|“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”
The infamous blues brothers quote is the first thing to enter my head as I scrabble around the darkened room attempting to silence the raucous alarm on my mobile that is set for 4am. I’ve been dragged from the intangible dreams that still linger in my head in order to get Dave and Lou loaded into the car and hit Black Rock Sands before sunrise, and my body biochemistry is struggling with the dichotomy of trying to go back to sleep whilst simultaneously coping with the adrenaline rush of expectancy. By the look on Dave’s face, I realise that Black Rock Sands, that glistening hard packed runway of sand nestled on the welsh coast, is also having a similar effect and I suddenly find his sleepy grin contagious. It’s time to ride.
2 hours later and I’m pulling onto the darkened beach, without even the false light of predawn to light the way, and cruising down to find the river. “How far down is the river Dave?” I ask, hoping he has some idea. “Just keep going.” Is the reply, and so I do. Before long the sudden immersion of the Freelanders windscreen by the aforementioned river announces our arrival. I find a dry patch, pull the car off the road, and kill the lights.
As I begin to extract the buggies from the roof, and some warm clothes and kites from the back, I allow the lightening sky to reveal the true nature of the venue to me. It’s immense, and the dawn coincides with low tide giving maximum emphasis to the vast lonely expanse of sand that awaits our pleasure. The crisp morning air seeps cold tendrils through my base layers, causing an almost Pavlovian response and harking me back to numerous other times I’ve been up at this time. There’s something magical about being up for the dawn; striking camp on a mountainside, watching the sunrise crest alpine peaks, watching the dawn slowly creep over the mountains that backdrop a lonely beach….. I take the time to enjoy the feelings and attune myself to the pace of the atmosphere around me; it’s a precious moment and it seems that fewer of them exist in today’s modern age. I spare a thought for all the other poor souls who’re missing this fine moment, but it soon passes in a wave of selfishness that begets us all at some point: after all, it wouldn’t be special with the rest of the world there. I’m psyched now, the adrenaline throttled up but held in check for when it’s required. I feel dialled in and ready to rock.
I grab the 4.9 Blade IV and some lines and get setting up whilst Dave launches a 6.5 BIV and straps on his armour. Lou is either enjoying the atmosphere like I was earlier, or still asleep, but it’s hard to tell. Therefore I leave her alone not wanting to interrupt her trance like state, whatever the cause! I tighten up the bolts on the buggy and cram my helmet on; this is no time for practising new tricks, especially since I haven’t had much air time on this kite, or been kiting at all for a few weeks. Instead I content myself by immersing myself in the simple pleasures of kiting that are all too often overlooked, and ride the beach. 2 wheeling as the mood takes me, and 180’ing too and from reverse to capture the full beauty of the rising sun. The light is surreal, almost alien in its aura.
|| How often have you been down to your local beach, or a new location, stoked up to the max and ready to rip? You spend the session rocking hard, throwing yourself into your moves with all the zeal of a deranged psychopath, and at the end you can’t remember anything other than the bruises, the adrenaline masking the pain, and a feeling of euphoria enveloping you. However, you’ve barely scratched the surface of the media of kiting, barely even glimpsed the deeper effect on your soul of being in a beautiful location and soaking in the view, surrounded by a few really good friends. Is it a product of current society that “extreme” sports have to be done hard and fast at the expense of enjoying the experience itself? I wouldn’t presume to know, but if I were you I’d certainly not pass up the opportunity to immerse yourself in the next experience you can, I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Whilst my mind is drifting idly, allowing the week’s worries and stresses to wash away, my body is thinking for itself. The kite is flying beautifully, almost by itself in response to my unconscious commands, whilst the rest of my body dutifully contorts itself to provide the means to get on 2 wheels, and spin the buggy round. I can’t decide whether I’m riding the beach or it’s directing me, and in my mind that’s the way it should be. However, a deeper lapse of concentration, caused by Dave launching into insanely sick aerial moves, results in a lofting and I plant on my rear end. Hard. That’ll teach me to get philosophical whilst flying a Blade I suppose!
I park the kite up and take some pictures instead, trying to capture the essence of the moment, and watching Stupid Dave, the buggy supremo (and I don’t use the word lightly) ply his trade. He’s obviously ripped, and not on Red Bull for a change, judging by the way he’s popping inverts and sidewinders. Meanwhile Lou is taking a change from boarding and is out cruising in her buggy, again enjoying the solitude of the beach. It just goes to show that no matter what discipline you adhere to, nature has a way of making us all feel insignificant, and that’s as it should be. I finish the session off by hopping back into the buggy and cruising down the beach, enjoying the company of my fellow kiters, whilst at the same time enjoying the ambience and solitude of my own thoughts.
It’s days like this when you feel alive.