It’s a bit like swimming the channel 8 days after the first time in a pool…

Things have been mad hectic here. From running around hardware shops to buy spring washers to stop the buggy wheels falling off, to setting up our SPOT GPS (like our facebook page to track us), training with no wind, losing and then finding bolts again (thanks for the spares Oxford Bearings!), pumping our tyres with Ultraseal anti-puncture sealant and seating the bead (thanks Graham at GM Tyres!)… the list goes on.

But, things are definitely starting to come together. Which is lucky because we’re leaving in 4 days!

www.sbkites.co.uk

Onto the subject of this post…I caught Harry up and had my first lesson with Kevin and his daughter Ashleigh at SB Kites in Poole last Sunday.

This may seem mad, to only start kite buggying 8 days before we leave for an epic trip. It’s almost like trying to swim the channel, only 8 days after ever jumping in a pool. Certainly it seemed rather daunting to me, especially with the wind blowing offshore at force 4 and gusting to force 5 or 6.  However Kevin allayed these fears, teaching me first how the kite works, and then where the safety mechanisms are, and what they do. Then he hooked himself up, and showed me a couple of maneuvers he wanted me to practice. Kite high up in the window (zenith apparently!), then to the right (2 o’clock), then the left (10 o’clock). Controlling the kite between these two points.

A couple of hours later, and I joined Harry zipping up and down the beach in the buggies, learning how to control the kite and maintain speed. Fantastic feeling! That is, until I got a little over-powered and flipped the buggy over on top of me – cue Ashleigh running to catch me up, shouting “release it! release it!” i.e., pull the safety line and kill the power from the kite.

So, things can go wrong, but this was a useful lesson in what to do when something goes wrong, and how I can avoid it for next time. Also a lesson that it doesn’t really hurt, but that you should always wear a helmet, and definitely don’t just start kiting by yourself – get a lesson.

Kevin and Ashleigh really helped me to progress, giving us loads of tips learnt through over a decade each of kiting each. I have never met two people more passionate about all things kites, so a big thank you to them both! Both fascinating to listen to, and easy to learn off.

More updates to come as we make final preparations to leave for Natal on Monday!

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