This spring has been a little slow to get started - too many high pressure blue sky days! As a result I've been chasing east winds that I normally don't bother with. The south bay of Shallow Bay is one of the few places where you can ride an east wind without risking a drift to Quebec. The water is super flat on this direction.
May 17th was my first day on the water this season. I had a quick morning session before work at Rocky Harbour Pond. The wind was SE which is a little gusty on this lake. The beach and access point is at the West end of the lake so East wind is best though it is straight onshore. The beach has trees about 10 metres back from the water so launching and landing is tricky. I self launched off the beach while standing in the water. To land I opted to drop the kite in the water on the re-ride leash. I would rather get the kite wet than land it in a tree!
I finally got out snow kiting last week on Rocky Harbour Pond. The wind was light but steady from the South and the lake was covered with a layer of wind packed powder. My 14.5 metre was pretty powered up so it was easy to get some good speed. I forgot what a leg workout snow kiting can be!
Amidst the battle of October weather systems a warm south-westerly finally pushed the temperature up to 14 degrees by sunrise today. The forecast was for temperatures dropping rapidly through the day so I tried to catch it early (if you call on the water by 9am early).
The 40 knot winds called for pulling out the ultimate high wind kiting weapon: the Ocean Rodeo Storm 5m! As I struggled against the onshore wind to reach the water with board and kite I wondered "is this a good idea?". It didn't take long on the water for me to gain confidence in the gust munching abilities of the Storm. This is one stable kite, with incredible depower. Doesn't jump like a Razor but hang time isn't necessarily a good thing at 40 knots!
This may have been the last day of the kiteboarding season for me, given the time of year, although I've been saying that for a few weeks now. Here's a picture from South of the beach.
I've had a couple great days at Western Brook on SW winds lately. One in particular had 7m wind and 2-3 metre swell which lead to double overhead breakers in the bay - lots of fun until you get munched by one!
One thing I hadn't noticed before was the spectacular view from the water at this beach. Past visits may have been cloudy or I was too busy having fun on the water to look up. The backdrop at this beach is a view down the Western Brook Pond fiord which really stands out in the sunshine. This is the same view you get from the red chairs at Broom Point. I hope to snag a photo of kiting at Western Brook with the fiord in the background soon.
Today was a great North wind day at Shallow Bay on my 7m Razor. Small but smooth breakers and flat water behind the island.
I used a Dry-Bag today to self launch and self land my kite on the beach. A bag like this combined with a short rope or sling and a carabiner on the end provides the perfect anchor for the kite. Fill it half full of sand and it's heavy enough to hold a kite down but light enough to move around. Sandbagging like this makes launching and landing by yourself almost as easy and safe as having someone help you.
On Monday I got to try kiting at Sandy Cove in Norris Point for the first time. This spot is just 2 minutes down the road from my house at the moment so I've been itching to try it. The weather was wet and the wind was West, which works well on this beach, but the forecast called for a switch to NE any time. I had a short but fun session here before the wind swung more NE (offshore) and light ran out. I'll definitely be back to this beach next time the wind is up in Norris Point!
This past long weekend I camped with my family and some friends at Grand Lake Tourist Park near Howley at the North end of Grand Lake. This is a nice, well run, private campground that sits on a point in the lake. The pictures on the web made it look ideal for kiting. What I realized when I got there is that the water level was much higher than before and most of the open shoreline had disappeared. Scoping around revealed very little in the way of safe launching spots.
On the Saturday the wind kicked up a lot and I decided to find a way out on the water. With deep water right off the narrow shore it was difficult to self launch. I eventually launched my kite with the help of a non-kiter friend. The wind was very turbulent due to the the upwind islands with tall trees. The wind picked up some more and I started to wish I was on my 7m instead of my 10m. After an hour or so I headed in for a very sketchy overpowered landing. I was very lucky to have my friend there to jump on the kite before it hit the trees or relaunched!
I wouldn't call Grand Lake Tourist Park a destination kiting spot, though it is a nice place to camp. Next time I'll bring the kayaks!
What I found when planning my first trip to Newfoundland (with kites) was an absence of info on the web about what to expect. I knew there was plenty of water and wind but also pictured rocky cliffs and tree lined shores. Turns out much of Newfoundland fits this image but there are also some perfect spots to kiteboard.
Now that I live in Gros Morne I have the chance to explore and discover the good kiting spots here on the west coast. What I've found is some ideal beaches ranging from ocean wave spots (Western Brook) to flat sandy shallows (Shallow Bay) to inland fresh water beaches (Deer Lake).
Ever kited somewhere with so many kiters that you spend half your time flying your kite over or under someone else's lines or checking for space every time you jump? This is not a problem in Newfoundland. One thing all the beaches have in common is a complete lack of kiteboarders, and often no people at all.
The empty beaches and lack of available info on kiting in Newfoundland motivated me to share some info on the web about the great kiting here. I'd love to see the popularity of kiting grow here in Newfoundland. If you're a kiter looking for a new spot to visit you should definitely consider Gros Morne. This area is already known for great hiking, kayaking, whale watching, camping and scenery. Combine this with good kiting and you've got a perfect vacation for kiters and non-kiters alike.