Sunday, June 14, 2015

Riding the wind

When I was young, I used to make plastic kites and fly them all day, or for several days. It was great fun especially on those windy days. A kite uses an aerodynamic surface to create a lift and overcome gravity to fly in the wind. The lift that sustains the kite in the air is created when air flows above the kite's surface, producing low pressure above and high pressure below the wings. In December 2014 while in Durban, I saw a kite surfer, something I had not quite seen before, considering that my only kite experience was the home made kite from my early years. I found it intriguing and the surfer was very good at it and was clearly enjoying himself as he knew well how to do it. There is kite boarding which is a surface water sport combining various aspects such as wake-boarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. A kite boarder harnesses and uses the power of the wind on a large power kite and is propelled across the water on a kite board similar to a small surfboard, with or without foot straps. Kite surfing is a form of kite boarding which is related to wave riding and uses standard surfboards. There are different styles of kite boarding and in 2012, the number of kite surfers was estimated at 1.5 million people worldwide. A kite surfer ensures an optimal balance between the wind speed and direction and the power of the kite to ensure that the kite surfing experience is enjoyable. He then rides the waves with air jumps and all sorts of tricks and stunts thanks to the wind and surfing skills with reading of correct angles combined. Power kites are very powerful and can, if control is lost, cause injury an optimal balance between the winds speed and direction and the power of the kite to ensure that the kite surfing experience is enjoyable.
He then rides the waves thanks to the wind and surfing skills. Power kites are very powerful and can, if control is lost, cause injury to the surfer. The surfer needs to maintain control of the kite to be able to manage maneuvers as well as dictate what he wants from the kite. Strong winds or unexpected gusts can lead to bad impact which can cause harm. Like a kite surfer, life is about ensuring that you are always in charge of that kite board and anticipating strong winds that can destabilize you. One needs to always be in control of their present, anticipate the future and be mindful of the past. Losing control of  your environment can mean falling off the board into the water or worse, hitting objects and getting hurt. Not all winds are good for surfing and surfers know that
cross-shore and cross- onshore winds are the best for kite boarding. Offshore winds pose the danger that one can be blown away from the shore in the event of equipment failure or loss of control while direct onshore winds carry the risk of being thrown onto land and possibly falling into buildings or dangerous objects. Always ensure that you can handle the winds you are surfing and choose your winds carefully as some winds are ruthless and not worth taking out to surfing. Do you know the winds you are dealing with? You can ride the wind, or lose your balance to it and fall. Enjoy the ride.