Quotes inspired by the waves 
The day's blog was going to be about measuring wind strenght and wave height. But procrastination is at work when, looking for the adequate quote of the day, I came across so many jewels that I just had to share just a few right now. That gives me another day to expand on the more tedious subjects.

"You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf."
Jon Kabat-Zinn

"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?"
Stephen Wright

"No wind, no waves."
Chinese Proverbs

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum."
Arthur C. Clarke

"Like as the waves make towards the pebbl'd shore, so do our minutes, hasten to their end."
William Shakespeare

"When you do dance, I wish you a wave o' the sea, that you might ever do nothing but that"
William Shakespeare

"It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up."
Muhammad Ali quotes (American Boxer and Activist, b.1942)
He must have read Shakespeare ;-)

"'O Tiger-lily,' said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind, 'I wish you could talk!' 'We can talk,' said the Tiger-lily: 'when there's anybody worth talking to"
Lewis Carroll

"The winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators."
Edward Gibbon

"The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea."
Vladimir Nabokov

"An injury engraves itself on metal; a benefit is written on the waves"
Jean Bertaut

"The waves of desire in the world-ocean are intoxicating wine."
Sri Guru Granth Sahib

"No rock so hard but that a little wave may beat admission in a thousand years."
Alfred Lord Tennyson

"It is pleasurable, when winds disturb the waves of a great sea, to gaze out from land upon the great trials of another"

"There's no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves"
Frank Herbert quotes (American science fiction Author and Writer 1920-1986)

"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."
Teilhard de Chardin (French Geologist, Priest, Philosopher and Mystic, 1881-1955)


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Lazy week in Langkawi 
Quote of the day:
"Festina lente (Latin - hasten slowly)"
Seutonius - Divus Augustus, 120 AD

22nd April
As I write this down, we are just off (one nautical miles away) Koh Ha Yai group of Islets with which we got familiar on the way down. But this time we will not be anchoring to cool off because we want to be moored in Chalong Bay this evening before sunset. This blog will be posted tonight, but surely not before a good Thai massage.
We are trucking at 7.5 knots, TTT's economy cruise speed in a flat sea, and the only wind we experience is the apparent one of our own making. It was not the case yesterday when we managed to sail engineless a good part of the leg from Koh Lipe to Koh Rok Noi at 6 knots in 10 knots of true wind. Max took the sails down as a precaution when thunderstorms were looming all aorund us and the sea got quite uncomfortable.
Not a lot of kiting accomplished and even less pictures taken.
The stopover in Langawi was not supposed to last more than a day or two, but the engine spares one should always have on board were half the price as in Phuket and it would have been silly not to wait a few more days for the part to come from the mainland to Kuah.

25th April
Posting the blog three days later than promised, from the Mando restaurant on Rawai beach. Max and Ina are gone to Hua Hin now, and I am staying to try to resolve a crucial problem: finding a berth for Two To Tango. I hadn't anticipated to return here so I did not think of booking at Yachthaven which is full with yachts "wintering" for the rainy season.
A few more pictures are being added to the Andaman blues gallery: http://www.nautikites.net/Andaman_Blues.html
Ooops. For some reason, the new pictures will not upload. I'll try again tomorrow.
Sebastian and Nick should have left Hua Hin for Bangkok today. Part 3 of their Thailand trip should be online.

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The show must go on 
Quote of the day:
"A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." William Shedd

Monday 12th April.
This was supposed to be a kite cruise. And a sailing cruise. The fact is, due to lack of wind, our twin Yanmars are doing the job to tug us along at 7 knots heading for Koh Lipe, which is another 40 nautical miles away. We spend the night on a mooring in Koh Rok Noy. Max is in the cockpit reading and sweet Ina is sitting on the roof reading as well. The light wind is from behind (I should say "astern" if I were pompous), which makes our apparent wind virtually nil and the heat is thus inescapable. Within an hours we should be out of sight of any land, but GPS is making it just too easy nowadays to find our way. In a way, I am missing the days of astronomical navigation, which made us navigators appear like sorcerers or soothsayer, predicting with reasonable accuracy the time and day we would be hitting land again, with the help of our book of magic, the almananc of heavenly bodies, and the cabalistic intruments called the sextant and the marine chronometer.
We were supposed to be 5 on board, but Sebastian and Nick decided to leave us in Koh Phi-Phi Le (Koh Pharya Nak on our marine chart) of "the Beach" fame, in order to return to Hua Hin in hope of better winds. They are on a mission to make a movie about kiting in Thailand, and this prospect was getting thin in this area with such little winds forecasted. They might find wind, but they might well miss the magic.
We are looking forward for Koh Lipe. We are first of all anticipating some wind in the channel between Koh Adang and Koh Lipe to deploy finally our restless kites and get some filming of our own done. And a Thai dinner in a beach restaurant is not out of question either; nor the Sang Som Coke that goes without saying as the sun sets. We won't miss Songran on Thai soil, and are curious to see how it is celebrated in such a remote place.
Koh Phi-Phi Le and Koh Ha Yai were offered us an amazing spectacle of colours and beauty both in and out the emerald waters. Just wait for our gallery to be updated to get the picture.
This was not only supposed to be a kite cruise, but it was supposed to be a delivery cruise to Pranburi. But TTT was not quite ready for that, due to the nasty motorcycle accident Larry, our skipper and engineer in chief suffered whilst we were still in Hua Hin. So we are renaming this trip a "Round Andaman Sea Cruise", hoping the re-christening will be heard by the wind gods, and make it possible to envisage a visit to Similan and Surin Island on our way North.

Tuesday 13th April. Songkran!
Two To Tango is now anchored on the southern bay of Koh Lipe. Max and Ina are cooling off ashore. Seb just called me from Pranburi to say the wind dropped completely up there, so both he and Nick will be sick when they will see the pics taken yesterday afternoon after we had anchored and sipped our fruitshakes ashore! The connection is slow here, so I don't know if I will manage to upload anything to Nautikite's gallery today. I'll try to get at least some low res preview across. Moreover, Max waits for me to get back to the beach to get some more riding around this quite unique place.
Songkran doesn't seem to be celebrated the way it should over here :-(. Far too mild.

Wednesday 14th April. Telaga Harbour in Langkawi.
Arrived last night. No berths available for catamarans so we will be staying another night at anchor in the bay. Some wind this afternoon meant some riding for me, whilst Max and Ina were sightseeing nearby. We'll likely to move to Kuah, the main town, if a berth is found there.

The Andaman Blues teaser is uploaded: Andaman Blues

More to come...

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Flysurfer Speed 3 review 
Quote of the day:
"The light wind laughs, brings along with lonesome."

Flysurfer Speed 3 - 19m review by Neil.

How does the world's most expensive kite fly? So what's the deal with the Deluxe version? Is it worth the premium? In this review I'll try to answer these questions. This review will be up-loaded in installments as and when I get the chance to fly the Speed 3.

It is very likely that we are at the end of the 2010 North-East monsoon. Definitely not a spectacularly strong monsoon, but at least we were blessed with lots of sunshine and not too many tropical storms. El Nino at play perhaps? At least we got about 10 straight days of solid 18 to 25kt winds with white caps everywhere and even luckier, we got it right through the Chinese New Year Holidays. There were two honking great days that I was on an 8m tube and well powered up and several more on a 10 meter while the rest was on my usual 12m. I'm a flyweight kiter weighing in at 56kg.

So it wasn't with the greatest enthusiasm that I finally had to take out the Flysurfer Speed 3-15m one day when the wind wasn't co-operating. There were a few kiters on 14m and they definately weren't having much fun walking back up wind. They gave up after an hour. The Speed 3-15m wasn't exactly staying up-wind too and while I kited for an hour and the half, it was mainly cruising and also struggling to stay up-wind. In actual fact it was quite hard work as I was often boxed in by three groups of learners and had to do multiple short tacks to avoid them.

The following week's forcast was a paltry 5 knots for Saturday and 7 knots for Sunday, I guessed it was time to take out the Rolls Royce of kites, the Flysurfer Speed 3-19m Deluxe edition. The wind was very light at the beach. It was so light that I decided that it was too light for anything to fly. I waited and waited while the tide slowly ebbed away and I would be out of water for the day. With about an hour and the half to go before the water fully drained away, I decided to just launch the mother of all kites. The Speed 3-19m.

I tried pre-filling it with air by holding the kite air intakes to the wind. It filled up a little bit and then didn't seem to want to fill up anymore. I managed to get it about 5% inflated when I decided that trying to pre-inflate it will be furtile. So I got my assistants to hold up the kite and wait for a gust to catch the formless rag. When I saw the over-priced flag open up, I tugged the center line and up went the brand new Speed 3-19m on its maiden flight.

Usually it takes about a minute for Flysurfers to inflate fully. This time however about 1.5 meters of wing tip just flapped in the breeze for a good two minutes before eventually morphing into its sleek long kite shape. I looked hard at the kite and wondered whether I had mistakenly took out a Speed 3-15M Deluxe instead of the nineteen meter. It definately looked a bit smaller than the white and blue Speed3-15m that I have been flying regularly. Also the kite seemed nearer than usual like it had shorter lines. Probably because it was so huge. The large black border really does make it appear smaller than it really is.

The pull from the kite was quite light and I had no problems walking out away from the shore. I put on my 131X39cm board and tried to swing the behemoth right in preparation to dive left. It basically didn't want to move. I sat in the water trying to coax it to 1 O'Clock. Once there I tugged left on the control bar and saw the slowest, laziest kite dive I have ever seen! But it pulled me up, out of the water with ease. Sined it just once as Speed 3's don't like to be worked. Parked it at 45 degrees and it just pulled easily. Not powered up at all, but definately moving with speed.

For the next half hour, I was just barely staying upwind, not having much fun. Then I realised that I left the power adjuster pulled fully for de-power when I launched it. I pulled the power strap one inch and the kite just speeded up and a respectable rooster tail emerged from the rear of my small board. Well if one inch is good, then two must surely be better. Tugged another inch of power and suddenly I was fully powered up on a small high wind board on very flat water. Only one thing to do. Wake-style!

I only do basic wake style tricks and am still practising. Here I was, in the flattest water in Asia on a low wind day, pulled by a monster of a kite with no one else in the water. I rode for an hour solid, pulling 2 to 3 tricks on each run. All this time, the Speed 3-19m did not even once seem like it will ever fall out of the sky. I tried a couple of send back jumps but got as high as half a meter and the kite was so sluggish trying to re-send it forward that I gave up trying to jump old school.

Got tired of practising wake style and also the water was about 3 inches in some places and my fins kept scraping on the sea bed. Got on a finless skim board. With a whoosh and a yelp from me and I was off like a rocket. However the lack of water depth meant that I couldn't edge the skim board hard enough to slow down the Speed 3 and I was skimming at some really uncomfortably high speeds. So called it a day before I got dragged over the ever disappearing water. Tomorrow's forcast is better anyway. A whopping 7kts!

Day 2. Another 30C hot day, little cloud with only a slight breeze rustling the leaves a little. Launched the big boy again. Practiced some more wake style, this time un-hooked. Nothing big, just working on the timing and the different feel of the Flysurfer. The pull from the big Flysurfer was so constant that I even popping from toe-side. Not very successful but some day hopefully. Then decided that I needed to work on riding toe-side with my surf board and jibing. Nothing like practising on perfect flat water. My toe-side on surfboard definitely needs more work. Every time I carved to toe side, I slowed down so much that my board was almost being dragged through the water rather than surfing on it. The speed 3 even in very light winds was just a tractor pulling a very bad rider very slowly. The Speed 3-19m just stays up in the sky seemingly not affected by gravity at all.

Next weeks forcast is for 7 to 9 knots. Yippee! Too bad I got a group of four to teach, so I'll have to skip lunch to ride the Speed 3-19m again hopefully.

I rode the Speed 3-19m for an hour and the half on both days. While riding, I didn't feel elated or excited as I would be on a big day with a small kite. It was a nice long ride. I practiced stuff I wouldn't have practiced if it was blowing hard and I was on a smaller kite. Most importantly I got my ride and didn't waste the weekend. But when I went to bed and re-played all the moves in my head, my adrenaline was definately still pumping and it was all because of the Speed 3-19m.

Dealers often cite the cost per hour of owning a Speed 3. They claim that because it flies in such little wind, that you will get to kite so much more. ...
Also that the Speed 3 is light wind insurance. Definately true.

Dedicated light wind machine. Nothing else comes close.

Posted 1st March 2010 by Neil, of Clubkite Asia (Singapore).

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PKRA and Sebastian Bubmann are coming to Thailand 
Quote of the day:
"Thailand, the Land of Serendipity".

Breaking News! PKRA comes to Hua Hin!
Thailand joins the 2010 PKRA Word Tour! Thailand will open up the season with a Grand Slam event consisting of Freestyle, Course Racing, and Best Trick disciplines. The event to be the first professional kiteboarding event in Asia in the history of the sport, promises to be a new beginning for the sport in the region, as it is expected to attract all the top riders in the world for an exceptional display of kiteboarding in Thailand.
The event will be held in Hua Hin, which is 3 hours driving time south of Bangkok International Airport. Registration will be on Sunday March 14th and the event will be from Monday March 15th till Saturday March 20th.
The Thailand KTA (Kite Tour Asia) event will follow shortly afterwards in Pranburi (25th -29th March).
Flysurfer Team rider Sebastian Bubmann (www.sebastianbubmann.com for bio and results) will take part in both events, after which we will have the pleasure to have him on board Two To Tango for a month FS kite-specific cruise from Phuket to Hua Hin round Singapore, via Koh Samui and amazing surroundings. Our blog will keep you updated with our progress.


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Is IKO (International Kiteborading Organisation) relevant? 
Quote of the day:
"There's a sucker born every minute" Barnum

This is a topic I long wanted to cover, but a post (More IKO troubles) in kiteforum.com spared me the work. This is what I read (and applauded) today:

The IKO Headquarters in the DR is quite a joke. I live quite close to it. From what i can tell, the office is full of women, most if not all of them don't kite and I have never seen any of these IKO people on the Kitebeach or on Bozo Beach (200 meters away from the office), I suspect they have no clue what goes on in their own backyard.
If you sit 5 minutes on any of the Cabarete beaches you will quickly realize that they do not implement any of the safety rules they claim to follow. They're too busy sitting in that office sucking the money out of clueless riders all around the world.

I won't deny the business idea is genius, they make serious money out of nothing, just by using words like "safety and danger" as a leverage to mold the minds of government officials. Here in Cabarete, they seem to implement only the part where you have to pay!

From what i have seen on Kitebeach, If you want to be an IKO instructor all you need is money, no skills or experience is necessary as long as you can mow the lawn and you have money to give them, you will get certified. A guy i knew took the IKO course, failed the written test, they just made him shadow an instructor for a few hours and he got certified. The guy sucked at kiting and he was most definitely not experienced enough to be an instructor.

I know all this is old news but every time i walk by that office i get annoyed, IKO is the leach of the kiteboarding industry, they take a lot but gives nothing useful back to the kiting community.
Knowing how they are, i can't even imagine living near a spot where you have no choice but pay these people to ride.

I wish one day the kiters of Cabarete would riot and burn their office to the ground.


New schools are popping everywhere, and obviously, many are eager to take a shortcut to get the punter's trust. What easier than buying the IKO sticker for instant recognition? Old and established schools either never bothered with IKO or are shrugging any affiliation with IKO.

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