Forty, Fat & Trying
- Category: Forty, Fat And Trying!
INTRO - The second in a three-part series in which Cheryl Harrison attempts to overcome her auto-immune disease and crack this kiting caper. Leaving cold cornish beaches far behind, she touches down in Western Australia
A little over twelve months since I first entertained the idea of kiteboarding and I’m skimming the turquoise waters off the coast of Western Australia, more often than not managing to grasp at the addiction. Brief moments above the water and not in it are swiftly becoming seconds.
I can almost see the minutes coming. Put your tray tables away, bring your body to an upright position. Ensure your chicken loop is securely fastened and the smile on your dial doesn’t let on that this is one of the few times you’ve managed to get your body out of the water.
Getting thrashed about on the end of a line and a hook for the past year has seemed more akin to fishing than kiteboarding. I must say it’s a whole new ball game on top of the water and it seems I’ve been on the losing side for too long.
Most of my jubilant moments are spent hoping like hell Perry, the other half, is watching this rare event that may never again be duplicated.
I must have sailed the seventy klicks from Lancelin to the northern suburbs of Perth the first time I got up... it felt like an age! The first moments of joy gave way to the job at hand, and, whatever part of me not in shock, wrestled with the exhilaration and horror of a speed I was convinced few had ever experienced.
Spotting the end of my run I did what came very naturally - sat my arse down as a wall of water exploded from my rail. I smiled.
My memories of WA as a seedy backwater were quickly replaced: I have found my nirvana. In the 200 km taking in Lancelin, Cervantes and Jurien Bay, I’ve seen things that would bring a tear to the eye of any battle weary protegé. I’m so taken with the curiously named Thirsty Point at Cervantes, that I’ve only dabbled in its consequence - Hangover Bay, just 10 km further south.
Both are breathtaking.
A point worth noting is that in the absence of wind, the onslaught of flies can make an unguarded breath a very unpleasant one.
Aside from the occasional kiters, we are finding ourselves surrounded by scores of leather tans in retirement, bound in dick togs and piloting homemade Winnebago’s. I suppose with my harness riding up, bar in hand and the lid strapped on, I don’t look too out of place.
Luxuriating in a quiver of kites, a comfy campervan and consistent breezes, humouring Perry’s anguish over the loss of a kite caddy, I figure we’ll want another two weeks around Cervantes before the trek north continues. 2000 km of blue and red, heaven and hell. To our right, 3000 km of desert splays out until you hit the fertility of Australia’s eastern seaboard.
To the left is a coastline of endless opportunity, ending only with a U-turn just prior to the stingers and crocodiles of Broome and the far north.
But until then we have only one rule: don’t turn right. But hey, what do I care? Sponsored athletes don’t drive!
Cheryl is back in part three (click here) and continues her kiting quest for success north along Western Australia's mammoth coastline
Cheryl was proudly supported by Underground Kiteboards and West Country Watersports
This column is in issue #19. Read this whole issue.Click here
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