A few folks have expressed interest in learning more about the sport. So I want to introduce those folks to the gear and answer any questions they might have about how to get started. Another goal is to connect local kiters and maybe exchange some contact info or whatever. Kiting with someone is good for learning, easier, more fun and safer than going by yourself. I will bring my trainer and my bigger kite to show folks how the gear all works. If others with gear would like to bring theirs and show it off too that would be great. Someone mentioned they would like to see how kite systems other than the ones they own work. We don’t have a store we can go to to check this stuff out so this is probably the only way we can compare systems. This would be good for those thinking of buying more or first time equipment.
Other than that there is no real plan. I hope a few people show up and we can wing it from there. Stop by even if it is just to say hello for a few minutes.
Hope to see you there.
I have been hearing folks say they would like to learn more about the sport of kiteboarding and want to get in touch with area riders. I am thinking it might be time to have Bismarck’s first kiteboarding event. Don’t set your expectations to high but it could be the start of an actual community. Let me know if you have any interest or ideas for a get together.