Dan Eaton from Powerkiteshop and Dave Stratton from the
design team of G2A take a 38 hour journey for the trip of
a lifetime to see some of the best riding locations in the
world and meet one of the guys who pioneered the sport of
kite traction. They were not to be disappointed!.............
That 38 hour trip took in stops at Los Angeles
and Auckland with the final hop to Christchurch on the South
Island of New Zealand getting in at 6am.
Our first stop was a few days over at the
Peter Lynn Research and Development Centre to test out some
prototype kites and vehicles – already we felt humble
and privileged and generally well chuffed but then, it was
nothing like what we felt when we saw the test area!
104 kilometres of smooth sand sitting there
waiting to be used. Dave got to grips with some serious
speed action whereas I couldn’t help some smooth freestyle
manoeuvres. Everything just flowed. Euphoria was that good
we were giggling like kids. Either Dave or I had flown before
in such ideal conditions.
Despite a whole country out there to explore
we were hooked and rode for virtually 5 days straight -
opting for nothing more than quick rehydration and a slap
on of the UV oil.
Moving down south to Ashburton we took a
visit to see Peter Lynn - the designer, the manufacturer,
and one of the guys who has been promoting the sport of
kite traction for the past 15 years and the creator of the
world's first practical recreational production kite buggy
back in 1990.
Staying at Peter's house and seeing the
Factory was an experience in itself - the staff, the way
they operate, the menagerie of prototype toys and gadgets
lying around probably never to be seen again, then those
that will, the products that will be seen in 2004 and beyond!
We even managed to check out the place where it all started
- Argyle Park. Peter took us to the field telling us how
he took his sailboat and attached wheels to the bottom of
it because his local lake was frozen over.
By the end of the second week – we
were noticing an atmosphere, many of the local flyers were
getting excited, little did we know, but we’d only
turned up when the years best buggying meet up at 'the moose'
on the North Island was to be held. That was too good to
miss and soon enough we were back on the plane flying up
Muriwai is a fantastic 50 km/h beach which
backs onto miles of dunes. Taking a ride from the local
shop in the compulsory 4x4 jeep we found ourselves open-mouthed
gaping at the huge stretching beach that began the annual
"moose nuke"! It was a massive 50km distance enduro
just to get to the actual event!
Most went via kite powered vehicle it was
again too good an opportunity to miss after all we’d
come to powerkite. Pilots took to buggies, riders on boards
and a group of surfs did the coastal jaunt via the water!
After this adventure and strenuous boarding
session up the beach we arrived at the campsite. Now when
they said "bring everything you need to survive"
they were not wrong - you could quite easily come to grief
out here - vast desert - no wildlife or vegetation - a dangerous
climate and a 50km/h walk back if you are stranded. Washed
up on the beach were numerous cars, bombs and stuff even
cows, the terrain was demanding, the atmosphere was good
and incredibly fun natured within the group. Despite all
of this you knew this was not a place to take lightly and
not one to be on your own in.
As it was we were the only people with Phantom
prototypes so this obviously created an interest. Together
with the smooth onshore winds we were managing to get some
really good height, predictable control and major speed
runs with the new depowerable kites – While Dave chased
the buggiers giving them a run for their money I managed
to get airs over the 4x4 jeep. Days end, the sun was setting
and we chilled, huddled around the campfire we all settled
for our night in the dunes.
This is the land of extremes, after a freezing
cold night in a tent the sun came out above the dunes and
fried the moose crew even before breakfast! The wind however
was smooth and warm which fired everyone to get going and
out onto the dunes for some serious buggying action. We
followed Muriwai's local kite shop owners Perrin Melchior
and Kent McNish out into the dunes to show us what buggying
was like 'New Zealand Style!' Drop-offs, spins and jumps
with buggies were on the agenda as well as a trek along
Kent managed to bend his bigfoot wheeled
buggy after a 60ft dune descent and I managed to break the
footpegs and forks off Perrin's five wheeler buggy after
traversing some moguls - sorry Perrin!
Later in the day we met up with another
legend Charlie Watson who wrote the "The Guide to Western
Circuit Hard Core Kite Buggy Riding" which was an inspiration
to kite buggy freestyle throughout the world - Charlie took
us around all the locations where all the photography was
shot for “the guide” and we managed to see the
man himself in action ripping it up on all the locations
we had only seen in black and white.
The moose meet ended up a fantastic and
perfect day with everyone leaving and hyped up talking of
the next one. Everyone was interchanging their personal
amazing experiences on the return run. It was Great.
We flew back to Ashburton on the South Island
to Peter's headquarters knowing we’d seen some of
the best buggying action and location in the world. The
hardest part of all was returning those much loved Phantom
Unfortunately for us it was time to go and
leave the hot weather and good winds behind - a fantastic
journey taking us to places in New Zealand that we wouldn’t
have found ourselves and enabling us to enjoy kiting in
never to be forgotten terrain. - its no wonder so many people
talk about this country, its kiting and kite history and
its no wonder why so many people go back!!!.....
Report : Dan Eaton (Powerkiteshop)
Photos: Dan Eaton and Dave Stratton
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