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What the hell, kitemare.

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oceanplay
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What the hell, kitemare.

Postby oceanplay » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:06 am

So there are three of us having a blast in the waves doing a down winder, we started in pompano and are going to Deerfield. Just as we are getting to opal towers the rain starts coming in strong, the waves smooth out some, I get a big grin and keep riding, now this would have been the time to get out of the water but the kite buzz took over and on we went, now at trespass, it’s the worst spot on the whole down winder other than the pier to have shit go wrong but nice waves to be had. I see my other two kite bros in the danger zone having some tasty waves. Just then I turn my head and see it. It is one nasty squall of death a white out! I jib the board and head off shore, the whole time I think my bros are dead in the worst place at the worst time! All the time I’m hooked up and trying to get as far from the rocks and sea wall as I can before it hits me. Then it hit, Bag I’m going mark one and blown off my board from the wind and rain, F#$%H I said to my self keep your head, keep your head, I’m thinking pull the safety pull the safety, F&*^king bow kite if I do my leash is on the chicken safety then I have to ditch the whole rig! So every thing now is in slow motion, I’m thinking get the leash to the oh shit handle, all the time the kite is depowered all the way and bar out and me being violently dragged around. I get it to the oh shit handle, I have the kite just off the water and in control with me heading to sea, so I hold on and am going for the ride! It’s a total white out and I just keep telling myself, keep control, keep control, it’s going to be over, it will be over.
Just then when things can't get much worse other than death it happens, the kite starts going from the NE to the E to the SE, then I think wholly shit it’s flying out of the wind window and will be blown right at me, with my hand on the release the whole time or most of any way, the kite keeps blowing around the window with the wind doing a clock wise rotation, three times I went around that I known of, could have been more. I was scared shitless and had all my thoughts and energy focused on keeping that kite low and in control, and me in the water. In the long run all things went well and am lucky to be alive.
The other two kiters had 5th lines and went to them, and all made it safe.

So I ask what the hell was that, was it a waterspout, some kind of vortex/micro burst they had a tornado warning out?

Anyone have this happen to them?

Oh yea don’t be a dumb ass like me, don’t kite with squalls and tornado warnings!!!

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RickI
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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby RickI » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:11 am

What time did this happen at? I didn't quite follow what happened to the wind, could you break it down for me again.

There was a mega-nasty squall line that moved through that area in late afternoon today. Bright red, fat and looking like severe trouble on radar. A version of the radar image appears below, after it had moved over your area. This stuff was moving north very fast. Planes wouldn't take off in it, not even jumbo jets, of course having something like a parachute up the size of a car in it is ok? I was wondering if it would clear in time for me to go out after work off Palm Beach County. It did fortunately. If you kited through that you may wish to hang on a bit harder to your remaining "lives" in the future.

I'm guessing it may have happened around 4 pm, if this was the same system you guys dealt with. It spiked winds up to around 38 mph in Dania around 3:30 pm and the same (38 kts.) in Delray at around 4:30 pm moving from the south. Both were fairly mild as our squalls go, as they can easily double that wind speed, or more. You never know before you are in them after all. I was waiting for this stuff to pass north in Delray. Bet is looked like your own personal cloud from hell, dark and nasty. Liked your concluding point, the voice of truth taken from hard experience in a fairly light squall by local standards.


Just found the marine forecast for the area from yesterday, Feb. 12, 2008. Tornados and gusts to gale force in severe storms, good kiting weather? "Suicide is contagious?" Hope not.

SYNOPSIS FOR JUPITER INLET TO OCEAN REEF OUT TO 60 NM AND FOR EAST
CAPE SABLE TO BONITA BEACH OUT TO 60 NM-
342 PM EST TUE FEB 12 2008

.SYNOPSIS...
A WARM FRONT WILL MOVE ACROSS THE AREA THIS THIS EVENING. A COLD
FRONT WILL MOVE ACROSS THE REGION ON WEDNESDAY WITH HIGH PRESSURE
ONCE AGAIN BUILDING NORTH OF THE AREA ON THURSDAY. STRONG TO
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS COULD IMPACT THE LOCAL WATERS THIS EVENING THROUGH
WEDNESDAY.

COASTAL WATERS FROM JUPITER INLET TO DEERFIELD BEACH, FL OUT 20 NM-
342 PM EST TUE FEB 12 2008

...TORNADO WATCH 53 IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM EST THIS EVENING...
...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING...

.TONIGHT...SOUTH WINDS 20 TO 25 KNOTS WITH GUSTS TO NEAR GALE FORCE.
NEAR SHORE...SEAS 6 TO 8 FEET SUBSIDING TO 4 TO 6 FEET AFTER
MIDNIGHT. WELL OFFSHORE...SEAS 6 TO 8 FEET. INTRACOASTAL WATERS A
MODERATE CHOP. WINDS HIGHER AND SEAS ROUGHER IN SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS.
Attachments
35551700.jpg
A view south from West Palm Beach across the port likely showing the north end of the squall line that appears in the radar image below.
35551700.jpg (26.47 KiB) Viewed 1837 times
20080212213034_738084_HiWindSpeedHistory.gif
The wind speed in Delray
20080212213034_738084_HiWindSpeedHistory.gif (11.01 KiB) Viewed 2903 times
newgraph.gif
The windgraph from Dania to the south
newgraph.gif (17.8 KiB) Viewed 2904 times
Radar.jpg
Radar at around 4 pm, with the squall line rushing northward out of Palm Beach County.
Radar.jpg (383.93 KiB) Viewed 2905 times
Last edited by RickI on Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:33 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Toby
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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby Toby » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:33 am

thx for sharing teh story.

Always good to read the experience of someone else...will be a warning for many others.

Good to read you and your buddies made it! :thumb:

Any idea how strong the wind got and what is your weight and kite size?

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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby noel » Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:21 am

Down here in the keys it blew @ 25-35 mph all day. What a great day. Between 1:00 and 2:00pm, a squall came in. We could see it coming and everyone but 1 person got off the water. As the storm approached, the wind got stronger until the 1 person on a 7m Best Bularoo got tea-bagged and forced in. @ 5 minutes after landing his kite the wind spiked upwards of 50 mph. Everyone was on top of there kites trying to hold them down. Glad we were not on the water.

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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby RickI » Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:45 am

Hey Noel,

Could have been related to the squall line that moved through here a few hours later on. Although it looked a bit less threatening in the radar image from around 1 pm shown below. Pays to avoid these like the plague. Glad you guys weren't caught out in it.
Attachments
newgraph2.gif
Upper Matacumbe
newgraph2.gif (26.98 KiB) Viewed 2793 times
20080212_185729_black.jpg
X marks the spot, around Islamorada
20080212_185729_black.jpg (384.26 KiB) Viewed 2792 times
Last edited by RickI on Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ryansurf1
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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby ryansurf1 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:14 am

yeah Lloyd ya big sissy.....it only blew 40+.

i can relate...not being on the water, but just off the water, as about 4 of us scramble on the beach landing kites. the wind ramped up to over 50 for several minutes. everybody was just slack jawed laying on kites looking at each other like holy shit in knee deep blown sand.

how long did it last? You say the wind clocked 360 several times and your kite followed?

Glad you managed it. our instinct is to manage it, which is a problem. I would have say 'bye kite'...i think....

who where you kiting w/?

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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby Tommyboy » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:40 am

Hey Ryan

think you guys will have any wind left for the weekend? Ill be down on sat for a few days hopin' to ride with the palm beach crew.
hope the season is as good as it was last year 8)


T

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tautologies
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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby tautologies » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:12 am

Good to hear you were okay. Squalls like that can be very scary for sure. We have spots that has pretty crazy. wind...Wind changing direction, going off shore, sometimes being super squally so I am not entirely unfamiliar with what you are talking about although your situation sounds pretty extreme...I think the it is scary when you jump, and the wind changes direction on you while in the air...especially since there about a foot of water then reef.

Anyhow, I noted you saying that the other riders were on 5 line kites and therefore just released their kite and therefore were safe.
I have three points here that I am thinking of.
1. makes me think about what would happen only a few years ago when kites had a way smaller wind range. C-kites were crazy in winds like that...but you could still release them.
2. Flat kites bow / SLE should be releasable like that too. I've ready about kites doing crazy loops upon release. I don't think that is acceptable.
3. If not released flat(ter) kites has bigger wind range, but needs a little technique riding in winds like that. I found two ways to ride out nuclear squalls. One is to put the kite in the water on its side, which I don't really like..the second is to ride it like you did, but always remember to keep some tension on the backlines. Of course different kites does react different to different conditions and I have my latest experience on the shockwaves and helix which seem to handle it quite well.

I also basically think that in many case looking at wind charts in squalls will many times only ba a weak indication as small local circumstances are wildly different in terms of strength and behavior, and most charts are averages over a time period. Maybe you were caught in something that was a lot lighter only a few hundred feet away..even in the same squall. There is no way to know though. :-)
I posted a post a few weeks ago about how to ride through crazy squalls, (where the squall hit so hard it ripped the bar out of my hands)...and think there were some good suggestions there. :-) I really think that we absolutely have to think through what we are going to do in a situation like that BEFORE it happens. What about if you had not been as experienced as you are? It probably could have gone way worse than it actually did.

Anyhow good to hear it went well...
A.

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RickI
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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby RickI » Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:37 pm

Alex makes some really good points well worth looking at, thinking over and talking about. Regarding 5th lines saving the bacon in extreme winds, I am aware of a number of exceptions including a couple of fatalities. "What do you do if you drive off a cliff?" Avoid it in the first place. We need to work to avoid the crisis, don't drop yourself into the middle of squall and try to sort things out. The outcome is always uncertain.

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RickI
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Re: What the hell, kitemare.

Postby RickI » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:00 pm

Oceanplay called and filled in some more details. We owe him special thanks for posting his experiences on here. Nothing like a real life example to sharpen the critical importance of something in people's minds.

The incident happened between 3:30 and 4 pm. He was on a 10 m flat kite. The wind had risen, flattened out the waves somewhat has they rode north on the downwinder in strong SSE winds. Suddenly he saw a white wall rushing towards him from the south and it was on him before he knew it. Visibility plummeted to where he could barely see his kite 25 yards away, the wind roared like a freight train and his kite spun crazily with explosive changes in wind direction. He was holding the bar out and panic at bay, thinking mechanically about what he needed to do. He wasn't lofted but was expecting to be as he was dragged around. He guessed the squall was on him for about five minutes but it could have been less you lose sense of time in such cases.

Image
From: http://www.weathermichigan.com

I think he saw the approaching gust front of a supercell storm cloud. It was blasting ocean spray (almost like oceanplay, funny?) up into a wall before the rapidly advancing squall. He mentioned the radical wind direction changes.

Such changes could shower a kiter with falling line, allow the kite to relaunch and get cheese sliced, dragged/lofted into whatever without anyway to depower or simply be drowned as has sadly happened in the recent past in tragic fatal accidents in Spain, Hungary and the Ukraine. You can't know in advance what will happen in a squall.

In looking at real time wind graphs these direction changes are a give away of squall activity such as shown below:

Image

You look for these conditions upweather and work hard to AVOID THEM.

Image
Pretend all that dust is actually water. Do you really want to try to ride through one of these with a kite up?
From: http://skydiary.com/gallery/chase2001/chase2001f.html

Lastly, squalls occur WORLDWIDE. Kiters have been killed and injured in squalls/storms in many sections of the USA, Europe, Asia, Oceania, etc.. This is far from a Florida problem. Weather planning and monitoring make good sense. More about this in the first several posts at: viewforum.php?f=131 , in particular viewtopic.php?f=131&t=2323430

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
Last edited by RickI on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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