I woke up early on Friday to the sound of the leaves rustling outside the window. I grabbed my phone and checked the local NOAA wind meter and it was already gusting to the high 20s. It was 5:45 AM, just starting to get light out, and time to get moving.
in the week I checked the forecast and it looked like a big North wind was going to line up well with my 4th of July trip to Manistee. If you’ve ever had the chance to ride a north wind in Manistee then you’ll know why I was so excited. Anything over 20 knots creates some really clean waves and the wind is almost always steady.
My parents live in Manistee so my family and I go up there often. My father got into stand up paddle boarding a few years ago so we enjoy hitting the local spots when the wind is right. Lately when I’ve been in town it’s been all southerly winds which can be a lot of fun too but there’s no wave action unless you head south to Ludington ornorth to Frankfort.
By the time we arrived at the beach it was blowing in the mid 20 knot range near shore and close to 30 knots near the elbow. I bought some new Ocean Rodeo gear this year and this was my first chance I’ve had to try the 8m Razor.
I pumped up my kite, ran the lines, launched, and made my way towards the water. I was nicely powered and the 8m was very agile. The water was warm and the waves were chest high rollers. What I find unique about kiteboarding in Manistee versus other setups is how smooth the water is between peaks. A true north is side-on in Manistee so when you are headed towards shore you can easily pick up some speed between waves for boosting or drift down wind to catch some surf.
I really liked the 8M Razor. It turns on a dime and boosts well. In comparison to a Switchblade it jumps just as high but has more glide. It’s not a wave kite but drifts fairly well and I only had one instance where my lines went totally slack and it looked like my kite was gonna hit the water before recovering at the last second.
I took a 15 minute break and over that time period the conditions had improved even more. The waves were bigger and longer and some surfers showed up to take advantage. For me these conditions were as good as it gets. By 10 AM I had had my fill and was ready to pack it in. It may be a while before I get to ride another north in Manistee but that’s okay, this one scratched the itch. -DP
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