Let me tell you about my foil excursion from my home spot of Huntington Beach to the oil island of Long Beach then back home. Over last week we had phenomenal wind, but the last several days we have gotten lazy Southern breezes. The first day of no wind I took it to rest and relax, but yesterday my anxiousness got the best of me. I wanted something to do so I figured I'd do something kite related, but conditions were not necessarily inviting. Our wind here in Huntington was barley blowing above 10 MPH from the South. To add to the already poor conditions a rather large South swell was beginning to kick in. I knew I'd look like a kook going down there with these conditions so I decided to dress the part. I dressed like the kookiest individual I know, Chip Ripperson. I had on my mesh Hawaiian shirt over my wetsuit with a hat that read 'Mahalo Kooks' and very large water sunglasses. As I made my way down to the water I was drawing quite a good amount of attention. Most of my neighbors were heading out to surf, and here I am walking down dressed like a kook holding the kookiest water device known to surfers, a foil board. If you know what Kook of the Day is on Instagram my goal was to either make it on there or make it out to ride. I unfortunately only accomplished one of those goals.
As I got down to the water it felt like the wind was pretty close to non existent, but I didn't care. I was going out there no matter what, and I was going to have a good time doing it. As I got my kite up the wind felt reasonable, and I got a bit over confident. I figured I had enough power to body drag out regardless of whether the sets were coming in or not. So instead of waiting to time out the sets I went straight to the water. If you've ever body dragged in light wind you know it can be quite a task. Well when you toss in a pretty decent shore break dressed like an idiot it becomes exponentially more difficult. The Hawaiian shirt was causing a decent amount of drag and became very heavy negating the buoyancy of my wetsuit. Along with having no power in the kite this made for an awesome pair up going out to the waves. Every surfer in the water stared at me in pure distain as I body dragged passed them.
After a decent amount of effort I got to a spot that was deep enough for my foil. I looped my kite and was riding immediately, piece of cake. My ego and confidence quickly diminished as I looked forward. Not timing the sets had me riding straight into a walled out wave with no sign of exit down wind. I thought I'd just jump it as I usually do. Unfortunately, I forgot that I didn't need to just clear the board from the wave, but the foil below me. As I got some height and though all was good I felt my legs being yanked very aggressively downward. The wave grabbed my foil and took it, along with me, over the falls. Time sort of slows down when you're in a wave whirlpool with a foil flying around your body. You have time to think how dumb of an idea this was, and what your hospital experience may be like. I covered my face with one hand and kept the other hand on my bar hoping my kite was still in the air. I some how got out of the wave with kite still flying, and unscathed by my foil. I wasn't out of the woods quite yet though. I fell right in the break, and the next wave was coming. Usually in this situation I'd just use the power of my kite to loop to shore and be out of harms way. With the wind I had today my power was limited and the waves were much more powerful. As I took the next set on the head I blindly looped my kite hoping to pop out of the white wash, and it worked. I made it back to shore to grab my board.
Now bound and determined to redeem myself in front of all the surfers and beach goers I set out for my next attempt. This time being a bit more cautious of the waves I timed the sets, and nailed my next start. As I got out passed the waves I sighed in relief and finally caught my breath. It was now time for my journey, but where was I going to go? I stayed in Huntington for the first few tacks getting comfortable with my line, and knowing where I could travel. At first I thought I'd ride upwind to Newport then cruise down back to Huntington. After doing several tacks up past the pier I didn't want to work hard in the beginning. I noticed my angle going down wind was nearly a perfect shot straight to Sunset so I began my trek. My line was so comfortable I didn't need to do anything. My kite just sat slightly down wind of me while I cruised down the beach. It was such an easy ride that by the time I got into Sunset I figured, why stop? Long Beach was on the horizon so I traveled onward. It felt like I was just sailing the coast line on my one person sail boat. Cruising the waters taking in the views, I could see the mountains with their snow capped peaks. It was a calm enjoyable ride all the way down.
As I made my way back from Long Beach to Huntington the swell on the outside was getting noticeably larger. Learning my lesson from earlier and seeing more surfers in the water I'd have to time my approach. While riding up through Dog Beach of Huntington I could see the sets pounding along moving at a decent speed. If I didn't come in at the right angle I wouldn't have the speed to out run these waves. Upon my approach upwind toward the beach I knew I was in a precarious spot. I saw a wave over my shoulder beginning to take shape. I quickly tacked my board up into it and turned back out. This was my shot to get back in. I was going to chase that wave all the way to shore. I quickly jibed after my tack to race in behind the set. As I began my approach to the shore I could see the next wave closing in behind me. I couldn't slow down with the chance of the next wave taking me out, but had a field of people and surfer in the water in front of me. Carefully but quickly I navigated my way passed the individuals with the wave on my tail. I did it, I made it to the sand!
All in all it was a really fun experience even with being tossed around in the beginning. I probably would have never done something like this if it weren't for our current situation so there's silver linings to everything. I traced my ride with an app on my phone called Relive and have the video below for you to check out my ride. Hope you enjoyed this story of my boredom and pursuit of relieving it. Happy kiting everyone!