Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wetsuit Depression

The fact that the temperature for tomorrow in Cape Town is predicted at 31 deg C does not means that winter is not creeping up slowly but surely. The sun is already getting lazier in the mornings and much more eager to go back to bed than in December and January. One can also feel the bite in the air, despite the relatively still warm temperatures. So, winter is on its way and there is nothing one can do about it. Some people might like the idea of cuddling up under blankets watching a DVD and drinking hot chocolate, but for kitesurfers this is not a good prospect. The end of summer means the end of the kitesurfing season.

Summertime in Cape Town is associated with constant southeasterlies, and this is what kitesurfers need in Cape Town. Winter is associated with rain and miserable weather. Many kitesurfers pack away their gear while the more fortunate kiters relocate to other destinations to prolong their kitesurfing season. So, when you still get an opportunity to catch a southeastern in April, then you head for the beach immediately.

I haven't been in the water for a while now. A few weeks ago I suffered from a stomach bug. After that I went on my West African trip. On my return I spend some time in Mossel Bay over Easter weekend and the last couple of days I tried to get rid of what felt like a combination of a cold and sinusitis. Today was a windless day, one of those glorious early winter days in Cape Town. At 4.38pm I received an sms from a friends saying that he is going down to the beach to have a look. I initially missed the sms, but minutes later I was standing next to him on the beach....and the wind was perfect for a nice laid-back session. A laid-back session that might be the last one for this summer. One that I desperately needed to help me get over this withdrawel blues I've been suffering from over the last couple of days.

While I was pumping up my kite, I could feel that 6 weeks of doing nothing took its toll. For the first time I had to stop half way to catch my breath. This was not going to stop me from getting into that water though, so I carried on pumping. I have to admit, apart from the loss of exercise I was a bit short breathed because of my recent illness. I left everything on the beach, all kitted up and headed back to the car to get my wet suit. All I had to do was to put on my wetsuit and then it was off into the water. When I got back to my car I got undressed. Usually after leaving a wetsuit dry for a while it shrinks a bit, so pullling up the zip does get a bit harder to do. OK, putting on weight does have the same effect, but I was sure that it was a shrunken wetsuit that prevented me from zipping up. Asking someone else to help with your wetsuit is a definite NO-NO! I tried all positions and stances to no effect. Doing this is tricky enough on a good day. Being out of breath already with a shrunken suit was impossible, but I was not going to give up. Then it happened. I pulled extra hard on the zip chord and felt the zip coming up, but it happened at the speed of white light. Suddenly I was standing with the zip chord in my hand with my back still open. I actually ripped off the zipper mechanism from the suit. The wetsuit is old with a few holes at the seams and on the knees, but still good enough to protect me against the cold water. Without a zip however it is useless. There was no way I was going to go into that water with a unzipped wetsuit. The disappointment was immense. Probably my last opportunity to get some kiting done before the southeastern closes its doors for winter...and there I am standing with the zip cord in my hand and my back exposed to the elements.

Needless to say I had to go down to the beach and reluctantly rig down my kite. I remained on the beach for a while watching the guys having fun in the water. I assisted a few guys with the launching of their kites and decided to go home instead. I felt sorry for myself and staying there was not helping much. But I will not fall into a deep depression now. I will have to fix this wetsuit dilemma or get a new one. Besides, when I started kitesurfing I promised myself a new wetsuit when I perfected my first upwind. I've passed that with flying colours many months ago, but never bought the suit. Maybe this was a good time to do that.....and maybe a good time to get fit and shake that few extra kilo's again.

1 comment:

  1. I heard you were being called the blob, now I know why.