Cool Tech : RipCurl Search GPS Watch : Use for Kitesurfing

The RipCurl GPS watch is designed for surfers but it also works great for Kitesurfing.  The GPS tracking is surprisingly accurate and really fun to dig into after a session.  The entire system is comprised of the GPS watch and a cool web portal which lets you document and revisit your sessions.  The watch syncs to your Ios device via bluetooth and you plug it into your laptop to charge it.  It can also sync your sessions over the wire to your laptop.  Its battery says it has 10 hours of juice when GPS tracking is turned on.

The question isn’t really is it cool and functional technology?  It is.  Its how well does it work for tracking Kitesurfing sessions when it is 100% designed for surfing.  The answer is not perfectly, but not too badly either.

Logbook View

When zoomed out all the way your runs blob together, unless you head downwind.

Basically the RipCurl GPS watch is a slightly chunkier than usual tide watch.  Its a pretty good tide watch.  Tide info is clear and easy to understand. It might not be as good as the Nixon Super Tide, but it gets the job done.  The coolest thing about the tide on this watch is that it automatically sets for the closest tide setting via gps.  So it automates the whole setting process.  Which is nice.

Then when you are about to sail you turn on the “Surf Now” feature of the watch and it syncs up with GPS.  Then for the duration of your session it records your gps data.  At the end of your session you stop the “surf” on the watch and it tells you the number of waves you caught, top speed, duration of surf, total distance traveled and gps location of the beach you sailed.  Later, when you sync to your computer or phone you get all the gps data displayed on a map, its interactive and you also get all of the other condition detail provided by MagicSeeweed.com regarding swell, wind and temperature.  Its really cool.

Good Turns

When zoomed in all the way you can't see an entire run in one screen but when you show "paddling" you can see basically every turn you made.

All of these images are from a good session at Cisco last weekend.  The first image shows the zoomed out view.  Its what the system calls your “logbook” and shows you a list of your sessions and the details that are recorded or entered by you about that session.  When you zoom in closer all of your runs go from being one big blue blob to individual lines that you can follow.  The algorithm for evaluating your number of “waves” seems to work based on changes in your speed and acceleration. The wave count isn’t accurate for kitesurfing but I have found that the more intense sessions tend to get a higher wave count by the algorithm.  So usually more “waves” does indicate a better session.  But on the Map when you show “Paddling” you can basically follow every turn you made over the entire course of your session.  The accuracy and detail are impressive.

You can see the accuracy here. You can see on the beach the spot that I launched and the spot I landed.

It would be cool if the developers at RipCurl eventually allow for a certain amount of variation for different sports using this product.  If there is a way for it to show highest altitude or some way to track jumps that would be a great feature for kitesurfers.

Pocomo Session - Jan 4

This session at Pocomo was a good test for the accuracy of the gps and the shows how cool the top speed measurement is.

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WTF Weather Channel (weather.com) HairCast? Please.

Juraj Bencat - Madaket - Jan 5 2015

Juraj Bencat - Madaket - Jan 5 2015

I really can’t believe this.  I just clicked on the old Weather Channel link to the “Beach and Boat Forecast” for Nantucket and got a “page not found” error.  Such a bummer. That page was really good.  It broke down the wind forecast by hour.  When I checked their website that page was nowhere to be found.  But I did find the “Hair Cast” (sponsored by Pantene) which tells you how the weather will effect your hair.

The “specialty” forecasts available now are “Farming”, Fishing, “Hair Cast” and “Cold and Flu”.  Seriously.  Actually I checked the : “Fishing” page and you can still turn on wind and show a decent graph of the wind forecast for the day.  But still.  That old page was ten times better.

Juraj Bencat - Madaket - Jan 5, 2015

Juraj Bencat - Madaket - Jan 5, 2015

On a more positive note after being off for almost 2 weeks and missing a few gems I’m sure, this past weekend was decent with an end of the afternoon flat water session on Sunday at Pocomo and then Monday morning at Madaket.  The ocean was big and clean but the wind was sketchy and if really got me freaked out.  I had to cut my session short.  Juraj fared better and got a more decent session.

A serious cold snap is upon us but hopefully we will be back in action soon.

Juraj Bencat - Madaket - Jan 5, 2015

Juraj Bencat - Madaket - Jan 5, 2015

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Fall 2014 – Outstanding Ocean Conditions

Big Surf - Gnarly Conditions

It has been a great run of wind and surf throughout the fall.  A lot of great Ocean conditions.

The NorthWest has been really solid and has worked out great with swell leading to a bunch of awesome sessions at Madaket.  That beach is working great but some days there isn’t much space out front.  But the shorebreak has been just firing.

There have also been a bunch of straight up West days that have been really good at Madquecham.  That last one on Tuesday was really intense.  Solid 7, gusty and 5-7 foot surf.  Very serious.

 

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Kiteboard Race – 2014

When the elements align it works out well.

 

 

The kite race went off at 12:30 with about 20 participants.  Good success.  Crazy weather though.  They got a total white out squall at the start of race two and the tide was so high there was no beach.  I’m not sure who the winner is but it was a cool afternoon.

Wednesday 9:20.AM  Its windy.  SE isn’t usually a Pocomo direction but it should be doable at Bass Pt.  I haven’t gotten the official word but my guess is something like start time at 2:30.

I’m going to check Tom Nevers now.  Its going to be a good kitesurf day.  Turns out that it was the best ocean day of the summer.  Just awesome. I think I sailed for 3.5 hours before going over to the race.  Great surf and wind.

Sunday August 10 : Bass Point  :  Due to an absolutely horrible forecast the race is cancelled for Sunday.  We are going to shoot for Wednesday afternoon 8/13 as a replacement day.  Hopefully we will get good conditions.

Interested participants should e-mail race director Posie Constable at posieconstable@gmail.com.  If it looks like a good day she will put out an e-mail to the group telling the plan.  Right now the offshore forecast is calling for SE 15-20.  That isn’t a forecast I would bet the farm on but it could work out.  SwellInfo.com says shoulder high and messy on Wednesday so perhaps we should switch it to a kitesurf comp.??

The Kiteboard event which is part of the Nantucket Race Week is coming up on Sunday August 10.  There is a 1pm start time scheduled.

At this point it is too far out for a forecast.

Nantucket Race Week Kiteboard Race Page

Here is the report from the last time the race went down with good conditions.  They were actually great conditions.  When the elements align correctly a race event at Bass is awesome!

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Nantucket Sessions

You must check out this video by Benj Raith.

 

http://youtu.be/9bBHLY2MMis

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Mini-Ocean Conditions on the North Shore

The Airport says Wind 330 @ 30 Gust 39.  Its 4:30 am.  I want to get another hour of sleep because Water Tower is going to fire in the morning.

And it did.  North West is an awesome direction on the North Shore.  Its usually a morning wind and when it rips all night you end up with a super fun little shorebreak from Eel Point as far down as you want to go.  I start at Water Tower and just to top turn and bottom turn all the way down to Jetties.  Its on my backside so the jumping on the way out is also insane.  Its just frothy and fun.  One or two long tacks on the outside and you are back where you started.

I like to work upwind to a bit past the Gund House.  That’s the one next to Water Tower with the big rock breakwater.  I don’t know who owns it now but when I used to mow the lawn there we called it the “Gund House”.  But there is something about those rocks  that makes a nice break right in front there.  You don’t want to get washed up on those rocks but if it does happen I don’t think it will kill you.

Looking Upwind at Water Tower

Water Tower Beach

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First Ride – Celeritas 5’6″

2014 Slingshot Celeritas 5'6"

2014 Slingshot Celeritas 5'6"

I just finished my first session on the Slingshot Celritas 5’6”.  I liked it.  It was a sub optimal day, gusty 12 almost totally on shore, waist to chest high on the outside but choppy.   I am looking forward to riding that board on a good day.  I had to get dialed in for my bottom turns, at first I wasn’t holding my line well but it got better as it went on. I think every board is a little different and you have to adjust your sailing a bit for each new board.  It was snappy off the top though and not bouncy just riding.  The nose isn’t as flipped up as I normally like.  It doesn’t really effect the riding but I did dig the nose in once coming over the back of one.

The next day was similar but a bit more wind and surf.  More challenging.  The Celeritas preformed very well in these conditions.  Onshore, gusty, challenging closeouts.  I liked that the Celeritas rode very smootly, it really didn’t bounce around a lot in the chop.  I sticks in the water well.

Now I’ll have to either make room for three surfboards in the back of the truck or figure out by specific conditions which days to have the Celeritas in the truck and which days to have the Naish Skater 5’4″.  I think Skater when its clean but not too big and Celeritas for the onshore days.  I guess the secret may be that if it isn’t forecast to be big surf then leave the small board in the shed and maximize your available quiver for the most likely surf.  When it looks to really rip or be big throw the Naish Global in there.

 

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Perfect Surfboard for the Good Day

I’ve owned a few Naish surfboards over the years and recently I’ve really liked the Skater. I’ve had a few of them as my “big” board so it was a bit unusual this year when I got a 5’4″ Skater as my main board.

It turned out awesome and this board turned out to be the best surfboard I have ever ridden.  I really like last year’s 5’9″ Skater and this 5’4″ is a very similar but shortened a bit and made noticeably thicker.

Naish Skater 5'4" - 2014

Christmas day in Del Ray Beach Florida.  While the family opened their presents I opened mine and put on its footstraps and fins.  New board for the holiday and it looked to be a windy week.  I ended up getting Christmas and three other days that week all on solid 12.  Three of those days were typical on shore, crowded and super choppy.  Typical Del Ray Beach.  One of the days it came around to the side and cleaned up and it was just perfect.  The Skater totally came into its own and worked perfectly in the sweet, waist high fun park.  Quality top and bottom turns were had.  The Skater felt perfect for those conditions.

Back on Nantucket I’ve had it out a bunch more and its been working perfectly.  Even though it is a 5’4″ I’ve been riding it as my big board.

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Raith Brothers Productions

Great photos and video edit from Xander and Benj Raith.

Photo : Benj Raith

Rail or Kicker, Watch the video and decide for yourself.

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After a long and cold winter the season begins with Quality Ocean

Good spot at high tide.

Was this the worst winter on record?  I’d say so.

My personal numbers show it but all you have to do is look at the average temperature.  It was just freezing all winter.  And I’m not talking about 32.  I’m talking about 20.  20 degrees is just way to cold to consider it.  It can be done, but how much fun are you really going to have?

But even though spring has come very late and we even had a snow hurricane just last week the sailing season has begun and it hasn’t been all that bad.  In the past three weeks I guess I’ve gotten six or seven good days, mostly on the ocean.  It has been cold but all except one of those days has been at or above 40 degrees.

Stepping back a bit if I look at my calendar it is clear that this was a hard winter.  All my days in December were in Florida.  My two days in January were probably the only two days that broke the 40 degree barrier and one of those days was among the best days I have ever had.  But still it only two days.  And February was a complete blank.  No days on the water.

But March was pretty good.  It was full of crap weather but I got 7 solid days so I’m not complaining.  Hopefully a bad winter will lead into a good Spring and a solid Summer.

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