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Gale Force Winds knock off Wind indicator on top of sailboat mast
Posted by: Chris Hess
This past long weekend i decided to go sailing and end up anchored off the beautifull protected bays of Franklin island. Bear the dog and i took off on the Friday and my friend Graham is meeting us on the saturday with a tandem kayak ready to kite yak if the weather dictates. the weather was said to be quite crappy, but needed an adventure. The first night i was anchored off Gaspar Island with two anchors off the bow and tied to the shore on the stearn. I had made a little walk pattform so Bear the dog can come and go as he pleased all weekend and run loose. He had a great time. That evening it was a bumpy, windy, halyard clanking night with the winds changing dicrection coming right down the little channel ... with one foot white caps ..out in the big bay with binoculars you can see spray hitting halfway up the 60 foot light house ....so it was clipping out there. Just before dawn, the wind picked up some more and i decided to move the boat to a safer , better sleeping place ... so around to the next bay i went and ran aground on the sandbar with the keel ....twice .....it was dark ... next i went back midway to the last spot and found a nice, out of the wind place ..... tied up ...reset lines ....threw anchors .... sleeeppppp.... I woke up late that morning .... and walked around the ilsand with bear ... Graham shows up and is ready for Baffin Yakin by the looks of it .. He tells me that tonite Gale force winds are expected.... cool ...better tighten my lines and throw out another danforth anchor ... that evening the wind would hit the mast and tilt me over 10 degrees and chutter the boat ....only the surface erea of a 20-22 foot mast made the boat tilt ...to say it another way ... wow ....what power ...Graham was camping on shore in his Hotel Sierra tent ...weighted down with rocks ....slept well That night in the midst of all the wind and rolling and shuddering ...Just as i was ready to sleep .... Bear the dog decides he dont want all that grass he ate in his stomach anymore and tosses up right next to me on my bunk ...I can hear the throat trying to stay closed as i fumbled for my headlamp and then .....blahhhhhh....too late ... Bear did manage to hurl onto the top of a hatch , so clean up was easy ....and the next day i found out he managed to cristen my not so cheap Japaneese made Takamine guitar...didnt get the electronics thank goodness.. Not quite a kiting story , but about the power of wind .. We survived ....ate welll ...had great hikes ....didnt get to kite or sail due to the massive waves and too much air moving .... it was a relaxing time ... A few days latter i am out sailling with a couple of friends ..and look up at the wind indicator ...that should be at the top of the mast ...it is gone ...the Gale winds must have ripped it right off ... Wow ...wind = power ....

Kiting Season no quite done for some
Posted by: Chris Hess
Well I better remember that Canada is a vast place with many vast nooks and cranny's to kite ...I received an email from a fellow kiter named Mark Peer up in the Northwest Territories ...and he correct my Blog stating that they still have a couple of months of kiting season left ... See Photo Gallery for photo of kite place ....very cool .... Mark and fellow kiters up there kite on the lakes that the ice roads go thru ... these ice roads are created evey year to connect the otherwise isolated communities ... Right on Markand kite gang ...We are very envious ...Peace and kite safe ..

Till Next Year ...Unless you kite water
Posted by: Chris Hess
Hello Folks .... Well the ice is done , snow kiting is done till next winter... sailing, rock climbing, Bouldering, Canoing, Kayaking, windsurfing, Kite surfing, fishing... Lots of stuff to do in the summertime... We will be kitesurfing or trying to get better at it on the south end of Franklin Island ..in the big sandy bay ...this summer ... and Lenka has offered to help us and give some of her knowledge away... thank you Lenka ... Peace and Kite on kiters .....see ya this summer or next winter ...

A Good Lesson In Failure
Posted by: Chris Hess
March 7th 2006 Kite Trip 2006 Dillon to Killarney Title: A Good Lesson in Failure Tuesday March 7th 2006 the morning started with the discovery of a little crack on my ski close to the binding screws. The last kiting outing I had taken a few larger jumps off the snow moguls and must have cracked the ski then. A little crazy glue and vise grips and the gap closed up and hopefully will hold for the duration of the trip … Terry and I leave on a beautiful sunny day on our 110km journey with very little wind coming in from the North West to Westerly 5km-15km …not the ideal wind to start our Journey… It took a couple of hours to get out of the main bay to the Gronco Ilsands, Terry flying his 6.6m and I with my 6m Leader SE. This pack that I am carrying is a big lug of gear weighing in @ about 50-55lbs of pure necessities one would need in the frozen wilds of the Georgian Bay. -30 sleeping bag, bivy, 3 x kites(2.2m,4m,6m, food, GPS and safety stuff, Tent fly in case of rain, water bottles…ect.. My weight that week was about 145lbs soaking wet. … This trip has been months in the planning, gear, kites, keeping track of current ice conditions, working out kinks and body ailments, all the important things one needs to do to undertake a venture like this …the excitement of preparation and the anticipation of actually being there was the only tunnel vision I have had for the last few months leading up to the trip. To bring us to the climax of this story early “I sprained my ankle on the first day 24km’s from home base, but we will discuss this matter latter on… I just wanted to keep you interested in the story. OK … The winds came up a little better in the afternoon and we continued to make our journey south .. Not making much headway but still pushing forward .. We were both dealing with our issues of kites and packs. This is a tremendous strain on my back, legs and muscles. I was feeling the burn. We both kind off leap frogged along, one waiting for the other, resting when one can … I discovered lying on my back being a better stance when needing a rest or waiting for Terry …I had purchased a couple of crazy carpets and duct tape to use as a splint in the case of a leg injury or to tow gear if need be … I set up the carpet to tow my pack and because of the moguls it just kept flipping over making this attempt of this part of the journey quite a swear fest … In frustration I wore the pack again and dealt with the numbing of the shoulders and the weight on my torso while kiting. It seemed all day, one of us had little issues to deal with and were waiting for one another, but that the way it goes when trekking as a team. We get kiting going pretty good for a while at the peak of the days winds just getting into the Pointe of Baril approaches. Surface conditions were fine to ride till we hit this frozen push ice…and ice that looked like it was just run over by a Zamboni …this slick ice condition is very dangerous for skiing, especially when lugging a heavy pack and out of balance. All your leg muscles are constantly flexed for stability, creating lactic acid burn in muscle issue like nobody’s business. All the elements were in place. Fatigue, gooseshitslick ice, and going a little too fast perhaps, then …whamo ….@#$%^&crash, boom bang. My left leg flops over one way, ski smacking the ice, then 180 degrees the other way in a matter of a split second as I feel my ankle twist and feel a little snap/crack… I just hurt myself bad ... Profanity, profanity, profanity. As I come to a full stop, the kite comes down and I lay there on the ice wondering how serious my injury is. I slowly get up on my feet/skis and realize that something hurts pretty badly down there .. .More Profanity … I just sprung my ankle or something …At this point Terry is downwind about a kilometer or two and I painfully start kiting once again trying to favor my good leg in an attempt to catch up and to signal stop and make camp… We get another 3-4 km downwind before finding a suitable spot to make stop … a dead maple tree marks the ideal place, good burning wood for the evening’s feast of salmon, rice and veggies. Terry gets a warm blazing fire going and I commence the meal. My ankle hurts like hell and I am still not sure how serious it is …it throbs and beats with my heart. Food cooking, I kick up the heels and rest as we eat and recharge our well depleted energy reserves. This is the best meal I have ever had… Since the last one .. Camp is a very comfortable place considering the throbbing and not really knowing what I have done … its not broken but … ?? I am worried that this trip might come to a sudden halt because of my ankle. I cannot carry the weight and kite these crazy conditions all the way to Killarney, it will be impossible and once past the Bustards you are pretty much in no man’s land a very desolate place with few options for a back door escape, especially with a bum ankle. If there was a proper place for me to injure myself, I can be thankful that it happened only 20km from home. I hardly get a wink of sleep feeling the throbbing of the ankle with every heartbeat all night long … I move in the wrong position and sharp pain overbears … I had some codeine pills in the emergency pack, but decided not to take one for some reason. I made myself comfy in my bivy sac and managed a little sleep on this mild March evening …on the edge of frozen Georgian Bay. The next morning was one of realizations …. Realization that I will never be able to continue on to Killarney with this ankle and that I have to consider an escape plan.. or ski back home 20 km away … I can walk on my ankle, but it is very sore. Add a 50 lbs load and its a painful ordeal. Terry has his cellular phone and I made a call to a good friend Andrew in Dillon )Home Base … The battery indicator on Terry’s cellular phone only shows a low battery and I hope to get the call thru …I am not sure how much time I have so I am pretty direct …”Andrew …its Chris … I twisted my ankle … I need you brother …can you come and pick me up near Point au Baril lighthouse? … We are near …” …Phone beeps and dies … ??$%^& I don’t know if he heard all my words ...I truly hope that he heard the call properly… I am having a hard time dealing with the fact that all this preparation has brought me to this … A failed attempt … I have failed … I have always been one to attain the goals I set out to achieve…they are tangible on not so far out of reach … The big pig of a pack was the downfall… too much weight … and thinking this would be a cakewalk was definitely a bad mindset … I feel bad for Terry that I failed the team. Terry perhaps could have continued to Killarney solo and had the time /ride of his life … the winds were up that morning and perhaps he could of done the trek solo and succeed, but if something happened out there alone, it would be a bad thing …. I decide to start making my way back towards home skiing with my pack on .. Its about 14.5km to the Twin Islands and another 4km to Andrew’s door … God I hope he understood my call and is on the way or it’s going to be a long journey back home …Terry is going to kite it back upwind and starts with his 6.6 m the wind did kick up and this was too powerful … so I saw he had the 3.5 m up as I continued to ski my retreat home. . I would stop every 30 minutes or so to take the weight off my back and ankle, sit on the pack looking, hoping to see a yellow dot of a skidoo on the horizon … at one point I saw a flash and thought it was a headlight, but realized it was only Red Rock lighthouse way far on the horizon ... I continued skiing on some of the same ice condition of slick shit, the same stuff that caused my ankle demise and had to circle around a pressure crack that opened 5 feet wide, and a foot deep of water. I made it almost across the bay to the other point and I saw a dot moving, Utopia… Here comes the cavalry. As I realize its Andrew coming into view I see him hit a snow drift and get very airborne, land sideways …skidoo going one way and Andrew going the other sliding across the ice … I was shaking my head thinking ...here is my savior? I see another dot in behind and realize Andrew has brought someone else on another machine… Sid, a local friend is out with his 4 wheel ATV … I am overjoyed when they show up and dance a jig …. Well, you get the idea … We pack and strap down gear to the ATV and watched Terry fight the wind with a small 3.5 m kite .. He needed a 4.5m to get him back up wind on his way home … Andrew goes and collects Terry and I jump on the back of the quad runner.. I am so happy that I don’t have to ski the way back and start thinking about writing a song about Sid and the magic 4 wheel machine that saves … As we bounce our way back into the familiar looking lands…. A cold beer is waiting and a ride home to my warm nest… all is well .. That Wednesday evening Terry brings me some Arnica Montana and Ruta Graveolens to help the healing of my ankle and we discuss the issue of the packs and decide to get custom sleigh bags made for the next trip … We were already thinking next trip hours after the failed return of this one … coincidently as I write this story on Thursday morning at home, warm in my studio, I wake to rain… We would actually be out there in the rain camping right now …perhaps soaked and miserable … cold … 3rd day in … who knows… One can only think and wonder. This was a good lesson in Failure …

Kite Trip Departure Date
Posted by: Chris Hess
Well Terry and I have narrowed down our departure window to the week of March 6th 2006 ...Smacked right in between 2 rehearsals of our up and coming music CD release"Kindling" with our Group Kindred....Our Ice corridor is great ...and i have been logging our outtings by GPS ...we can do 75km in about 4 hours ( with perfect variables) carrying our 40 lbs packs .... its 65km to the Bustards from our door and another 45km to Killarney... as the crow flies .... We are going to try to do a single day push ...if the winds let us ...

2006 Top Canadian Kite Speeds
Posted by: Chris Hess
This is where you will find the link to the new page for Canadian Kite Speeds

The true World Record for person using skis and a traction kite/Vitesse Mondiale pour skie et cerf-volant traction.
Posted by: Chris Hess
Well I have been searching for a while to figure out the real world record for speed using a pair of skis and a traction kite ... According to my searches i have found a fellow Canadian, Andreas Dahl of Pipeline, Alberta as being the current speed holder @ 108 KM per Hour ..67.1 Miles per hour ....if this is accurate ....its a good thing... About 2 years ago, on my first year of kiting, i did reach a speed of 113km Per hour ...according to Garmin, flying a 3.3m in 40-50KM winds without much stress or effort to my body, mind and soul ...i felt quite comfortable .. I did not save that log or keep it unfortunatley ... but bragged to a couple of friends and that was it .. . I have heard of a group of 3 kiters from Quebec, using Concept Air kites, being radar gunned by the police, hitting 134 km(83miles per hour ) ..they were not sure exactly who from the group hit this magical number ..but ... skis off to them ...There are allot of folks that dont realy care about how fast they are going. They find it redundant and only kite for the ride and the journey ...which is fine and dandy .... But i would like to know how fast a person can go on skis ..?.. and hope to be one of them fast crazy Canucks. We have just received our good dumping of snow and are now ready for the high speed runs details to follow ...keep looking at the Calendar for details..... Hope to have a record breaker up here soon as the weather lets one of us ..

Graham Ketcheson was out kiting on Saturday Feb 4th and Andrew Manwaring managed a Buggy run
Posted by: Chris Hess
A very wet and sloppy day it became...but before the weather turned we got some good runs in ... Andrew managed about 2km with buggy and looked very styley..:) right on brotha ... Graham came out and ran the 3 m First from Concept air ... our kites got soaked and the reteat became a wet one ..

Kite Ski Trip 2006
Posted by: Randy James
Kite Ski Trip 2006
Killarney to Parry Sound, Ontario

Objective: Kite ski from Killarney to Parry Sound along eastern coast of Georgian Bay Date: mid February to first week of March (weather will dictate window of opportunity) Distance: 175km as the crow flies or to Honey Harbor (245km) depending on conditions. Cruxes: river outlets to pass, under ice currents Winds: northwesterly are usually prevalent this time of year. Conditions could range from perfect sunny windy weather to white out conditions and powerful winds. Duration of trip: 2-3 days, maybe less if winds are great, more if we need to ski part or the whole route. Skiers: We are two at the moment and looking for others interested in achieving this passage.

We will be equipped with –30 winter sleeping bags, a bivy sac to shelter in, a mountaineers stove, fuel, for coffee …cheese, some type of salamis, frozen salmon, beans, lentils and other good foods…. One can burn allot of calories a day if you are pushing it. Food for 5-7 days is essential.

For safety, we will be equipped with a cell phone, Garmin Global Positioning System, chewing gum, compass, flare gun, real-time communication between the two riders using a headset system, water rescue throw bags, ice climbing screws, rope, one ice climbing tool, life jackets, wetsuit and dry suit. A little flask of Cognac for warmth, video camera, still camera, assorted waxes.

We will each carry about 40lbs –50lbs on our backs in dry bags and carry a pair of ski poles.

This type of trip is not very common in Canada and by my research so far has not been attempted on the Great Lakes ….This year Georgian Bay, perhaps next year North shore Lake Superior or James Bay… This sport has been around for a while in Europe and has begun here in the America’s. I have been overwhelmed by this company out of Quebec called Concept air … www.conceptair.com Concept air build and design the best kites for beginners to high end super fast record breaking kites for the pros.
If you like downhill skiing, sailing or water skiing, this sport is for you.

This sport can be enjoyed in calmer winds meandering downwind on your cross country skis or you can strap on the booster rockets and literally fly. In early October this year, I paddled the same coastline from Killarney to Key River. The weather was not cooperating with us on this voyage so we had to cut our trip short avoiding the big open water stretch escaping at Key River… This will be a much different experience in winter than being on the water in a 17-foot kayak. It will be more like an arctic crossing experience without the crazy cold weather I suppose and hope. A quite desolate journey I predict. I have read about an arctic expedition that used kites to travel and they where quite successful.

There are many ice and snow variables to deal with while kite skiing or making a passage like this. One must watch for slush, open water, pressure cracks, standing tombstone ice, flow ice, hidden open water under snow, hard crusty or soft sticky snow.
Wind is the next variable. A steady wind of 25-35 km per hours would be ideal for crusty type snow and 30-40km per hour or more for soft deep snow.

The Ice Services for North America 2005/6 predict that there will be about 5-10 kilometers of solid good ice along the eastern coast of Georgian Bay in February. This will provide suitable and a nice ice corridor for us to kite ski on. It will be a very surreal experience skiing along the open water of the Georgian Bay.
Snowdrifts will allow us to make snow caves providing us with shelter. Or there are numerous thick cedar groves that can be a suitable wind wall and help as shelter along the way as well.
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Kite Facts

About Chris Hess

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