Monday, March 7, 2016

30 days in La Ventana - Part 2

Like most sports kiteboarding has a unique language.  After being spectators in two big kiteboarding events, and being around amateur and professional boarders for a month we quickly latched on to some of the more interesting terms.

Here are a few notable terms and their meanings:
  • Downwinder - going on a water adventure from an upwind location to a downwind location.  Rob did many downwinders with his new friends, Brenda and Nigel Hope and their teenage kids
  • Body drag - a way to move your body through the water, using the kite as power.  Body dragging is a skill taught in beginning lessons so that one can move through the water, trying to reconnect with one's board after a crash (also see "yard sale")
  • Transition - changing direction.  Port tack to Starboard tack.
  • Self rescue - what to do when it is clear that you can't kite back to the beach either through a lack of wind or an equipment failure.  This involves wrapping up your lines and swimming ashore with your kite and board.
  • Foil board - the new hot thing in kiteboarding.  Foil boards lift out of the water about 2.5 feet and go really fast.

  • Toeside/Heelside -  the side of the board that is edging. Heelside is the first skill to master.
  • Yard sale - out of control crash that sends the board flying away from the rider.
  • Chicken loop - a part of your "bar" that connects to the hook on your body harness. 
  • Donkey dick aka security pin - acts as a safety connection so that the chicken loop does not accidentally unhook
  • Wind dummy - one of the first persons out on the water. Someone that everyone else watches to see how he/she does with a certain amount of wind and type of equipment.
  • Kitemare -   A kitboarding accident or mishap.  Also a nasty tangle of the kite lines.  Usually the result of a crash and self rescue
  • Mowing the lawn - a big milestone for a beginner.  The ability to ride back and forth in both directions.
  • Walk of shame - usually beginners end up downwind of the launch point.  The walk of shame is more a badge of honor as a beginner, and is the walk (or ATV ride) up the beach to where you started
  • Hindenburg - when your kite flies into a lull or hole and it gently falls out of the sky and into the water.

Learning to kiteboard wasn't part of my plan. When we decided to rent a  place in La Ventana, I was looking forward to having a month to spread out in a big Mexican house, enjoying the quiet, dusty little town and absorbing all the good vibes from being around active people. That would be good enough for me.  But as we approached our rental date, I decided it would be more fun to be part of the action.  So by Day 2,  I was off taking my first series of lessons.  I used both the Girl on a Board and Elevation Kitesurfing schools for lessons.  

I also talked to lots of women and men, mostly older than me, that were enjoying the sport.  Hearing of their learning paths and determination inspired me to do to same.

The sport has a steep learning curve.  Some describe it as wakeboarding behind a boat, but you are also driving the boat.  It definitely required a healthy combination of mental and physical strength.

In La Ventana we enjoyed lots of other physical activities including power yoga, Stand Up Paddling, walking and an occasional, much needed massages.  Many of the seasonal regulars do their yoga, hikes, bicycling and beach volleyball in the morning, waiting for the predictable wind to pick up.  Frankly we were too tired in the mornings to be super active, and Then go boarding. Maybe next year?  And at the end of the day, we  had a ritual of meeting at beach side places like Baja Joes or Coya's to trade stories of success and challenges, and enjoy a drink together.  And there are lots of charming locals restaurants with good fish meals, chile rellenos, pizza to enjoy when we didn't feel like cooking, 

Off for the first lesson, "Ground School"  with instructor, Nicole, 

Coya's 2nd Floor Restaurant
A great location overlooking La Ventana Bay

Flying the Kite in the Water.  Getting ready to bodydrag with instructor. 
ATV Assisted Beach Rides

Favorite Happy Hour Place, Joe's Garage

Dinner at "home" Tom, Katie and Mike

Video of Nancy getting up and riding
Haircuts at the house

Rob met up with old college buddy and fellow sailing instructor Lars.  This photo was taken on a day when we got all rigged and suited up but the wind didn't come up enough to ride.

Sunrise at La Ventana

Here is a video that I took that is a good example of a beach launch, body dragging to deeper water,  water starting and riding.

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