13 May Kicker Experiences
As most keen kiteboarders should know, those days when there is not enough wind to get out for a kite, but enough wind to make the surf choppy and horrible, can be the longest, most unfulfilling days of your life. If you can’t manage to find something to do, the boredom can be so overwhelming you can easily find yourself lying on your ass watching TV and lose your motivation to go out and find something to do.
A mate and me recently found ourselves in this exact situation. It was nearing the end of the holidays and we were itching for a kite, but there was no wind forecast for anytime in the near future. One afternoon we ended up sitting on the couch and out of complete boredom we found ourselves talking about building an obstacle to kite, again! This was not an unusual topic as building an obstacle was something we had wanted to do for a long time. But it was the first time that we had enough spare time to get one built.
We decided that we were going to build a kicker as we had already used rails a few times before. After coming up with the design for the kicker in our heads we headed to my mate, Shannon’s dad’s shed. Here we found most of the things we would need to build our obstacle. Before we even thought about how we would transport our kicker, where to put it and how to get it into the water, we started cutting up 2x4s for the frame. We were able to build and paint the entire frame with what we could find in the shed but we had to buy out top sheet from a local plastics store. After finishing our kicker off with a poly-ethylene top sheet our creation was complete.
It was another few weeks before we got enough wind to try out our kicker. The first day we tried it was at one of my local spots Golden Beach. We had the kicker just resting on a sand bar, being held down by weights. The 300m walk out with kicker didn’t make the setting up process a desirable one, but it completely changed my kiting experience. Having an obstacle in the water adds an entire new element to kiteboarding. After riding a kicker a few times I don’t know how I’m going to go back to normal flat riding. Kickers give you a pop unlike a normal kite release that seems to make even simple rolls so much more fun. Unfortunately the wind blew 25+ knots so unhooking was not an option this time.
After building and riding my own kicker I would have to recommend that all serious kiters try out an obstacle at some point. Whether you are sliding over a flat bar hooked in, or doing a pete rose off of a kicker, obstacles seem to always bring more fun to a normal kite sesh!