Hot Air Rises

So the land heats up faster than the sea and so does the air above it which rises and the air over the sea rushes in to fill the void giving an on shore breeze in the tropics which cools everyone down.

Here in Mui Ne something more seems to happen as the wind just gets stronger and stronger as the day wears on reaching 35-45 kph on most occasions before dying back down at about 4.30 p.m. My knowledge of weather never covered this phenomenon so I can’t help you with an explanation . However it does mean it is vey windy indeed most afternoons and the sea gets quite rough. So what to do when it does this ?

Well never doubt the wit of Man to come up with some crazy idea to fit the circumstances and  someone who I’m sure wishes to remain anonymous thought. I know what if we take a snow board

Kite Board

 

and when the wind gets up to about 25 kph I go and stand in the sea with my feet in the loops, then I fly a large kite that I hang onto like grim death . I wonder if it will pull me along fast enough to plane along the waves and do jumpy type moves. And sure enough kite boarding was born.

It fits the same pattern as whoever thought of putting a sail on a surf board to start wind surfing and putting wheels on a sailing dingy and calling it sand yachting.

It all started I reckon when a few brits got feed up with hurtling down an icy slope on a toboggan and came up with the brilliant idea of strapping wooden planks to their feet and racing down a snowy slope while the Swiss looked on amused but uninterested and went back to making cuckoo clocks. What was it Orson Wells said about the Swiss in that great film The Third Man

“Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.”

Anyway mii Ne is one of the centres for this fast growing sport and of course things have got a load more technical since it’s inception.

There are some 27 kite schools on the beach. No I’m not sad enough to have gone along counting them the guy in one of them told me. They are foreign owned and all say they only employed people with at least 5 years of teaching experience .It looks an exciting sport to be fair

Kite Boarder 1

 

but I have to say it seems to be a young persons sport especially if you want to be any good at it. The school alongside the Villa Aria has a couple of 4 year olds learning it and the really good guys seem to be in their late teens or early twenties.

Each school has a tout on the beach that looks for potential newbies to entice in and  clearly with some success given the numbers busy learning.

I had assumed that at least for this i would be ignored by the guys and girls looking for customers for lots of reasons that seem to make you a natural to join the Kite club. i don’t wear my hair with a ponytail, i haven’t got at least one shoulder and arm covered in a tattoo , I have never called anyone dude in my life and i don’t high five and then high handshake everyone in the kite school every morning. oh and I’m too old to do it.

So imagine my delight when I was stopped and asked if I wanted to try. No I said but walked on with a certain spring in my gait and a rather cool feeling . I even tried high fiving Geraldine when I got back from the walk but she decided that I was impersonating a North American Indian and raised her hand and said how in response so I clearly need to practice  !

A French dude ( see i’m getting there ) staying here was telling me that this is not a great place to learn as the waves are shallow and choppy making getting up to start with really difficult and that certainly looks true. in France he said it takes about 3 lessons to be standing up and here they reckon between 6 and 10 to get there. At US$ 50 a lesson here standing up isn’t so cheap an offer is it.

An English guy ( the only other one in Mui Ne we think) said that he found it really hard as the jacket / harness that you wear is attached to the kite and therefore the kite and the wind do all the work. you just need to steer the kite with the handle you are holding which requires a very delicate  feel. however in the surf as the wind grabs the kite and you feel yourself being dragged along he said human instinct is to pull on the handle not be touchy feely at all and back into the surf you go. It is hard to let the harness and kite pull you upright..It does look an exciting sport though

Kite Boarder 2

 

just not for me now dude.

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