Saturday, February 14, 2015

Diamond Hex

Like many of the world's sinister jewels, our local Diamond bears a notorious curse. And I'm not talking about the beach full of naked dudes and their sinister jewels. Or the scourge of Kiawe thorns forged in hellfire. I'm referring to the curse of water landings. Some have theorized that it's a natural phenomenon: the monk seals create a vortex of swirling sink around them. But whether it's some ancient black magic or a monk seal vortex, few have escaped some kind of watery destiny at this beautiful flying site over the years. And yesterday was no different.

Duck made it out there super early after some hellish early work meetings. He was in the air and flying and top landing under his full size wing before any of us got there! I got out there as soon as I could, but it was already getting brisker. Duck launched his smaller wing, and I launched my faithful old IP6 to join him. It was brisk but manageable under that wing. I stayed low and out front, exploring the lift band with Duck, before we spotted some rain lines approaching. I made a fun top landing, but Duck fell out of the lift and had to do a beach landing.

Meanwhile Thom and Drew were launching right into the mouth of the squall. Thom flew his big old beater, the Skywalk, and launched perfectly in front of that squall. Drew followed. They flew for about five minutes and then started to get wet. But that's not the watery destiny this story is about. Drew pulled off his first top landing at this site, with style, while Thom hit the beach, and ran back up as the squall passed by without much drama.

So far so good. But not so fast. It was Thom's birthday. But it was also Friday the 13th. Cue the ominously foreboding soundtrack. After the sky cleared, the wind was stronger, with whitecaps everywhere. It seemed good for smaller wings. Duck launched his smaller wing again, and Thom was excited for a second flight this week in his new Zero 19. After teaching it some manners on launch, he took to the air, and was kind of going up, before he encountered the mysterious monk seal vortex at the lighthouse. Or maybe it was the curse.

Whatever it was, he descended right into the drink next to the beach. Duck watched the whole thing from the air, and was shouting down to the rest of us gathered on launch: Man overboard! Thom's in the water! We finally got the message and dashed down to help him pull his soggy gear out of the cold and unremorseful surf. This was the third pilot in the drink this week! Man, those monk seals sure know how to put a damper on our fun.

After that, Drew tried a half-hearted flight on his black Firefly. A tiny demon of a wing. He didn't get up, but nor did he activate the curse. Then Jorge and Dave showed up, and declared it too west to work anymore. At least that saved us all from any further risk of the watery hex. It was great to see Bay Area visitor Mark out there, and Allegra, and Jeff, and whoever else I might be forgetting.

Maybe one day we'll lift the curse, exorcize the demon, cancel the hex. But in the meantime, bring your best rabbit's foot when you fly Diamond Head, and watch out for those monk seals!


Thom said...

Well, I would like to thank you for this ditty, ok I will it was a good write.

I landed just above the ankle in water not more than 6 feet from shore, with no strong waves. I was on my feet and stepped forward into a hole in the coral reef that sent my right leg past my knee and I fell over. While jammed in the whole I saw my wing float past me and off the edge of the shoreline coral head.

It was stuck. Thanks to Alex and Drew for the rescue. The wing will have to make a trip to Brenda in hopes of a sew along a seam that ripped.

Now how did I get here. Blaming it on the poor monk seal or the scantily clothed gentleman, the wing, the air or Friday the 13th is not the way it never usually is. IT WAS the PILOT. Apparently another year of wisdom did'nt make me any better.

You can see the launch and my bullish kiting. They were ok, although I am sure there is a Yogie watching it with some disdain.

I couldn't get into the harness dam seat board. No still not the excuse, I got into it and was feeling ok.

Got around to the light house where it was working perfectly the other day, I was a little lower but still had chance.

When chance was gone, landing was eminent. Still a little high to land on Butt Crack beach I leaned left, pulled left and drifted slightly off shore. Still thinking I was High, I turned toward the beach and the massive wall from the road down to this beach was my fixation. Don't want to hit that, possibly with that thought or again PILOT error. I did something and the glider stopped and elevated staight down in a flash to my watery demise.

So, No excuse, except for the fact that I should have kited this wing and flew it on a better day, like at Kahana under the supervision of.....well you know who.

Pilot error....Judgement....lack of skill on this type of wing. Next time you screw up, don't look at the gear or the wind LOOK in a mirror.

I survived with an extra crack in my pride, a couple of coral scrapes, a rip in the glider and a broken line. Thank God for that bag of's yours.

It's Time to Fly, Get Your Skills,Judgement and 'gear' and Go!!!

firedave2 said...

Thom, I think you have to appreciate that the zero is still a bit of a speed wing and any time you get off the brakes or get out of lift you sink way faster than on a normal glider. That is why they top land so well, but if you use your normal flight estimations you can end up short.

At least you got some flying in first.

Thom said...

Thanks Dave....'coming up short'.....story of my life!