Kayaking In The Moonlight At The Edge Of The World While The Waves Crash Against 100′ High Cliffs In Magdalen Islands Quebec.

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The Island That Sings The Sweetest Songs To My Soul.

Words cannot accurately convey the majesty and awe that the Magdalen Islands inspire.

I launched the kayak as the sun turned red on the horizon. Strapping a headlamp on I jumped into my 14′ sea kayak and tightly gripped my favorite paddle and forced my way out through the surf. The beach was tiny, only about 20 feet wide and was the only beach for miles in either direction. The swell caused the giant kayak to tip and sway more than I ever thought possible in a sea kayak. A few feet away the waves pounded the rocks and cliff face. The lighthouse shot up from the cliff. As I paddled away I felt like I had found the edge of the earth. Here the land abruptly ended and sheer sandstone cliffs that would easily give way under your feet shot up hundreds of feet into the air. There were caves everywhere that were easily carved out by the forceful action of the waves. The surging tides would trap air in the holes and they would build up pressure and blow out air, sometimes high up into the air. The noise and the surging water struck a nerve somewhere deep inside me. I plunged the paddle into the water stroke after stroke and mile melted into mile. Before I knew it the sun had disappeared and the lighthouse was miles behind me, completely gone from view.

I had to check out one of the caves before I turned around so I cautiously turned on my headlamp and started paddling into one that looked creepy. The water was rising and falling quickly and the cave went on for a long way. After several hundred yards there was no light left except the light from my headlamp with no end to the cave in sight. As the swell surged up and down little holes in the walls would blow out water, sometimes with surprising force. It was exhilarating and frightening all at the same time, I decided to slowly back paddle my way out again.

Paddling back under a full moon was totally unreal. I could see the waves crash against the rocks and the cliff face rose up hundreds of feet with the moon peaking over the top. I paddled with a furious intensity for miles until I reached the lighthouse again. I left a flashlight on my car so I could find it on the cliff face, the two red LEDs stared out at me in the water like some kind of hideous beast waiting to devour me.

Continue reading “Kayaking In The Moonlight At The Edge Of The World While The Waves Crash Against 100′ High Cliffs In Magdalen Islands Quebec.”

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Kiteboarding, Hydrofoiling & Kayaking In The Magdalene Islands, The Secret French-Canadian Paradise

Orion and I have discovered a French Canadian paradise a mere 25 hours north of here. For 2 weeks we spent every day playing on the beach and having amazing adventures all over the island. We discovered an abandoned cargo ship, an island full of nesting baby birds, as well as countless caves all over the island.

The ghost ship
The ghost ship

We drove 10 hours to Acadia in Maine and had awesome Wild blueberry pancakes and my yearly lobster omelette at Jordans. Afterwards we hiked the Beehive trail (Precipice was closed) and then hung out on the beach for several hours. There was a baby seal that had climbed out to sun itself that was so adorable. I so wanted to club it, doesn’t everyone fantasize about clubbing baby seals? After chilling on the beach for several hours we setup and played a boardgame next to all my spraypaint art and I managed to sell several pieces.

We headed out to Canada and drove another 10 hours to the ferry. I setup my artwork on the ferry to sell, but the captain of the ship didn’t have such a good sense of humor about that. The ferry was huge, like a cruiseliner with 5 decks and a movie theater, arcade, cafeteria, bar and restaurant. The kids loved running around and playing hide and seek on the ship, and they had 5.5 hrs to do it. The ferry was insanely expensive, I paid $200 each way and Norman with his schoolbus paid almost $500 each way. We made arrangements to arrive a day early for a huge party. The first night was a huge party where almost everyone on the island attended. There was some fantastic Quebecian music that I loved dancing like a crazy person to. Everyone was super friendly, although many of the people I talked to who lived on the island spoke no English at all.

Continue reading “Kiteboarding, Hydrofoiling & Kayaking In The Magdalene Islands, The Secret French-Canadian Paradise”

10 Years Of Snowkiting In Marginal Conditions Was All To Prepare Me For Tughill Festival 2011

If I had one word to describe my experience at Tug Hill this year it would be ‘Epic’. I rode for about 14 hours over the course of 3 days, most of the time in foot deep powder.

Zebulon Crabnebula doing what he does best
Zebulon Crabnebula doing what he does best

I drove up Friday after work to meet Zebulon ‘Crab Nebula’ at Deer River Farm. The winds were very light and he was giving lessons to a very nice couple. Later on in the weekend I would discover that the woman thought the Speed 3 was sexy, and is probably the only woman in the USA that thinks that ANY kite is sexy. I put up the 19 Speed 3 but the winds were too light to ride in such thick powder and I forgot my spare lineset so I couldn’t make the linesets longer. I setup a new triple release system on my 19 and 15 meter kites which works like a suicide leash and keeps you from dropping like a rock in the event of harness, spreader bar, chickenloop, chickendick, chickenloopline or depowerstrap failure. The only failure that could drop you hard would be a front line failure which would still leave 3 lines to support you on the way down. Last winter I had a close call when my third spreader bar broke and left me 20+ feet up off the ground with a fully powered up Speed 2 15 in 20 mph of wind. If I had let go of the bar its certain that I would have broken both legs at best or been dead as a doornail at worst.  The redundant kite support system worked well with my climbing harness and I tested it extensively in light winds. I have destroyed 3 spreader bars, 5 harnesses, 10 chickenloops, 2 depower straps and countless chickenloop lines. The equipment is designed for 150lb guys that are far less aggressive riders than I am. Continue reading “10 Years Of Snowkiting In Marginal Conditions Was All To Prepare Me For Tughill Festival 2011”

Flew To SLC To Snowkite, Ended Up Sleeping Outside On Top Of Skyline Drive In -20F. Cold. Fun.

Skyline is the quintessential West coast snow kiting destination that deserves every ounce of its reputation. The scenery was amazing and the terrain was varied and extensive. Almost every day we wanted to ride there we were able to ride, except for when the storms were rolling through. Traveling with Zeb for 10 days was fantastic, he had already been to skyline countless times and he was pretty good at predicting the winds and the conditions at the top of the mountain. Zebulon is the only kiter I’ve ever met that is actually weirder than I am so it gives me immense satisfaction traveling with him. Whenever people are like ‘dude you are so weird’ I can always be like ‘Yes but my buddy Zebulon is even weirder, why he’s from the Crabnebula galaxy’.

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The trip started off pretty insanely when Zeb texted me that a woman had given birth on the flight he was on and he had gotten re-rerouted to Denver. Apparently this is a pretty uncommon occurrence as it ended up making the national news. The last time he had flown in an airplane the person in the seat behind him had stopped breathing so he had to give him CPR, that’s some bad flying karma. When I met Zeb in Salt Lake City my bags hadn’t made it there yet, so we had to wait a couple of hours till the next flight brought them in. We ended up getting a humongous Chevy Malibu rental car and Zeb had acquired conjunctivitis (pink eye) on the plane so we had a prescription for antibiotic eye drops called into the nearest pharmacy. Zeb had gotten one of the new Android phones and it ended up being a real boon to have with us on the trip, the phone impressed me so much that I can’t wait to get a google phone of my very own. It did voice activated navigation with real-time traffic updates so you can see how slow the Freeways are moving. I’ve been waiting a long time to get that functionality out of my phone, and it’s all free.
Continue reading “Flew To SLC To Snowkite, Ended Up Sleeping Outside On Top Of Skyline Drive In -20F. Cold. Fun.”

French Canadians Really Know How To Have A Good Time In The Carribean

I met Norm at one of my many trips to Hatteras that I take whenever I just can’t get my kite fix in Ithaca. I was down in NC for a couple of days riding by myself and I pulled into kite point and saw their larger than life camper retrofitted greyhound bus and the Flysurfer kite and I immediately struck up a conversation with Norm. I knew from my paddling experiences that French Canadians in general are some of the friendliest people you will meet in all of North America. Norm and his crew did not disappoint. He invited me to sleep in the driveway of their overpriced rental home which I gladly took them up on. It is quite fatiguing when you poach a sleeping spot under these million dollar homes thinking you’ll get woken up by the cops at any minute, but I could not afford one of those nice $150 tickets for sleeping in my van and being a world-class kite bum.

Photo by Thilde Jensen
Photo by Thilde Jensen

After a while my buddy Gregg showed up and he camped in their driveway with his minivan too. It was heaven, kiting all day then warm showers and our own toilet by the pool. We made all the Canadian’s dinner one night to show our gratitude and they were incredibly hospitable for the entire week. Norm even let me fly his Speed 3 15 demo he had borrowed from Ted. That demo kite inspired me to buy 2 new Speed 3’s for my quiver. After I returned, Norm invited me to tag along with them to the Caribbean for a week so I bought a ticket to fly out of Montreal and join them for a week of kiting madness.

Continue reading “French Canadians Really Know How To Have A Good Time In The Carribean”

Hatteras NC, The Best Place I Know To Be Endlessly Harassed By Gun Toting Government Officials

This trip down to the outer banks in 2009 could not have been more different from the solo trip I took down there about a month ago. A month ago I was incredibly emotional driving down there and it seemed like I could not stop crying. When I finally got there even though it was windy I didn’t want to ride. I finally forced myself to get up and go out and ride and then that place worked its magic on me. The cold water and wind was refreshing and soon I found myself remembering who I was. That whole week I spent alone drawing, reading, kiting and generally working on trying to improve myself and my outlook on life. The rangers harassed me constantly; they even went so far as to ask me if I had any weapons or drugs in the car. I thought it would be funny to reply “What do you need officer,” but decided against it. Everywhere I went the rangers would show up, it got to the point where I didn’t even want to talk to them; it was like a game, they would pull up in their big ranger truck and wherever I was at I would just leave. Feeling totally emotionally volatile and extremely vulnerable the last thing I wanted to do was deal with the law or get a ticket for something stupid, so I kept moving, never staying in one place for very long, riding when I could and hanging out in the van when it was raining.

Ride every day.
Ride every day.

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10 Days Of Epic Kiting In Panama Followed By $1500 Of Damage To A Helicopter

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Public transportation.
I spent 9 days of kiting in very good conditions for 5-7 hours a day in 2007

I got to see over 30 stingrays flying through the water while kiting
I was stung by a couple of jellyfish
The stray dogs ate through my nice tent twice to eat my food
The same dog broke into the bathhouse and ate my soap twice, yuk!
On the last day I was there I broke the rear window of a very nice $500,000 helicopter and caused over $1500 in damage

Continue reading “10 Days Of Epic Kiting In Panama Followed By $1500 Of Damage To A Helicopter”