This sounds like one awesome kiting trip.....
Over to Lee:
After an awesome New Year with various Fireworks shows from the different hotels along the front in Santa Maria and somehow ending up boogieing with style until daylight at the Ambassadors? The first day of 2008 went by in a haze.
Luckily in true Cape Verde style the New Year Swell we were all waiting and hoping for, turned up a day late on Wed 2nd Jan and with it not being forecast, the wind light and very easterly I was lucky enough to score a hour and half surfing 4ft Ponta Preta all on my lonesome, after just wondering up over the dune for a cheeky look (never rely solely on the net), before darkness won and I could no longer see the throwing lip.
With it flat again on Thursday we spent the day scouring the far north of the island, in the hope that there was a wave somewhere? Going as far as scaling an extinct volcano to get the best view, but alas no luck.
With all eyes on Friday 4th Jan and the forecasted 17.5ft 17 sec swell. Early to bed with no drinking and rising at 6a.m, I couldn’t believe it was still dark (not got up this early in 2 weeks). We loaded the 4x4 and headed to Ponta Preta to catch first light and hopefully first set of the day.
Turning up to a small, close to the rocks 2 ft and after watching for 30 mins only 2 sets, we soon realised the swell was too northerly in direction to wrap into the classic point break. But coming over the middle of the island we were amped to see masses of white water and as we sped off road, clean lines all the way to the horizon. Checking several spots on the way, we soon came upon Curral Joul, the meanest, heaviest wave on Sal, with no where to launch or land and a spot you would definitely wreck all your gear if you ended up on the rocks!
With it blowing cross off 20-25knts and 6-8ft we sped as fast as we could 2kms upwind to the nearest beach where I quickly pumped up my 7 Vapor, while my mate Phil rigged his 5m windsurf kit. Grabbing my Converse 6’0 we were soon out on the water and in amongst it before 9am.
With the superior downwind speed of the kite, I got into at least 10 waves before Phil turned up dropping into a mast high set, only to get clipped by the end barrel section and be washed straight over the rocks (luckily escaping with only a couple of cuts, about 10 spinys and a few holes in his board), leaving me out for the next 2 hours by myself, hitting big turns and pulling into the end offshore barrel section. After wondering where the car had gone and getting slightly cold I started to slog back upwind, only to find Phil (on his smaller board) coming towards me shouting ‘Lets have it!’. So about turn and another hour of joy, with the sets now over mast high, I was in my element and now enjoying it that little bit more with someone to call into the sets! With the wind now howling and going more and more offshore we called it lunch and sailed the 21/2 kms downwind to land at the next beach.
Heading back to Santa Maria for lunch via Ponta Preta, we were pleased to find we had made the right call, with a load of windsurfers, 10 kiters and 6 surfers all fighting for the 2 wave sets coming through every 20 mins and with the wind almost dead offshore we still managed to see two windsurfers on the rocks and almost a fight between an irate surfer and a kiter, all in a quick hour!
For the afternoon, with the wind now more easterly we snuck in a cheeky sesh with a few others, at the fun but not life threatening spot of Caletta Funda. Still on the 7 Vapor, with the wave being much softer and the launch and land spot being easily accessible, I enjoyed a couple of hours strapless smashing the tops off some nice sections before grabbing the 6’0 again to play around hitting some wave rolls and airs off the middle section. Smiling and knackered it was early to bed.
Rising early on Saturday, 6.30a.m at Ponta Preta, again saw the same inconsistency, but it was slightly bigger! Curral Joul it was again then and speeding past Ali Baba, we were looking at a lot more swell than the day before. I was praying for something special! Pulling up in front of the rocks we found it more off shore, bigger and meaner than the previous day. Not wanting to be caught out there by myself, I spent the next 5 mins persuading Phil that he was keen, and let’s go rig up now! 7m again and on the water before 8am, I didn’t want to hold back and sped downwind straight into a boiling pit, where I soon noticed how much racier and faster the waves were than the day before. Hitting some meaty turns on the first 2 sections I was a bit anxious to pull into the now Thick Lipped end barrel section, whilst out there all alone, with no ski or chance of rescue.
After half an hour and with the wind picking up a notch Phil turned up, dropping into a mast high bomb and this time making out. Amped to no longer be alone, on the next few sets I pulled in as deep as possible busting some awesome turns and making some deep end barrels, but with some of the larger sets closing out, I found myself pulling out of a few as only a kite surfer can.
Getting more and more confident, I started pulling off less and less, instead just pulling in and backdooring some crazy pits until, a gust caught me whilst in the barrel and sent me flying, minus board out through the lip, board stuck in the lip, I was lucky it didn’t take my head off as it was finally projectiled towards me, leash now 3 times the length, and worst still the kite was now falling out of the sky! Luckily I was on the last wave of the set and managed to quickly re-launch to make it out back for a short breather. With a random windsurfer sailing up from downwind and sitting out the back, I approached to see if he was ok to hear, ‘Just watching you guys drop into those massive bombs, from up close’? We enjoyed another half hour before at about 11.30 the wind started to switch more offshore and drop. We decided to call it a day to make sure we could get back in at the now dead offshore landing sight.
Lunch via a Ponta Preta check again, to see Mitu pull in and get barrelled on both rideable waves of the only 2 sets in an hour, all hands voted- for the afternoon we were heading north again! Coming off the main road we could now see swell lines all the way to the horizon, we thought YES we’re in luck for another cracking session, however when we got through the dust to the coast it was dead off shore and only around 15knts. Approaching Ali Baba, there was no way I could drive past those big barrels and to my amazement, no one out! The next few hours were heaven, getting slotted on the surfboard and being joined only by, one sponger and one other surfer after an hour and half. Needless to say I was out till dark, when to top off an excellent couple of days – the first sunset I had seen (due to dust) in over 2 weeks. The beers were then a flowing!
Happy New Year – No Stress - Cabo Verde Style
Thanks to capeverdeimports.com, www.flystar.com, Phil & Vicky, Tigs, Charlie, Trevor & Jackie, lucky mascot ‘Mum the dog’ and the local watermen of Sal for making a memorable trip. Thanks to my sponsors; Airush, Freeriders, West for all their support in 07.
Happy Hunting for 2008 Lee ‘Pasty’ Harvey