36262How time flies...(no pun)
- Sep 11, 2012This is not a rant, I say this with a smile as these are my recent observations:
I took about a 10 year break from the sport, only to come back to find everyone on inflatables / chicken loops / strapless surfboards / helmets and all the other "not-cool" stuff from back in the day. I look at various kite maker websites and all the gear is exceptionally complicated (a.k.a lots of parts to go bad or foul or break). It is quite a shock to the system. As a whole, there are more people kiting (this is good), but the talent base in my area seems to be diluted. Nobody is ripping or pulling tricks worth talking about. Its just different from what I remember, everyone pushing limits and encouraging others to do the same. It seems so benign now. Gone is the need to build your own equipment or invent new equipment. Its pre-chewed and partially digested now, like babyfood (This is good methinks).
I see what appears to be an overdose of safety systems (multiple quick release options, depower options, leashes, break-away releases, knives etc). Oddly, I see a lack of safey sense with some hard and fast rules being broken (most notably rigging a kite with lines/bar at full stretch but kite left unattended and not weighted down).
I have found that there are multiple "organizations" that claim to be in existance to promote safe kiting. Everyone and their brother is a "kite dealer" selling gear out of their car. New guys (new to me) with cocky old-guy attitudes. Old-guys with energetic new-guy attitudes. More yuppies and fewer derelicts. I am still yet to encounter a "pro" living off kiteboarding, but they must be out there somewhere.
At the pace of innovation in the sport, it will be interesting to see where we are in the next 10 years. Arcs are all but gone from the PL website, so that chapter may be coming to a close. Maybe we will see the legendary "1-liner" come into existence. Its all good to me, seeing old friends still on the water, regardless of gear choice and riding style.
All the best to the Arcusers out there, even if you ride inflatable now!
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