I read most of the reactions after the tragic accident of Silke. In my opinion all that pressure on safety systems, helmets and leashes is highly exagerated. Of course the safety systems have to be improved, but don't just tell me a quick release solves it all, because I have seen accidents that could have had the same result using the quick release... Naish allready has a very new system that solves again a lot of the security problems.
Neither you have to tell me to go on the water with a not relaunchable foilkite and a wakeboard with bindings that nearly sinks. If the kite goes down half a mile out and starts sinking what then?...
Safer systems will come, all kite manufacturers are working on it, it just takes time. But maybe they are not all that necessary as it is very easy to avoid 90% of the accidents.
Never an accident with severe consequences has happened in open water. If a certain distance to obstacles, beach and land becomes dangerous, we have to stay away as much as possible from those areas. We cannot avoid them to launch, but there we can act with extra precaution untill we reach the safe area.
Of course it is totally irresponsable to run a competition in the danger area... And that is where all competitions are held. Some people even find it funny to land on the beach during their competition heats and involve a huge risk of hurting other people, and manage to get through their heat that way.
I don't believe we should all wear a helmet. You don't need a helmet if the only thing you can hit is water. (Unless we start jumping more than a 100ft high)
And to finish my letter:
I watched some world cup competition and have seen riders getting tangled in 50% of the heats. Knowing how dangerous this is, it seems unacceptable to me. Between experienced riders this is never an accident !!! You cannot start a manoevre or jump before making sure there is no other kite too close. There is always a guy that causes the tangles and in my opinion he should immediately be disqualified (red card) for extreme dangerous behaviour.
thx for your comment.
You are right, there will always be a risk doing this sport. Even with a quick release it is no guarantee to get out.
But we can minimize the risks by using quick releases, kiting in safe areas and using leashes.
Personally, I think it's a little nieve to say that we don't need helmets - even if the only thing we hit is water. Water can be very hard when you hit it at a reasonable speed, and you don't need to be pulling off "100ft airs" to hit it at a reasonable speed.
I for one will stick with using a helmet, even in those idealistic conditions where the only thing I'll hit is water.
Of course everybody is free to carry as many security devices as desired. But there is no reason to oblige everybody to go out like a Formula 1 or Motocross pilot if we practise our sport with more conscienceness. And as in all other things, we only learn from our mistakes, no matter how hard it may sound at this moment after loosing somebody like Silke.
It is good we are talking about all this. Wearing seatbelts used to be an option in many countries but is no longer. The same applies to helmets in many sports. In these cases it took someone in authority to direct us or even require us to take care of ourselves. The statistics of head injuries in car accidents are staggering, then again look at the total numbers of drivers.
Kiteboarding is a new sport, it is starting to become very popular. There are no kitecops to say "hey you have to wear a helmet and impact vest, it's the law!" It won't happen. If they take any interest at all it will be to say, "you can't kiteboard here, it's against the law, too many people have been hurt here." So, aside possibly from competitors, I guess we are going to have to decide on our own without the kitecops telling us what to do, for our own good. Lots of good safety gear out there and hospital time really is a pain.
Nobody said foils cannot be relaunchable.
Somebody else said he prefers to go out with non-relaunchables regarding higher security...
Good example also about the amount of head injuries in cars. Who wears a helmet in his car? You don't need it because if you wear your seat belt you're probably not going to hit your head. That's why I'm not going to wear a helmet. I will have enough security systems on my kite to probably not hit my head on something and I will not sail dangerously close to downwind obstacles.
So I'm not going to wear a helmet, but leave everybody free to wear what he wants.
Why are you soo scared of helmets did a helmet beat you up when you were a kid or something!!!!
Or is your Fabio style hair do messed up when you put a helmet on.
You don't wear a helmet in a car because the whole car is designed to protect you duting an impact.
You do wear a helmet in other sports were impacts are to be expected
Wake Boarding (helmets are becoming popular and you can see them in magazines)
Paragliding (even though the only thing they hit is air!!!)
Snowboarding Helmets are becoming popular too.
Motor biking (haven't seen anyone without a helmet since "Easy Rider")
And for those that say the only thing you can hit is water are talking rubbish you have
Land!!!!!!!(unless you swim out with a deflated kite and set up in the open ocean)
Your Board (gave myself three stiches from the boar while I was still in full bindings)
Yourself (knees etc)
The control bar (have heard of people almost putting out their eye with the bar)