Traditional Polynesia Ice Canoe (Ice Proa)

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.
-Thomas Edison

Once it's too cold to kitesurf in the water, it's time to find a frozen lake and kite on top of the water.

Initially, I cut some ice skates out of steel, sharpened them on a belt sander, and bolted them onto Saul's old sand buggy. This ice buggy moved fast, but I felt like I was always being pulled out of the seat by the kite.

All kites fly and generate force within some quarter sphere defined by the kite itself, the pilot, and the conditions. The homemade 9 m^2 nasawing shown above Quaboag pond flies in an angle a bit greater than 135 degrees, while some very efficient foils can push that angle much further.

To get going on the ice buggy you edge against the pull of the kite and use only the component of force that points in the direction you want to go. Rarely do you want to be pointed directly at the kite, so the pull of the kite is almost always to the side.  Since your feet are used to steer, there isn't much to hold you in the buggy.

After a full day of ice kiting left me with a sore back and bruised hips (especially after a couple of crashes where I was actually pulled completely out of the ice buggy) it seemed clear I needed a proa type vehicle - something which has a constant windward and leeward side. I wanted to sit with the wind to my back and use my feet to steer and to hold my position in the vehicle.

With a bit of CAD, some leftover 8020 structural aluminum, a few jet machined connectors and blades ...

Click here for all the Autodesk Inventor CAD parts. (3.5 MB) The front is symmetric so I only put the right side into CAD.

... I made a "traditional" Polynesian ice canoe. Or at least I'm sure if the water ever froze in polynesia this is what their ice kite/sail craft would look like.

The plastic beam on the leeward side is a flexture that turns the two skates. Push out in the center at the footstrap to go upwind, pull in to go downwind.

3 mustkiteers - 46 MB .mov movie (plays in quicktime)

Here's video of me explaining how the ice proa works as well as zooming over Quaboag pond - part of the "3 Mustkiteers go ice kiting" video.
MITERS tour - 36 MB .mov movie

Here I explain the difference between the ice buggy and ice proa as part of a quick tour through MITERS (where I build most of my kites and toys).

More pictures.
Don't miss this! Ice Kite Buttboarding, The Movie.

More ice kiting pictures: