A gathering amongst the clouds

[BEST VIEWED ON A LARGER SCREEN]

There are a lot of ways to approach these gatherings we have.  You can make your decision based on the forecasts, other things going on, etc etc….or you can just commit to going; taking the, it’ll be what it will be attitude.  And very much like life I think you’ll be shown over and over that these gatherings provide, provide the goods, provide memorable experiences, provide what is needed.

Day One

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A great day to hang and enjoy the company of friends

This year’s gathering was no exception.  Saturday was a beautiful day with a light breeze rolling off the lake.  Malmo park is such a great spot to gather.  Bright green lawn with large patches of shade, blue skies and puffy white clouds overhead.  What an ideal setting for what was about to unfold.  As the morning progressed little communities popped up under the canopies of trees in the cool shade.  Trails of wonderful smells were wisked off the grills by the breeze.  Laughter  was ever present and erupted often.  A lot of BSn’ and sharing stories.  Good to meet some new faces.  Great to see so many comrades from past sessions in the wind.

What an ideal setting for what was about to unfold.

Bill showed off his ultra rugged Unimog as we all drooled.  Scott put up his quadcopter at one point and had Kaisen and Austin chasing it around in pure joy.  Megan and Korisa brought a slack line and showed us their grace on that fragile line.  A few of us tried it with minimal success.

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The sky created an amazing backdrop…

Mike had quite an assortment of new gear for sale and for demo.  Lots of boards were flexed, graphics debated, and rockers discussed. Then someone noted that a storm cell was moving in from the west.  Soon eyes were on the phones.  Yep a small defined red cell was moving in.  Hard to imagine as the sky was so blue overhead.   It looked like it would miss us and roll through on the lower half of the lake.  Rig rig rig.

What a visual out there.  Kites illuminated in the sun with storm clouds as a background.

This large anvil cloud reaching thousands of feet into the air marched in and brought in winds in the mid teens.  Plenty to play in.  What a visual out there.  Kites illuminated in the sun with storm clouds as a background.  That massive white anvil to the south and blue everywhere else…cept that other dark system, hmmm, moving in to the north.  As the second system approached and skirted the north end of the lake, the winds kicked up another notch.. high teens and lower twenties.  Now we’re talkin’.

Most rode as long as they could on their big kites.  Some having some pretty hairy experiences trying to land their kites.  Those that could ride were boosting and floating forever.  I stayed out and was loving life.   Alex had rigged down and was grinning, spinning, inverting, and all his other craziness. The light just kept getting better and better as the sun started to set.

Shadows started to reach across the lawn, faces took on that warm glow, and the trees overhead started to go quiet. What a gift of a day.

 Day two

The posse pulled into Malmo around the same time.  The grand hmm and  haw session started.  Do we stay at Malmo, or go elsewhere where the wind would be more onshore.  At the time the wind was NNW coming right down the shore line.  Rideable but the forecast was for a shift to the North or offshore….but that beautiful lawn beaconed as did the great shallows.  Bryce showed up and was the deciding factor.  He said stay and ride.  So the decision was made.  Rig rig rig. As we started to rig our 12s the wind started to fluctuate.  After last year’s gathering experience, a few of us decided the south shore was the better call.  Pack pack pack….vrooom.

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What a sight to pull into. mm mm mm

The clan was divided.  It was a tough decision, as the joy of sharing Saturday, and so many other events together makes leaving the group that much harder.

A good number stayed at Malmo for the super cush launch and shallows while a good crew formed down at Bare Ass Beach near Wahkon.  We pulled up to Denis and Tim rigging 8s, and the wind pelting the sand onto our faces.  The view upwind was patches of dancing reeds and some small islands before opening to the big lake.  The lake was frothing.  Vroom the stoke was revving.

Big beautiful clouds clung on every horizon, the sky over the bay was blue, the sun ignited the texture on the water, and the drops on my board

Wahkon bay delivered.  Twin tips were boosting big, surf boards were slashing up the swell.  Terry referenced a swell line up wind near the island that was spectacular.  Big lake rollers rolled into that channel between the island and the shore.  What a playground.  I had one glorious set where I took note at one particular moment.  Big beautiful clouds clung on every horizon, the sky over the bay was blue, the sun ignited the texture on the water, and the drops on my board.  The ride was smooth in the troughs of those rolling carpets.  With one hand on the bar you could swing the kite about to lead you from toeside to heel side on the same face as it marched downwind.  Oh my, did I need that.   I felt it though my entire existence in that moment.  I was there and everywhere at the same time.  mmmm  I close my eyes, and with a deep breath it all comes back.

So many smiles, so much laughter…and wind. Thank you all who committed to the gathering, made the journey and shared in the story.  Happy, thank you, more please.

[thanks for Eric P for grabbing the camera for a bit on Sunday]

[feel free to grab photos, please give Endofsession.com or myself photo creds]

About the author

Tighe

Tighe Belden has been riding the wind for over 30 years. He has been active in the windsport community for over 3 decades, as an instructor, event coordinator, creator of Lakawa and now End of Session, and stokes people on the latest gear as a Tech Ambassador for Slingshot Sports.

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