Sunday, December 17 , 2017, 12:19 am | Smoke 47º

 
 
 
 

Captain’s Log: Hanging on Air to Harness the Power of Wind

Look up and around, and just might see the brave of heart hang gliding or kite surfing

Harnessing the power of wind to lift off the surface is living a fantasy we share with our ancestors. Our afternoon sea breezes create perfect conditions along our coast for getting our feet off the ground or water and appreciating a look at our world from a bird’s-eye view.

Hang gliding is a hoot, and I grin big-time when these folks just step off a cliff, run down an incline facing the wind, or allow a stronger wind to lift them in place. Talk about a leap of faith!

I freely admit, however, that once accustomed to stepping into the air, it would be a blast to hang on air and maneuver about for extended periods.

From my charter boat, WaveWalker, we watch a good number of these winged craft hovering and gliding above beach cliffs that cause sufficient updrafts to achieve flight. We see them as specs in the distance when they fly off the mountain behind our town and soar over the hills and back roads. Sometimes it seems like they are all over the place and having a blast.

A newer thrill combines water and air and is called kite surfing. I’ve watched (and carefully avoided colliding with) these folks off Leadbetter Beach and East Beach, when I cruise back to the harbor from a charter in the mid- to late afternoon when the wind is up. This is a fairly new sport, and the responsible active members are working with the local authorities, such as the Waterfront Department, to establish safety guidelines in an effort to peacefully coexist with other activities.

It is astounding what these folks can do. They race across the water, suspended from a kite by strong thin lines of material such as Kevlar. They lift themselves up with the strength of their arms, off the water and do aerial acrobatics, which seem to defy gravity. I’ve watched them ride into the face of a wave and launch skyward 100 feet. Speed and agility are their strong suits.

This looks like way too much fun for the weak of heart. It’s pure adrenaline!

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >