Pretty Soon Everyone Will Be Doing It : Zeeko Spitfire Hydrofoil Review

I’ve been kitesurfing for a long time. Years before there was even water relaunchable tube kites, I was flying foil kites on land and in the snow. I remember how excited I was when I first discovered there were other people who flew kites in Ithaca one winter long ago on the ice shelf at Stewart Park. Together we worked to figure out how to ride on the lake and failed tragically to stay upwind until Wing Eng finally went out on a 4.9 non-water relaunchable Blade II buggy racing foil kite and a 6′ long piece of plywood strapped to his feet with chopped up mousepads. Oh, how the times have changed.

The Spitfire is designed for jumping and wave riding, but the best part about it is the way it feels to ride. Not me, this guy uses straps.

After thousands of hours riding over almost 2 decades the sport was starting to lose interest for me. At 44 I had reached the peak of what I was able to do without seriously injuring myself. I tried lots of harder powered tricks, including some kite looping tricks and always ended up hurting myself bad enough to wonder why I was trying them. For the most part, I wanted to just get out on the water and jump 30 feet in the air and do nice slow front rolls all day long. The kites got better and better until the kites I ride today are what I really wanted to ride when I started but had not been designed yet. The Flysurfer Speed and Sonic FR kites I fly today are what I wanted to by flying back when I first started to ride. I laugh when I think about the first water relaunchable tube kite I bought, a 13.5 AR5 Naish with a wrist leash attached to a rear line and no chicken loop release. If I ever had to dump the kite, I couldn’t and it probably would have ripped my arm out of it’s socket if I did. That kite was so bad that I didn’t even sell it, I just threw it away because it was so dangerous. $2000 down the toilet. Such is life.

Continue reading “Pretty Soon Everyone Will Be Doing It : Zeeko Spitfire Hydrofoil Review”

Advertisements

Kite Through 3 Feet Of Powder, Launch 15 Feet In The Air, Do A Trick, Repeat

Tug Hill Kite Festival 2014 was the best day of snow kiting in my entire life. I had made plans to spend the weekend at The Flurry Festival, a 3 day dance festival in Saratoga Springs, but I decided to cancel at the last-minute because of an impending snowstorm. Instead I packed the van with 6 kites, 2 Snowboards, 3 pairs of Micro skis, XC skis, Ski, XC and snowboard boots, some food, my portable heater and camping gear and a couple sleeping bags and started on my personal Mecca to Tug Hill, the promised land for snowkiting.

Zebulon Crabnebula doing what he does best
The Lean Green Snowkite Machine – Zebulon Crabnebula doing what he does best

Continue reading “Kite Through 3 Feet Of Powder, Launch 15 Feet In The Air, Do A Trick, Repeat”

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”

Snowkiting In Switzerland. A Chilling Tale Of High Mountain Adventures

2237_1105769442837_9104_n

My trip to Switzerland in 2006 was amazing. It was interesting to see the vast startling contrast between America and the Swiss, which was exaggerated by my choice for departure from JFK. JFK is in a serious state of disrepair, it always feels like a war zone down there. The people who work there have seriously negative attitudes and I can only imagine what most of the airlines that fly through there think. Case in point our departing plane had been at the gate all day, but no one had some to clean it so we were 30 minutes late in boarding. Once we boarded there was no ground crew to see us off, so there was another hour we had to wait. This was a huge international flight as well with maybe 200 people on it, not just a puddle jumper. Everything in Switzerland was very nice and new and clean. The public transportation was amazing, I never found myself waiting more than 10 minutes for a train or a bus and the buses were all free. When I got back to NYC and had to get in my car and drive through rush hour NYC traffic you really start to appreciate how different America is from other countries in the world.

Continue reading “Snowkiting In Switzerland. A Chilling Tale Of High Mountain Adventures”