There is a place that exists in space and time that few people experience. It is a moment where all your senses, input and output are at one with your immediate surroundings. Time, in those moments, is moot. Yet, is paradoxically in time. Musicians probably experience this most often. Surfers when they enter the green room. Extreme sports enthusiasts such as base jumpers or wing suit flyers. It is often the result from years, more probable...decades of training. The repetitive nature of training, means the muscle memory and psychological memory training directs the mind and body combined, into a place where for a brief time the individual is at one with their immediate surroundings.
For me this happens when foiling downwind along a stretch of coastline. That moment when all apparent wind is nil. The sound of rushing air past my ears fades. Traveling at ten to fifteen knots half a meter on top of the undulating waves. I am at one with the forces of nature, sun surf and wind. Those brief moments are supremely sublime! It is zen. I find it fascinating, acute tranquility exists in those moments of speed and subtle control.
For me it's that brief moment at the start of a session. I water start, often straight up onto the foil, run downwind to clear the reef, then carve a turn to head out and dodge the fishos and their lines on the rock wall.
As I drop down the foil starts what feels like an endless carve. The bank angle gets deeper and I get lower and lower to the water. Speed and upwind angle increases. I ease in the trimmer to counter the increasing apparent wind. It seems to go on forever.
On a very good day the endless carve continues until I get out past the boating marker and smash out a roll tack. When it's perfect the board is banked hard the whole way through the tack and pull of the kite stretches my spine as it goes up through the apex and I drop on the new course with a stupid grin on my face. When it's not perfect I get wet.
Oooohhhh.. Thanks 4 the stoke.. Still on the low rungs of the ladder looking up.. And anticipating.. I can relate hang-gliding 130km goal some days u knew it was in the bag from 5-10 kms in.
Meanwhile getting regular rinses but on the sunny coast right now water temp is g8 ... In hope...
.... I can relate hang-gliding 130km goal some days u knew it was in the bag from 5-10 kms in.
Old paraglider pilot here. One of my best memories of paragliding is where you've been kicking treetops for ages and you get a turn with lift half way round. Each turn the lift gets a bit more consistent. You centre and climb and eventually it kicks off into a screaming thermal all the way to base. From there it's a fast glide dolphin-ing through climbs back to the landing paddock.
On the foil there's a vaguely similar thing doing a coast run. Ride out, turn, pull in the trimmer, stomp the foil, and rocket upwind. There's that point where you know you're just going to run all the way home without having to turn or slow down.
I can attest to the idea as a musician. On stage after an initial run of shows and the band is locked in you become more than the sum of it's parts. And what is equally wonderful is when guitars start to harmonize and you create a ghost player, notes created almost by magic as the harmonics blend to form a new note. That is rare, but so special when it happens. We all look at each other and wonder where those notes came from.
As for foiling, when the muscle memory has set and you are riding that magic carpet looking down into the sea and seeing things from such a different perspective you realize that it was so worth the effort to learn.
This week, we had some great conditions for foiling with a tiny 3m kite. With a surf foil, small kite and a few waves it's hard to think of anything negative as you fly across clear, blue water. In fact following on from dafish, one of the things that does come into your thoughts is music, randomly selected from your minds playlist, a suitable song or even instrumental piece to suit your emotions and the conditions.
Far from the experience of the first season of foiling, it's the muscle memory which takes over leaving your mind free, watching the natural world under your foil. Last week did have a slightly unusual experience however. As I was coming into shore and turning to make my way out again, I saw what appeared to be a very large, dark shape on the bottom approx. 10m downwind in chest deep water. Fascinated by large stingrays which are common here, I foiled over to take a closer look at one of these beautiful and gentle creatures. As I approached and then foiled over the shape it became much clearer, it was a 2.5m shark displaying all the angular pectoral fins of a great white, slowly travelling down the beach, undisturbed by my activity
Although it showed no interest in me and and I felt more excitement than fear, I saw another TT kiter make a dash for the beach after passing where I had been. I also went in to see if we saw the same thing. I was assured we had and we discussed on the beach with other kiters whether we should warn other kiters or let the moment pass along with the shark. After 15 minutes i went back out and other kiters and a wingfoiler did as well, figuring perhaps we could all share this beautiful place without conflict
My Zen experiences in foiling are similar .Entering a distant state of mind state finds me somewhere else and time disappears for bit , it's a strange sensation.
Downwind runs after climbing upwind , occasionally broken by flying fish , turtles and dugong . Last week I passed over a large female and young by only foot or so ( it seemed ) ... woke me up !
My facial muscles becoming tired because of the smile on it. Completely unconscious smiling ....
It also happens when I'm chasing down and riding swells and waves , figure 8s round and round. Gentle downloops and down the line. Broken by the odd stack it takes a few minutes to find the flow again. cheers.