Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My New REV

After spending hundreds of dollars renting kites and boards, I decided that it was time to buy my own equipment. When I arrived in Mui Ne last week I was walking down the beach and saw a couple of kite boards sticking up in the sand advertising used kites for sale. I spoke with Marcus, a Chinese guy from Hong Kong. He was selling his Ocean Rodeo kite and board. I told him I was interested and arranged to meet him the next day to try it out.

The next morning I went to have breakfast at the hotel. The waitress asked me if I had a breakfast ticket. I said I didn't. She told me I could get them at reception. Of course, my room didn't include breakfast. Arguing with the hotel reception over breakfast coupons was futile. Luckily, not wanting to give the hotel my breakfast business led me to another local place, Lam Ton, for breakfast. There I ran into my friend Darek, who I met back in November. Darek brought me luck. I told him I was interested in buying a kite. Unfortunately he had just sold his, but he said he would help me evaluate a used one that I was planning on checking out after breakfast. He said he had never heard of Ocean Rodeo, not a good sign.

We went down to meet Marcus, but he wasn't around. The other kite board was still there advertising a 9 meter Slingshot REV kite for sale. Darek said this was a good kite, in fact, the same kite he had bought a few months before. The ad said to go to room 18 if you're interested. It turns out they had a few kites for sale. The guys owned a kite shop in Belgium called ETIKKITE. He was asking 850 Euros but was willing to sell it to me for 750. The kite seemed to be in pretty good shape. The depower line was a bit frayed but everything else seemed to be in good shape.

After agreeing on the price, the difficulty then became how to pay for it. Of course I didn't have 750 Euros on me. We tried to use Google Checkout but for some reason the internet was down at both Wax and Jibes so we gave up on that. Eventually I gave him 4 million VND as a deposit and I would get the rest of the cash from the ATM. It turns out 750 Euros is about 17 million VND. That's a pretty big stack of 100,000 VND bills! Luckily the ATM let me take out the cash, 2 million VND at a time. I felt a bit like a criminal repeatably taking withdrawals from the ATM one after the next. Some Canadians were waiting for me at the ATM. After a few consecutive withdrawals I let them have a go at the machine. I didn't want to empty it and leave them dong-less. :-)

[The above video was shot by Dirk, who sold me the kite. ]

After getting the kite from Dirk Leten, the Belgian, buying a board from Derak, and buying a new harness, I was ready to go. I took all of my newly acquired equipment down to Windchimes and was ready to hit the water. On my third run, I had the kite up at about 11 O'clock and I heard a loud pop. The leading edge of the kite immediately deflated and the entire kite fell into the water. Luckily I was near the shore. One of the beach boys from Windchimes helped me drag the kite out of the water. We brought it back to Windchimes where the repair expert came out to take a look. It turns out the zipper on the leading edge was slightly damaged and this probably wore a hole in the bladder. He was able to fix it for me and I was back on the water the next day.