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The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:26 am
by Toby
I think this can be a very valuable topic for all of us.

Let's hear your advices on how to be safer on and off the water.
The more advices, the more read and the safer we can make the sport if we know about all its dangers and how to avoid it.

Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:32 am
by Toby
My first advice:

before you start putting up a traction kite, learn how to activate and release the quick release on the bar you want to release.

You should be able to do it with even closing your eyes. Find the exact position and know in which direction you have to pull or push.

Also try to release under load and see if it works.

You need to train this every time, even at home. It has to become a reflex to release.
Once you come into a situation, where something does not seem to be right, release!
Only this will keep you uninjured! Even if you have to do your lines again for 5 minutes, that should your life be worth to you!

Check your quick release every time before and after you launch your kite. Keep it clean, rinse it with fresh water after your use. Check the function before you launch!

Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:30 pm
by B-rad Lange
Great topic Toby! This can be a resource for all...

Think about the "what if" worse case scenario and do things to prevent that from happening.

Get really good at letting your kite any time...on the fly...(to your leash)

Take lessons from legit schools...
Seven Kiteboarding is now offering a lesson dedicated only to safety: Safety 101. It is designed for all levels of kiters, novice to pro and deals specifically with issues surrounding safety in our sport.

I'm sure all (most) instructors teach some level of safety...maybe we should all teach more...

Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:49 pm
by Kevin Salter
It isn't usually the kite that kills you, it is what is down wind of you , that you get slammed into that does the check whats down wind and don't be in a hurry to try sketchy self launchs, get some one to help in tight onshore conditions, and get a hand onto the water ( someone holding the grab handle on the back of your harness) and walking you to the water or though a carpark etc in gusty difficult conditions.

On shore winds are very deceptive cos on the beach it can seem light, then up goes the kite into the true wind and oops here comes the car park etc.

If you are riding powered up watch whats downwind and don't take risks trying to pose to onlookers by riding close to the beach in shallow water in onshore conditions.

If you get overpowered out on the water plan your landing, it may be safer to land the kite onto the water, or put a wingtip on the water and drag in slowly under control.

If a squall is coming don't try and beat it to shore , go out into clear water and park your butt in the water and put the kite up overhead depowered. The worse that will happen is you might get teabagged a couple of mtrs out of the water, which is a much better option than arriving at the beach as the squall hits and getting dragged through the car park or slammed into a building etc.

If you don't put yourself in a dangerous situation then you wont need to use the QR. Alot of folk freeze like a possum in the headlights when shit happens (its called when flight mechanisms become jammed) so ride safe in the first place and be careful in onshores with high buildings ,sand dunes etc close to the beach cos it effects the wind badly causing a big lull on the beach where the kite launchs from, but as the kite goes up to over head the wind can be way stronger.

Take care out there :thumb:

Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:02 pm
by Bowman
Originally posted under "El Gouna fatality" thread

After a missed unhooked trick my kite ( a GK Trix 2007 12 m2) was lying on the water in parking position (like on the beach). Before to rehook (I was in suicide leash mode) I wanted to let the kite goes on one tip ready to take off. So I swam in the right position pulling on one back line to let the kite take some wind.

For some reason (I think due to the postition of the kite on the water) during this manoeuvre a bridle went on the wrong side of the canopy , the kite took off and the infernal looping machine started. He took me a few seconds to realize what happened and when I realized that I won't be able to stop the looping kite I wanted to release my handle pass leash ( a mystic with a standard spin and red plastic piece) but impossible it was blocked.

I thought about grabbing the cutter in the harness (a firestarter) but impossible to find it because no training on doing this (anyway I tink the leash with the dick rubber would have been really difficult to cut). It was maybe already 200 meters that I was dragged going under water and then being able to breath again. I remember being able to shout to a windsurfer downwind of me to call the rescue boat but frankly I was starting to think that I gonna die...In a last effort I was able to catch the " metal hook " of my leash (attached on the CL) and released everything.

I was wearing no helmet but an impact vest (o'neill) which maybe helped me to stay alive because of a little floatation effect. When the boat bringed me to the beach and I checked the leash it was impossible at first try to release it with two hands. It was completly blocked because of salt and sand and I never tested it since a long time ...It was in Abu Soma,, Egypt, in May 2007, wind was picking up at about 22-24 knots.

Sorry taking so long for my story but you have asked for and when I read the story of this unfortunate guy I realize how lucky I was. Hopefully it could help some other riders to avoid this situation...

Ride carefully and check your security system before each session....


Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:07 am
by Nico
One of the most basic rules that will help you stay out of big trouble is :


What I mean by this is you will always get rapid response to your problems out ther if you are riding with some buddies or other "normal" kiters.
Should you not have anyone to accompany you, let the people ashore know where, when, how long , etc you are going out.


Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:34 am
by bekite
Late 2000
I replaced the depower line with a new one. After 5 minutes of usage it broke, the kite flew gently over the beach, the bar jammed somewhere and the kite started to be crazy and was spilt in different pieces. It was autumn, no bathers around.

I repaired the kite, replaced LE bladder and the line with one bought in the shop who was selling my brand (the cost was very high) and continued to learn and enjoy kitesurfing.

You should buy spare parts from the kite seller because any problem you have he/distributor/producer is responsible. Of course spare parts price should be reasonable, so complain if the price is too high compared to other brands and publish it on forums

Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:36 am
by bekite
Some kiters showed me a quick release they bought at a nautic shop, placed on the spreader bar hook (using a rope) and convinced me to use one because was more reliable.

I did and one day the wind was strong and many small wave 1-1,5m. I did a mistake and the kite felt LE down in the center of window and started to pull. I tried to relaunch but due to the small waves where coming from behind, I started to sink and after few seconds I decided to release but the QR was jammed inside the spreader bar hoock. I did a deep breath, went under water and undressed the seat harness.

Never replace QR system because you cannot test it in all conditions and could be more dangerous. When you are pulled keep legs back and up otherwise you start sinking. Learn to keep yourself relaxed (from time to time swim in waves without kite), it helps to do the best choice when needed. With new bow/sle kites you have less drag and much more easy relaunch.

Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:39 am
by bekite
If you use a board leash, never attach it to the board strap. The board start sinking, the kite pulls and you go under water.
If you use it, the leash should be attached to one of the fin's screw. The leash could be dangerous because when you fall it pulls the board that could crash on your head. Learn to a scholl how to rescue your board when you loose it, it's safer for your head.

Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:40 am
by bekite
Marina delle Rose, Italy, Sardinia, spring 2007

The wind was 35-40 knots and very strong waves. A well known italian kiter started his session (only one other kiter wanted to risk) using a surfboard and made the first error: didn't use a board leash.
After a while he lost the board and tried to reach it not looking at the waves and did the second error: alway look at the waves. A wave hit him and he lost control of the kite who felt down in water turning inside front lines. He unhooked to try to clean lines and relaunch but a second wave crashed on him and he lost the kite. At the third wave he was weak and he thought to die third error: never give up. Fortunatelly the wave set stopped and he had enought time to recover and be prepared for the next set by sinking before the wave was on him.
The kiters at the beach got him out the water and he couldn't see well, maybe he was close to faint.

In big waves always use a leash or when you loose the board don't try to catch it and use the kite pull to exit the shore break. From time to time make some training by swimming in waves without kite and board, or with the board if you use a leash