Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Endless Winter: Soaring the Perfect Wave

In the classic surf film, they chased summer around the world to make it last all year, in a quest for the perfect wave. In Hawaii this year we are blessed with an extended winter of great flying conditions. It was late to arrive but it is apparently not going to end. We don't have to chase the weather very far around this island to find a good soaring spot. Another twenty pilots soared above the surfers for a second consecutive Monday at Diamond Head, the landmark monument gracing our urban southern shoreline, well loved as the crown jewel of our wintertime collection of flying sites. We always say it, but this time it was true: the conditions on this day were the best we've ever seen at this site. Of course we're always ready to be proved wrong: here's to the next one!

Twenty pilots, including seven visitors, surfed the skies above the crater on this monumental Monday. Thanks to the front stalled to our northwest, prefrontal conditions lasted almost all day. There were gliders riding the airwaves above the crown jewel for eight long sweet hours, with up to a dozen in the air at one time. Brad and the SIV crew were there to enjoy a day of free flying. Also joining us for sky surfing sessions on this rare perfect day were Martial from France, Chili Brad from Utah, and Mike from San Diego. We missed our hard working pilots who were chained to their desks on this beautiful Monday! Let's hope the next perfect winter day there will fall on a weekend.

The flights today featured many interesting launches and beach landings, and some very entertaining top landings as well. It was the first time flying there for many, including all the visitors, and it was also the first long-awaited flight there for JK. First time in a paraglider, anyway - I'm sure he's flown way above our thousand foot limit in a jet so many times he's lost count. (The picture on this article is probably closest to the view JK is used to from his cockpit.) And JK finished with a beautiful top landing! Congratulations to all the first timers! We were also happy to see Brazilian Ray taking a rare break from his work at Diamond Head studios to sneak in a flight with us.

Conditions slackened in the late afternoon and a few pilots braved nearby Koko Head's arduous asphalt ascent to waft in the waning sun above Jeff's uncle's house at Portlock. (Jeff and Frank, and Five-0 Mike for his first time). Koko Head may not be the crown jewel, but it is sort of gem shaped and faceted, and Jeff has certainly done his best to polish it up during his current visit!

I took a million pictures and shot hours of video at Diamond Head today. Sorting through it all will keep me busy for days. I know everyone else has tons of footage and pictures too - post up when they're available for linking to this story.

Diamond Head Roll Call: Doug, Roland, SD Mike, Thom, JK, FR Martial, Reaper, Ray, UT Brad (in Thom's glider), BI Scotty, BI Mylaine, BI Scott, Gaza, Alex, Woody, UT Chili, Brent, Allegra, Frank, Jorge (in Thom's glider), Steve, Berndt. We also saw DaveZ's brother Joe (from FireDave's flight attendant days).


Sharky said...

WOW! Thanks for the writeup Alex...still chained to end month activities and bummed I missed out on my home site again and more SIV/flight education w/ BradG. One of these days I'm gonna have to get a more flex-time sorta job.

I'm so stoked for the BI folks. Especially Mylaine who was denied on Friday and missed on Saturday's SIV action. Tagging Diamond Head on a perfect day is priceless! I'll never miss it again if I'm available to go, that's for sure!

So stoked for all of the pilots who got some. This crazy weather could do it again, and if it does. I hope I can be there.

Thanks for the writeup. Look forward to pics and video of the action when they become available... :)


Thom said...

Thanks for the write up.

I think my Cayenne4 got the best ride with Brad getting upside down in it then Jorge giving it a whirl when it got super light.

It was definitely a good day, my last flight and the last flight of the day was a scratcher. I landed on the beach threw off my gear and jumped in for a refreshing splash. Swimming back in I looked up, it is a gorgeous place to fly, how lucky we are to be able to leave the ground, land and then swim.

May there be many more flight logs.

JK said...

The day was simply MAGIC! What a privilege to fly our most revered site on such a perfect day with so many amazing pilots. It may not get any better. I'm oozing with "thanks", possibly welling up... OK, I'm going to sign off now, before I embarrass myself. :-)