For several years where mother nature seemed to have a sick sense of humor, sending wind to Pismo the days before the expo, leaving it dead calm through the expo weekend and sending wind again as soon as it ended. This year the Pismo Expo “no wind” curse was broken. The F-One team traveled down Thursday night to beat the land rush at the campground. We needn’t have worried, as that turned out to be the night thunderstorms hit the California coast.
As the thunder, and wind roared and the rain soaked our tents we huddled in the van watching the lightning split the sky. It was an excellent test for the Underwave neoprene jacket. When I put that on I felt as weather proof as the frogs happily chirping in the rising creek beds. In the morning the storm settled into more familiar California clouds and rains.
Over a hot breakfast we scanned the sky looking for any sign that the weather would break. Texts and calls were coming in from kiters from the Bay Area to San Diego asking for updates as they decided whether or not to make the drive. Then at noon blue sky. Within an hour the wind began to brew. Texts, tweets, status updates spread the word. The Pismo Expo is on! Since so many kiters had waited to make the drive Friday afternoon was mostly brand reps and local kiters. It was a fun afternoon catching up and trying out each other’s gear and blowing out the feeling of huddling in the rain. Saturday the wind came up early and blew all day. There were great waves. Great conditions for F-One Team ride Alec Dektor to show of his signature strapless aerials.
It was a busy day with customers trying out F-One gear. It was a great day for riders wanting to test all sizes of the Bandit 5. In the morning and late afternoon they could ride 12 & 14 meters, mid day 7 meters and early afternoon 9 and 10 meter kites. Staff didn’t even have time to put the kites down between riders. As soon as one rider unhooked, there was anther waiting take his place. The F-One booth actually looked rather bare for most of the day as all the inventory was out on the water. All that was left on the beach was the line of Manera travel bags. This was the first time I really got to use the bags and it was a real test of their claim of kiteboarding bags designed by kiters for kiters. We had to pack and unpack all the gear each day. This was one of the most efficient years ever thanks to the bags. The Playa bags have a pocket perfect for fins. It made set up and break down at the beginning and end of the trip so much easier by keeping fins securely with their board. Each day boards were zipped back into their Playa bags, well protected as they were stacked in the Airforce. I was amazed at how much the Golf bag could really hold. If the Manera line could make the process of packing and unpacking the whole F-One line for a demo weekend this efficient and keep the gear so protected, just imagine what it could do for your next kite trip. Customers were really curious about the line and we probably could have sold them all right there on the beach.
Friends and family of the riders were lining up to demo the Underwave neoprene jacket and hats. The word on the beach was that it is a better design than most neoprene jackets because it is longer instead of stopping at the waist like a sweatshirt. Kiters loved how warm it kept them between sessions. Significant others who spend days on windy beaches loved the jacket and the neoprene skull cap.
Sunday the wind repeated the pattern of opportunity to test bigger kites in the morning and the smaller kites throughout the day. The waves were mellower and once again the whole F-One inventory was out on the water. The Kiteboarder tester’s favorite twintip was the SK8 and general demo riders seemed to agree. Feedback was that it was great at handling the choppy conditions. Other favorites of the day were the Trax for it’s versatility and ability to make tracks up wind. And finally the Acid (Robinson Hilario and Alex Soto’s preferred board) was popular with riders working on their freestyle moves. Since the waves were so good the surfboards were out all day.
Available for demo were the Signature 5’10 and 6’0 , Fish 5’4 and 5’6, Surf 6’2. In the conditions of the weekend the Fish 5’4 and the Signature 5’10 and 6’0 were the popular boards. When mother nature cooperates the Pismo Expo is such a great event for kiters and tourists alike. Since it was such a gorgeous weekend and the multitude of kites on the water put on such a good show from the road many tourists stopped to find out what this was. I spent as much of the day educating people on kiteboarding in general as I did educating kiters on F-One gear.
And the big news of the weekend was the debut of the Underwave 3.2 wetsuit unofficially dubbed. The “Orange Crush” You got enough game to pull off this suit?
Special Thanks to Paul Lang Photography