Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson, seven, kite

It's Sunday night and by this time everyone has gone to bed. But I just happen to record the BET Awards tonight and decided to watch them because I had heard there was going to be a tribute to Michael Jackson. This is just the first of many that are going to chronicle his life, but it was interesting how they put their spin on him. I did enjoy looking back on this huge stars life because I had an opportunity to work with him twice. We will all miss this incredible talent.

The wind was quite high at 11:30 or so. Klaus, Dong and Aaron were among the first on the water. The wind was so strong that he used his 10. Later he used his 14.

We knew from yesterday that it was going to be hot so I brought more chairs and the good ol' umbrella. I pulled Michael's kite over so the cool wind would blow over the camp. Double click on the picture and you can see Dong and Klaus resting from their high wind session.

Klaus, and Alice were playing around on the beach and I happen to catch it. This might be a good time to mention that most of the pictures are from Klaus's camera. Mine's not back from the repair shop yet.

We had entertainment again today. This time from Winning Our World (, a christian group that comes to Long Beach an annual baptism. I liked the music and the sermon. Can't wait to see what we're going to get next weekend...July 4th.

Shots of kiters on the water never captures how cool it is to look out there and have 30 to 40 kites on the water. One of these days we'll get a shot from the water. A much better angle.

Alice is one of about 6 new female kiters that grace Belmont. In just a few weeks they have all improved and I think I heard Alice is now jumping. You Go Girl!!!

Now that the wind has come down a little Klaus talked Rosemary into trying his Bandit 14. I think she was back up on her board again. Sometimes it's baby steps.

Even our windsurfing friends got a little time on the water today. Radko is getting that jibe down. And water starts, no problem.

Klaus grabbed his camera and took a couple shots of me on the Becker. I body drag because of the stingrays. I didn't want my afternoon ruined.

I guess there is one little trick in getting up. Having your feet positioned on the board and having the board facing in the direction you want to go. Then it's just a matter of "Dropping The Hammer" and away you go.

On a day like today sometimes it takes a while to get everything under control. You've got to get the kite powered up, your weight in the right place and edge the board.

What was fun about today was I was able to pull on an down-wind jibe.

I'm back on the beach and ready for a cold one. I'm going to get this if it kills me. Thanks Klaus for taking the pictures today.

End of another fantastic day at the beach. Hope to see you all very soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thank you for two more days of wind!!

Friday and Saturday at Belmont was a lot of fun!!

I didn't get many shots of Friday because we were out "playing" most of the afternoon. Klaus came down after work, Rijk came to the beach to mend his ribs and everyone else came to get in a little kiting.

Because the wind was a little light I decided to spend most of my time riding my Becker 6' surfboard. I am bound and determined to get the downwind jibe and riding toe side. It didn't happen today but I had a lot of fun trying.

I did get an end of the day shot at the beach. The sun had a little way to go but the wind had died so it was time to head home.

Ruth had a little surprise for me, she set up some food and drinks on the roof-top deck. Summer is wonderful when it's warm and now we finally have nice temps at dusk. As you can see her tomatoes are starting to come in too. I can't wait to taste them.

As the sun was setting you can see a small flock of parrots flying by. They are small green parrots that can be seen and heard in the evening in the palm trees across the street from Von's on Ocean. And are they loud!!! When there are only four they sound cute.

It's now Saturday and the crowds are starting to hit the beach. Klaus could not find a parking spot so he donated $10 to the city of Long Beach. There were a lot of people and kiters. It was also a day to help others. Rosemary felt today was the day she was going to get up on the horse and ride into the sunset.

Klaus decided to give Rosemary a few beach pointers. They look all smiles now but he's a strict teacher.

I could remember hearing Klaus telling Rosemary, "Don't be a grandma, drop the kite hard so it can pull you up."

Yes she may have crashed here, but she was actually putting the pieces together. Kiting may look simple, but in reality you are trying to train your body to do something new and very different.

Klaus gives Rosemary a few more words of encouragement. She was not a quitter.

WOW!!! Rosemary is up and going.

It's hard to tell but Rosemary got a stingray bite to the bottom of her foot. I didn't want to show you the blood, but after a few minutes the lifeguard came over and washed her foot off. Then the truck picked her up and whisked her away to soak her foot in hot water. Poor Aaron drew the short straw because he had to wrap up all the gear.

As Klaus and I walked back to the camp he asked me what time it was. I asked a gentleman that was sitting on the beach and he said, "Five minutes to 6." Klaus said, "Mitch is getting off work and he's going to use my kite."

Klaus is raising his F-One Bandit Dos 14 m so Mitch can go out.

Mitch is ready to go. I got to thinking, this is one of the greatest things about the kiters here, they share their gear and they are very friendly. I think we have some of the greatest people here at Belmont Shore.

Off goes one happy lifeguard. For those that are interested look at his body posture, he's going a little downwind, his front leg is pretty straight and he's looking where he wants to go. Very text book.

After the kiting was over it was time for, beer, Margareta's and chips. MMMM

Alexandra and Matt joined Rijk, Ruth and me for a little food and drink. The end of another great day of life.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

7, 8, 9, 10.....we have wind!!!!

Today is Thursday June 25 and summer has finally started because we have had wind for four straight days. The score has built from a 7 out of 10, until today, which was a 10.

Monday was a 7. I didn't go to Belmont, I went to Seal Beach with Rijk and met up with Gabor Vagi. Klaus was out of town so he loaned me his Bandit Dos 14 kite to fly. Gabor was going to introduce me to course racing and his board. It was custom built by Jeff Kafka ( Rijk launched me and I took it out for a little while and realized it was not like any board I had ridden. Not a twin tip, not a directional, not a surf board.

Top view of the Kafka board.

The bottom view.
Unfortunately Gabor had to leave to get back to work so he left me the board so I could use it the next day. Fortunately the wind on Tuesday was much better than on Monday so I was able to ride back and forth and try at Seal to try to understand where to put my weight. It's very sensitive. Unfortunately I was not able to jibe it or go toe side. I just didn't want to screw up his board. At the end of the day he put the board back in his Prius and drove away. All the while I was thinking "One of these days 0I'm going to get a course board."

The next day Rijk and I were back at Belmont and so were the stingrays. I caught the lifeguard roaring off into the sunset taking someone to the warm buckets of the little shack across Ocean.

The other thing that was new is the city had a skip loader leveling out some sand. I got to thinking "One of these days we are going to have a REAL bathroom." Now it's time to kite.

When I went out Rijk had not rigged yet, I think he was waiting for it to build some more. So I decided to go up-wind and screw around near the pier. Even though I was only riding my North twin tip my mind I was still on the Kafka race board. What a movie.

When I got to the end of the breakwater I noticed two kiters coming towards me. Even though they were not close I recognized Gabor's black and white kite. I then did a 180 and started chasing them, knowing the whole while they were on race boards.

As I said there were two kiters heading West towards the back of White Island. I tried everything to go faster, I crouched down to make less drag. I did not try to edge too much thinking it was adding more friction. I was doing it all and the whole time Gabor is going up in the air doing unreal jumps in the middle of the choppy bay. Then they pulled a 180.

Here comes the really cool part, they were going down wind on a port tack. I was going starboard and trying to pinch up wind. When they reversed direction they both were heading straight for me. Gabor leaned out and gave the international signal for a hand slap. Granted it wasn't was of those German "slammers" that Klaus always gives me, but it was a really nice passing slap. Son Nguyen who I think was the other kiter watched as we became childlike.

So off they went behind Chaffee and then maybe to one of those huge ships anchored off of Seal Beach. All I knew was "I'm getting so close to course racing that I can almost feel it."
The day was a lot of fun. After the adventure, I took a little breather and then we went out again and the wind kept blowing. I thought "Will I have anything left for tomorrow?" Of course.

Friday. The morning started out with moving cars around for the city street cleaning. After that I started getting my stuff together for the beach. First Luca dropped by, then Rijk. Then I expected Dan, Kristin, Hank, Kyle and Big Mike. Sorry, see you at the beach. I grabbed this shot of Dave getting his stuff ready and the sand blowing. Yeah BABY the winds up.

When I took this shot of the volleyball courts I figured "Too much for them, just right for us."

While we were pumping Kristin arrived with Dan's cart and she would eventually head up to Hank's spot for another lesson. More getting up on the board.

This shot gives you an idea what is right in front of us at our camp.

If you turn a little to your right you will be facing more West to see the other islands.

Today I wanted to do a similar adventure as I did yesterday. As I got up to the pier I noticed two other kiter's were with me; Gary who was flying a blue Best 12 and Mark who was on a orange and white Ocean Rodeo 12. As the three of us transitioned from the pier and set our sights on the windward side of Chaffee two things happened, Mark was getting a little tired and didn't want to push, and a Naish Sigma joined us. It was none other than Matt Naggus. After the three of us hit the breakwater we turned around. Gary and I headed to the leeward side of White, while Matt headed for the windward side. Hey, I wanted to do that too, except I didn't think of it. Next time Matt we will all go that way.

It was a fun adventure. L-R; Mark, Matt, me and Gary. What a great time.

F-One course racing team member Arnaud Vuillermet is heading home. He's also going to be a father soon. No names have been selected since they don't know the sex. There's a lot of decisions coming Arnaud....believe me.

Kristin (on the left) and Rosemary both got up on boards today. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
This is great news for the boyfriends, now they can stop worrying and go kiting thanks to Hank.

Our beach lookalikes take a moment to pose.

Dan is really happy to hear the news about Kristin kiting down-wind on her board from the Granada ramp all the way down to our camp before coming in. Nice job.

The end of the day has come. Time to go home and crack open a nice cold beer.
Hope to see you on the water tomorrow....Maybe it will be another 10, who knows.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, 2009

I must paint the picture that occurred at our house today; first of all we got home pretty late last night from Kristin's birthday party. When we got home it was climb into bed ASAP. When the morning rolled around Ruth let me sleep in until about 9:30. Then she brought me the newspaper and a cup of coffee and then we both stayed in bed, read the paper and had our coffee. Next she made me a wonderful breakfast of eggs, waffles, bacon and orange juice. We sat out on the front patio and enjoyed the beautiful morning and had breakfast. It was great because there were so many people that were walking by and either stopped to enjoy the roses or wanted to "talk" to Chica, our African Grey parrot. Next I texted a few kiters that the wind was coming up and I started packing my cart for the trip down to the beach.

As I approached the beach I heard a loud cacophony of drums, bongos and congas coming from the center of the beach. It sounded very fun and tribal. There was a "Water/Earth/Love" type of event happening near the LaVern parking lot. This drew a lot of people. Thank you.

As I arrived I noticed smiling Mitch in the tower. I went over and said "Hello", exchanges niceties and then headed to the camp. There were a number of kiters pumping and getting ready to go out. I really wanted to wait until Rijk or Dan arrived to go out with them, but that didn't happen. I rigged and went out.

At first I didn't intend on going on an adventure but once up by the pier I thought I saw Gabor out by the breakwater so naturally I wanted to go out and say hi to him too. I did get out there but never had contact with him. "Hi Gabor, how was Lake Isabella?"
One interesting thing about today, the wind was quite solid, and my adventure unfolded I noticed the water was pretty rough on the back of Chaffee Island. The only area that was really nice and smooth was the leeward side of White Island, after I passed the pier. Now that water was smooth...but not much wind. You can't have everything

Once I got back on the beach I noticed that there was some sort of huge water baptism going on near station #8. I walk towards the event but couldn't really understand what was going on. The kiter on the extreme left is my son Dan. He was curious too.

I got a fun group shot that includes; Aaron, Rosemary, Darron, Steve Lee (in back), Steve Price (in foreground) and Dan.

This one I've titled "Father, Son and Holy Jorge." I don't know if Jorge is really holy, but his wife Pilar says he walks on water. I think that means he's holy....don't you???? On the left is Al Navas and his son Jason, who came down to take some pictures. Check out that camera.

Dan and Kyle were trading secrets about back rolls. One of these days I'm going to get it.

We really have an international group; this is just the tip of the iceberg. Rijk is from Holland, Yuri is from the Ukraine, Matt from Poland and Steve from Korea. And they all kite great.

And on Father's Day we have girls too!!! Ruth is on the left, Rosemary's in the center and Matt's wife Alexandra is on the right. Just to let you know Rosemary was getting up on her board and Aaron was at her side giving her a hand and coaching her. I think Aaron zigged or zagged wrong because the next thing he was in the back of the lifeguard truck going to get his foot put in water. Yes the stingrays are BACK. Duh, duhh, duh, duhh. Think the Jaws music.

Thanks to Omar Nazif and his camera toting girlfriend Bonnie, there are some additional shots of today.

How cool is this, the beach camp from above. Like someone is looking down on us.

Here's the ground level shot of the camp.

A happy father is .....what? Taking a moment to liquefy my self. Thanks Raul.

This is the end of the day shot. I hope one of these days I get a picture from the middle of the bay to capture the huge array of kiters and kite colors. It it truly beautiful to see.

The next stop was dinner. Here Rijk is turning over the ribs. Sorry Rijk I didn't frame it very well. Really that's at least Rijk's arm.

Here is that all important "Family Photo." NOT!! When you double click on this one you will notice Dan forgot to wash off his sun block. Does anyone know how to use Photoshop????

See you on the beach...Jim and Ruth