RIP Ocean Rodeo Rise Kites…

30 11 2012

Ocean Rodeo Rise kite at Nitnaht Lake…

The two main kites I’ve been flying the last few years have been 8m & 10m Ocean Rodeo Rises. They served me well with grin inducing performance and no maintenance hassles. But, I’m ready for a change. Partially that’s to try some of the new modern kite designs and partially that’s just because I want a change of pace. Sadly OR has decided to end the Rise model in 2012 and once the last kites are sold there won’t be any new ones made. 😦

Here’s what the Rise did well:

  • wide wind range
  • fast turning
  • rugged construction
  • big jumps and lots of hang time
  • decent water relaunch
  • went upwind well
  • fast riding speed
  • depowers well

OR Rise in Baja…

Here’s what wasn’t so great about the Rise:

  • not stable which req’d lots of attention from rider
  • did not pull at constant strength through turns
  • turned on wing tip vs. around center
  • water relaunch was decent, but would easily invert
  • would backstall on launch in light winds

OR Rise waiting to hit the water…

Although the end of the Rise is sad OR has several nice kites in the line up to take over from it: the Razor, the Cypher, the Prodigy and the Flite. I’m going to get a couple new kites for the core of my quiver, but I won’t get rid of the Rises as they are in excellent shape, fun to ride and not worth a lot of $$. So it makes more sense to keep them than to sell them.

Ocean Rodeo Demo Gear in La Ventana

29 11 2012

Ocean Rodeo Razor in Baja…

If you are in La Ventana Baja Mexico and want to try out some Ocean Rodeo gear come visit me in the Free Arroyo next to the Round Restaurant. Look for the OR flag and ask for Vik. I’ll be in town all of Dec ’12 and most of Jan ’13.

I’ll have the following demo gear available:

If you have any trouble finding me just leave me a comment with your email and I’ll make sure we connect. 🙂

Airush Chop Top 5’3″ Surfboard…

28 11 2012

Airush Choptop 5’3″ kite surfboard…

Airush stopped making this board so I won’t go on about it too much since there will be limited opportunities to buy one. On the other hand if you see one new or used they’ll be priced well and they are a ton of fun so you may want to buy one!

Airush Choptop Review – click to read…

Although you can run straps on the Choptop it screams to be ridden strappless. It’s a fun shape – short and wide with a flat rocker for excellent lightwind performance. It’s got a fun playful character that is ideal for those less than epic days on the water.

FCS thruster setup…

I got this board for $100 from a friend in Baja who was the 2nd owner. It was pretty beat up – see photo below. So I had it repaired locally for $150 and added some new fins. It’s proven a worthy investment.

Nasty DIY home repairs…

This is a great board to add to your quiver for learning strapless riding. Then you’ll keep it for lightwind days and slashing mushy waves.

Looks much better now…

Even though Airush made the decision to stop making this super fun little board the good news is lots of other brands have come around to the idea that a short wide surfboard is a great addition to a kiter’s quiver. The Airush Cypher is the closest board left in that brand’s line up to the Choptop.

If you can’t find an Airush Choptop, but want a short playful kite surfboard here are some options that you can buy new:

Bruna Kajiya in Cabarete…

26 11 2012

Beachdog Kite Skimboard…

23 11 2012

Beachdog skimboard – click for more info…

Local Vancouver Island kiter Mark Bavis [aka Mark Two Dog] is one of the nice folks behind Elevation Kiteboarding School where Sharon got her lessons and became a solid kiteboarder. He’s also a dedicated skimboard rider who designed and sells the Beachdog skimboard.


  • solid wood core
  • 3D deck pad
  • ABS walls
  • concave bottom
  • rocker tip to tail.
  • size: 130 x 50 cm
  • transparent wood core with black outline and graphics
  • comes with 3 fins [2 rear & 1 front]
  • comes with a Dakine bag
  • cost $495USD

I’ve seen lots of these skimboards at Nitnaht Lake this summer so my interest was peaked. I finally got to try one for a session at the end of the summer and I was hooked right away. I had some $$ in my pocket from a kiteboard I sold so it was easy to just turn the money around and invest in this board.

Here’s what I like about it so far:

  • small size which is easy to travel with and transport
  • robust construction which is hard to damage unlike a surfboard
  • flat rocker makes it ideal for lighter winds and going fast
  • comes with a full deck pad for high traction and some cushion on rough water
  • lightweight makes it easy to spin and jump
  • because it’s got tiny fins and is so tough I can ride into shallow water that would destroy my surfboards
  • it’s very loose so it can be spun around easily
  • can be ridden both ways if you gotta make a quick escape
  • can be ridden with 3 fins, 2 fins or without fins for lots of different options
  • looks sweet
  • I love that it comes with a bag….saves me having to buy one

Bottom line what rocks about this board is it makes those less than epic days super fun and really challenges my strapless riding. Every time you kite on this board it’s obvious it was designed by someone who loves to love to kitesurf with a skimboard.

Beachdog skimboard action…

Here is a review from The Kiteboarder Magazine which I generally agree with. I differ in that I didn’t find the Beachdog skim hard to ride at all and I am no Strapless God. 😉 If you can ride a strapless surfboard comfortably riding this skim will not be a problem.

You can read a little 411 about skimboards for kiteboarding at this link.

Great work Mark – I hope you sell a ton of these.

Making a Brompton…

22 11 2012

Cumberland, BC…

22 11 2012

Photo from NSMB…click to read article…

I’ll be heading to Cumberland in the spring to check things out. It’s only 3hrs away and no ferry req’d! 😉

Riding a surfboard for lightwind kiting…

22 11 2012

Surfboards make you smile…

You often hear kiters on the beach talking about surfboards as a solution to getting out on the water in light winds. They can be, but if you are a new kiter and just buy the first surfboard that you see you may be disappointed in its lightwind performance.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Conventional wisdom is that you want a big surfboard for lightwinds. That’s not true. What you want is a board with a flat rocker. In other words a board that when you lay it on a table the bottom is flat and the nose doesn’t curve way up. A board with a lot of rocker [ie. a lot of curve] has to push a lot of water out of the way to move forward. That requires loads of power from your kite which you don’t have in lightwind situations. So a big board with lots of rocker can be worse in light winds than a smaller board that’s flat on the bottom.

My best lightwind board is a skimboard that’s only 130 x 50cm, but it’s very flat. My next best lightwind board is a 5’4″ x 19″ surfboard. That’s a small surfboard and the size alone doesn’t scream lightwind machine, but it has a flat rocker so it performs quite well.

My biggest surfboard is 6’2″ x 18.75″ which is much bigger than my 5’4″ board, but it performs poorly in lightwinds because it has a lot of rocker. You’ll find that most big surfboards have a lot of rocker because you want a big board for big waves which have a lot of power and they can be very steep so the rocker is beneficial as a flat board would be too fast and it would pearl [ie. bury the nose].

Now some kiteboarding companies are making larger lightwind specific surfboards that are big and flat, but that’s the exception not the rule when it comes to large surfboards. So if in doubt verify the rocker yourself by laying the board on a flat surface and don’t be afraid of a smaller board that’s specifically designed for light winds.

Beware of Straps

If you are a new kiter buying a surfboard for lightwind conditions you may think that straps are essential to keep the board with you. They can be helpful as you learn to ride a directional, but be aware that ideal foot placement for riding waves is not ideal foot placement for cruising around in light winds. When winds are light you want to flatten out the board so it can plane more easily. That means moving both feet towards the nose a bit. How much depends on a lot of factors, but if you are struggling to stay upwind on your strapped surfboard consider that the straps may need to be moved or you may need to place your feet in front of the straps.

Consider a Skim

Skimboards are a bit more challenging to ride than a surfboard, but they perform better in light winds. They are also cheaper and tougher to damage. So you might find that a skimboard handles your lightwind needs and surfboard with some rocker is a good wave board. Between the two you’ll have all your bases covered.

Some lightwind surfboard options:

Heading for the border…

21 11 2012

Enough gear for an army!

I’m head to Baja starting today. First I gotta get on a ferry to Port Angles and then drive to LA. I’m meeting up with my friend Scott in LA and we are convoying down the Baja to La Ventana. I plan to be back in Victoria at the start of Feb 2013. So that gives me 2 months in Baja to beach camp, SUP, fat bike and kitesurf. I’m looking forward to it! 🙂

Just so you don’t think I’ll be having an unconscionable amount of fun I will be working while in Baja with my laptop and WiFi. It’s just less of a drag to work with your feet buried in the sand and palm trees rustling overhead in the breeze… 😉

Starting today until I get back in Feb the blog content will be mostly kiteboarding related with some fatbike and SUP ramblings as well. If you only want cycling content then change the channels for a couple months and come back to the blog in 2013.

If She Can Do It – Documentary…

20 11 2012

Sharon and I watched this documentary about lady mountain bikers last night and it was well made. If you like the trailer above you can watch the full length movie over at Pink Bike. After watching the movie Sharon’s keen on taking a girl’s MTB camp or a couple days of private coaching.

Feeling Surly…

19 11 2012

High five!

I got out for two rides on my Surly LHT this weekend. Sharon came with me for a ride into town on Sunday. She injured her knee playing squash and has been laying low while the inflammation subsided. She needs to see a doctor next week and will need 1 or 2 operations to repair the damage. Happily her physio said biking was okay as long as her knee wasn’t in pain. Sharon did great so she’ll resume her daily bike commutes.

I’m leaving town Wednesday so these were probably my last Trucker rides of 2012. I miss my LHT already! 😉

Got OMM?

18 11 2012

Old Man Mountain Sherpa [old skool version] on Sharon’s Pugsley…

I’m running short on time before I leave for Baja so I am frantically trying to take care of everything on my To Do List.

The OMM racks looks at home on a fatty…

In Mexico our Pugsleys are mostly beasts of burden. They have to carry ice and beer back to camp as well as let us roll down the beach in search of adventure when it’s not windy enough to kiteboard.

Ready to haul…

We’ll do some desert mountain biking as well. The OMM racks are so light that when you don’t have panniers on them you can pretty much forget you have them installed.

That’s one good looking fatbike… 😉

Canadian Cartel…

18 11 2012

Click to jump to the CDN Cartel site…

I joined Canadian Cartel recently. They have rotating clearance sales of outdoor gear that last 3-4 days each – mostly focused on mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding and surfing. The deals are 50% off or better. So far Sharon and I have bought some clothing during a Blur sale and the process was easy and we rec’d our items as advertized. They had a couple really sweet sales of bike gear that I was tempted by, but I have to save my $$$ so I resisted. The prices were competitive with the best deals I’ve seen for similar gear at other online retailers.

The current sale is on Icebreaker Merino wool clothing.

You have to join Canadian Cartel to see the deals. Joining is free and there is no obligation to buy anything. You will get ~2 emails a week letting you know when a new sale starts and what sort of stuff is being sold.

So far I’ve been interested in about 50% of the sales they have posted and the deals have been really good. I’m using the site to stock up on stuff I can use, but don’t need ASAP. For example I bought a pair of shorts that were selling for $70 at MEC and were discounted to $35 on Canadian Cartel. I could live without them at full MSRP, but at 50% off they were a worthy addition to my closet.

Disclaimer – if you join CC from the links on this post I’ll get a $10 credit.

Hannah Whiteley…

18 11 2012

Sharon may challenge her for the female UK kiteboarding title… 😉

BTW – if you have a second vote for Hannah here [no registration needed]

Cole Hill

17 11 2012

Scott Huntering for a good line…

Scott and I managed to get out for one more ride so I showed him trails on Cole Hill that Mike had turned me on to.

Getting low…

The riding conditions remain stellar for winter on Vancouver Island. A bit moist, but not soggy. Reasonable traction if not quite heroic summer levels.

Waiting for me to catch up…

With very little time before I leave for Baja this will be my last mountain bike ride in Canada of 2013. It was a great year for biking!

Enjoying the winter trails…


17 11 2012

Why? – Ryan Leech…

16 11 2012

Mixed Feelings…

15 11 2012

Click image to watch video over at…

The Coastal Crew posted a video over at that shows them riding a section of trail they built just before it’s destroyed by logging. Logging may well be the biggest industry on Vancouver Island so I’m familiar with the pros and cons. On the pro side it creates jobs and gives us both lumber and paper products we need. It also creates road networks that allow us to explore deep into the forest in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. On the con side logged clear cuts are ugly, can cause erosion problems, get rid of valuable ecosystem and any trails built in areas that get logged are destroyed.

The road I drive out to Nitnaht lake 20 times a summer is a logging road and I wouldn’t have access to that amazing place if it wasn’t for the forestry industry. That’s something I try to keep in mind when I nearly get run off the road by a giant logging truck hauling ass towards me on a tight corner!

And it’s not just logging that changes our ability to ride. Out at Nitnaht Lake some riders built a nice mountain bike loop trail near the camp ground we stay in. Then a terrifically violent wind storm came along and over 100 trees were toppled into a crazy mess. You can barely get through this area today on foot. It was destroyed in less than an hour and the effort it would take to rebuild is so large nobody has bothered even though several years have passed.

If you are a mountain biker in BC you have to enjoy the trails you have access to. Ride ’em now as much as you can. You really never know when they might be gone – whether it’s due to logging or Mother Nature. On the brightside logging companies are building new roads every year that provide an opportunity to explore and ride new terrain.

Nike had it right – Just do it!

Ortlieb Repair…

14 11 2012

A slight tear in the buckle strap…

I’ve been using Ortlieb products for 15yrs+ and never had a failure until one of the buckles that closes my roll top panniers started to tear.

Getting a set of spare buckles was easy…

I bought all my Ortlieb panniers from Wayne at the Touring Store so I emailed him and he sent me a set of brand new buckles.

Fresh buckle installed…

Ortlieb products are easy to work on so it only took two screws per pannier to remove and reinstall the new buckle. I did both panniers since I had two fresh buckles on hand. The whole process took about mins to complete.

Ortlieb repaired and ready to rumble…

Now these panniers are 100% I’m packing them for my Baja trip. There is a lot of beer and ice to be hauled! 😉

Moab Utah Trials Riding…

13 11 2012

Golden Times at Hartland…

12 11 2012

Scott coming around the bend…

Saturday was perfect riding weather. Sunny, dry and if not warm at least it wasn’t cold.

Sunning on a rock…

With both of us leaving the city in the next month this could be our last ride together.

Shredding some fine coastal BC singletrack…

The Bike Gods were kind and they made sure it was a good one.

Glad this is what winter looks like on Vancouver Island…

By the time Christmas rolls around I’ll be riding my Pugsley on a beach in Baja and Scott will be tail-sliding his Hunter around an icy corner in Cowtown.

Mike’s Stumpjumper…

10 11 2012

Carbon wheels with red spoke bling…

Scott and I ran into Mike at the Hartland Bike Park with his sparkly new Specialized Stumpjumper 29er S-Works uber bike.

Mike enjoying his new bike..

Last time we saw him he was aboard a fine Niner Rip Nine.

Fox forks with kashima coating and none of that foolish CTD stuff…

Mountain Bike First Aid…

9 11 2012

Mini-Medical Kit…

On my recent trip to Moab one of the group had a serious hand injury and was bleeding like a stuck pig. There were 4 ER doctors with us and not one had a band aid. Luckily I had a small first aid kit and they used it to stop the bleeding and dress the wound.

What’s in it…

I’ve been sporadically carrying a small first aid kit on my MTB rides, but I use two different packs and sometimes the kit gets thrown in my bikepacking frame bag and forgotten so I don’t always have it with me. To remedy that I bought a second FA kit at MEC and I’ll have one in each MTB pack I use so I don’t have to think about it.

I’lll also put the following in each pack:

  • headlamp [check the batteries once a month and recharge as needed]
  • cell phone in waterproof case
  • space blanket
  • energy bars x 2
  • ultralight windbreaker

It’s not much, but it will be useful if we have an injury on a cold dark night 30mins ride or a 2hrs hobble back to the car.

Wired Moots Photos…

8 11 2012


Click on the image above to check out some photos of the Moots factory I found over at

Iron Mend Wetsuit Repair Kit Review…

7 11 2012

My Promotion wetsuit…

I’ve been using this Promotion wetsuit for 4yrs of kiteboarding. It has seen better days for sure. I haven’t found a good local option for wetsuit repairs in Victoria BC. I can send this suit back to Promotion who will do a great repair at a reasonable cost, but the $25 shipping each way makes even a small $20 repair costly.

A tear starting on the right sleeve…

In general this wetsuit has been wearing evenly and has served me well so I hope to get another full year out of it before retiring it. I recently noticed a tear starting at one sleeve which is a high stress area every time you put the suit on or take it off. I wanted to fix the problem before it ripped all the way through and made matters more challenging.

Iron Mend repair kit…

I saw a $10 wetsuit repair kit at called Iron Mend and decided it was worth trying out. It’s basically a large iron-on patch with some heat shield paper to protect the wetsuit.

Patch cut to size and instructions…

The repair process is very simple:

  1. cut patch to size
  2. heat iron [not too hot]
  3. place patch over area needing repair
  4. place heat shield paper over patch
  5. 2 x 10 second applications of iron with firm pressure
  6. check patch
  7. apply iron again if needed

My iron didn’t have any temperature indications so I started low and bumped up the heat when the first attempt wasn’t gluing the patch down properly. You can keep applying the iron as many times as needed if it’s not hot enough, but you’ll ruin your wetsuit in one attempt if it’s too hot. So err on the side of too cool.

Patch applied…

The repair seems solid and unlike my usual ghetto Shoe Goo repairs it looks almost professional! 😉 I’ll report back after 20 sessions in Baja and we’ll see how it holds up to daily use. I only used 1/8th of the kit so there are several more repairs left in it. I’m optimistic I can keep this suit rolling for at least another year.

Barrack the Vote!

6 11 2012

Just do it!

I’m not American and I don’t get a vote in the election today, but I do care who gets the launch codes to the most dangerous nuclear arsenal on the planet. I think Obama did a good job this last 4yrs given the system he had to work within and the condition the US was left in after 8 years of being Bush-wacked. Barrack’s not perfect. He could do better. No doubt, but over the last 4yrs the US hasn’t invaded any sovereign countries. That alone is something to celebrate – especially if you aren’t American. The US economy is headed in the right direction which is good for Canada. The idea that everyone deserves access to basic health care regardless of income is slowly seeping into the American consciousness. A black President that supports LGBT rights and has the courage to get behind a rationale approach to immigration reform is a game changer in a country that fought a civil war over slavery.

Although I am one of those damn socialist Canadians I was an army officer for a decade so hearing what Colin Powell had to say about Obama resonated with me. He’s a republican who’s voting for Obama because he’s the better candidate to lead the US.

Just so I don’t come off as totally pro-Obama I think Josh Whedon makes some excellent points about why you might want to support Mitt Rommney.

Barrack rides a bike!

Mitt thinks bikes are for homeless people and poor people with DUIs who can’t afford a limousine! 😉

New Tire Fail!

5 11 2012

Heading out to test some new rubber…

Got out on the new rubber I installed recently and the results were shocking!

First what was good?:

  • traction was excellent as expected
  • tubeless worked without any issues
  • smaller outer diameter meant slightly lower gearing
  • lighter tires + wheels accelerated a bit better
  • lighter wheels were more responsive to steering

Conditions were moist…

So what was the problem?

  • smaller wheels got hung up on roots/rocks/etc…
  • lower BB got loads of pedal and bashguard strikes
  • smaller tires gave much harsher ride even on a full suspension bike
  • steering less stable [more twitch]
  • overall slower  and less fun to ride bike

I like fat tires. That’s not a surprise, but I just didn’t appreciate how good I had it with the Trail Kings in 2.4″. I could measure the difference up front as ~20mm in overall diameter. The rear wasn’t as easy, but it looked to be the same if not a tad more. That’s ~10mm in BB height difference. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was.

2.25″ Ardents = 20mm clearance…

I rode trails I’m very familiar with on the TKs and at almost every point I was thinking this is not nearly as much fun as the old tires even with less grippy worn tread. The passive suspension action of big supple tires is amazing even on my 6″+ travel FS bike. It lets me tune the suspension for the medium to big hits and the tires deal with the low amplitude high frequency stuff.

2.4″ Trail Kings = 10mm clearance…

Owning a 29er the idea that wheels that are 3″ bigger give a different ride is not news to me, but really big wheels have downsides to go with the benefits. What shocked me is how much different 20mm in wheel diameter rides on my Nomad. That benefit comes with limited downsides since the wheels aren’t radically different in size/weight.

It’s all gone green…

What’s really funny is my riding has improved a lot over the last 2 years on my Nomad. Of course I attributed that to my general awesomeness! 😉 But, now looking back I can see I kept going bigger on my tires until I was at the TKs on the P35s which is the largest tire that will fit the back of my Nomad. The big tires certainly played their part in the progression.

2.35″ Excavators…

So what’s the plan?

  • ride the 2.4″ Trail Kings
  • buy new 2.4″ TKs in 2013
  • get Sharon onto 2.4″ TK’s
  • sell these skinny tires – I’m never going back!

2.4″ Trail King…

Funny thing is as I was telling Sharon about my ride she was nodding her head to all my complaints about the skinny tires. Finally she said – “You mean you can fix all that with bigger rubber? When do I get some?”

Time wash the rig…

Not that there was a lot of doubt about waiting for a 650B 6″ travel all mountain FS rig, but now there is no doubt in my mind.

Pugsley Taco Packing Setup…

4 11 2012

Old Man Mountain rack for hauling panniers…

I’m getting the Pugsley ready for a long spell in Baja so I reinstalled the OMM Cold Springs rear rack. I’ll be mounting up some Ortlieb panniers so I can haul beer and ice back to my tent on the beach.

OMM made for carrying stuff…

I left all the mounting hardware on the rack when I pulled it off so putting it back on only took a few minutes.

A MTB riser bar to open up the cockpit…

I replaced the Loop H-bar with a XC MTB riser. This puts the hand position a couple inches further forward increasing the reach. I don’t need all day touring comfort on my Pugsley in Baja. Rides will be shorter and we’ll be doing some mountain biking so this is a better setup.

Old bike – new feel…

I like how changing a few parts gives an old bike a whole new feel. That’s one of the nice things about Surly frames – they are versatile so you can reinvent them as needed. 😉

BTW – I just found out that OMM has stopped making the Cold Springs rack. 😦 That’s one of my favourites, but I have a few copies and they last forever so I’m good until I probably can’t ride a bike any longer! They still make the Sherpa so you continue to have an awesome rack option.

Selle Anatomica Holiday Sale…

3 11 2012

Click on image for more info…

My favourite saddle is on sale at 50% off. If you want to try one now is the time.. 😉

Winter Rubber…

2 11 2012

Some fresh rubber for my Nomad…

The Continental Trail Kings on my Nomad have seen a lot of action. Including trips to Sedona and Moab as well as a summer of mountain biking at home. I’ve enjoyed them so far, but they are partially worn which leaves something to be desired now that South Shore Vancouver Island trails are slick as snot.

I’ve been wanting to try an Ardent for a while…

I had a Kenda Excavator [26 x 2.35″] in the spares bin so I was only one aggressive tire away from a set of new rubber. I’ve been wanting to try some Maxxis Ardents [26 x 2.25″] for a while so I thought I’d give one a go on the front.

Stan’s and CO2 = easy tubeless setup…

I’m still in my first year of running tubeless mountain bike tires, but I can’t imagine installing tires with tubes. Initially I was a bit nervous of the whole tubeless thing and felt tubeless ready tires and rims was the way to go. These days I’m getting bold and will give anything a shot.

Well used Trail Kings on P35 rims…

I am lazy and the Trail Kings have another summer season in them so I’m going to leave them mounted on my Velocity P35 rims. The old stock Nomad DT Swiss wheels were bare so they got the nod. Neither these rims nor the fresh rubber was designed for tubeless so it was a risk.

Easy peezy!

I got both tires on the rims easily. Fired in 2 scoops of Stan’s sealant and seated the beads with a CO2 cartridge. They both held air right away and there were no significant leaks. I took some time to swish the sealant around in each tire and then laid them both on their sides to deal with any small leaks I couldn’t see. I flipped them over once per hour while I was working.

Ardent mounted up and ready to roll…

The Kenda Excavator has a widely spaced tread pattern with square edges knobs for ultra traction at the back when I need to power over slippery rocks and roots.

Excavator tread…

The Maxxis Ardent has a medium tread spacing with nice square edges on the knobs for braking and directional control.

Ardent tread…

The DT Swiss EX 5.1D rims aren’t uber wide for an all mountain wheelset so I stuck with the narrower version of these tires to maintain good sidewall support.

My Santa Cruz Nomad with new winter rubber…

I’m excited to shred some new rubber! 🙂