As I write this, the fields of Austria are passing by at 160 km/h. My kites and foils are just behind me, and I’m drinking an ice tea. I often think back to the days of travelling with my raceboard and I am happy that times have changed. Suddenly just one board bag and one kite bag is all I need. Only 6 months ago, just to travel with a raceboard, it was difficult to fit through a door. So what has changed?
Well first of all, the 12m Chrono in my bag, with bar wrapped inside, looks like a trainer kite amongst the rest of the gear. Its light and it packs up tightly, replacing a more bulky inflatable.
Secondly, the now widespread kite foil class allows for much more transportable gear. The full carbon Lister Hydrofoil is able to flat-pack and weighs in at just over 2kg. Combining this with a home converted 5’5 surfboard, it’s no different to heading to the waves.
And then the performance of these things!
Before jumping on this train I had the privilege of travelling around Greece with a bunch of mainly freestyle kiters from around the world. The first thing I will say is if you haven’t done it – do it. Whilst the Meltemi (prevailing north wind) does like to blow the Cyclades away during summer, when the freestyle guys (and myself) put down our sevens and tens it was the Chrono’s time to shine.
One morning specifically cemented my love of the Chrono. Anchored in a sheltered bay near Mykonos, self launching the 12m in around 8 knots at sunrise, and getting on the foil the Chrono handled the offshore gusty conditions with ease. After being handed a Nutella sandwich for breakfast as I foiled past the transom of the boat the others on the boat decided to sail to the next kite spot while I foiled alongside. As beaches are a rare commodity in that part of the world the only way to get back on the boat was a deep water self rescue – which I was ready to try with the Chrono. After bringing it down slowly it hit the water and stayed inflated as I rolled up the lines. Rolling the Chrono around the bar was simple and the inside of the kite remained relatively dry. My first Chrono self rescue and it was surprisingly easy!
And the Hydrofoil. At one of the most populated Kite spots in Greece, Poundha on Paros, when partnered with a 2014 ten meter Edge, the angles and speeds achievable on a foil were truly mind blowing. Crowds of mesmerised lawn mowers stared. And when the wind died at the end of the session I felt like an instant celebrity as the only person left on the water at such a previously crowded spot – still getting so much performance out of the 10m Edge and brilliant Lister Hydrofoil.
All this performance – then flat packed by unscrewing four screws and straight on a propeller plane off to a kite-racing event!
So what does it all mean? The recent developments in gear mean you can fly higher, go faster, push harder and yet travel lighter. Who knows what the future will bring!
See you at an event soon!