The first meters. Moving to Belgium brought a lot of changes into my life. Among them a new hobby. I have been studying the fine art of kite buggying for a while now. It all started after spying on the Flickr account of Waffle. There were plenty of photos of buggies on a beach and people attached to kites. I wanted to be one of those people too!
So, when we were thinking about seeing for the second time, before we actually had met even for the first time (post Karhunkierros), we were thinking Denmark, since it is conveniently in the half way. There was also a famous buggy beach on the island called Rømø. Waffle packed his car with a few kites and a tiny little thing of a buggy. I hopped on to a plane and in Copenhagen we met.
That weekend I got to hold a kite, a mere 4.9 meter, for the first time. The wind was gusty, and the kite was pulling me along the beach basically where ever it wanted. I was scared and excited. Pretty soon also exhausted. But I guess that is the name of the game. The next day I could not lift a glass of water to my lips. My arms were completely killed.
Next time with a kite came during our Christmas trip. I had entered Belgium for the first time in my life, and there was a light winter storm upon us. perfect time to visit the Zeebrugge beach. Waffle gave me a tiny thing, that looked rather much like a shopping bag. After Denmark and having the first experiences with a kite of 4 meters bigger, I was thinking that Waffle was kidding. I quickly found out that he wasn’t. That little piece of plastic over powered me completely. I sat on the sand and got dragged down wind as soon as the kite got up in the air. That was apparently rather a comical sight.
The winter passed, I was living here in Belgium already and it was finally time for the first real buggy session of the year. We collected the trailer, holding all the gear we need at the beach, and headed for the Les Hemmes, Oye Plage at the shores of English Channel. I learned some essentials on the handling of the kite, using brakes and power lines. And of course tasted some speed in our tandem buggy. I think I was sold, loving the speed, and the adrenaline.
The will of the Wind. At the beginning, just like in every beginning, with buggying there are a lot of trials and errors and trials and errors again. When you are trying to move your first meter on wheels, you are always going either too much down wind, and eating the power out of your kite, or pointing too much upwind, when there is no changes to actually get moving, except for upwards and out of your buggy.
And the misery of finding the windshield. You would imagine that that is easy if anything. But no. Especially if the wind decides to turn, I was completely lost. Now I start to notice it a bit better, but while driving it is still sometimes a mystery. The beauty of the sport is that you truly are on the mercy of the nature and the weather. There is always a danger that the wind picks up while you are driving and suddenly you have too big kite in your hands, trying to kill you the first chance in gets. Or then it just decides to die, go tease someone else and leaves you there, a few kilometers down wind from your gear plantation. Basically, before you start buggying, you kinda need to know what you are doing. Otherwise it is a complete misery.
The direction of the wind. That is important. Everybody who lifts his kite up in Les Hemmes preys for north-western wind. There are two reasons for that. North-western is smooth like a baby’s bum and it allows you to follow the coast. You do not have to drive up and down the beach, you can just set off from one end of the beach and head for the other. Just one straight, fast line. I have yet to experience that, must prey harder I guess.
Thought by the Waffle. Oh Waffle, he is a wonderful teacher. He is patient and thorough, demanding at times. He pushes me forward when I am scared or doubting. Hooks me onto bigger kites that I am mentally prepared for and shows me that actually, they wont kill me. He got me driving in no time, making my turns and emergency brakes and I haven’t yet even injured myself or any of the outsiders!
This was a sneak peek the the buggy world and my life in a buggy continues. I am only a beginner out there on the beach. I will keep you posted every now and then about the happenings in the windshield.
P.S. You never should forget the people. There is a nice group of slightly insane, and amazingly funny people gathering around the buggies. After the heavy day on the beach there is always a nicely tired and relaxed bunch of them having a BBQ at the camp.