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.


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