Thomas and Marius—who both completed internships with us at our central office in Hamburg—were both on a kite trip in Fuerteventura. Of course, they also had to write a full report about their trip, and we didn’t want to hold back.
Text: Thomas Fiks, Photos: Timo Mößner, Trans.: Jordan Conrad. Thanks so much!
Thursday, September 8,2011
[singlepic id=915w=300 h=200 float=left]Day 1
It all started with a very affordable Ryan Air flight from Bremen; the other intern, Marius, and Timo, aka. Rastaman, who was supposed to make a promo video of Fuerte for KiteWorldWide, were on our way to the island! The first step out of the plane—especially coming from Hamburg—was a huge case of climate shock. Blazing sun and 32°C (90°F) in the shade. Wicked!!! Even the folks from Hamburg, who are already pretty happy by German standards, could advance on to the happiest people in Europe. That’s just the way it is. Jonas was waiting for us in the arrival hall in Fuerteventura in his unmistakable pink KiteWorldWide cap ready to take us to Costa Calma. [singlepic id=908w=300 h=200 float=right]Then we took off in a luckily air-conditioned van. Even during the ride, Jonas wanted to hear what the boys from KiteWorldWide could do. Since we were KiteWorldWide employees, there were high expectations—where I unfortunately had to disappoint him. Apart from my first water start, I hadn’t improved much since my beginners’ course a year ago on Neuharlingersiel on the North Sea. We also discussed the run-down of the next few days during the ride to our accommodations. Thursday proved to be the best day to arrive. It’s not only one of the few party days at Costa Calma, but also the day when Chris barbeques his awesome steaks at the relaxed kite school. That’s how we made our first contacts and met Chris’ team. I especially want to thank Kathi, the old party machine and kite instructor, who nothing got by! ;)
After a night of excessive partying, you have to go to bed at 5:00AM. The transportation to the lagoon was at 10 due to the early high tide. The unbeatable Land Rover Defender made its way over sticks and stones to the lagoon. That thing is a beast in the brush. The swimming pool like lagoon filled up slowly but surely.[singlepic id=927w=300 h=200 float=left] In the meantime, the beginners were paired up by level. Since my last kite course was pretty long ago, I thought it pretty important to listen to a briefing about the assembly and safety systems of the materials. Apart from that, the spot was shown to all of the newcomers. If the normal wind speed reached 20 knots, a certain jet effect occurs between the two mountains in the lagoon during which the wind speed can reach up to 25 knots. The Havanna Zone is especially important. Each person who got too close to the sand bank that separates the lagoon from the open sea owed Chris a bottle of 7 year old Havanna. Useful info that you should keep in the back of your mind. ;) With Sebastian (Seppi), kite instructor and happy camper by profession,[singlepic id=926w=300 h=200 float=right] we got ready to get into the water after putting together our 2011 Gin Kites. I was partnered up with a guy from Vienna on one kite. We started off practicing getting our kite to 12 o’clock and body drags. During the briefing I even thought I was already at a water start level. But during the first body drags, I noticed that I should take a step back. After four long hours on the water, with lots of uncontrolled kite movements, my enthusiasm for kiting was back. With a few good tips from Sebastian, the Viennese, Tom, and I were able to ride our first few meters for the day – which increased our motivation for the next few days. We had excellent conditions that day which helped us to improve faster.
Today I was on the same kite with Timo, so he could shoot a few photos on the side. Even though he had never had a course, that boy really hit the ground running.[singlepic id=918w=300 h=200 float=left] I would have loved to have taken off with my own kite, but the first wipe outs showed me that arrogance comes before the fall. And that’s exactly how it was when I got overzealous and wrecked a kite at the end of the day. Big, fat rip. Kathi yelled at me with good reason—she was the one who had to stay and sew it back together. Sorry Machine. Back to the actual course that day. We had the honor to be instructed by Chris. So I was stoked to meet the master personally. Timo couldn’t be stopped today.[singlepic id=912w=300 h=200 float=right] It was the second day, and he just took off. 50 meters in one direction and 50 in the other. I just stayed in “regular” position (left foot forward) and rode 20 meters. That was enough! It was an indescribable feeling. I usually on enjoy moments like that in the winter season riding through deep snow. My snowboarding experience that I brought with me definitely helped get me started faster on the water with my Brunotti Board.
As awesome as the conditions were the day before, Mother Nature really put a damper on the day—no wind. That meant theory lessons in Chris’ kite school. [singlepic id=914w=300 h=200 float=left]Seppi explained to us which spots you can ride with what wind directions and which were not so great or even dangerous. With the help of creative mini models, even those with limited imaginations could understand. ;) We learned when you have to give someone the right of way, what Luv and Lee mean, and also all about our equipment. Seppi kept our morning pretty interesting. A little bit of theory can’t hurt anyway. Since we had the rest of the day free, Chris took us interns under his wing and went snorkeling at some cliffs not too far away. It wasn’t the Red Sea, but with a Go Pro around our wrists, we knew how to keep ourselves busy. In the evening, we went to La Paret on the other side of Fuerteventura to watch the sunset. There with a cool beer in our hands, we watched the surfers ride the waves as the sun set. Then Timo and I put the Kite Crew back in their places at poker. That took care of the 7 year old Havanna, too![singlepic id=913w=300 h=200 float=right]
We didn’t get picked up on Sunday until 1:00PM due to the late tide. Several of us were very thankful for that. Today was a kite day for the record books.[singlepic id=921w=300 h=200 float=left] I finally had my own kite that I started on the beach. The strings were tangled, though. Sebastian noticed it at kite start and wanted a beer for that. You really have to be careful, because it doesn’t just get more dangers, but also takes away precious kite time. Despite the problems at the beginning, I got out on the water. I looked for a free spot in the middle of the lagoon to practice. Kite at 12 o’clock, butt in the water, board straight, and off. I was gaining a feeling for the kite and the board. Usually the first power stroke was a little weak, but then came the second and third and I took off. I was the king of the world. I couldn’t turn, so I just sat back down and pulled the kite in the other direction. Even that worked today. Today Kathi had to ride around between all of the [singlepic id=923w=300 h=200 float=right]beginners and see if everything was going all right. She brought me a smaller board that was supposed to be more relaxed on the smaller waves. It was, and I didn’t even lose as much height in my right-left rides. After 5 hours, I was out of power.
Long story short: Huge improvement, totally in love with kiting, awesome day – BAMBOLEO!
I had taken my own hip trapeze with me, but could have left it. The beginner/seat trapezes are just so much easier for learning. My trapeze kept riding up on me and cut off my air. I don’t care too much about appearance in cases that like. So, I used a Pampers trapeze the last day. First, it serves as a signal for other kiters that says you can’t do much and they should be careful. Secondly, it’s more comfortable for beginners. Today was a great end.[singlepic id=919w=300 h=200 float=left] Water starts were getting easier. I didn’t lose so much height. Usually just when I got pulled too far forward during starts. My goal today was to work on my turns. Principally, it went pretty well after a few practice runs that I did on the beach. I just couldn’t get pressure back into the kite, so I could continue on right away. The highlight of the day was the 3 meter jump into the air when I want to turn again. It wasn’t very coordinated. But definitely an awesome feeling. In the evening, we were invited to dinner by Chris Dick Kiteboarding at the restaurant Galerie. Champagne with mango sorbet was served first that we tossed back pretty well, followed by delicious shrimp with a good serving of garlic for an appetizer. The main course was Entre-Cote in mushroom cream sauce with potato wedges and broccoli. The portions were definitely filling. The prices were around those in Germany. After that we obviously ended our awesome kite trip in several bars.
There’s not a whole lot more to say except we would have loved to stay another week.[singlepic id=906w=300 h=200 float=right]
You want to go, too? Then check out both Kite Trips to Fuerteventura on KiteWorldWide.