Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lanikai Lift

Alex chattered about sneaking a Lanikai flight in before his 5 pm curfew. No one else seemed to be chatting along. I could not bear the thought of letting him fly alone, especially outside my window. I decided enough work had gotten done, and met him at the trail head.

Chili was already there waiting for a site intro. It was his first flight at Lanikai, and my first launch out of upper East.

The upper East launch is just off the trail after the 2nd bunker. It may be one of our cleanest launches, although it is quite a hike.

I remember, before I even thought of flying, seeing BJ, Nalu, Reaper, Mad Dog and Ike soaring above Lanikai from my house. It was a pretty common sight in the old days, but it has somehow been forgotten. Reaper is always reminding us that this used to be "The" spot, and even a few decent XC trips have originated from this tiny mound.

Today was not an XC day, since the thermals were weak and the lift was light, but Alex was calling it perfect as he fluttered away from launch. I went next, and Chili shortly after. It was a struggle to stay at 800', and then I would get teased by a pop to 900'. Alex, of course, broke the 1K mark a few times, just so I never got a glimpse of the top of his wing.

We soared for a while and then Torrey Bob joined us. Four in the air at Lanikai is the beginning of a crowd, but not bad. I asked Alex what the record amount of pilots in the air at Lanikai at the same time was, and even he wasn't sure. Some digging in the archives might reveal a few numbers.

Finally the cooler call was more than we could bear. Chili landed first, then me, and Alex, and finally Torrey Bob. We were met by Terry, a longtime wing watcher at Lanikai, who asked, "How come we don't see you guys here as much anymore?" Some people at Lanikai miss us! Even Jean, Lady Lanikai, who used to abhor us, has joined in.

Reaper, Kui and his crew of Gary and Tim soon arrived for some after work beverages, and a party on the LZ was under way.

Lanikai misses us, so those of you that have not scored a flight there yet might want to venture up that trail. You will be flying over one of the best beaches in the US, and the beach dweller scenery is not bad either.

Congrats to Chili for his first Lanikai flight, and thanks to Alex and Reaper for the heads up.

It's Time to Fly, Don't forget Lanikai, Get Your Gear and Go!!!


Kevin said...

Thanks for the write up, Thom. Lanikai was the first time I saw paragliders, prob. 12ish yrs ago. It was the first tickle of the disease I now have and I have always wanted to fly there. Stupid w**k, always getting in the way. Maybe another day soon I can live that dream.


Gravity said...

My 1st Hawaii flight was at Lanikai on my 2nd day here on Oahu. I met BJ and Nalu when they had a mere 10+ flights after a trip to NZ. BJ crashed downwind in the park, and Nalu ended up in the bushes downwind at the beach. Then Maddog showed and Dez from Naish.

A long time ago, I heard about a Frenchman teaching at Lanikai from the lower cliff and landing his students in the park (ugh!)

At one time we did a Hawaiian Extreme video show there with 13 of us and two tandems. It was a crowd but conditions were good and we only flew in a circular pattern.
Three times I have made it over the back in a good thermal in midday conditions and was able to thermal back to the Pali and down to Hygenics.
Almost everyday I flew to Kalama beach park and landed in my front yard on the beach.
One time we landed 'IN' Robby Naish's bday party. Alot of coconut tree hugging going on there.
It's a great site for scenery and some of the parties at the LZ have been legendary. Like the flour bomb drop, where everyone missed the target on the beach except me. Until later when I saw my Jeep and it was covered in flour. Bad shots I guess...

Anyone needed a site guide at Lanikai give me a hollar...

Old man Reaper

Thom said...

Thanks Reaper I thought the record was around 12ish pilots at one time.

All Oahu Pilots gotta score Lanikai....its where it kinda all began.

Thom said...

Alex just watched the vid....awesome lover the drive up intro, the music the fades in out and of course the star of the show is oscar bound.

I might just have to get an Iphone to return the favor.