The sun still feels hot but the air has taken on a distinct chill. The Cascades are whispering, and once again the cold breath from the upper elevations is winding its way through town, carrying with it the taste of nameless forest groves. Hood River has all but emptied out, and while we certainly appreciate the great attention doted upon us during the summer months, there’s definitely a feeling of shared relief among those of us left behind.
Out on the water the wind continues to blow, but it now follows a fall schedule of unpredictable nuclear winds and random easterlies. Yesterday evening it was gusting to 42 mph at Swell City. Today it was so windy that someone was actually kiteboarding on a trainer kite. I had a good session on my seven meter kite after work on Wednesday, suddenly realizing how much more power I could handle when I stand up straight and actually use good posture while riding.
I took my Omega out of its mushy 2:1 pulley configuration and now ride it in 1:1, which makes it a much more fun, but ultimately less forgiving kite. The stock 1:1 configuration recommended by Cabrinha is awesome in that it’s incredibly reactive and completely eliminates bar pressure, but it destroys the range of depower to such a degree that by the end of one of my sessions I found my waist harness up around my armpits.
I’ve since rigged my bar and kites in the unofficial 1:1 configuration, which increases bar pressure and reduces responsiveness when compared to the stock 1:1, but grants a much wider range of depower. Seeing as how I’m typically riding in conditions that range from 13-30 mph, I’ll take the added depower range any day.
Last weekend I got out to the Oregon Coast for the first time in years, camping at Oswald with Kelly, Jason and their friends from Beaverton. The drive out was full of firsts for me, including visiting Trader Joe’s and eating at Jack in the Box. Kelly and I ordered our food to go, stole a bag of Jack in the Box sauces to complement our Trader Joe’s “snausages” that we eventually devoured at the Coast, and ate our questionable meals ghetto-style, sitting on the curb under the florescent lights of the parking lot.
There was a family at Jack in the Box who was treating their foreign exchange student to a fine meal out on the town, and in recognition of this occasion the husband wore his cleanest Hooter’s t-shirt.
At the Coast I tried surfing for the first time in my life, and I managed to keep it together for some time out at Short Sands, despite the fact that I found the water to be unbelievably cold at 49 degrees. I’d paddle and ride until I found myself absolutely gnarled by a wave, at which point I would hand the board over to Kelly so she could do the same.
We kept up this pattern until the sun fell into the ocean.