The following is about an accident involving a young woman in Alameda, CA, USA that happened over the weekend and is taken from ikitesurf.com. Sylvia submitted the following post, she also participates in this forum:
"Yesterday I was on the water and witnessed from a mile away an accident which could have been avoided. I am still touched by it because it was so unnecessary and also so severe.
Someone was holding up a kite for launching. The kite however was not getting "quiet" while being held up in the wind for the launch, it was moving, fluttering, "dancing". A typical sign for crossed lines. It was light wind (10-12mph), not very gusty. I hoped they would not launch that kite but ground it and check the lines again. It was so damned obvious that something was wrong.
But they launched that unstable kite. The ambulance came 5 minutes later. Don't know how the kiter is doing, it did not look good. The kite had done the "deathspiral" and knocked the kiter out.
However - what was clear to me from a long distance could have been obvious to all those other kiters at the beach. Close to the launcher
. That this kite was rigged wrong and dangerous.
That happens mostly to beginners....why? Maybe kiteschools should emphasize much much more on rigging than they do now?
1. Make sure you know 100% how to rig a 4 line kite correctly. If you don't - ask.
2. Always doublecheck your lines. After attaching them to the kite it is a good routine to walk them back from the kite to the bar, the center lines between your legs and the backlines in your hands.
3. Colorcode your lines so that you get visually aware when you have your center lines and backlines on the wrong atachement points at the kite.
4. Either launch unhooked or (if you are experienced) with a quick release which you have practiced to release really quickly. And let go of the bar immediately if you have a potential problem with the launched kite. Of course - have a kite leash.
6. As a 3rd person (hey - experienced kiters!): When you see a launching kite which is not sitting quiet in the launchers hands but moving and dancing - go to the launcher
and ground the kite. Doublecheck the lines.
This unstable behavior is a clear sign for crossed lines. The kite will be out of control after launch, an accident is very likely. That sort of accident is very likely to cause severe injuries.
Safe kiting! -Sylvia"
This is yet another serious reason for manufacturers to move to polar or "kook-proof" kite line connectors. I understand that many will be providing such connectors on 2004 kites.
In the interim, PREFLIGHT AND THEN PREFLIGHT AGAIN.
Sylvia's point about looking out for obviously misrigged kites during assisted launch is an excellent one. We need to look out for one another, something like this crosses the lines of experience. Both new and experienced kiters have been injured by this easy mistake.
It is dismaying that this accident happened in a reported 10 to 12 mph. That is where lighter body weight can really stack the deck against you. Then again, I remember reading about a serious lofting accident and injury that happened to a guy in around 15 mph. Kites can exert A LOT of power even in lighter winds. It is not known if a helmet, impact vest, etc. might have made a difference in the outcome of this sad accident. Still if you don't wear one, you throw away ANY chance that a bit more protection might be able to do for you. For people that don't feel threatened by possible impacts against "soft" sand, please take note of this sad accident.
There is a fair amount about ways of avoiding this sort of problem in the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines. Check them out at:
or just blow them off and take a possible turn in the "School of Hard Knocks." Kiteboarding can be a dangerous activity and special care is indicated at all times. I hope that the kiteboarder heals fully and soon.