Mark shows the perfect form on his 2nd day kitesnowboarding (Feb 2004).
This page provides information to kiting in the Ottawa region. We try to be as brief and precise as possible (all necessary information in 1 page) by providing links whenever possible instead of duplicating information from other sites.
Kiting is a new group of related sports: kitesurfing (on water), kitesnowboarding / kiteskiing (on snow) and kitelandboarding / buggying (on land) that uses a kite as the main sailing "engine" to propel a "vehicle" (kiteboard on water, snowboard or skis on snow and landboard or buggy on land). Two of the main fun factors of kiting are that it is a 3-D sailing sport (allowing the rider to occasionally "escape" the limitation of the water/snow surface) and it can be done year-round (there aren't many exciting sports that can be done year-round in Ottawa). More information about those kiting sports can be found at http://www.kitesurfingschool.org.
One of the earliest kiters in Ottawa is Eric Brackenbury. Eric kiteskied and buggied in Ottawa since the 80's / 90's. Hung Vu became the first kitesurfer in Ottawa when he started learning kitesurfing at Britannia Bay in October 1998 using Wipika Classic kites and FOne board he bought during a trip to Paris. Peter Williamson became the second kitesurfer in Ottawa when he came back to Ottawa from Vancouver in 2000. This trio and several other early supporters have, in one form or another, helped to grow the Ottawa Kiting community to its present day.
|Subject: Re: Magnificent Men and their Sailing Machines
From: an492@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Steven Slaby)
Date: 12 Oct 1999 15:31:12 GMT
John W. Bienko (as312@FreeNet.Carleton.CA) writes:
>> The sailing was spectacular this weekend ... great winds and
>> warm temperatures. The anemometer showed wind speeds in the
>> 20-30 k range and the windsurf sailors were enjoying the best
>> of times. I spotted a strange moon shaped kite in the sky
>> that seemed to be moving over the water. I followed the
>> tether line and saw a human on a water ski on the other end.
>> He maneuvered the ski expertly and surfed along the Ontario
>> shore, being dunked occasionally by a wave or wind change.
>> IT was quite a sight.
Its called a Kitesurfer; Hung is the first person here in Ottawa to take
up the sport.
Its a relatively new sport which really lends itself to low-wind days which
are difficult at best for windsurfing.
For some pictures, you can check out my Ottawa Windsurfing website
(www.magma.ca/~slaby/wind) or Hung's website
Kiting, especially kiting in the summer is a dangerous sport to both the kiters and the bystanders (too many people and hard objects nearby), please make sure you have read and understood http://www.kitesurfingschool.org/safety.htm before attempting to get into kiting (there is also an accident statistics table in the same page showing the most common types of accident categories)
Also, read the "Summer Safety" section below regarding the safety issues specific to our local spots in the summer.
Some local riders from left to right: Paul, Steve Slaby, Josh, Claude, Jim (Feb 2004)
There is a very active group of kiters in Ottawa and most of them is on the OttawaKiting group. More information about the group can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OttawaKiting/. It's best to subscribe to this group (by sending an email to email@example.com) as there are several links on this page requiring access to the information contained in the group.
Kiting is a wonderful 4 season sport for Ottawa. Depending on the season, suitable kiting spots can vary.
Kitesurfing at Britannia Bay (late summer 2000), Photo by Bill Pratt
All popular summer kiting spots in Ottawa are on the Ottawa River. Summer season normally starts from May 1 to Nov 1 (6 months season). Following is the map of the most popular kiting spots in Ottawa (also view http://nsc.ca/wind/planner.asp and http://www.magma.ca/~slaby/wind/sites.htm for a similar map):
Lac des Chenes. Map generated by Ottawa's Interactive Mapping (City of Ottawa)
Britannia Bay, next to Britannia Yacht Club (BYC, good for SW, W, NW, N wind, not too bad for S and NE wind). This is the most popular spot for Ottawa riders as it has lots of shallow water, near downtown and can accommodate almost 75% of the wind we have in Ottawa. The other reason is that for most good days in Ottawa, there is normally a W element in the wind direction and Britannia has the best W and NW wind for the whole region - many miles of clearance upwind.
Britannia Bay Launch Map generated by Ottawa's Interactive Mapping (City of Ottawa)
Shirley Bay (at the end of Range Road, now Rifle Road, good for E, NE or N wind). This is the second most popular spot for Ottawa riders. Between Shirley Bay and Britannia Bay, you probably don't need to go kiting anywhere else (only SE wind is not suitable for both places but we don't normally have any good SE wind day) unless for trying out different tastes some other spots may offer. The only problem with Shirley Bay is that there is no sandy beach and you need to bring some small sand bags to anchor the kite if you have to launch solo.
Shirley Bay Launch Map generated by Ottawa's Interactive Mapping (City of Ottawa)
Jay St. (off Grandview, good for NW, N, NE and E wind). This is an exotic windsurfing location offering different condition than Britannia and Shirley Bay. Parking is limited and so is launching space. This spot is currently not used by kiters as it's a bit too small to launch especially in high water. Click here for a map of the area.
Aylmer Beach, next to Aylmer Marina, Aylmer Yacht Club or Club de Voile Grand Riviere (good for NW, W, SW, S and SE wind). This is the most popular spot for Aylmer riders. The main reason why an Ottawa rider may want to go to Aylmer beach is when the wind is coming from the SE, S or SW (Aylmer has the best wind for those wind directions).
Parc Jacques-Cartier (just NE of the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge, good for NE wind). The advantage of this spot is that it's near downtown and thus more convenience for those who work downtown. There is no beach there so you may need an assistance to launch or some sand bags to anchor your kite for solo launching. Click here for a map of the area.
Petrie Islands (the end of Trim Road). This only eastern spot is currently in construction phase and not useable. The spot should be good for both SW and NE wind and we'll know better when the construction completes. Click here for a map of the area.
Constance Bay. Except for Kite Point, this large region is currently not fully exploited by the Ottawa kiters but it has lots of potential. From the various maps, the area should be good for NW, N, NE, E and SE wind. Following is a map of the region and some descriptions of the spots (this map was posted by Peter Williamson - a Constance Bay local - on the OttawaKiting group), also click here for the detailed maps of the "kite Beach", "Kite Point" and "Kite Paradise" launch spots at Constance Bay:
Constance Bay Area (Click on the picture for a larger map)
Map posted by Peter on the OttawaKiting group
For more description of the above spots and others around Ottawa, please view http://www.magma.ca/~slaby/wind/sites.htm.
Most summer spots is pretty small and normally has a launch area just large enough for launching and landing a single kite. In additions, there are a many other users (windsurfers, beach-goers, sun-bathers, swimmers, etc.) sharing the same area. Kiting is therefore more dangerous during the summer season and the following precautions should be taken by all to ensure the safety of everyone:
If you know how, always offer to assist other kiters with landing and launching (don't attempt to launch and land solo unless you are the only kiter)
During the swimming season (June 1 to August 31, 3 "summer" months), be extremely careful when launching a kite as there are many other people around. Whenever possible, try to launch in shallow water (you may need an assistance to bring your kite into the shallow water or hold the kite for you while you are in the water - get to know other kiters on the beach to help each other).
It's best to always land the kite in shallow water at Britannia and Aylmer beaches. Try not to land the kite on the beach unless the wind is light, there is no bystander around or there is an assistance to help with the landing.
It's best to learn kiting in the winter (it's easier and there are much more spaces). To learn in the summer, only fly a small trainer kite (less than 5m2) on the beach when learning. Any kite larger than that should be flown over the shallow water while learning.
If possible, try to kite away from the other water users (e.g., at Britannia, in higher water seasons, spring and fall, try to kite on the SW side of the point to avoid swimmers and windsurfers. In lower water seasons, most of the summer, when sailing in the NE side of the Britannia bay, stay in the shallows away from the windsurfers, or get well out and way upwind from them).
Run-away kites are not very desirable for our small kiting spaces in the summer so make sure you always have a properly rigged kite leash.
Watch out for the rapid just north of the Britannia Yacht Club (watch out for S wind at Britannia as such wind "blows" you straight to the rapid)
Watch out the shoal (and some other rocks) on the SW side of the Britannia bay in lower water season.
Watch out for the gull-wires over the swimming area at Britannia.
While some rider can go out in extremely cold water in April, November and early December (2.5 months - Steve Slaby is one of those riders that I know of ;-), some may want to do kitelandboarding during these periods instead. Kitelandboarding spots are normally not very big so it's wise to use shorter lines (20m or under)
Britannia Beach (the large swimmer beach - mostly empty this time of the year, good for NW wind)
Aylmer Beach (mostly empty this time of the year, good for SW wind)
Soccer field/park at Terry Fox Drive (between Hazeldean Road and Palladium Drive, good for SW, W and NW wind)). Click here for a map of the area.
Parc Jacques-Cartier (just NE of the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge). Click here for a map of the area.
Most summer spots can be used for winter kiting activities as soon as the water freezes (normally from December 15 to March 31 - roughly 3.5 months season). In early and late season (mid December and second half of March), please make sure that the ice is at least 10 cm thick before kiting (just dig a hole in the ice and measure it thickness before going out, also take a look at Shirley Bay to see whether there is any fishing hut on the river).
Furthermore, One can use any snow covered field for winter kiting activities. The most popular fields are the Experimental Farm fields near Base Line and Fisher (Steve Slaby have asked for the permission to use them from Agriculture Canada "as long as there is enough snow on the ground"). Click here for a map of the area (good for W, SW and NE, E wind).
Kiting in the winter is somewhat safer than kiting in the summer as there are lots of spaces for launching, landing and there is virtually no bystander to make it as dangerous.
|S||Aylmer, "Kite Point", Britannia||Aylmer, Britannia||Parc Jacques-Cartier|
|SW||Britannia, Aylmer, Petrie Islands||Britannia, Aylmer, Experimental Farm||Aylmer, Terry Fox Dr.|
|W||Britannia, Aylmer, "Kite Beach"||Britannia, Aylmer, Experimental Farm||Terry Fox Drive|
|NW||Britannia, Aylmer, Jay St., Constance Bay||Britannia, Aylmer, Constance Bay||Britannia, Terry Fox Dr.|
|N||Shirley Bay, Britannia, Jay St., Constance Bay||Shirley Bar, Britannia, Constance Bay|
|NE||Shirley Bay, Parc Jacques-Cartier, Constance Bay, Petrie Islands||Shirley Bay, Petrie Islands|
|E||Shirley Bay, Constance Bay||Shirley Bay||Parc Jacques-Cartier|
|SE||Constance Bay, Aylmer||Constance Bay||Parc Jacques-Cartier|
Winter Kiting at Britannia
Part of a photo posted by Peter on the OttawaKiting group
Steve tried to jump higher than Jamie's kite at Britannia.
Photo posted by Claude on the OttawaKiting group (Feb 2004)
Britannia Yacht Club web cam http://www.byc.ca/webcam.htm
Nepean Sailing Club wind meter http://nsc.ca/wind/windicator.htm
Weather Underground http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/71628.html
Environment Canada http://weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/forecast/city_e.html?yow
More weather info can be found at http://nsc.ca/nsc_weather.htm or http://www.magma.ca/~slaby/wind/forecast.htm
Ottawa kiting action photos can be found at the Photos section of the OttawaKiting group http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/OttawaKiting/lst. and videos can be found at the Files section of the group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OttawaKiting/files/.
Eric's going fast (Feb 2004)
Claude in mid-air
Photo posted by Claude on the OttawaKiting group (Feb 2004)
You can take kiting lesson year-round with VL Kites http://www.kitesurfingschool.org/ottawaschool.htm.
Since the kiter population in Ottawa is still very small, there is no specific kite store in Ottawa yet. Due to popular demand from the students, the kite school VL Kites (292-9818) normally stock a number of kites, boards and accessories such as: lines, bars, pads and straps at a discounted rate for students and friends. Other windsurfing or wakeboarding shops in Ottawa such as Surfside (726-7873, on Carling) and Rider Village (in Centrum Kanata) also have some kiting equipment.
You can attempt to sell or buy used kiting equipment by posting them on the OttawaKiting group.
You can repair minor tears on your kite by using sail repair tape (regular and heavy duty sail tapes in variety of colors can be purchased at the Chandlery marine store on Pouline near Richmond, 820-7642). For more serious tears (more than 3" or at stressful locations), they should be repaired by a professional.
Due to popular request, the kite school VL Kites (292-9818, http://www.kitesurfingschool.org/ottawaschool.htm) has opened a kite repair loft for all kiters in Canada and US
Eric Brackenbury, 839-5350 (Eric is also on the OttawaKiting group)
Doyle Ottawa Sail Makers, 832-3456 (They may and may not has experience repairing kites)
If you have problem with your wetsuit, harness or board straps, Steve Slaby, 225-6834 (Steve is also on the OttawaKiting group), may be able to fix them for you.
http://www.kitesurfingschool.org (Online Kitesurfing School)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OttawaKiting/ (Ottawa Kiting group)
http://www.ottawawindsurfing.ca (Info about windsurfing, a related wind sport in Ottawa)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ottawaws/ (Ottawa Windsurfing group)
news://ott.rec.sailing (Ottawa sailing news group)
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