Lt. Jim McCrady of the USLA and Ft. Lauderdale Ocean Rescue asked us to make a presentation on kiteboarder rescue considerations to candidates enrolled in the United States Livesaving Association (USLA) training course being held at the Breakers Resort on Palm Beach in December 2013. I was helped in putting on this presentation by Luke Svanberg and Philip Muller of Adventure Sports Ft. Lauderdale. ASFtL is a very well equipped watersports shop in Ft. Lauderdale. Adventure Sports has been committed to community and kiting events for over ten years in South Florida. They had a large turnout for the Academy including lifeguards traveling from all over as was the case last year when we gave a kiting orientation presentation on 12/12/12.
There were lifeguards in from all over!
The following summarizes some of what was conveyed in the session but certainly not all. Ocean Rescue is a hazardous business goes without saying not only for the folks in need but also for the lifeguards. Thorough training, skill development, conditioning and regular practice are key in helping to assure rescues go as we would like them to. Kiter rescues are no different and shouldn't be casually undertaken without proper training in rescue along with a thorough kiteboarding orientation to reduce the odds of problems for the one being rescued or the rescuer. The following information is provided to professional lifeguards for discussion and in no way replaces proper training in these procedures. It is strongly recommended that an actual hands on orientation be arranged with competent kiting experts to convey these skills.
The class was held at the Breakers Resort on Palm Beach. What a great five star venue for a course like this!
I updated a similar Powerpoint presentation that Gio Serrano of Safety & Rescue Training, LLC (and Ft. Lauderdale Ocean Rescue) prepared and Neil Hutchenson formerly of Tiki Beach and I put on at a USLA National Conference in Cocoa Beach, FL in 2008. So we had a good base to work with. It was presented again at last year's USLA event at the Breakers and again this year on the beach. Previously, the orientation involved a detailed powerpoint presentation in a classroom setting followed by hands on exercises on the beach. This time it worked out to where no Powerpoint presentation was given but related concepts were discussed on the beach followed by practical exercises.
Kiteboarder rescues can be complicated by a kite which can exert high force through wind, wave and current effects, four 100 ft. sections of high strength line pulling the kiter or drifting around, submerged to tangle and possibly cut, further impacted by a potentially impaired or unresponsive kiteboarder, bystanders and still other factors.
I got in touch with Luke Svanberg, manager of Adventure Sports Ft. Lauderdale about putting on the current presentation. Luke graciously agreed to help out putting on the practical beach exercises with help from Philip Muller also from Adventure Sports dealing with kite landing, QR activation, dealing with an non-responsive kiter still attached to the kite, hands on kite flying and other considerations. Luke has done similar kiting orientation work with lifeguards in Long Island and Puerto Rico. The lifeguards were training at Boynton Beach Inlet so that is where we met them to present the kiting orientation.
Releasing an impaired kiter
Hands on experience with assisted kite landings
We had fun jumping off the bridge at one point into a ripping offshore current.
Continued with more specifics and references HERE