This is awful news following previous accidents and deaths caused by the 4-line system. When the 4-line de-power system was launched it was pretty clear that it would lead to accidents like these. While our thoughts must be with Silke's friends and family right now, thought must also be given by the industry to prevention of such accidents in the future. (Silke is not the first tragedy.). As previous posts have pointed out the kite control design is to blame. Safer options are easily available. Non-relaunchable foils like Flexifoil's Blade or Slingshot's B range are by far the safest option as a)they stop when the kite hits the ground, and b) the kite bridle attachements will break (safety system) if the kite is surged through the power zone in this manner. Furthermore unhooking is more possible as it is flown on two lines for the same upwind performance. More accidents will happen with the 4 line inflatables unless the industry acknowledges the dangers of their products and accept their responsibility to make them safe.
In the meantime sincere condolences to Silke's friends and family in such an awful time.
It is worth pointing out that the commonly seen release system described above is not the answer. What happens to the kite once it is released? It causes a tragedy like this. Loose flying kites are a major hazard.
People should not let go of their kites but should have a power cut off system like a leash. The Chicken Loop should be banned in anycase and 4 line kites should be flown fixed so people can unhook.
Thoughts of severe sadness and regret are with Silke. Lets not let her passing be in vain.
She was one of the most shiney and beautiful people I have ever met and the world will miss her. A very sad day.
The debate may go on about chicken loops but being hooked into a fixed loop is just as dangerous in these type of cases... you will not be able to get out anyway... The answer is effective stock quick releases on all kites and de-powering leash systems that work.
Also... what is a world cup event doing being held at a venue that has obstructions like wooden wave breakers ???
REMARK by ADMIN: portions of this text have been removed, since it was based on false information, which led to misunderstandings and the use of wrong words
Any kiter without fully equipped safety system should be banned from the beach immediately by any fellows and further contests being subject to strictest safety obligations.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Admin on 2002-06-12 11:56 ]</font>
Sorry guys, you make me angry - dont't start blaming the Industry, organizers or anyone but yourself for tragic accidents like this, its the general kiteboarder and kiteborderess who buys first and thinks later that supports unsafe products and unsafe behavior.
with a little bit of thinking it is so easy to add an acceptable and working safety system to nearly any available 4-line powerkite on the market (always leash one frontline !!).
I suggest you guys surf over to the files section of the kitesurf group on yahoo groups and inform yourself about the topic.
it is so sad that it needs a dead girl to start some human beings thinking about obvious safety measures.
To my observation up to date only a minority of kiteboarders use working safety systems on their kites - think about the consequences of your behavior - silke could still live if proper safety equipement and safe behavior would be standard with any responsible acting kiteborder.
The Riders at that spot were Pro-Riders. And as we all know, Pro-Riders prefer riding without any safety device at all!
Most of the Kiters I know use safety-leashs and quick-releases. Mostly home-made. They all would highly appreciate the industry to develop working safety-systems as original equipment. To my mind the industry failed completely at this point. You are completely wrong if you blame "the buyer" of the product. He has no choice!
But Pro-Riders should really reflect their attitude towards safety and be a guiding example instead of ruining the sport for everyone. My experience shows that Kiters like you and me show much more responsibility than Pros.
DonÃ‚Â´t get me wrong. I donÃ‚Â´t want to blame anyone, I just want all of us to learn from it.
I too would not call myself a pro rider - not because i am not competing, but for not getting paid for kiteboarding, but as it is the case with most of us kiters who ride since three years or longer (regardless if we sometimes compete or not) - neither our abilities nor our equipement differs that much from the "real" pros.
We sometimes ride extremely powered up, we sometimes jump extremly high BUT we seem to think a little bit more before we risk our or other peoples lives.
Good if the Kiters in your area all use kite safety leashes, unfortuanetly what I obseved during various trips all over the world is that most of the kiteboarders do not use a working kite safety.
Kiteboarders please act as resposible human beeings and add a working safety system to your kite.
In my opinion the industry is not the solution, because they will (naturally) always put profit over safety - the only solution is immediate action from the side of all responsible acting kiteboarders on this planet.
It takes only 20 minutes and 50 Euro to modify any 4-line sled setup into a kite with an acceptable working kite safety system including a LOAD TESTED quick release shackle - so go out and convince your Kitebuddies
Anyone who can afford a kite should be able to afford this little extra cost and time.
We are all shocked and sad about the tragic death of Silke. She was a kitesurfing pioneer for us women.
This accident hopefully will make everybody think about safety systems. But still, we want to make it clear that no safety system could have helped her. Everything was going so incredibly fast, so that she had no time to release herself. By the time she realised that she was getting pulled by two kites, she was about to hit the wood piles. Even a quick release system wouldn't have opened quickly enough.
We girls who have been riding with her that day are honoured to have kited with her during her final heat. We are committed to carrying on Silkes positive spirit and passion for kitesurfing. We will never forget her.
Jody, Petra and Fiona
Thank you for your message It must have been painful to discuss this having been there and competed with Silke. This event has saddened and caused questioning of safety practices among kiteboarders around the world. If any good at all can come from the tragic passing of Silke, perhaps it might be to motivate much better safety practices and gear.
Sometimes when things get out of control in kiteboarding and you are near hard objects no safety device in your possession will save you from an accident as things move at lightening speed. Under such conditions as discribed in Silke's accident, I agree a safety loop or snap shackle on her rig may not have made a positive difference in things.
In future competitions, if kite leash use is manditory and improved leash designs are used, such an accident will become very unlikely. Of course probably less than 1% of competitors use such leashes at present. Add in helmet and impact vest use and similar accidents become much more survivable. Prior to Silke's accident, holding a high level pro kiteboarding competition with manditory kite leash use would be improbable. I think that will have to change.
None of these devices are cool or accepted among the vast majority of pro and advanced riders at this time. I am hopeful that leaders in the kiteboarding community will bring a change in these attitudes and practices. It only takes one to start a positive movement.
Paul, the industry and designers that sell this system are ENTIRELY to blame. The reason I say that is that those involved in developing the chicken loop know the risks of this system and still put it on the market without thought beyond quick profit.I assume Silke was an expert, but a beginner has no chance. It is absolutely ridiculous that huge inflatable kites are sold without the possibility of landing them once launched. Silke's accident was extreme, but any beginner can launch a 15m naish in 20 knots and end up dead.
Cars are not sold without brakes, electronic goods are earthed, it is not reasonable that kites are sold that you cannot land. It's cut and dry.
The industry is ENTIRELY to blame and any suggestion that they are not will further delay them facing their responsibility and implementing good, safe design. Naish take note! This is your original system.
(I dont use Chicken loops, the first time I tried it I thought it was crazy)