KiteAir Report – Westward Ho!

Westward Ho! or The Good, The Bad, And the Soaking

stovesy Saturday 18 June 2005
Well, this trip had it all.

We (Stovesy, Dobbo & Scratcher) arrived at around 4:30, and driving down into the Ho! got our first look at the surf. Surf was UP ! that meant wind was up !. The cleanest 15mph on-shore I’d ever felt.

We were all ready to rock & roll – sadly the sea wasn’t. The beach at the Ho! is separated from a golf course and country park area, by a large pebble bar: the sea comes right up to its base at high tide. So we stood and watched the surfers a while, shouted ‘Back, Back, I command you back’, but the sea did not rush out – We’d have to wait until around 7:30 when enough sand would be exposed to set up.

‘Is the tide out yet ?’
‘What about now ?’
‘Is the tide out yet ?’
‘Mum can I have a rabbit ?’
‘Is the tide out yet ?’

That evening was perfect. The sea was blue. The sky was blue. The sand was – sandy coloured, and the wind was ACE. After a short trudge to a drying area of sand, we set up in record time.
Phil was off, speeding down the beach under power of his 6-6 blade man, board and kite in perfect harmony, for a while, then he found a patch of soft sand. His board & feet stopped dead, but the rest of his slender frame carried on and inevitably hit the deck. Steve and I both thought ‘watch out for the soft stuff’. So – I headed off and found exactly the same spot as Phil. Sand tastes bad.

As the tide dropped, things got much better sand-wise, but I reckon it’s a bit of a problem at the Ho! A couple of local camera heads wandered across to take some stunning pics of 3 kiters against a setting sun. Sadly by this time (around 9-ish) the wind was dropping, so there were no spectacular airs to capture, but cruising back and forth for some distance was a real buzz.

Quick change, then PUB. By this time Rab had arrived, set-up camp and had noticed 3 kites on the beach; enough to make him green with envy I hope. Ben and his crew turned up during our second or third pint. they would all have to wait until tomorrow.

The tide on Saturday started moving out early so after a cracking fried breakfast cooked by our very own Jamie Oliver – Dobbo, we sped back to the same spot as Friday eve.
Jane B and posse had beaten us to it. Over time, all sorts of kites were coming out of the bag, bigger and bigger every time. My Phantom wasn’t really playing ball. Kites would fall from the sky, then as soon a a breath of wind came through, there was frenzied activity across the beach. The wind was slightly cross shore, so our backs were to the sea. Dark clouds were looming behind us. I was working the 18m Phantom hard around the sky, when I started feeling static shocks between myself and the bar. Lets see, a damp salty kite; carbon spars; damp lines; carbon bar ? I quickly got scared, remembering Ben franklin – the only thing I was missing was a key (look it up). Down came the kite, with a swift cautionary word to the others.
So things were kinda getting stowed away just in case it rained, but, ever the optimist, I thought it was pass us by. We were (all seven of us) in one tent when it started to lash it down with lightning and hail (optimism eh?), but quite cheery in the knowledge it would pass and we would carry on kiting (could be a film eh?).
After a few minutes of hail and rain, Phil commented he had a nice feeling; like he’d wet himself.
Things were flapping around outside.
The rain was not relenting.

‘Time for a look outside’ I decided. So I poked my head out of the tent only to see that our little patch of dry sand, was quickly becoming an even littler patch of wet sand on an otherwise 2 inch deep lake which used to be a beach.
‘Guys; better take a look out here….No really !’
We were getting flooded out – Big Time !

And so ended Saturday. A rather damp and soggy ClubBoss crew resigned themselves to an afternoon of dull F.A cup TV and an even duller Eurovision song contest, although the song about ‘Grandma banging a drum with a mallet in the big house’ did lift our spirits until the beers kicked in.

Saturday eve. Out down the metropolis that is Westward Ho! for a few beers. Mark (Waterlogged) arrived in time to hear some tall tales of the day.

Sunday morning looked promising, broken cloud, with bright patches of sky and an increasing wind. Out came the kites, buggies and boards. There was enough wind at times to get moving, but the soft sand was a hindrance. After an hour or so of people pulling larger and larger kites out of the bag, and then the rains came – again. A wash out. The only person lapping it up was Mark; looking splendid in his wetsuit.

Four Musketeers decided to abandon the beach, dry out, and head back home. I did get a call later (around Birmingham) from JanieB raving about the conditions after we left – Nice, ta.

Still getting the sand out of my kites and car!

All in all though, a good weekend, with great company and a bit of kiting. See you at the next one.


KiteAir Report – Phantom by Adamski

PL Phantom Overview

by adamski on Friday 10 December 2004

You MAY have heard of these Phantoms… they are the flavour of the month on the forums and everyone seems to have a view… it matters not if they have flown them. A review by (And many thanks to) Adamski
I was happily flying my 7.3 and 9.5 Frenzies, putting up with the constant collapsing in the gusty inland flying areas I have to use most of the time. My local shop got a 15m Phantom on two week demo and I was first in the queue for a play!!
One week later and my frenzies were gone… being replaced with phantoms, here is how I got on and why we like them so much!!

First of all… these kites are marked up as expert only kites… don’t let that scare you off! Any hooked in kite takes a fair level of commitment and these are no exception. If you want to learn to go high and fast these may be your way forward… just start in lower winds.

They come in an Orange rucksack with a stylised Phantom screen printed on the back, the sack is expandable for leaving the spars fitted for a fast packdown. There are many and useful straps and clips on the exterior, including a board holder which can be hidden away when not required.
The spars are a bone of contention… they are great because they are lightweight Carbon Fibre but SUCK quite badly because they split strands off which lodge painfully in your skin!!
As with all the other Peter Lynn Arcs they are available as Kite only or ready to fly. Kite only means you get the kite, spars, rucksack, instructional video (why not a DVD?) and best of all… a Phantom t shirt. Ready to fly is all of the above but with a Zero4 bar and a set of nicely colour coded lines.
The quality of the lines has yet to be proven to me… I have seen one snap and have seen two sets “go fluffy” and need replacing.. PLs warranty is top quality though.

There are five kites in the range 6/9/12/15/18. Each is available in only one colour, if you see a Red one up the wind will be howling, yellow will mean a quiet wind day! Peter Lynn specify wind ranges for land and water for all of them but the six metre kite which is land only due to it being a bit mental. They are all a 6.5 Aspect ratio making them about as extreme as it gets.
On land you will be covered from about 3 knots up to 35 (ish) and over water 7 to 40(ish again)
If you have never set an Arc up before you will be about to wonder if you did the right thing my first set-up took about half an hour!!! Once you have the knack it takes only a few minutes longer than a traditional foil.
Each kite also has a recommended bar length… the 6 and 9 metre kites having the tiny 40cm bar, there are HANDLES on the market which are longer than this!!
We have found that the MOST important element to successful launching is proper inflation… give the kite time to fill well and it will launch first time… try to launch at less than 75% full and it will “clap it’s hands” and fall back to earth.
They are self launchable but it IS better to have a helper, if they “bowtie” it’s an absolute ball ache to pin it down, sort it out and launch again!
This highlights the MAJOR downside to these kites… ground handling! They really do NOT like it… best to either have them in the air or semi packed away… leaving them flapping about like huge Duvets is not great for other users of the area, or in the long term the fabric of the kite.
My first flights were in VERY low wind and I was not overly impressed sure they fly well but where was the manic lift I had heard about and experienced on my demo?
I was flying a 12m in about 7-8mph… nowhere near enough it transpires.
Then we were at the beach, the wind was about 10-15mph and we had the 15m Phantom out!
JESUS! Launching was fine, they finish off filling up as they climb above your head, so don’t give the huge drag, scud, lift that a bridled foil offers on launch. Once it was up and the power strap was wound up I dipped a wing then let it climb, pulling the bar in as it reached the zenith…. WHHHEEEEEEEEE! Up we went!!! “Lovely “ I thought faith restored in my purchases.
These kites are for my son and myself to help the progress of our landboarding, get into kitesurfing and do some buggying too. Sam is about 6.5 Stone… I am double that so we will be using different kites in the same wind.
Sam launched the 12m and was happily zooming up and down the beach, starting to do some pretty good jumps too.
Next time out the wind was down under 10mph, Sam launched the 15m and inside 30 minutes was pulling off some 360s and getting grabs in… a first for both!
We have 6/9/12 and 15m phantom at the moment, the 18 will be for next spring I need to find a shop selling MUCH larger testicles than the ones I am equipped with at the moment before “going big” on one of these. My Mate Cory has one and I watched him doing some VERY high and stupidly long jumps the other day… a TOTAL commitment kite that… you ARE going up, best to smile while you are doing it!!
I have flown the 6m in 30mph+ wind and while it is FAST it is still very stable and has the characteristic I love on all of the phantoms… It doesn’t luff in gusts or after jumps.. It just sits happily above your head, waiting to be asked to perform. Each of these kites will send you as high as you want in the right winds, the smaller the kite the higher the wind required. They DO take a bit of fiddling with at first, setting the attachment line lengths, finding full power on the range system and playing about with the internal strap.. shorter line = higher jumps!
Would I advise you bought one? NO I would advise you get a demo on one first… if they suit you it will be the only kite you want to fly… if they DON’T suit you they will be an expensive mistake!!
That is the final point…. Criminy these things are not cheap…..£540 up to £800 ready to fly…… another thing that makes them for the committed (or single!!) flyer!

I will post a review of each of them as I get to know them better. I hope this short review whets your appetite for a try!!