SPORTS

Kites take sailors to heights

By JOHN HOWELL
Posted 9/10/20

By JOHN HOWELL Nick Charron takes it seriously when he's told to "e;go fly a kite."e; In fact, he doesn't have to be told to do it. He wants to do it, and one of the first places he checks for wind conditions in Conimicut Point. Nick is from Connecticut, but

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SPORTS

Kites take sailors to heights

Posted

Nick Charron takes it seriously when he’s told to “go fly a kite.” In fact, he doesn’t have to be told to do it. He wants to do it, and one of the first places he checks for wind conditions in Conimicut Point.

Nick is from Connecticut, but the drive is of little concern if the wind is up at Conimicut. The summer southwesterly can be a good 5 to 10 knots more at Conimicut that elsewhere on the bay.

“It’s got to be the Venturi effect,” he said, looking at the space between Warwick Neck and Prudence Island that can act like a giant funnel compressing the wind and directing it at Conimicut. Nick was breaking down his rig, the inflatable kite, as were other kitesurfers Sunday afternoon. One surfer remained out on the water, Dr. Tom Huott of Providence, was whizzing back and forth along the south side of sandbar that was partially visible in the incoming tide. As he picked up speed, Tom launched himself in the air to spin around before landing on his board.

Tom can handle two and three rotations, but four didn’t work out, he explained when it was time to come up and share stores with the rest of the clan who by then were packed and ready to leave.

“It was a slam quadruple that rang my bell,” he said. In other words, he took a hard knockdown. Other stunts include the front and back roll and flying over the sandbar.

Tom loves the sport because “it really does give you a thrill.” To that he adds, “It’s fast and builds confidence.”

When deflated, the kite is no bigger than a couch cushion. The high-strength fiber lines look like wrapping string but are the strength of steel.

“We use them to cut cheese on a cheese board,” Tom joked.

The lines converge at different points on a control bar that with a strap affixes to a harness worn by the kitesurfer.

The board looks like a snowboard with sandal-like straps to hold the feet. Unlike a snowboard, the kiteboard has small fins that provide control as it flies through the water.

A fraternity, the kitesurfers know each other by first names and often compare observations on conditions and maneuvers after being on the water. They also watch their phones to learn of conditions at various locations in the state as well as neighboring states – a couple of hours drive is not out of the question if the winds are favorable.

And what do they like about Conimicut?

The wind and the water made the top of the list.

“This is more of a park than a beach,” added one windsurfer who had packed up her gear. Access was also on the list.

kites, sailors

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