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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:58 am 
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RichardM wrote:
robertovillate wrote:
I have taught over 500 lessons in a huge variety of conditions. Not once has a student failed to learn how to body drag well enough to retrieve their board. Typically learning this skill takes about 30 minutes out of a 3-4 hour lesson. Occasionally the body drag skill is learned during a first lesson, but more often during the second lesson when we are in the water for 90% of the lesson learning this skill as well as other water-safety related skills.

After all the accidents, all the graphic and disturbing photo's of injuries, all the warnings from witnesses and victims of board leash injury...there are still people out there wanting to use them, most surprisingly INSTRUCTORS using them in lessons!! This will always be one of the great mysteries of kiteboarding + human nature for me.


I sure hope it isn’t a great mystery in my case, since I spent a LOT of time carefully explaining our rationale for using them.

robertovillate wrote:
It seems like the age old rationale is that the leash will "save time", will "make it easier to learn/teach", will "make it safer" by eliminating the risk of losing the board in currents/waves/etc.

I say "Bollocks" to all of that.
...................
You can say what you want, but neither you nor anyone else has disputed the FACT that in many novice lessons, a leash can save a SIGNIFICANT amount of time and generally does make it EASIER for novices to concentrate on a board lesson.


With all due respect -

I absolutely dispute the fact that it saves time. If a student learns to control the kite well first, and then learns to body drag well...then there is NO ADVANTAGE to the leash - in fact only disadvantage (added risk of injury and more potential for loss of control by having a board dragging behind them). So, yes it is still a mystery to me no matter who the instructor is and how much time or how carefully they choose to justify incorporating a leash into a lesson.

Furthermore I would never knowingly increase risk to my student in the interest of saving a few minutes or even a few hours. Therefore I absolutely dispute that point on the basis that most of my students get up and ride in the second lesson...and quite frankly that is quickly enough. I am not sure I would want them up and riding any faster...without being forced to go thru the preparatory steps and processes that need to happen, which gives them a better "picture" of safety, their response to various situations, and understanding other cumulative dynamics of the lesson.

I DO NOT dispute the fact that there have been a lot of very serious injuries that are directly a result of using a leash. I do not think ANYONE can dispute that.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:43 am 
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We don't need no stinkin' weak links! :nono:

The Houdini kitesurfing board leash is guaranteed NOT to break! This baby will snatch your leg off before it breaks- guaranteed!

Image
Order now and we'll include a Master Padlock at no extra charge!
www.kiteboardingtampabay.com


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:12 am 
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robertovillate wrote:
RichardM wrote:
robertovillate wrote:
I have taught over 500 lessons in a huge variety of conditions. Not once has a student failed to learn how to body drag well enough to retrieve their board. Typically learning this skill takes about 30 minutes out of a 3-4 hour lesson. Occasionally the body drag skill is learned during a first lesson, but more often during the second lesson when we are in the water for 90% of the lesson learning this skill as well as other water-safety related skills.

After all the accidents, all the graphic and disturbing photo's of injuries, all the warnings from witnesses and victims of board leash injury...there are still people out there wanting to use them, most surprisingly INSTRUCTORS using them in lessons!! This will always be one of the great mysteries of kiteboarding + human nature for me.


I sure hope it isn’t a great mystery in my case, since I spent a LOT of time carefully explaining our rationale for using them.

robertovillate wrote:
It seems like the age old rationale is that the leash will "save time", will "make it easier to learn/teach", will "make it safer" by eliminating the risk of losing the board in currents/waves/etc.

I say "Bollocks" to all of that.
...................
You can say what you want, but neither you nor anyone else has disputed the FACT that in many novice lessons, a leash can save a SIGNIFICANT amount of time and generally does make it EASIER for novices to concentrate on a board lesson.


With all due respect -

I absolutely dispute the fact that it saves time. If a student learns to control the kite well first, and then learns to body drag well...then there is NO ADVANTAGE to the leash - in fact only disadvantage (added risk of injury and more potential for loss of control by having a board dragging behind them). So, yes it is still a mystery to me no matter who the instructor is and how much time or how carefully they choose to justify incorporating a leash into a lesson.

Furthermore I would never knowingly increase risk to my student in the interest of saving a few minutes or even a few hours. Therefore I absolutely dispute that point on the basis that most of my students get up and ride in the second lesson...and quite frankly that is quickly enough. I am not sure I would want them up and riding any faster...without being forced to go thru the preparatory steps and processes that need to happen, which gives them a better "picture" of safety, their response to various situations, and understanding other cumulative dynamics of the lesson.

I DO NOT dispute the fact that there have been a lot of very serious injuries that are directly a result of using a leash. I do not think ANYONE can dispute that.


You are fortunate that your technique, location and clientele produces novices skillful enough at board retrieval such that using a leash for their initial board lesson would not save a significant amount of time. Perhaps that is part of the reason why you (and assumedly your clients) seem to be much less concerned about maximizing efficient use of lesson time.

Although you wouldn't consider increasing their risk of injury to save time, I'm curious as to whether there are any reasonable situations where you would consider it beneficial to noticeably but not excessively increase their risk.

As to being able to dispute that ".... there have been a lot of very serious injuries that are directly a result of using a leash.", anyone as obnoxious as me can usually find a way to dispute ANYTHING and in this case I would point out that the following phrases are undefined and therefore too vague to have reasonable meaning: "a lot"; "very serious injuries"; "that are directly a result of [ALLEGEDLY] using a leash".

For example, to try to put your statement in a more definitive context, would you say that there are "a lot" compared to other situations such as not wearing a helmet or that the average injury is "very serious" compared to those allegedly caused by the lack of a helmet ?

Also what if a large percentage of the alleged leash accidents were either completely preventable or their "seriousness" substantially reducible by taking various reasonable precautions? Would this affect the accuracy of your statement?

Lastly, I ALWAYS wear a helmet when I kite, DO YOU ?

And in this vein, it might be interesting if posters mention whether they: 1. Always wear a helmet. 2. Sometimes wear a helmet. 3. Never wear a helmet. Since not wearing a helmet substantially multiplies the risk associated with leash use, it's possible that there is a correlation between PERCEIVED amount of danger and helmet use or non-use.

Richard M.
Malibu Kitesurfing - since 2002
(310) - 430 - KITE (5483)
http://www.MalibuKitesurfing.NET
kfRichard@MalibuKitesurfing.NET


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:59 pm 
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C',mon RIchardM....Suggesting I am wasting my customers time by avoiding the use of a leash....pllllease.??? I'm not going to waste my time splitting hairs with you about this, arguing semantics/defining this word or that word, getting hoovered by a an intern and saying "I never had sex with that woman", whatever..

As I said before:
robertovillate wrote:
I am all for innovation and safety advancement in gear....but Sometimes after trying to articulate my feelings about leashes I stop and think - "why am I even discussing this?" It's so simple (and more safe) to ride without one for 99% of kiters in 99% of situations. Seriously. :roll:


RichardM, there is currently no law against using a leash, and there is no law about wearing a helmet (I rarely wear one now but used to wear one all the time fyi), so you are free to make your own decisions about these things. Hopefully our sport can evolve without requiring such mandates. This is not personal and none of my comments are directed at you as a "cheap shot". I do not doubt your abilities as an instructor...but the board leash does concern me. For the most part I have made my position clear about the subject and there is no more reason for me to waste my time, nor the time of others, by quoting quotes upon quotes and rephrasing any of my previous comments.

To Toby: It would be interesting to have a poll about this. The following are some questions I would propose. Maybe someone else can format the questions and order of questions better than I can.

1. Did you use a leash during lessons?
- if yes, do you think it saved significant time?
- if yes, would you continue to use a leash now?
- if no, do you wish you had used a leash during lessons?
- if no, do you think the instructor wasted time without a leash?

2. What is your opinion on the general safety of leashes? rate from 1 to 10
1= very safe.....10 = very unsafe

3. Have you ever used a leash?
If yes, have you ever experienced injury or possible injury?

4. Do you think lessons should be taught with board leashes? yes or no

5. Does the concept of a leash with a fusible link appeal to you
- would you purchase and use it on a regular basis?
- use on an occasional basis?

6. Do you ever want to use a leash when you are riding?

moving on....
The original subject of this thread involves a lot of things that happened during the accident. I do not think those other factors should be overshadowed by the leash issue alone. Perhaps the leash discussion should move to a separate thread if people want to carry on with it (?). Although the other issues involved seem to have been thrashed around quite a bit as well, I feel that they are still important issues and hopefully they can be discussed constructively.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:09 pm 
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I used a helmet when learning and a leash. One time the board hit me in the forehead below the helmet (of course) and just above the eye. I don't use either now.

Maybe I should wear a helmet but its no substitute for good judgement. A leash- never.
That said I make no judgement on what others do or wear unless it endangers others- as in this OP.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:24 pm 
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Thats a quality post on a serious subject Roberto.

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:06 pm 
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robertovillate wrote:
tomatkins wrote:
robertovillate wrote:

As far as the "new-improved-board leash"...all this has been discussed for years...some sort of "fusible" link just does not work.


Finally, we are getting down to some details. What varieties of "fusible links" are you familiar with, and what has been your personal experience, or first-hand accounts from other's experience, with such "fusible links"?

In what specific ways have those particular links not worked?

This very valuable factual information may be the first step toward designing a "fusible link" that will work.

Thanks in advance for the information.


...Back when I was a naive novice I actually used a Reel Leash (around 2001 - 02)...

...The problem with the idea of a "fusible" link is that it will either be too strong for one particular situation and too weak for another (even on the same day within a few moments of time)....

...I had my board pull me underwater once in sea-anchor scenario (I had to cut the leash)....

...The board does not have to load very much to recoil under some circumstances, and a "sea-anchoring" board does not need that much load to skull itself underwater...

.... Also, if a board comes off your feet in a wave condition the leash may not be loaded much at all as the wave launches it toward you. ...

...There is no way that you could adjust the tension "on the fly" in a dire situation....


Roberto,

Thanks for responding to my questions.

Sorry to chop up your comments. I don't mean to take them out of context, and only do so to make it easier to respond to some of the points, you very competently make.

It looks like some of your past problems and concerns could be resolved through technology and leash design changes.

For background, I also used a reel leash in 2002, when I learned to kite... I think most of us did, whether we took lessons or not. Those, who took lessons, were "taught" how to use a leash, during their second lesson, after they did the downwind "teabagging" lesson. They were sent out on the water, to practice dragging their board behind them on a 'downwind-teabagging-kit -figure-eighting' run. We learned a lot about using a leash during that "lesson".. such things as what happens when you roll around and get the leash wrapped around your torso and legs... the board springing back and "bumping" you ... the hassle of trying to untangle the leash, after you did the 360 degree spin, in the water, with the bar overhead, to uncross the 4 (or maybe even 2) kite lines. That was lots of fun, wasn't it? Some of us never used a leash again, and just bought a set of "boots".

I would comment that a "fulible link" should always be designed to err on the "too weak" side. I think that it is possible to design an automatic force-triggered release mechanism, which could be adjusted "on the fly", but that doing so would not be very valuable, except at times when the kiter wanted to totally disable the auto-release mechanism. It would be a simple matter of moving the "trigger string" to a more slack position, as I can illustrate, if anyone is really interested in this design concept (just ask).

If the "fusible link" is designed to release at the "too weak" force, then, the kiter will occasionally have to "drag for the board", but the kiter may not have to use up most of his strength, and expose himself to the other possible hazzards in the water, for an excessive period of time, during his session on the water.

As far as dealing with a board that is "sea-anchoring", "tombstoning" or "fish-luring", the answer is simple, and would have saved you a lot of trouble, during the incident where you had to use a knife to cut through the leash. The answer to the problem is... just place a "push-away" safety releash on both the connection of the leash to your spreader bar, and also at the connection to the board. Here is a picture showing an example of this on a short board leash. You can see that the leash is attached to the very end of the board to help minimize the likely of "sea-anchoring", but in reality, the board will still dig down into the water, so I don't think that this connection point will completely solve the problem. However, maybe a "egg-shaped" foam float, located at this end of the leash might help. Lots of room for discussion and ideas here!... Maybe a "surface-planing-foil" device could be used to encourage the board to climb to the surface.

Also, it sounds like you are mainly referring to the use of a board leash on a "surfboard" and not a "twin-tip" board, although a lot of what you discussed pertains to both. A surfboard can really build up a "head of steam" while it careens down a wave face... whether it is on a leash or not... but I would make the point, that, at least, when it is on a leash, the surfer will have a good idea of which direction the board is likely to come at him from, and can get into a defensive stance, with his hand in front of his face, in that predetermined direction.

Anyways, thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions. If I have misrepresented you in any way, I apologise in advance, and welcome your corrections.

Here is a picture, showing the "guts" of the bungee tensioned automatice release device, which shows the "trigger string". This device is calibrated for 70 pounds of force, and in the past 2 years, has functioned flawlessly, first, through my testing program and later through the "beta" testing of my buddy, a beginner "test crash dummy", who liked the device, and the fact that he only had to drag for his board about one out of ten "crashes".

I would think that, if an instructor wanted to use any kind of a leash, during the instruction period, that this kind of a leash, would be a better choice than any of the leashes on the market, today. The main problem is that he would have to make such a leash, himself.


Attachments:
auto-release construction.jpg
auto-release construction.jpg [ 125.63 KIB | Viewed 623 times ]
Releash plus float.JPG
Releash plus float.JPG [ 120.26 KIB | Viewed 623 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:46 pm 
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@Robertovillate, excellent post, very clear. I think you're correct in going about teaching minus the board leash and
demanding students learn body dragging before throwing the board into the mix... for all the reasons you said. IMO it's a prerequisite skill, pure and simple, with no downside and all up side.

Put aside the notion of getting on the board in a single lesson. I would think a school could stand to profit more by adapting mandatory deep water body dragging and at the same time keep a student safer. It just makes sense.

I would even add body dragging with the board as well prior to a board lesson. That was a good subject in another thread earlier this year.

Beaufort 5/6... was even in the forecast, NOT unexpected... unbelievable. Sorry... but I can't get over it.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:03 pm 
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@ tomatkins:

In no way do I want to discourage you from being creative and inventive. I actually had tried a setup very similar to your bungie+QR system shown in the upper photo. To be honest, it was an improvement to have the QR just in case the board "skulled" or became lodged on something (a log, a rock, kite lines, etc.) but I came to my own conclusions and abandoned the leash altogether. The QR device I used at the time was based on "pin" style QR and maybe not as sophisticated in design as more recent QR hardware, but it worked.

This experiment of mine took place before I began teaching. As for adding the board leash w/QR to lessons...I'd prefer not to introduce another QR into the mix. I've actually seen panicked novices trying to QR their kite leash when they should have been QR-ing their CLoop. From my observation the simpler you can keep it the better. When the shit hits the fan people often do not react quickly enough to the proper protocols.

To clarify, I am actually more concerned about impact from a TT than a surfboard. The TT's have sharper edges and tend to "load" the leash more than a surfboard does. Since the surfboards edges are generally more rounded I would much rather be bashed by the surfboard, although the fins can be scary as well. TT fins are sharp too, but not as pointy. In waves a TT can get swallowed into the water and then fly back out in any direction with a lot of force. Surfboards tend to pop up into the air when engulfed by water. So, I'm basically saying that I DO NOT like a leash on either a type of board.

@frankm...enjoy the wind!...
and yes body dragging with a board is a very useful skill for people needing to get through some minor shorebreak or being required to only waterstart outside of a swim area, etc. Plus this also helps teaches the student how to manipulate the board to their advantage in general.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:02 pm 
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Wow, 26 pages later and no one has asked the question: "What kind of a leash was involved in the accidental death, and in what way did it foul the quick release?"


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