A little Sherman Island history

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A little Sherman Island history

Postby KillaHz » Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:27 pm

OK, this may start out sounding like a bit of a nastalgic rant but if you bare with me, I will come to my point eventually. For those of you with short attention spans, just skip down to the 3rd paragraph.

Some of us have been Kiteboarding at Sherman Island for 4 or 5 years. Others who now kite were windsurfing Sherman way before that. We've seen the island grow in both recreational users and access. Some of us only know the Sherman Island we all see today. Nice beach on low tide and a pretty decent launch cleared out behind the blackberrys. This is how it has been for the last two seasons, maybe three. When a few of us started kiting at Sherman, we had to share the existing beach with the windsurfers and there was no high tide launch. We took it as far as to drag plywood, old tires and 2x4s out to create a trail to an upwind beach we called Ho-chi-men. At high tide it was gauranteed you and your gear were likely to wind up in the mud and/or blackberrys as the boards and tires would float just barely off the ground. The hike was typically a hot, mesquito infested obstacle course only to find room at the destination beach to launch and setup one kite at a time. We eventually figured out that there had to be a better way to get on the water than this.

We started launching in the grass area upwind of the Gazebo and motorhomes on high tides. This was done knowing full well the risks of having to launch a 2001/2 kite with the safety systems of that era upwind of many obstacles, walk 200 feet to the beach down a narrow trail and then tip toe over the logs into the water. We also knew that when we returned off the water to no beach, we would be walking by ourselves down that trail and then putting our kites down (upwind of solid obstacles) BY OURSELVES. You see, in that time you might see two other cars in the parking lot and on a busy weekend possibly ten riders. Last guy on the out even had to self launch in that back area.

Since we have been treated to a new launch zone closer to the beach for high tides, we all started using that launch as it was obviously the safer choice. This past season, I decided (since it was getting quite crowded at the regular launch) that I would go back to my old ways and launch in the grass by the parking lot. I fly kites that have excellent depower so that the walk down the path is not a big issue. I also know how to land my kite without assistance back there. I knew when I started launching in the grass this year that it would only be a matter of time before others followed suit. Some of the recent converts are used to launching there from the past, others are new to it but seem to know the protocol. What I want to make sure of is that everyone who does decide to launch in the grass understands the risks involved and the protocol for launch and land.

I for one will launch anybody from the standard launch near the beach. It is the best option available, especially to someone new at Sherman. I will not launch just anyone in the parking lot. I do not feel comfortable assisting someone I don't know and have never seen before with a less than ideal launch. It would be comparable to showing a stranger how to dive off the rocks at Steamers Lane instead of making the not-so-hard paddle. How do I differentiate between someone new and a seasoned kiter? Well, if I've never seen them before, that is a good sign that I should point them to the safer launch and offer to throw their kite up when they are ready.

Landing in the grassy area. When we decide to land our kites in the grassy area, understand that we are leaving the kiting area and entering the camping area. We cannot count on anyone to catch our kite in the parking lot. Many will assist if asked but for one,we don't know who (windsurfer/kiter/camper/fisherman) we are asking to grab our kite. Two, this person/people may be well into a couple beers and really has no responsibility to catch a kite when there are plenty of kiters in the standard launch/land zone who are ready to catch our kites. It's a relatively easy self land if you can bring your kite right in behind the bushes but it requires some practice in safer conditions.

For those who are currently using this area, understand that it is an easy self land only when there are not kites scattered everywhere. Kites should be stacked in this area as well as the standard launch. We need a clear runway to bring the kites in right up to the bushes. The best plan would be to put our kites down, wrap up the bar and then move our kites to the bushes on the south side of the trail. This would get them out of the way for anyone launching or landing.

The reason I post this is because out of my own laziness and impatience, I set a bad example. I am not opposed to others using this launch but we need to keep it clean and be aware that we are on our own landing our kites here.

I hope I have not offended anyone...none meant.
Just want to keep it safe and fun at one of the best spots around.
Last edited by KillaHz on Wed Jul 20, 2005 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby OliverG » Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:15 pm

Gabe,

Thanks for the info. I've noticed more people launching and landing up there recently, so I can see your point. No need to set a precendent if it's not in the best interest for all. Your post is helpful and the need to keep things legit and make sure everyone knows what's up is essential at many, if not all sites. Thanks!

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Postby Pablito(guest) » Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:07 am

I've never seen Gabe without his kite in the air, so I just figured he kept it up all the time... "Landing? What, huh?"

Now that I know the truth, it's a bit of a letdown.
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Postby Pablito(guest) » Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:09 am

But seriously, thanks to all the kiting pioneers who made that launch what it is today. Sounds like you guys put your kite Jones to alot more constructive use than the rest of us have to now.

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Postby Guest » Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:37 pm

I love it-- the Ho Chi Minh trail and launch was "mesquito infested"! (BBQ's as far as the eye could see!)

ROTFLMAO

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Postby OliverG » Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:00 pm

Well, you know, it always helpful to dramatize things to help make a point. :yawinkle:
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Postby dewey » Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:52 pm

Can you still walk the Ho Chi Minh trail ???
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Postby KillaHz » Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:51 am

dewey wrote:Can you still walk the Ho Chi Minh trail ???


Dewey, I've had no desire to walk that trail in at least 2 years. You see, it doesn't really matter how windy it is out there. Ho Chi min is surrounded by pretty high bamboo...it doesn't get windy on the trail...it just gets hot and sticky...hence the mesquitos.

I've seen fisherman on the beach up there so I'm sure you could walk down there if you like.
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Postby dewey » Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:53 am

I had to ditch my kite near that beach once and decided to swim around to the beach. Looked a bit overgrown.
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Postby Greg » Wed Jul 27, 2005 9:03 pm

AAAh the good old days.
Nice histroy lesson Gabe!
Hope to see you soon,
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