Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WISSA 2008: Report from the Spot

Subject: WISSA 2008

The club house. Race committee HQ and possible gear storage/ waxing station. This is on the lake.

The main lodging. Maybe the architect liked Howard Johnson's ?

But check out the back yard! The WHOLE resort is OURS for the week!

Lost on the lake? Head for the twin steeples.

This is where meals, ceremonies, the Trade Mission, and many other activities take place. It is on the lake near the clubhouse. Everything is close. The main lodging at the mountain is connected by free shuttle bus.

Welcome to the land where the mountains meet the sea. Fresh shellfish, lobsters, and all manner of fruits de la Mer can be enjoyed with upland game, Maple syrup, and a rich array of locally farmed produce. Local dairy products are excellent as are the many items produced using the region's copious raspberries and blueberries.

The Gaspe is truly majestic. The geography and culture are special and unique to North America.

Its position down wind and up from the generally ice free gulf of St Lawrence makes it a catch basin for beaucoup de poudre and the winds are always cranking.

One whole side of Lac Matapedia is undeveloped wilderness. There are 3 towns on the lake and it is possible to sail from one to the next.

10-17 Feb.
This is a first installment. PLEASE plan on coming

p.s. Bon Noel

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kite Yukon

By Michael Meandering

I know many people who disdain winter, and I've noticed that these people tend to live in parts of Canada where there is little, if any, snow, or where getting out of the city to enjoy the snow consumes the better part of the day. I feel very sorry for those people.

/Original is here./

We've been having a dearth of snow in Whitehorse, which has made the winter a little less enjoyable but, over the last two days, that unfortunate situation has rectified itself.

It got even better last night, when I read in the paper that there were going to be free snow kiting demos and lessons at Schwatka Lake today. Fawn and I registered as soon as we saw the ad. We both wanted to give it a try.

This morning, Fawn, Jade and I bundled up and went down to the lake. It was a beautiful day for those who dressed properly. There was fresh snow on the ground and the wind was steady - not too weak and not too strong - perfect for learning how to kite ski.

The event was hosted by Up North Adventures and a new business, Kite Yukon. Jim Welsh of Kite Yukon gave us instruction on how to use the 3m learning kites. I have to say, he did a great job. Everything was clear and understandable and within minutes we were zipping the learner kites back and forth across the sky. I was amazed at how much power could come from the little kite. When I zipped it low across the horizon, I had to dig my feet in or get dragged across the snow and ice. Sometimes I got dragged anyway.

Unfortunately, Fawn had to leave early so Jade could have her lunch and a nap, which meant that she didn't get to try the bigger kites. The bigger kites have a lot of power and require the use of a harness. I had a little more difficulty using the larger kites, but it was still a lot of fun. And I mean a lot of fun. This time, no matter how hard I tried to dig my feet in, the kite would pull me forward fifteen or twenty feet at a time. It was incredible to feel how much power could come from a sheet of lightweight fabric and a light breeze. I was having a blast!

I went and got my skis and then waited for another large kite so I could try zipping back and forth across the lake. There are a lot of similarities between kite skiing and sailing and, if you know what you're doing, it's even possible to sail into the wind. In fact, it's even possible to sail up mountains! The crew from Kite Yukon use their kites as chair lifts when they go into the mountains, kite skiing up and then skiing back down.

I tried to take pictures while I waited for a kite, but my camera batteries died in the cold. After warming them up, I managed to get a few shots before they died again.

Schwatka Lake was full of colourful kites, from little training kites to massive foils.

Zooming along on skis...

My favourite picture of the day - Practising on a big kite with Grey Mountain in the background.

I finally got a big kite and got to feel what it's like to zip across the lake powered by nothing but the wind. It was awesome. While I didn't quite master using the larger kite with the skis, I did enough of it to know that I want to do it again.

I hear that they'll be doing demonstrations and lessons again on January 5th. Woohoo!

Some pictures from Kajaani

2X world Champion [Open Class] Juha Mannermaa did his first session on Oulujarvi [Lake Oulu]. The lake is HUGE! With a surface area of 930 square kilometers and a location at 64 degrees north ICE is not the problem-but daylight? That can be troublesome at this time of year. Cheers to Juha for getting his daughter Lotta involved.

View Larger Map

William Tuthill

See more...

Not exactly kiting...

... but definitely skiing!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ice Sailing Starts Nov 25 07 in South Keswick

Yup, I’m wearing my wet suit, red life jacket and red ski boots. Don’t know if this ice will last till next weekend, as a strong NW wind could break it all up. Most of it is already refrozen broken ice. Nonetheless, it was fine and we had about 10 guys out today.

Joe Albert

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Health and fitness: Top 10 winter sports

Lowdown: This is the most exhilarating sport on the planet. Sail on ice and reach speeds of 70mph.

Would suit: Speedsters, adrenaline junkies and yachties bored with the pace of water sailing.

Do: Wear a helmet.

Don't: Sail over thin ice.

Where: Sweden and Poland.

How much: A course costs about £140 a day including accommodation at the Ice Sailing Centre, Sweden (www.sisf.se/fiskeboda). Contact Chris Williams for further details (c.w.w@btinternet.com). See also www.icesailing.org.

Try also: Land yachting, its (slower) on-shore equivalent.



Lowdown: Climbing frozen waterfalls.

Would suit: Serious adventurers with a lot of upper body strength.

Do: Make sure your ice axes are sharp before setting out.

Don't: Stand on the rope while wearing crampons.

Where: Scotland's Ice Factor is the largest indoor ice climbing centre in Europe. Or, for the real deal, head to La Grave in France.

How much: Lessons start at £45 per person (01855 831100; www.ice-factor.co.uk).

Try also: Indoor rock climbing.


Lowdown: A bike with skis instead of wheels. It's great fun and very easy to learn.

Would suit: Everyone of all ages and abilities, because it's so quick to master.

Do: Sit slightly forward so you can turn by just leaning to one side.

Don't: Be a nutter - you're an ambassador for the sport.

Where: The ski resorts of the Alps. You can find where to hire a ski bike at www.snowbike.com.

How much: A two-hour hire session costs £25 with Ski Bike at the French resorts of Val d'Isère and Tignes (0033 675 42 40 91; www.skibike.net).

Try also: Mountain biking on snow.


Lowdown: Think ITV's Dancing on Ice but without Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

Would suit: Families looking for an activity for everyone.

Do: Wear gloves if you're just starting. You'll be grateful when you fall over.

Don't: Attempt to lift your partner above your head if you wish your relationship to last.

Where: Planet Ice has dozens of rinks around the country. In London, head to Somerset House (www.somersethouseicerink.org.uk).

How much: Prices at Planet Ice start from £4 (www.planet-ice.co.uk).

Try also: Curling. It is an Olympic sport.


Lowdown: Snowboarding meets kite-surfing. Kites allow you to ski uphill and do incredible tricks. And you can ride on skis or a board.

Would suit: Extremists, kite enthusiasts, budding polar explorers.

Do: Know what you're doing. This can be properly extreme.

Don't: Kite under any lifts.

Where: Frozen lakes and snowfields from the Alps to Antarctica.

How much: A week's snow kiting course with the Paracademy costs around £350 (01305 824 797; www.paracademy.co.uk).

Try also: Para-skiing, where you ski off a cliff and para-glide back down to earth.


Lowdown: Slip into your favourite figure-hugging Lycra and follow an undulating trail through mountain valleys on long thin skis.

Would suit: Marathon runners, walkers, people who like to ski at a gentler pace.

Do: Learn the "skate" technique. It's much faster.

Don't: Try to "edge" when turning, it will only result in a face plant into the snow.

Where: The frozen lake of St Moritz, Switzerland.

How much: A two-hour lesson with Pontresina Snowsports costs £17 (0041 81 842 68 44; www.snowsports-pontresina.ch).

Try also: Telemarking - it's the ultimate skiing discipline and mightily impressive.


Lowdown: It may not compare to the Alps but it's still a lot of fun.

Would suit: Beginners and those looking for practice.

Do: Book.

Don't: Try the freestyle park if you're over 30. Some things are best left to youngsters.

Where: Milton Keynes

How much: A one hour session is £21 for adults, £18 for children (0871 222 5670; www.xscape.co.uk)

Try also: Tobogganing. Forget lessons. Just hire a slide and go for a ride.


Lowdown: Fresh air, woolly hats and scarves, the crunch of frosted leaves underfoot - oh, and hills.

Would suit: Romantics, lovers of the outdoors and rambler types.

Do: Wear the brightest anorak in your wardrobe.

Don't: Leave the dog behind.

Where: For a list of top walks, contact the Ramblers' Association (020 7339 8500; www.ramblers.org.uk).

How much: Free.

Try also: Winter mountaineering.


Lowdown: Running in the snow, made possible by the latest type of snowshoes.

Would suit: Fitness fanatics and people who enjoy strange looks from other people.

Do: Wear a thick pair of socks.

Don't: Try running with the old 'tennis racquet' style of snowshoe.

Where: America is more into this than laid-back Europe, but Les Gets and Morzine in France are ideal spots for the sport.

How much: An afternoon snowshoe session costs £20 (00 33 670 66 77 56; www.thesnowshoecompany.com).

Try also: Snowshoeing at a walking pace.

By Telegraph

Saturday, November 17, 2007

WISSA 2008

Notice to competitors and accompanies.

Every night activities, meals and social activities of the week (see Schedule) will take place at " Parc Régional de Val-D'Irène " ski resort, the main accommodation site located at 8 km from the event. The organizing committee will daily provide a free shuttle from the lodging center to the race site in Val-Brillant. If you wish to be close of the animation, you need to book as soon as possible because the places at the main accommodation site are limited (see Wissa package). There are also some "private cottages" to rent, located less than 300m from major lodging (see lodging). If the lodging at the ski resort and his neighborhood is full, you will find others lodging facilities in the village of Val-Brillant, close to the race site.

The organizing committee of WISSA 2008 welcomes you on is web site. Good sailing!

11 to 16th, February, 2008
Val-Brillant, Québec, Canada
Review 07-11-16

1.1. The 28th World Championship will be held from Monday February 11th to Saturday February 16th 2007, on Lake Matapédia, Val-Brillant, Québec, Canada.

2.1. The Championship is organised by Corporation Fenêtre Lac Matapédia inc. as the Local Organising Authority (LOA) for and on behalf of, and under specified conditions laid down by the World Ice Snow Sailing Association (WISSA).

3.1. The event will be based at La Cédrière, Val-Brillant, wich is along Lake Matapédia
3.2. Val-Brillant is 600 km East from Montréal, the nearest international airport.

4.1. The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) 2005-2008 Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) and Appendix B - Windsurfing
4.2. The WISSA Rules
4.3. This Notice of Race (NoR) & the Sailing Instructions (SI)
4.4. The Sailing Instructions may be altered at skippers meetings
4.5. The WISSA Rules and Sailing Instructions will be available at registration and check-in
4.6. Competitors shall attend the opening & closing ceremonies, including the prize giving.

5.1. Sailboard : Any sled, rider stands with windsurfing rig
5.2. Wing : All kinds of hand held wings (no lines) whitout any ground support
5.3. Kite : Overhead sails, all kite designs, parawings and similar.

6.1. Group:
6.1.1 Open : All competitors (male or female)
6.1.2 Women : All female competitors
6.2. Age:
6.2.1 Youth <19 : born after February 10, 1989
6.2.2 Master 40-49: born earlier February 11, 1968
6.2.3. Grand Master+50 : born earlier February 11, 1958

7.1. Course Races : Up to twelve (12) races of different course. Courses may varie for each class. A minimum of three (3) races is required for a valid Championship

7.2. Speed Trials : Up to tree (3) runs. Speed will be measured with a radar. There will be no division segregation in the speed trials
7.3. Long Distance Marathon : Course and conditions to be determined in Sailing Instructions and skippers meeting.

8.1. All competitors shall bring their own equipment
8.2. The maximum sail size for Sailboard class is restricted to 7.5 m².

9.1. For Sailboard class national letters & sail numbers shall be according to RRS Appendix G. For Wing and Kite classes, numbered bibs/vests will be arranged by Organizing commitee.

10.1. It is the responsibility of each competitor to participate in the safest possible manner at all times
10.2. Helmets shall be worn during racing
10.3. Protective clothing is highly recommended.

11.1. Competitors take part in all races at their own risk. See RRS 4, Decision to Race. The LOA, WISSA or any of their officials or representatives or the sponsors or their officials or representatives are not responsible, under any circumstances, for any damage, loss or injury either ashore or on the sea either to persons or equipment, which may result
11.2. Participation in this event, supporting events and in each race is at the sole discretion of competitor and at his/her own risk.

12.1. Courses shall be as prescribed in the SI.

13.1. RRS Appendix A shall apply
13.2. The Low Point Scoring System of RRS Appendix A4 shall apply
13.3. Discards races as in RRS Appendix A2 shall apply

Sun, Feb. 10th : Arrival
Mon, Feb. 11th : 10h00-16h00 registration
12h00-16h00 training /practicing races
20h00 Opening ceremony
Tue, Feb. 12th : 9h30 Skippers meeting
11h00-15h00 3 to 4 races
Wed, Feb. 13th :9h30 Skippers meeting
11h00-15h00 3 to 4 races
Thu, Feb. 14th : 9h30 Skippers meeting
11h00-15h00 3 to 4 races
Fri, Feb. 15th : 9h30 Skippers meeting
11h00-15h00 races or speed trial or long distance
Sat, Feb. 16th : 9h30 Skippers meeting
11h00-15h00 races or speed trial or long distance
20h00 Prize giving ceremony
Sun, Feb. 17th : Departures

15.1. A class will qualify for awards if there are at least five competitors registered
15.2. A division will qualify for awards if there are at least five competitors registered
15.3. Medals or trophies may be awarded up to the first five competitors in each Class and Division, depending on entry numbers
15.4. Awards categories and the actual number of prizes to be awarded in each properly constituted Division will be posted on the Official Notice Board (ONB) after the close of registration
15.5. The first man/woman in the each class in Open Division shall be known as the Class World Champion.
15.6. The first Woman in the each class shall be known as the Class Women World Champion.
15.7. The first Youth in the each class shall be known as the Class Youth World Champion.
15.8. The first Master in the each class shall be known as the Class Master World Champion.
15.9. The first Grand Master in the each class shall be known as the Class Grand Master World Champion.

16.1. Special prizes will be awarded to the best three competitors in Long Distance Marathon race in each class (No Divisions but Overall only)
16.2. Special prizes will be awarded to the best three competitors in Speed Trial in each class (No Divisions but Overall only).

17.1. In registering for the event, competitors automatically grant to the LOA the right in perpetuity to make, use and show from time to time at their discretion, any motion pictures, still pictures and live, taped or filmed television and other reproduction of them, taken during the period of the event as defined in NoR and SI in which he/she participates without compensation.

18.1. Accomodation will be held at Parc régional de Val-d'Irène wich is 8 km from the Lake Matapédia
18.2. Transportation between race site and lodging will be provided by the organizing committee
18.3. Informations for reservation will be displayed on the web site www.wissa2008.org.

19.1. A wide range of scheduled flights are available from all over Europe and USA to the Montréal international airport
19.2. Competitors must arrange their transportation to and from the local airport (Mont-Joli) or bus and train station (Amqui)
19.3. Informations for reservation will be displayed on the web site www.wissa2008.org
19.4. Organizing commitee will arrange free transportation from the Mont-Joli local airport or Amqui bus and train station to the accomodation site for equipment, competitors and support personnel for free if the competitors send their transportation details at latest on February 1st 2008 to organiser.

20.1. The registration office during the event will situate in La Cédrière, Val-Brillant.
20.2. For more information before the event and to make enquiries, find adresses on the web site www.wissa2008.org
20.3. Competitors will be required to produce the following, prior to completing registration formalities on site:
20.3.1 Original Regatta Entry Form
20.3.2 Evidence of valid third party insurance
20.3.3 Parental/legal Guardian Assent - for those under age of 18
20.3.4 Proof of age

21.1. The entry fee paid on site of event is 120 $CDN wich include 10 $CDN donation to WISSA, daily lunches every racing day and breakfast on departure day and shall be paid in cash.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Kite Skiing in Antarctica

Apparently Antarctica becomes a tourist attraction. The notorious Luminous Landscape is offering a photo-tour for several years in a row (sorry, the 2009 tour is sold out). Another example is the White Desert company which actually promises "more adrenalin" with "kite-skiing across the frozen horizon"...

Something to dream about.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Season started!

We can't call this sailing yet. Just checking the ski angle and edge sharpness.

Julli the winter sailor.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Do not repeat this!

The guy has already done it, you will not be original trying it again.

I hate this idiot!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Big group of mountain sailors in the Colorado area.

Pretty cool eh?
by Clive Armitage

Still one of my favorite shots, my friend Tim, from Idaho Falls with a 6.0 in about 10-12 mph the snow was mid thigh deep, the 2006 has more float than this 2003 model.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Originally uploaded by MGL
The winter is coming and the 2008 WISSA World Championship organizing Committee is starting to prepare invitations. Please, send me your request if you need one.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Wing


Hope that you are having a great summer!

Here is a sneak preview of the Wave Warrior 7.5 m wing. It is designed for water but also works in light winds and/or sticky snow. There are some very cool new features. Set up/tear down is faster than ever. It is stable, powerful and well mannered. Stay tuned for more about this awesome new wing.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Due to the failure of the WISSA host the content of the site was reset 6 months back without notice or warning. All updates were lost, I am in the process of recovery. So much for the 999 availability..

The name of the provider is ipower.com

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dolzhanka. Day 1.

By Vladimir Zakharov

There is really something to `love` about this darn `Global Warming`. We need to stop measuring wind speed in knots but measure it in `girls`!

So, 4300 km and two and a half days our world was shrunk to the size of the steel box called `Isuzu Midi` (we called it `Mitjok` of course), and now it is over!

Ural, dear, I love you so! I did not have such fun in a long time. Artillery range with shell-holes of all kinds and calibers is called a federal highway due to some weird mistake. Night, rain, trucks in the ditch - it is all as usual, looks like Russia and good roads are incompatible forever.

We have finally arrived to the Azov Sea, Dolgaja Spit, Dolzhanka Village.

The South of Russia is not very friendly yet. It was warmer in Siberia. It is 9-10C of heat during the day and intermittent wind with gusts from under the storm clouds up to 15 m/s (30 knots).

The rain is over, the Sun is showing and my girlfriend wants to take a walk.. She opens the door of the cabin to scout the weather and instantly is thrown out into the nearest puddle by the gust! Yeah, the wind speed has increased. That is how we shall calibrate the wind in one `girl` and shall wait for summer kiting season opening until tomorrow. The forecast promises `global warming` and less wind.

In the meantime there is 4-5 kites flying around the Dolgaja Spit and around 10 wind surfers. Not too many people have come here this year, that is unusual!

The Surf Shelter camping where we live has surpassed all expectations - so far the difference between advertisement and reality is to reality's advantage!

Rustler Ice

Here is the picture to illustrate the kind of ice described by Barney Kenney in the previous post. We call it "Rustler" in Novosibirsk. The photo is recent by Vladimir Travnikov. Enjoy the sound of thin ice needles crumbling.

By the way, the ice on the Ob' Sea of Novosibirsk is gone now and Vladimir Zakharov is testing his new Flysurfer kites on Azov Sea. I am planning to translate and post his reports in the next couple days.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Still ice in Alberta!

By William Tuthill
Hey guys!
This is a report from Alberta where the spring ice sailing season is still going strong. It often stays good until Victoria Day weekend [that would be Memorial Day in the U.S.]!

What I like about this report is that it shows an in depth understanding of the factors that influence sailing conditions.

We all understand them in our own way, but THIS is well said.

By Barney Kenney

I am currently trying out a new method for making skis. If it works well and is economic, I may try selling a few. My preference is still to license the technology.

I was out at Spray again yesterday in strong gusty winds. Conditions were slushy because there was a snow/rain fall the night before. Normally the surface is fast and dry. Here's some of the physics.

The +15 C is produced by Chinook winds during the day. Westerly flow of warm moist Pacific air is forced upslope on the west side of the Rockies which causes rain and releases latent heat to the air. The downslope flow on the east side is therefore hotter and drier than at the same altitude on the west side. Often much hotter and drier.

Melt water produced by the warm dry wind either evaporates immediately or drains vertically along the candle boundaries and keeps the surface dry. (It is this vertical drainage that actually causes the ice to candle). Best time of year for ice sailing!

When it is clear, stability produced by back radiation decouples the surface from the westerly flow aloft at night. The surface wind stops and the temperature falls to below zero overnight. This helps to tighten everything up.

There is still a danger factor, however, because the ice sheet may be eroding from below by heat transported by baroclinic currents and stream inflows; the later you sail into spring, the more care is required.

It helps to know what you're doing, what to look for, and where not to go. We carry ice picks and drill test holes daily. It also helps if you have a board that can sail on water. Even then, one occasionally gets wet - but that's another story.

Photos from WISSA 2007 updated

Estonia 2007. Bend and twist - you get the gist.

By William Tuthil
I have much to report. We JUST got in from a LONG drive to Gaspisie and back. It is beautiful out there and WISSA 2008 accoms will be set up for families...
More later - much more.

For now, here are some fresh pics from Estonia.

[8 more images]

Do you need text?

Estonia 2007. Kalev Allikveer on a 3 blade sled.

Estonia 2007. Just after the start.

Estonia 2007 Vitold Nerling. Legendary windsurfing coach from Poland.

Estonia 2007. The technology and talent at WISSA World Championships is as up to date and radical as ANY windsurfing race on the planet. Here is to keeping the Open Class alive and strong FOREVER!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This is some sweet April-May ice!

By William Tuthill

As we watch the grass turn green, Barney Kenney [organizer on WISSA
2001 Saskatchewan, Canada
] is tuning and refining his amazing foot
steering sled. Barney has created several clever inventions, but this
sled is closer to short board sailing than any ski sled that I have
ever sailed. Everything from the steering mechanism to the custom
built skis are of his design and manufacture. The sled is a jibing

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Report from Gaspe

By William Tuthill

Greetings All

Here is a quick report from lasts week's epic adventure to the race site for WISSA 2008.

It is Sunday night, and we have just returned from driving over 2000 km for WISSA. It was a productive trip.

The 3 day trip up took place during a record breaking storm that dumped 10- 50 cm. of snow and rain up and down the east coast. The whole family, with gear, and a load on the roof battled gale forced winds and swirling snow while packed into my rather small Honda. It was a stressful ordeal, but on Wednesday 18 April, 2007 we met up with Dominique Robichard [chief organizer for WISSA 2008] at Val Briiliant on the shores of Lac Matapedia. Things are looking GOOD!

There is a 9 member organizing committee, with a budget, and a plan.
The original accommodations were to be some condominiums on the lake, but they were just sold making them unavailable.
As a perhaps better substitute, the organizing committee has secured the base lodge at Val d'Irene Ski Mountain instead. Web: Val d'Irene

The base lodge has 26 rooms and a total capacity of 120 persons. It is 14 km. from the lake and will be connected by buses running continually between the two locations.

At the lake, there is a community center which will serve a center of activity for skipper's meetings, lunches, and equipment storage.

The lake is beautiful! We sailed on 60 cm. ice with the typical strong NW winds. At 20 km. x 3-5 km. there is plenty of room to move! The town of Sayabec is at one end and Amqui is at the other. Val Brillant is in the middle. There is NO DEVELOPMENT on the north side of the lake! This makes for exceptionally pure scenery.

Dominique has gone off to windsurf at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina for a week, and I have to get back to work. Just know this as you go into your summertime routines- WISSA 2008 is well under control! The dates are 10-17 February 2008, and we are looking forward to seeing you there. :-)

Look for more information and photos of Lac Matepedia on the WISSA web site soon.

Don't forget to "summerize" your skis!


p.s. The ice on Matapedia is still good!

Friday, April 20, 2007


Review by Zakharov

First tests on the snow... well, on the ice, really.

There is almost no wind at the ground level this morning! Even race "tens" could be launched with some serious running effort. On the height it is 3-4 m/s (6-8 knots). I was unfolding the new Psycho on the beach without complete confidence that it would fly, valves should make it difficult to pump it up... My peers also shared my doubts - all our previous experience with water foils on the bar was saying that it is not possible to lift the kite at zero wind.

To everybody's surprise the kite easily took off with minimal pumping at the ground and few steps running upwind.

Right after the start comes the first shock - when testing `Speed-13` in such wind it could barely move you across the wind direction yet `Psycho-13` accelerates very well, racing `Infinity-8.5` is noticeably slower.

Next thing you notice is very wide range of power covered by the bar. Push it away and the power drops in several times but the kite is still easily steered. Full forward and backward wing rotations are smooth with great acceleration. Pull the bar backwards 40 cm and get loads of power without any speed loss or attempts to stop or fall back. In today's conditions with slippery surface, 3-4 m/s winds and full speed up to 50 km/h the power control with the bar was sufficient, I did not touch depower at all.

The force on the bar is moderate, I set it to the middle position and did not get tired in a two hours session. I will experiment with this setting later.

In the end I was really satisfied with the dynamic and speed qualities of the kite, it went far beyond my expectations!

As for jumping - this is not my area of expertise. I let it play to Roman - one forward turn, two, three... The amplitude is 3-4 meters, Roman likes the new toy. He advises to pull the bar before the jump.

This is little unusual - I was always turning the kite into jump with freed bar and pulled it only after the take-off. It worked well on all kites that I have tested.

Let's try the new way. Yes! The jumps are high although I am heavier than Roman and can not do as nice as he does. I'd better learn to rotate in the summer on the water...

So, as of today the conclusions are the following.

`Psycho-13` is a universal kite for winter and summer adequately good for jumping and racing.

In winter the kite flies same well as in the summer! Easy start despite valves on the leading edge, great stability on the edges of the window, very forgiving to the mistakes on the jumps and great speed for the free ride!

This is the wing that alone lets you sail in moderate wind on water and ice equally without any loss of enjoyment! This is my first experience with such kite especially considering the incredible durability of ram-air kites on water and snow - they have no pressurized bladders.

And considering the manufacturer's claimed wind range of 4-15 m/s (8-30 knots)...

I still can not believe it! When testing `Speed-13` the 12 m/s was the limit. Of course, the Psycho wing is attached to the first row as the "bow" which should let it be stable at very small angle of attack thus providing a huge depower range...

But still, I will not believe it until try.

It's a dream coming true: two or even three kites in one!

And now ahead is sun, water and Yeysk! Stand by for the new impressions.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

PSYCHO-3 Part I.

Review by Zakharov

Just a while ago I was really stunned by this american pronounciation of the word "Psycho" - saiko, as in the old joke:
Writing `Liverpool` reading `Manchester`

And today this very "Psycho-3" is covering 13 square meters of freshly thawed sand near Neokom. Blue star on the black-and-white, as seen on TV!

For those who does not know: Psycho-3 is a new ram-air kite from Flysurfer with modified safety system and wider range of depower.

The manual claims wind range 4-15 m/s (8-30 knots). Can you imagine that?

The principle which makes it possible is the same as in bow-kites: at minimal angles the wing is tied to the leading edge, not to the two front rows as before, which enables the kite to stretch along the wind and fly as a banner with minimal lift. They also say that in such schema the breakaway over the leading edge is practically impossible at any gusts. We shall see...

It has a very interesting safety system - the line is tied not to the rear edge as before which was leaving a lot of drag when engaged in the strong wind but is distributed in three points along the chord of the wing.

This way the kite in safety mode folds in half hanging on the middle chord loosing all power. On DVD you can see water restart within seconds. It would be interesting to try how real it is.

Bar force is regulated to taste: somebody likes it "light" others prefer to apply power.

Safety leash is in the solid rubber case: to protect from tangling.

The bar is freely rotating to unwind the lines in a wink - nothing muddles. The system became simpler than in previous models, much less lines around the bar.

No luck launching today: no wind...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

splash splash session

Christelle Selen

I know WISSA is under reconstruction... or beauty
changes.... as William told me.
The video is made a month ago here in Finland when the ice
was still strong but covered of water, we called it
splash splash session....
otherwise you can always visit my blog to view more
kiting sessions or pictures... some of the WISSA 2007
too !

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The spirit of the wind lives here. This is a place where individuals from all walks of life, and all parts of the world, join together to celebrate their passion for sailing on snow or ice. There are no restrictions or judgments - only enthusiasm and accommodation.
The history of this extraordinary sport flourishes in the hearts and minds of the many and varied individuals that make up the membership.
Since 1980 we have convened a once a year World Championships with the goal of finding the best racer in the world at that time.
In the beginning, we were a widely scattered group of windsurfers just learning about sailing on frozen surfaces. Over time, we have become the oldest and best established community of ice and snow sailors in the world.

On the race course we have three divisions:
1] OPEN CLASS: Any sled powered by a windsurfing rig- the only restriction is that the rider must stand while sailing
2] HAND HELD: Any sail or wing held by the sailor directly
3] KITES: All forms of tethered sails (sails on lines)

The World Ice and Snow Sailing Association (W.I.S.S.A.) was officially formed at Lake Worthsee in Germany, in 1987. At that time, the existing requirement of at least 5 different nations to make an official World Championships was formalized.
The WISSA organization was registered, rules and by laws were created and a degree of formality was established. Thankfully, it never got too far out of hand, and the informality that has been the hallmark of WISSA’s survival took over.
In 1991, Victor Hendriksson, acting on behalf of the Estonian Yachting Union organized a World Championships (in the then Soviet Socialist Republic of Estonia) that would forever change the course of WISSA – that’s all of ice and snow sailing history.
The incredible mass of talent, ideas, and enthusiasm that had been bottled up behind the “Iron Curtain” was introduced to the western world. The chemistry was magic and the sport was eternally altered for the better.

The first kite turned up in Finland in 1990. The first wing in 1991. By 1993 both were welcomed as official racing classes.
Throughout all of it, racing on an Olympic Course has been the constant. Speed Trials and a Long Distance Marathon have been important as well, but the main emphasis has been upon course racing- always.

Venues shift from North America to Europe in alternating years so as to be fair to all. We have affiliates in Australia, Asia, and New Zealand, but the main body of participation is centered about the Atlantic so racing continues to go between Europe and North America.

IceSurfing in Finlad

Still excellent conditions in Northern part of Finland although guys have started summer surfing "down in south"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Saturday & Easter

What a weekend!

Lake Sunapee ROCKS! The nearly 1100 foot elevation makes for a different climactic designation for this unusual body of water. Everything south and down has melted, but Sunapee still has 12-14 inches of ice! Better still, the forecast is for more cold and a 10 inch dump on Thursday! This means that NEXT weekend is apt to be epic as well!

Almost Night: Shot by Charles Meding while flying the red kite in the foreground. We sailed all day on loose granular, and into the dark.

Last Year: Flying over the St. Lawrence River. By Michael Eudenbach

By way of reference, the sun angle and length of day is that of Labor Day weekend. Yep, that's right- count your days towards summer from the equinox and Easter is like Labor Day and next weekend is crowding AUGUST for sun angles! :)

Before I jinx the jet stream into a more seasonal pattern, I'll just give a quick weekend rundown and crash.

SATURDAY: Forecast- no wind. Reality- 10- 15 mph. Rick Hobbs had to skate with a 5,5 meter wing. He got some rides but he also skated and waited. It looked good some of the time, but I hate skating on skis so I changed teams and "took the kite".

With George Baskette and Charlie Meding as company, it is easy to see the potential of kites.

The surface was loose granular, and with a 4 line foil kite on handles it was fun to chuck the power of the kite around like a rock on the end of a string. Whip it up and down for speed, and send it back for a POWER jibe! Now TTHAT is fun- even if it does rip your arms and abs. BTW George with the 8 meter CA leader? Poetry in motion. And Charlie? How the hell can you fly a kite AND shoot photos?

EASTER SUNDAY: Arose and went to heaven. The overnight temperature was in the teens and the wind was a robust 15-25mph.

Bright sun, thin crispy snow atop hard ice with the new Kitewing Rage 5.5+.

Arose and went to heaven.

That docile powerhouse together with Volkl P30 Race Carver skis on such a surface IS heaven on earth!

The distance between Sunapee Harbor Lighthouse and Herrick Cove Lighthouse is just under 2 miles. I was making the run in under 5 minutes before I realized that I should start keeping track.

After about an hour I started blazing on a broad reach between the 2 points- [an approx. 4 mile round trip]-over and over while counting.

Long story short, I made 25 trips in about 5 hours. That SHOULD be about 100 miles, but without a GPS and a witness, it is quite unofficial. WHO CARES? I did it for me - not for the record books. That said, I plan to get a GPS this week. With luck, I'll have a dog in the hunt for the "Century Club" Award from the Chickawaukee Ice Sailing Club in Maine U.S.A.. before the season ends.

Happy Easter and god bless.

Winter RULES!!!!!!!!


Monday, March 05, 2007

DVD of the WISSA 2007 is now available

Best moments from 27th Ice & Snow Sailing World Championship in Haapsalu are gathered on DVD and available to everybody.

DVD includes best footages of the event and extra picture gallery from all days, starting with opening event and ending with prize giving ceremony.

DVD is available at price 10 EUR plus postage fees. Information about ordering is available at email address: aivar@surf.ee

Thursday, February 15, 2007

William Tuthill writes...

Having missed the WISSA 2007 W.C. in Haapsalu, Estonia, I will do the next best thing. Next week, I plan to meet with the a group of kite sailors at the site of last year's W.C. in Trois Rivierres, Quebec. The purpose of that visit will be to round up competitors for WISSA 2008 which is scheduled to take place in Val Brillant, Quebec, February 2008.

After Trois Rivierres, we will go to Val Brillant, to meet with Dominique Robichard, who is in Estonia now, to make plans at the site of WISSA 2008. The lake and facilities at Val Brillant are capable of sustaining a large crowd. The risk of a "no ice" cancellation is minimal at this site, and winds are known to be reliable.

We will meet to discuss lodging options, transportation, and other things.

After the visit to Val Brillant, I hope to attend the "Stormboarding" Kite sailing event in Vermont, U.S.A..

It is a relatively new event, but the goal is to create interest in WISSA among kiters in that part of the U.S.A..

During March, there are two more event goals:

  1. The newly formed NASA (North American Skimbat Association) hopes to have a first ever rally of Kitewings or Skimbats in the Lake Sunapee area of New Hampshire. Over 25 wings have been sold into the New England area since September 2006 and interest is building. A "fun racing" event for wings on Lake Sunapee could be used to bolster participation at WISSA 2008. Naturally, the event will be open to all 3 WISSA classes.
  2. Every March, ConceptAir hosts an event known as "The Attraction". The event has been going on for many years. I hope to attend so that we can encourage the attendees to plan for WISSA 2008.

We had a scare with the weather in Estonia this year, but in the end the conditions came through. Cool heads prevailed, and by all accounts the organizers are doing a tremendous job. They deserve much praise for their faith and dedication- we look forward to hosting them in Quebec in 2008!

Stay tuned to this web site for breaking news about ice and snow sailing happenings worldwide.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Letters from Estonia

Hi William, great to have news of you and happy to see you next week. Up here, the ice conditions are fast but there are no much wind. Yesterday we held 4 races in 8 to 12 km/h. My bigger kite is 8 m2 and everybody run with 10 and 12 m2 so I follow the troops...

Today we have some snow and less wind. No many hope...

See you soon, Dominique

Letters from Estonia

Mein lieber Freund William,
more than once did I (and a few others) wish you and your family were with us here in Estonia.

The opening ceremony on Monday was a most impressive celebration of nordic Winter, starting with an evening procession over the ice with flickering flame torches, country signs and country flags.

We walked for about 20 minutes on solid Baltic Sea ice from the competition site (Promenaadi Hotel), to the historic centre of Haapsalu. What a beautiful setting for the opening event event - an open air theatre within 800 year old walls around, providing excellent acoustics.

The first day of racing in light winds produced interesting results due to surface conditions - ice with up to one inch of old frozen snow. The young team from Poland was doing well with their sleds and so did the Skimbat team from Finland with their nordic skates. However, it is snowing today and conditions are changing. The race committee has been doing outstanding work.
The award for Best Design we can skip this year because there is nothing new.
That?s about it for now...have to run for the skipper's meeting.
I am so glad that Dominique Robichaud is here. He will present Quebec's offer on Thursday evening at the WISSA meeting.

Give my love and warm thoughts to Kim, Annie and Abigale. We have been thinking and talking about you a lot.

Viele Gruesse,