Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why We Like San Carlos

The wind has been blowing every day for several days and the forecast is for it to continue for at least another week. Yesterday it was blowing 15 - 25 knots. Some days it is blowing more, others less. On a couple of days it has blown really hard and Glenn and I get out the 7M kites. We know it is going to blow when the birds are all hunkered down in the bay as in the photo below.

Most days there are only a few of us out on the water but the other day a bunch of kiters, all brothers, came down from Hermosillo. None of them were really prepared for how cold the water is but that didn't stop them from getting out there and ripping it up.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I am back in San Carlos and so is the wind. Looks like we'll have several days of 20+ knot wind, although the forecast is indicating that it will be a little more northerly than we like. That will make it pretty gusty. Yesterday the wind was switching all around but it finally settled down for a great session.

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Kite Babe!

We have a new female kiter on the beach. Sue has been learning to kite the past few weeks under the watchful eye of her husband, Glenn. She is doing great.
I don't have too much more to report because I am in Tucson this week, not San Carlos. I was in San Carlos last Wednesday when a windy stretch of days started that continued through the weekend. After a short break the winds look to start again middle of this week. The winds have gotten stronger but also colder, and the water temp is down to about 62. Winter has finally arrived.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Not Our Normal Weather

Warm nights, wind out of the south, fog, rain - not our normal weather for December. The water has cooled some, it is down to 66 or so but feels warmer, maybe because the wind isn't as cold as usual. We got in three good days of wind this past week. Haven't had any wind since Monday and not expecting any until next Wednesday. That will make eight straight days without wind. I mean nothing.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Howling Wind

The wind is howling. The only problem is that it is 9 at night. We've been waiting weeks for a good blow so when the forecast called for a storm to move through here with 25 to 40 knot winds we got excited. Christian drove down from Phoenix this morning but there was very little wind all day. Finally about 3:30 it started to pick up. I went over to Chris' house to tell him it was starting and he said let's go. So off we went to the beach by Pilar Condos and set up our equipment. The wind would pick up a little and then die off. It still hadn't picked up enough and we were running out of daylight. Finally I said it was now or never and we got out for a few short runs. Apart from a gust here or there, there really wasn't enough wind. We stayed as late as we could and it was dark by the time we got packed up and headed back to town. Right about then the wind came in. And it kept building. Right now it is blowing 25 - 30 knots with stronger gusts and the surf is breaking way out. Too bad it is 9 o'clock at night.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Okay, here is another attempt at using the blogspot's built in video feature.

Weekend Wind

Not much wind this week until Friday, which was light. Saturday was good. Strong winds, gusting to 25 knots or more. The wind was coming out of the north a little too much which results in it passing over and around obstructions on land instead of blowing in clean from the sea. That gives us wind that is gusty and swirly. Even though conditions were not ideal, we had a lot of kiters out. At times there were seven or eight kiters in a fairly small area, but most people find a slot to kite in and can avoid crowding anyone. I tried taking some videos with my still camera to see how it does and to have something to post now that this blog supports video. I didn't get anything really good, but I am posting one anyway, just to see how this works. Hoping for wind all of this week but the forecast keeps changing. We'll see what happens.

Well, the video failed to upload all the way and I got an error message. I'll try again later.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Finally we had a windy day. The forecast was for light winds and it started out that way but it kept building and soon we had winds over 20 knots. First time I've been able to use my 12M kite in a while. I had forgotten just how much I like that kite. Too bad they don't still make a "C" shaped Rhino anymore; they switched to a bow hybrid design. Anyway, we are hoping for a repeat today and then more strong wind for the Thanksgiving holiday. We had a few boats in the bay yesterday and thankfully they stayed out past our windy area.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Disappearing Wind

We haven't had much wind for a while now. The forecasts from Wind Guru and Buoy Weather keep promising strong winds in the near future and then change the forecast when the time gets closer. Once in a while a few of us get out for an hour or two but usually a bit underpowered. Yesterday there wasn't a breath of air. It was so still it was a bit spooky at the beach. Today the wind couldn't get much over 10 knots. Tomorrow should be better according to the predictions. They have been calling for a few days of really strong winds next week and then this morning they changed the forecast to almost no wind for the whole week. The only chance looks like tomorrow and Sunday. Water is still fairly warm and it is almost Thanksgiving - what's going on?

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Every year a group of kids from the University of Arizona come down for a weekend party. They stay at the Plaza San Carlos and spend a couple of afternoons enjoying themselves at the Soggy Peso Bar.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Not Much Wind

Haven't had much wind this week and doesn't look good until Monday. Luque and I have gotten out a few days but the wind has been light and often lasts only a couple of hours. The good news is that the water is still warm, still in the low 70's.

With no wind, thoughts turn to alternative activities and toys. New on my list of things that I've got to get is a Grinch Winch. Just like the name says, it is a winch. But no ordinary winch. Check this video out:

And the winch is available at:

Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Into the Sunset

The wind has been okay the last couple of days and I am optimistic for the near future. Not expecting a lot of wind but yesterday it was gusting over 20 knots. Only Luque and myself have been getting out to take advantage of the weather. The water is still nice, around 73 degrees. The water has been fairly flat and nobody else out there. At the end of the day Jeff and Scott showed up for a nice sunset session.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

eBay and More

It is the time of year when there are some good deals on kite equipment.
EBay has several kites up for auction that would be great for using here or most anywhere. First there is this Cabrinha Switchblade II that is one of the best kites out there. It was the most popular kite on the beach in Cape Cod.
There is also a 9M and a 12M '06 Caution Answer kite available. I flew one in Cabarete and it was the best that I tried out on that trip.
And here is a brand new Waroo 11M for $500. Great for beginners.
I am not a fan of Slingshot but here is a new 9M Link for $450.
Another good source for used stuff is the classifieds at iKitesurf.

The wind finally came up sometime after 3:30 yesterday and I was the only one kiting. While I was killing time waiting, I did some bikini watching.

Friday, October 26, 2007

(No) Wind Report

A couple of people have called or stopped by to ask if we are going to have wind today. Below is a photo of the water in front of my house at 3:30 pm. Nothing. Tomorrow and Sunday we are supposed to have wind.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

La Manga

Today ended up being a real nice day. It started out with light winds so we went up to the next beach where some days it starts earlier and stronger. We still had to wait until 1:30 or so but finally the wind came. Nothing real strong, but steady. It was fun to get out kiting in a different spot. La Manga is a shallow bay, more open to the sea than we are used to and with a lot more waves and chop. Lots of room for long tacks. At the end of the day Ricardo, Christian, and Lou kited down to the end of the bay and portaged over to the kiddie pool at Algodones while I drove over to the other beach so they would have a ride back to their car.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another Nice Day

We have only had a couple of days that haven't been windy lately, and even those days would have an hour or more of wind late in the day. Most days the wind starts early, before noon, and blows all day before mellowing out towards sunset. Today was blowing 15 - 20 with some stronger gusts. Above are Shawn (from Ventura, CA) Carlos and Scott.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The wind has let up considerably but it still blows for part of the day almost every afternoon.
Last weekend it got a bit crowded out on the water. The sweet spot that we call the "kiddie pool" only has room for seven or eight kiters before space gets tight. I was thinking that we could have problems with over ten people showing up the first weekend of the season, but this weekend was back to normal - three yesterday and four today. Here is a photo of John, enjoying the best part of the bay.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Great Begining

The season has started off with 8 good kite days out of the last 9. Not expecting any wind today, but maybe tomorrow. The wind on most days was gusting over 20 knots. Measured a gust of 28 yesterday. I don't have a wind meter set up, just a handheld that I use to check the wind a couple of times during the day, so it could have gusted higher. Even with that much wind I was still able to use my 14M Rhino that I had set up earlier in the day when the wind was lighter. First time that I've tried to test out the high end of that kite's range. The low end is around 10 knots. I have never seen a kite with a wider wind range than the North Rhinos.

Christian and Arizona Lou drove down from Phoenix to take advantage of the early wind. Both were looking real good out there and were liking the smooth conditions to improve their skills. Chris has less than 20 sessions on the water, but here he is getting some air.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Season Has Started

We have had two days of northwesterly winds in a row and the prediction is for a five day blow starting Saturday. So get your kite gear in shape - tighten the bolts on your bindings and fins, check your bladders and your lines, and repair the damage you didn't fix last year because it is show time. Only two of us made it out on Tuesday but a few more showed up yesterday - Jeff, Luque, Adan, Scott, and myself. The beach is great, the water warm, enough wind for 12 meter kites and flat water. What more could you want?
Too busy kiting to take pictures but I'll have plenty of this coming weekend.

Friday, September 28, 2007

They Are Coming!

The north-westerly winds are coming. Tuesday I had a nice day out on the water on my 14 meter kite and big board. The forecast had a possibility of a repeat on Wednesday but I don’t know what it was like. I had to drive back up to Tucson to take care of a car problem. When I drove down on Saturday I got to Hermosillo at the same time as a huge thunderstorm. Streets were flooded, cars were stalled, and some traffic lights were out. It was a mess. I drove through one intersection where the water was up to my bumper. Apparently this allowed a piece of dirt to enter the axle seal on the gear box and causing an oil leak. Three days later I filled the manual transmission and found that it was a quart low. It only holds 2 quarts so it was down a lot. I didn’t dare wait for fear that the leak may worsen and I’d be stuck in Mexico unable to make the drive back. I also didn’t want to void my warranty by having it repaired in Mexico so I made a quick dash back to Tucson. Problem is being fixed and I’ll be on my way back to San Carlos in the morning. Forecast calls for okay wind on Monday. I’ll be ready.

Yesterday I had some time to kill so I went for a hike in Reddington Pass. It was a really nice day, although still a bit hot. There was a small amount of water flowing but the pools were brown with lots of algae. I only saw one other person in the canyon. The only thing that spoiled the afternoon was the amount of trash. Beer cans, sometimes piles of them, were everywhere. I have never seen anything like it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


This is the time of the year when all we can do is wait for the wind to come to San Carlos. I am spending this week of waiting in Tucson but I'll be back in Mexico by this weekend. Weather forecasts call for wind out of the south for a while longer - northwest winds are our preferred direction. October will bring them, but it may not be until the middle of the month. Then it should be good until sometime in April. Plenty of 20+ knot winds. Perfect for 12 meter kites. More photos from Cape Cod below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rain Today

Less than half of the days have been kiteable. Rain today. The weekend was decent and there were quite a few people out on the water.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day

The weather was great for Labor Day weekend as it has been all week and the forecast is for continued nice weather. Wind has been spotty with Saturday nice on the bay side and Monday was blowing southwest which is good on the south side. Here are a few shots of Labor Day at West Dennis Beach.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New England Weather

I am in Cape Cod, Massachusetts until the middle of September. New England is known for its fickle weather and this week has been even stranger than normal. We had near record cool weather for five days and now we are to have record heat this weekend and then return to record cold early next week. Going from highs in the sixties to high nineties and then back again. Wind has been in the 10 to 14 knot range until today when it picked up to over 20. My big kite is now a 14M '07 North Rhino and it has more low end power than any of the bigger kites that I used to fly. Most of the week I was the only one at the beach but today, Friday, there were seven or eight guys out on the water. Tomorrow should be even busier with predictions of hot weather and wind in the 20's.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Calm Sea

We have had a few days of weather and waves coming from the south this season but it has been a lot calmer than usual. Most mornings the view from my porch is like in the photo below.

Very pretty, but very flat. Often during the summer there will be big swells crashing against the sea wall in front of my house. So far, there has been very little tropical storm activity south of us to generate the waves. It is still early, though, as the hurricane season tends to be busier in September and October.

The Grey Dawn is back in the water. I owned this boat for a dozen years. The new owner, Maria, had it out of the water and just put it back in about a month ago. It is nice to see it ready to cruise.

Saturday I'll be back in Cape Cod to spend a month. Should be able to kite at least half the days that I'll be there. It will be a nice change anyway, even if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wake Me Up When the Summer is Over

The trip to Cape Cod was a nice break and I'll be going back in just a couple of weeks.

Thank God!

San Carlos is pretty boring this time of year. It is hard to find something that you want to do outside because the heat is oppressive. It isn't bad if you are just sitting at home in front of an air conditioner or even outside in the shade if there is a breeze blowing on you. You can still get out hiking or biking or kayaking but how long do you really want to be out in this sun? To me, even sailing or going fishing is just too much sitting around and baking.

I still get to the gym on a regular basis and Saturday I went spearfishing and got a nice cabrilla. I also managed to get out kiteboarding for a couple of hours on Sunday; so I do get out of the house. Maybe it is just because I am comparing the weather here to that of Cape Cod that is making me complain so much.

In Cape Cod it was a joy to do anything outside, and there are lots of places to go and things to see and do. So, I ask, what am I doing here in San Carlos? Good question. I don't plan on making the same mistake next year. This is the 14th year that I have spent at least a part of the summer here and that is enough. To all of my friends that keep inviting me to go visit them in some other location - BE WARNED - I am coming.

All right, enough ranting. Here are some more photos from Cape Cod.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cape Cod

Gave up on San Carlos and flew to Cape Cod last Tuesday. Weather has been great and the wind has been good enough to get out most days. Christian, from Phoenix, came out with me.

He has a house in San Carlos and decided to take up kiteboarding after coming out to the kite hangout. He went to Hawaii for a week of lessons and was anxious to continue progressing in the sport.

I have a cottage in East Dennis, Massachusetts so it seemed like a logical choice to go there.
We only have a couple more days left and didn't have any wind today. Tomorrows prediction looks good, 12 to 18 knots. The launch site is a bit limited right now and we have to park about half a mile away due to some rare birds, piping plovers, nesting in the area.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Just Not Enough

Last Thursday we had an almost perfect day. Wind was out of the northwest, the water was warm and flat. Haven't had much since. A few days the south wind has looked promising but just hasn't been enough. Another problem with the southerly wind is that it brings up Portuguese Man of Wars from the tropics. There were lots on the beach the other day, but only a few still in the water.

Most days are still nice out at the beach. This shot below was over at the Condos Pilar.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Northwest Wind

Monday we had enough wind out of the South for a few of us to get out on the water over at Pilar Condominiums. Then on Wednesday the wind switched to the northwest and we had a great day out at the kite shack. Jorge, Ken, Chip and Jeff all had great sessions, except that Jeff had to be carried of the beach after crashing while attempting an overpowered kite loop. OOps. The forecast calls for a few more days, off and on, of northwest wind so we are all looking forward to getting in some rare summertime kiting.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

It Sure Is Quiet Here

I've been back in San Carlos for a week now and there isn't much going on here. A lot of the people that didn't pack up and get out of town during the Easter exodus are getting ready to leave now. The weather, especially on the water or at the beach, is still nice but it is quickly heating up. Thursday we had enough wind to get out kiteboarding but not enough to be powered up to do much jumping.
There are still plenty of other activities such as diving, kayaking, fishing, hiking, etc. but there are fewer and fewer people interested in doing stuff like that. This town is becoming more of a retirement and residential community and less a tourist destination. I have trouble getting myself motivated to do stuff because I've been doing the same things in the same places for thirteen years here. It used to be that you put up with the lousy restaurants, the poor service and the corrupt police because the beauty of the area and the cheap prices made it worth it. Now they are fencing off the desert and the beaches and building condos in all the nicest places and the prices are no longer cheap. The people that used to come here to hang out for a season and enjoy all the activities can no longer afford to come here. I still have a waterfront apartment for $500 a month so I am not moving out yet, but I'm definitely looking for a better place to live than San Carlos.

Hopefully I can talk more about kiteboarding in the next blog post.

Later, Don
Chuburná, Yucatan

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Two Weeks of Wind

This trip has come to an end. I had wind of 20 knots or more almost every day for two weeks. As I am leaving the rainy season seems to be starting, cutting short some of the kiting days. I definitely will put the Yucatan coast on my list of places to return. The sea conditions in Puerto Progreso were difficult, some of the worst chop that I have kited in. The locals take it in stride and do fine in it but I had some tough days. There are other places not too far away with smother water. The only other place that I made it to was Chuburná and for me it was worth the 15 minute drive.

The town of Progreso is a mix of fishing port, industrial port, and tourist destination with a population of about 45,000. The people are friendly and there is no area where you don't feel safe to walk any time day or night. There are more schools than bars and more recreation fields and playgrounds than I have seen in all of Sonora. I saw activities going on for kids every evening, especially in the central park, or zócalo.
The local band of kiters were the best I've ever met. Most were university students in Merida and could only get to the beach a couple of times a week. They weren't shy about trying out new moves as some had the hope of getting a sponsorship from a kite company. They were also the friendliest and most helpful group I've ever met. They truly treated me as a brother. I hope some of them can make it to San Carlos sometime; I have a spare bedroom for any of them to use.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Puerto Progreso

Well, I am overdue for this update but I haven’t had much access to the internet here in Puerto Progreso. The flight here was terrible. The airline, Vivaaerobus, starts out with low ticket prices but then has lots of hidden charges and their scheduling is awful. The town is nice enough and the coast is all beach with plenty of wind. It is on the northern Yucatan peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico. Countryside is mostly flat and not a lot of tropical vegetation. The town is nice enough and all the people that I have met have been great. Lots of seafood restaurants and good prices. No night life at all. The whole town appears to be on hold until July and August when it fills up with vacationers from Merida.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Puerto Progreso, Yucatan

I am off to Puerto Progreso today. I was hoping to go to Puerto Vallarta for a kiteboard tournament this weekend and then fly to Merida but it was just too much hassle to get to Vallarta. It isn't easy traveling from San Carlos. Today I will be taking a local bus to the bus terminal in Guaymas around noon to get a bus to Hermosillo. The bus station in Hermosillo is on the other side of town as the airport so I will have to take a taxi or another local bus to the airport. I am travelling as light as possible but I still have a big bag with all my gear. Then I have to hope the airline accepts my sports bag as regular luggage. They could charge me as much as $200 extra for the trip for it. Then I fly to Monterey for an overnight stop. After staying in a hotel for the night I return to the airport at 6:00am to continue on to Merida. There I will rent a car and drive to Puerto Progreso where they say the wind blows year round. I hope so. I plan on staying two weeks.

The wind here has been real light lately and the not much is expected. The season of strong northwest wind is over, replaced by light southerlies. I did get out the other day on my plywood board and was very impressed. The wind started out a nice steady 14 knots and I hoped it would build so I put up my 12M. The wind quickly dropped to only 8 to 10 knots but I was able to stay up wind (although I really worked the kite) and have a decent session on that big board.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Was That Wind?

We haven't seen much wind in San Carlos lately. Saturday was good enough for trainer kites and for really big kites and big boards. I went out on my 30M kite and a new plywood board that I made last week. Sunday was a little bit better, but not much. To kill time while waiting for wind we tried getting pulled with a tow rope behind a Quad runner. It worked well but there were too many people on the beach and we couldn't do very long runs. Finally the wind did pick up. Enough that a couple of beginners, Christian and Tommi, were able to get a feel for flying the kites and body dragging. I had fun on the 19.5 Contra, but there wasn't much wind.

I mentioned above that I made myself a new board. Well, here is a picture of it.

I made it out of 1/2" Baltic Birch plywood. It is 152 x 46, almost no rocker (less than half inch) and no fins. It has two thin coats of epoxy to seal it.

Worked well in its first time out, but it is heavy. I expect to give it a lot of use this summer as we mostly have light winds from now until October.

Click here to go to next blog entry.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Not Much Wind

We were getting only one or two days a week of enough wind to get out kiteboarding and there is nothing in the forecast for this coming week. I am thinking about heading south. Altata looks a little bit better and then on the 18th, 19th and 20th of May is a Mexican kiteboarding tournament in Vallarta. It is put on by Should be a great time !!!

For the people that are out of town but are familiar with the kite shack (also known as the Soggy Peso Bar and a few other names) and the people that work there, here is a recent photo of Noah.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Kite Canopy Repair

Last weekend I had a tough day with my 12M Rhino. First the velcro came loose on the end of the main bladder, allowing the bladder to blow out the end. After cutting and taping the end I was on the water, but only for a short time. After I tried some maneuver or other, the kite lost air and crashed. Wasn't anything very harsh, but it blew the kite out. Ripped it all the way from leading edge to the back of the kite. I repaired it the same way I've repaired other kites. I glued it with Seam Grip. I have found this method to be very effective and will describe the process.

The damage.

First, I clean the kite and tape the kite back together. I used blue painters' tape because it is made to strip off cleanly without leaving any glue residue.

I tape it such that the two sides of the tear are butted up against each other tightly but without any overlap. Then I put a thin layer of Seam Grip on the other side. I let it dry a few hours and put on another layer. I then let it dry overnight or at least 12 hours before pulling the tape off. They make an accelerator that can be added to the glue that speeds up the drying time to two hours but I haven't seen it in the stores. I suppose you could order it from somewhere.

After pulling the tape off, I apply two coats of glue to the other side.

The repaired kite.

After allowing it to dry another 12 hours, I rub some talcum powder on the glue so that the repair won't stick to itself and sand won't stick to the repair. It is now ready to use. I have already used this kite on Saturday in winds from 14 to 30 knots. Please click on the above image to get a good view of just how clean of a repair this is. I used most of a one ounce tube for this repair at a cost of $7.00. I use Seam Grip on any small rips or pin holes as well. The only caution is that the cap will become glued to the tube if you don't clean the top of the tube real well and the tube will dry out in a short amount of time unless you store it in the refrigerator.