Fall Kite Trip 2018

This past weekend we went on our 3rd annual Fall kitesurfing trip.  I don’t think I can remember 3 days in a row with so much wind and that was just when we were there.  There was wind everyday last week.  It was epic!

Our plan going into October was to take our trip the weekend of the 20th or the 27th based on whichever weekend had the best wind forecast.  Well by the weekend of the 13th it was already looking good for later in the next week so we decided to go the 20th.  We got our time off work and were in Frankfort by mid-afternoon on Thursday.  I pulled into the parking lot and kites were up, the waves were crashing and the wind was cranking.

I started out on my 9m Razor and Jeff went with his 10m Razor.  The wind was SSW which is pretty onshore in Frankfort but the waves were good, at least for kitesurfing.  The waves were head high and clean.  Just a few surfers out.  We were using the waves as kickers, riding them and carving.  As the afternoon went on the wind picked up even more and I went in to get my 7m Roam.  Jeff took over on my 9m Razor.  It was my maiden voyage with the Roam and I have to say I really liked it.  Very stable in the air, handles gusts well, drifts and what surprised me was how well it still boosted. It had good low-end power (not that I was underpowered at all, haha).  After riding in the waves some more Jeff and I went into the Jetty in front of the Elberta break wall.  The wind was even stronger in there and there were knee to waist high kickers.  The waves crashing up against the breakwall casting spray 30 feet high made it a pretty awesome experience.

We all rode til sunset and some til dark.  The wind at this time was in the low 30-knot range.

After kiting we all met at Dinghy’s for food, drinks, and laughs.  Epic day.

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Day two started off around 10 am in the morning with wind and waves similar to early Thursday afternoon. I went out with my 9m Razor and Jeff on his 10m Razor.  Waves were head high again and even cleaner than the day before but still not great for surfing or paddleboarding(just ask Doc John V.).  The wind seemed a little less gusty.  By 11 am the wind had picked up some more and we were lit.  Probably upper 20’s and gusting to low 30’s.  We kited in the Jetty too again but the kickers were not as good as the day before.  A pretty decent rain system was heading our way so we wrapped up a little after noon and got packed up just before it started raining.  We had a good lunch, local craft brews at Storm Cloud brewery and rested for a couple of hours.

Portage point started out tame but got wild as the evening wore on

The wind was forecast to really crank up Friday evening and be onshore at Frankfort, so we thought we’d try somewhere that would be sideshore wind.  We got to Portage Point beach in Onekama around 4pm, just after the rain moved through.  There were nice waist high waves, but the wind was pretty light.  We decided to go with our 10m and 12m Razors.

By the time we got setup and kites launched, I was already overpowered on the 10m.  Rode for a little while anyway, got tired and went for my 7m Razor.  Jeff jumped on the 10m then too.  Sure enough, the wind picked up again and started nuking!  Now I’m lit on the 7m and Jeff has to drop down to his 8m Razor.

Finally we got it right and we rode till dark in amazing side shore wind with waist to shoulder high waves. It was just right and I’ll be hitting Portage Point again the next time I’m up North on a SSW.  Dinner Friday night on Crystal Lake at Rock Island was very good.  Another epic day.

Day 3 was going to be a bit different.  We had SSW wind Thursday and Friday, and now it was time for a YUUUGE NW wind.  The morning started out rainy and cold, so we hung tight and came up with a plan.  We decided we would go to East Bay north of Traverse City and kite there.  Hoping the rain would be done mid-afternoon.  On our drive over it started snowing hard, lol!  Not exactly a welcoming site but we knew it wouldn’t last all day.  Stopped for lunch at noon at a local Mexican restaurant and by the time we finished eating the rain/snow was beginning to lighten up.  We got to our spot on East Bay around 2 pm and the weather had cleared up. A little sun was even starting to poke through the clouds.

After a short hike, we got to our spot on the water and it was ripping already. I had sherpa’d in my 7m and 9m but in hindsight, I should have just brought my 5.5m.

We were so distracted by the beautiful bay that we barely noticed the icy hail that pelted us from time to time

I was riding on my 7m and Jeff was riding on his 8m and after about 45 minutes both of us were way overpowered.  It must’ve been gusting over 40 knots.  It was so windy that the gear we left packed on the sandbar was getting blown off the peninsula. Jeff was in process of landing his kite when his full 10M kite bag blew off the sandbar, into the water, and drifted into the marsh. Luckily I was still riding and was able to retrieve it before it got too far away.  Landing our kites was almost as big of an adrenaline rush as riding was.  There was no chance of walking our kites upwind at all and just hanging on to the kite once I landed it took a lot of effort.  

We packed our gear and stopped at North Peak brewery to warm up before heading back to Frankfort for dinner at the Cabbage Shed. We caught a pretty awesome sunset as we were getting into town.

We wrapped up the evening with a bonfire by Crystal Lake and the next day we capped off another great fall kiteboarding trip with some Big Al’s stromboli.

We had great riding conditions this year and got to try out a couple new spots. Lot’s of Woo personal records were laid to waste this weekend! It was also great riding with and getting to know more of the area kiters. The Fall season in Frankfort never disappoints. 💨🌊🏄🤙

Special thanks to Matt of TC for grabbing Jeff’s bar and lines on Thursday night. Michigan Dawn Patrol is a Great Lakes kiteboarding and surfing blog. We also run and maintain several Lake Michigan webcams. Support by visiting our store! Subscribe to automatically receive these posts in your inbox.