Where the wind blows, kitesurfers and windsurfers follow. Since I’m one of these wind-chasing kitesurfers now, and happened to be on a kitesurfing tour, we set off in a convoy from Lancelin to Coronation Beach. Gloomy with a tinge of wind gusts, I quietly harbored a secret of hoping that the wind would be too light to fly my kite.
Getting wrapped in my lines and having my head pop off like a butcher cutting meat with a wire scared me.
I guess you could say that I was a little anxious.
But during our stay, the wind bellowed. The rest of the tour ran to their kites, pumped them up, and set sail into the bay. Windsurfers jumped, flipped, and sped between the boat harbor. Kitesurfers on surfboards zipped through the waves out back. Dogs ran up and down the Coronation Beach, barking whenever their owners rode near.
After a few minutes of watching, I went out myself. With these mortals having fun, it couldn’t be that frightening after all.
I got onto my board and tacked towards the waves. After a few minutes of feeling the cool water rush beneath my feet, I forgot all about the unfamiliarity, sharks, and inevitable decapitation. I surprised myself by staying upwind, linking turns, and navigating around the others. Finally, I was independent!
The kite tugged at harness fit tightly around my waist. I loved pulling the bar and feeling the slow reaction of the kite sail me over the water. Like with surfing, snowboarding, and every nature-powered sport, there’s something untouchable about harnessing the energy of the earth in a way that you can control.
I used two buoys floating out in the water as a spot marker, aiming to stay upwind of them to avoid having to walk laps back up the beach. This worked brilliantly, except for one big crash when my kite took its sweet time relaunching.
Don’t mind me, I’m just sitting here patiently. Blowing downwind. Probably into rocks. Likely directly into the middle of a shark convention.
After a while, I went out to where the waves were breaking – to conditions that would usually be firmly on my, “Oh hell no!” list of mental things of I can and cannot do. I cut through the whitewash and onto the face of the wave, where it felt like I was gliding over smooth butter.
As the sun fell slowly over the ocean, I wondered if I was starting to grasp this elusive “hook” on the sport. When fun overpowers fear, is that when you feel it? Moritz and I walked through the red dirt campsite up to a wooden balcony that overlooked a spectacle of tents, RVs, and campervans. Each site had kite gear strewn about it. Our tour consisted of a wine-making Frenchman, two Germans, a few native Western Australians, and a brother and sister duo who decided to quit their 9-5 lifestyles to start a kitesurfing tour business. In the middle of nowhere, at a beach that happens to be breezy, people from all over of the world gather to be blown across the ocean. Kitesurfing is a strange way to spend time… but I’m starting to really like it.
Have you tried kiting? Are you a kiter? Any tips for getting better quickly?