Hong Kong Kite Sesh!

Want to plan a kiting trip? Just got back from one? Post you experiences, questions and information here.
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Hong Kong Kite Sesh!

Post by Kyle » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:12 am

I have spent almost half of my precious summer in Shenzhen for work, with an occasional night in Hong Kong for weekend activities. I have been in touch with Pete @ Kite2High since May in hopes of scoring a session, but sadly our summer season does not translate to China. Winds here are driven by monsoonal activity, and are best in the spring/fall; extreme cold and heat kills the wind. So when I got an unexpected email from Pete last night regarding potential wind this Sunday, I limited my post-dinner drinks out at Lan Kwai Fong and returned to the hotel at a reasonable hour to pray to the wind gods. I'm sure there are many Bay Area kiters who have to travel to this area for work, so I'm hoping this information helps you score a session or two!

My day started at the H&M in the mall below my hotel, as by this trip to China I had completely lost hope in kiting and forgot boardshorts. The only thing I could find were some striped euro-cut David Beckham edition swim shorts. I wanted to cut the mesh liner out but was afraid to do so given the length of the trunks. They were on sale for 150HKD ($20), and the cashier cautiously reminded me that there were no refunds or exchanges on sale items. I threw them in my backpack, along with a sandwich and hotel towel, and hopped on the Tung Chung line of the MTR for the last stop.
very different from loading the car with surfboards and kites for a day at the coast
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As soon as the train breaks free from the underground, you are reminded of the density of this crazy city. According to Wikipedia, the Bay Area has about 1,000 people per square mile, while Hong Kong has over 17,000. It's pretty overwhelming actually, and makes you question the cleanliness of the water.
another world
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But within 20 minutes, you can be away from the crowd.
getting close...
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The line ends near the airport on Lantau Island. From there I was instructed to catch bus #11 or #23, or a BLUE taxi, to Shui Hau. I hadn't heard from Pete since 8:00AM, which I hoped was a sign that he was on the beach. It was about 1:00PM, and the airport wind sensor had been steady at 15kts from the E for a few hours. Based on the map, I thought it was looking promising.
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kite spot
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There is a beautiful mountain range running along the island, but the busses and taxis struggle to climb over it. As we coasted down the south side towards the more remote coast, I could sense the wind but was a little concerned I'd have no idea where to get off or go once I did.
turned out to be super easy to find
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Despite all my trips to this part of the world, I have not felt at home. But the smiling faces and kites all strewn on the beach changed that quickly. I asked for Pete under the tent, where he was happy to greet me and offer me a half-days rental rate 600HKD ($77) for all the necessary gear and my choice of 12, 14, or 17m kites:)
busy beach
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The beach was busy with hundreds of people digging for clams on this Holiday weekend (mid-autumn festival). It wasn't the cleanest, but it provided a beautiful backdrop to kite.
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board rack
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booties were necessary...
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Pete explained all the safety hazards of the beach, and I settled on the 14m F-one Bandit in the 15kt breeze. His rental gear was super nice: Manera Exo harness, Best Armada board, nice mystic booties. I did have to buy a rash guard, but like the David Bechkam shorts, it's a small price to pay for a session when you're desperate. He launched my kite, and I had about a 500m walk upwind to the waterline.
low tide
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Ngon Ping Peak
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onshore winds
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The wind was dead on-shore, and I had to pick my way through quite a few beginners before I felt comfortable powering up the 14m. I hadn't flown a kite that big since my Seattle days, and had forgotten how much inertia those big kites have. The new board, harness, the short shorts, it all felt funny at first. But wind and water are universal, and it didn't take long to get comfortable and jibe my way upwind with plenty of room for some lofty boosts. It was by far the warmest water I have ever kited, which on top of the 85 degree air (at 95% humidity) made me feel like I was splitting my time behind the hot tub and the spa. The wind picked up throughout the afternoon, and the geography of the bay made for some gusty conditions. Based on the airport sensor readings from today, it probably got into the 20s, and I was definitely a bit overpowered at times but unwilling to navigate my way back through the kiters and clammers for a smaller rig. I kited until I felt blisters forming which also happened to be about 30 minutes before a squall rolled through the area. By the time I had landed the kite and changed back into shorts of acceptable length, the remaining kiters were scurrying back from the water.
last kite up
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I rinsed Pete's gear, helped him fold the kite in the rain, and chatted on the beach with some new friends before hopping back on the #11 bus (along with about 10,000 clams in buckets). It's definitely cool that mass transit is an option for kiting over here, as everyone lives in the city and few have cars. Within an hour I was hopping off the MTR back in the urban mall, slightly sunburned but very happy to have had a wonderful session in this crazy part of the world. So if any of you travel over here and want to experience it yourself, contact Pete @ http://kite2high.com

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Re: Hong Kong Kite Sesh!

Post by halibut » Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:45 pm

Great post. I love reading about adventures like this even if the wind and beach conditions aren't epic. Thanks so much for posting.

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Re: Hong Kong Kite Sesh!

Post by ozreiuosn » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:26 am

This was awesome, thanks for sharing!

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Re: Hong Kong Kite Sesh!

Post by sanjose_kiter » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:24 pm

Really awsome. Hopefully your next kiting spot will be Mui-Ne VietNam MJ0_

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Re: Hong Kong Kite Sesh!

Post by JimmyJack » Mon May 11, 2015 9:08 am

Excellent! I also love to hear stories like this. I lived in Hong Kong for 9 years but that was after my windsurfing career and before my kiting careeer. I go back from time to time and was wondering how it would be to kite there. I recently had a similar experince in Dubai, on my way back from India. I was stuck there for a day and a friend of a friend hooked me up with all the gear and while his fleet raced, I played around in the Persian Gulf. I imagine there are many sports like this, where one can find fellow passionate folks around the world, but for some reason, seeing teh kites in the air when one is half way across the world provides such a homecoming.

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Re: Hong Kong Kite Sesh!

Post by gatorjos » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:49 am

Cool story Kyle -- I'll keep my eye on the wind meter next time I am in Hong Kong!
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