*


All times are UTC + 1 hour



Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: This one was close - be safe!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:08 pm 
Offline
Medium Poster

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:00 pm
Posts: 60
Recently I had an experience that almost cost me my life so I though I’d share what I learned with you all so we could all learn from my mistakes and hopefully not end up in a similar situation.

My friend and I were kiting about an hour or so before sunset working our way back to an island where we launched at. I ended up loosing my board and was having a hard time retrieving it – the current is weird in the area where I lost my board. My friend tried to get my board for me and ended up just with my board. The sun was setting so he decided it was best for him to go back to the island, get our boat and come rescue me. Well, I didn’t know if he made it or not and ended up in 48 degree water from 4 or 4:30 until about 8:30 at night in 48 degree water beaten by chop and 20 – 30 knot winds with no moon in the pitch black. The thought of using my kite to go down wind and hit land somewhere ran through my mind but I didn’t know where I would end up and was concerned that if ended up in the middle of the bay with no wind or something else happened that both my friend and I would be stuck in the water at night so I decided to ditch my kite and try to make it back to the island which was closer but upwind.

When I saw a Coast guard helicopter and some boats I figured they were looking for me and my friend had made it to land to get help. I was wearing a 5/3 Promotion Wetsuit with a hooded vest, booties and gloves but after spending that kind of time in the water you start getting hypothermia and I was having signs like cramping, dizziness, etc – I was also very tired from swimming. The helicopter passed over me four times and never saw me. At one point they hovered over me and I though I was safe only to watch the helicopter fly away – it was an extremely freighting experience I wish no one else ever has to feel. I was very tired and fatigued in the cold deep water and even though the bay has allot of shallow areas I could not manage to find them.

To make a long story short, I ended up swimming through chop, current and strong winds to the island where we launched and I can’t believe I made it there – I’m very lucky I guess and it wasn’t my time.

I was not prepared to be out in the dark and I really believe that no matter what you have to be prepared for all conditions. With this sport stuff happens fast…

All kiters should carry the following.

1 – A Strobe light or night time signaling device of some sort. The coast guard will not see you in a wetsuit or drysuit in the water at night.
2 – A whistle or loud sound emitting device
3 – A communication device such as a VHF radio, cell phone or satellite phone in a water proof bag.
4 – Reflective tape on wetsuit or helmet would have helped them to see me also.
5 – Tell people where you’re going and make sure you have a way of communicating with our friendly rescue services if you need to get help.
6 – I don’t believe in kiting by myself but for those of you that do make sure you have the above because trust me that I barely made it and I’m in very good physical shape.

I thank my friend for his efforts in trying to save my life as it was not an easy experience for him either.


{ SHARE_ON_FACEBOOK } { SHARE_ON_TWITTER } { SHARE_ON_ORKUT } { SHARE_ON_DIGG } { SHARE_ON_MYSPACE } { SHARE_ON_DELICIOUS }
Top
Profile
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:29 pm 
Offline
Very Frequent Poster
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Posts: 8173
Location: Florida
I am glad things worked out. They haven't always, involving at least one kiteboarder perhaps and more than one windsurfer in the past.

Some guys will say, B.S., you don't need that crap, e.g. emergency signally stuff. I can only imagine they never leave the immediate area of the beach or lack the imagination to see themselves in such a situation someday. Believe it or not, some of us will fall into it whether we consider it in advance or not. Guys in colder waters and near sunset, fog will be more at risk that others. Some areas are at a much greater risk than others of course, islands, areas with contrary currrents, riding well offshore, etc.. Having some handy stuff to bail yourself out in an emergency can be incredibly welcome when it hits the fan. If you ride in marginal areas, it is something to give serious though to. Why do boaters carry this stuff?

I researched some of this stuff for the recent crossing to Bimini. These are some of the things I came up with. They don't cost that much, take up much room (you could stick the lot in a small belly pack, wear it behind you and forget about it) and can sure beat the alternative, dying or come close to it because you weren't prepared. There are lots of alternative products out there.

Image

A kit that includes three day/night flares, whistle, dye pack, signalling mirror all for about $36. USD

More at: http://www.orionsignals.com/Marine/Prod ... alkit.html

Image

Two marine VHF walkie talkies with water resistant bags. They were underwater a fair amount and really didn't leak much at all during the crossing. I found them on sale at West Marine for $82. USD for the pair!

http://www.cobra.com/shop_image/product ... 219557.jpg

These aren't the most powerful units, only 2 watts, which may limit the transmit radius to under a 1 to 5 miles over water. You should be able to communicate with the VHF units on the boats using these and be able to hail on channel 16 if necessary.


Last edited by RickI on Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
Profile
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:37 pm 
Offline
Very Frequent Poster
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:31 pm
Posts: 737
I think I would work on getting them to wear a helmet first. Then work on the flares and walkie talkies. :lol: Just joking I know if your going out in some places this could really save your life. Especiallly in the cold water when time means so much!


Top
Profile
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:22 am 
Offline
Medium Poster

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:00 pm
Posts: 60
RickI,

Thanks for the links. I would add the following to your gear.

Flashing strobe light:

http://www.boatersland.com/acr3959.html

And consider a higher output radio as in rough windy conditions you need more power to get a good transmission. Uniden and Icon make a small compact radio that is 5 watts I believe. I bet most kiters don't even know you can hail the coast guard and other boaters on channel 16.


Top
Profile
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:35 am 
Offline
Very Frequent Poster

Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:56 pm
Posts: 659
Location: Chicago
good to hear that you made it but I'm wondering did the kite make it. I will also buy my self a walkie talky.


Top
Profile
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:28 am 
Offline
Very Frequent Poster
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Posts: 8173
Location: Florida
hugoc wrote:
RickI,

Thanks for the links. I would add the following to your gear.

Flashing strobe light:

http://www.boatersland.com/acr3959.html

And consider a higher output radio as in rough windy conditions you need more power to get a good transmission. Uniden and Icon make a small compact radio that is 5 watts I believe. I bet most kiters don't even know you can hail the coast guard and other boaters on channel 16.


I had a small combination waterproof strobe/flashlight as well that I left out of the list. I got it years ago as a masthead light for nighttime windsurfing. If you are in the water after dark a strobe can be a great locator and longer lasting than flares.

Image
More at: http://www.rei.com/online/store/Product ... rn=4501499

In the Crossing, IF seas were up as can easily happen with slightly strong northerly winds, say 8 to 10 to 12 ft. plus, if your kite were down I imagine you would vanish from view within a 100 m or less from the smaller chase boats that were in use. I imagine they wouldn't be able to hear you even with a whistle at such a range either with the noise of the running sea.

You are miles offshore between the USA and another country drifting north at 3 to 4 knots. The sun sets at 5:30 pm. We kiteboard to have fun, not to set ourselves up for a fairly easily avoidable death. At least I hope so.

Not a lot of guys ride 60 plus miles from shore. Still, I routinely go a mile, sometimes a few from shore. If something goes wrong, the kite goes down and I can't swim in as I have in the past, then what? I haven't been carrying more than a whistle for years. Still, I have "thought" many times that I "should" be carrying some effective signalling stuff. Got it now and the lot fits into a small pouch that is on a belt on my back out of sight and mind.

We have hundreds of miles of coast here generally with landable beaches. Some guys ride off of islands, in inlets and other areas with adverse currents, wx, rocky shores, etc.. There have been stories of guys being swept out of inlets, disabled until after dark, being swept off island (I almost had this happen to me a mile off of Antigua a couple of summers ago with a messed up kite on the water).

If you hug the shoreline, (threatening our access in some areas), avoid funky currents, islands, rocky shores, etc. you may not have need of signalling gear. Some guys are exposed to these hazards more routinely. It is something to consider, BEFORE you need it.


Top
Profile
 Post subject: Reel Leash
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:44 am 
Offline
Medium Poster

Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2004 6:31 pm
Posts: 130
A Reel Leash could have saved you allot of trouble here.


Top
Profile
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:28 am 
Offline
Very Frequent Poster

Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:05 pm
Posts: 1098
Location: Islamorada, Florida Keys
Hugo, Good to hear you are all right. The cops called the shop looking for you @ 8:00pm. You were on a 13m huh? Probably alittle too big of a kite for that day considering I was in the ocean on the same kite with straight on shore winds, LIT, for the entire day and I've been riding for 6 years. The bay really doesn't have much current unless you are near an inlet. Where did you ride? I waited to see you all day and Mike joined me @ 4:00pm till dark and he was on a 14m Vegas, LIT. We needed the extra power because of the head high swell but if I were in the bay I would have been on a 9m or 11m. Good to here from you. Tomorrow I am going snowkiting in Medford for the day. If you get a chance and have time, come out. I'll be in the cornfields on rt. 70 all day.


Top
Profile
 Post subject: Re: Reel Leash
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:33 am 
Offline
Medium Poster

Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:00 pm
Posts: 60
highairman wrote:
A Reel Leash could have saved you allot of trouble here.


How do these leashes work? Ae they eally safe? I thought the idea of having a leash hooked to your board was bad news.

You guys using this thing?


Top
Profile
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:41 am 
Offline
Medium Poster

Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:49 am
Posts: 111
Location: Santa Barbara
Had a reel leash- used it once, had it wrap around my leg and cinch tight, ditched it and haven't looked back. Leashes just aren't safe - just my 2 cents.


Top
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC + 1 hour


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot], MSNbot Media, SawatchKite and 21 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group