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Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

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Toby
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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby Toby » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:05 pm

If you see a kite looping or going down keep an eye on it ... And if you don't see the kite go up again always check if the kiter is ok. Don't wait too long though.

That's how I always do it. Always ready and willing to help. No matter where I am and if I know anyone or not.

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby dksurfer » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:10 pm

I have helped so many people in the past and when I have been in trouble my buddies have be able to lend a hand. It is sad to see you were not able to get any help. Hope kiters keep a positive attitude towards helping each other, especially in situations like this. Glad to hear you came out of it ok, at least in the physical aspect of it.

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby plummet » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:46 pm

Hmmmm the stuff of nightmares. I think Gunnar is potentially wrong in one regard. I doubt anyone saw his crash or noticed that he was down. It's probably more of an issue on a very crowded beach. Unless you are openly looking for down kites to check and then watch the downed kite for a period of minutes will you ever notice that someone is in trouble. On a busy beach there are often downed kites. Some people take a while to self-rescue and are completely safe. Add hydrofoiling distances to this and it makes it even less likely that you have been seen. Gunnar mentions others were several hundred meters away. This is a long way to accidentally notice someone. Most kiters mow back in forth in their little bubble and hardly notice things within their own line lengths. Is this the way it should be? no. But it is what it is.

We need to accept that we will not get help from others in the worst case scenario and plan for that. Hydrofoiling compounds the issue as you are typically hundreds of meters away from shore and others as you can travel vast distances in short amount of time. We need to consider ourselves the same as a boat and carry locating devices if we are going out further than we can swim injured. It is not up to others random people to save you. I think this is the hard nearly deadly lesson that Gunnar has just learned.

What is the solution? Epirb? flares? 2 way radio set to maritime channel, cell ph in a waterproof case? Have a safety plan for someone to look for him if he did not arrive at the back at the beach by a certain time? Had he had any of these devices he could have invoked his own rescue.


PS I 100% agree that if you see someone down you should check them out. But you need to plan for your own safety and not rely on random others. If you die due to lack of helmet or signaling device because you are unprepired it is your fault for not being prepared enough for the conditions and the activity at hand. I hope Gunnar learns this lesson and is more prepared in the future to not be left in this position again.

PSS I put myself in this unprepared status. I do not have any of the safety devices i mention. I need to invest in one or several as i am often critical distances out to sea or well away from the crowd locally. I need to sort my own shit out before I get into the Gunnar position. Its not matter of if its a matter of when......

So thank you Gunnar for the reminder. I will reinvigorate my search for a suitable eprib type safety devices.

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby Barryg101 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:47 pm

Glad to see you got rescued in the end ,
I always keep an eye on other kiters even if it’s just something small like helping them retrieve their board.

Sends out a positive message and encourages fellow kiters to watch out for eachother . I’d definatley be kiting closer than 500m to the shore though especially if I’m not too familiar with the spot and let some people know when I’m out for a session and to keep an eye out for me . Never hurts to have that extra security.


Great idea to post the video and keep the community aware what can happen , hopefully some more awareness on the water will come of it .

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby rynhardt » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:33 pm

Very sobering message, Gunnar.

One thing I can attest to, is that it is tremendously hard to spot a person in the water when there is any kind of swell or chop. 50m away is enough to render you invisible, even if you are waving. A few hundred metres away, my guess is nobody could see you.

I've been on the rescue boat at Langebaan twice in the last few years. The last time was this past December. On the way back to the beach one of the kite schools radioed in for the boat to pick up a student. Even with them relaying the guy's location (he could see the boat and had a helmet radio) we didn't spot him until we were about 50m away. And that was from a boat, actively looking.

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby andylc » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:35 pm

Interesting post and great that you both didn’t get injured, and got rescued. I would have 2 questions though:
1) did you speak with people on the beach afterwards? Shame on anybody who saw you and didn’t do anything, but did you ascertain if anyone actually saw you? It sounds like you were a way out, so once your kite was down and damaged you would not have been very visible.
2) Were you kiting in offshore wind? If so, do you not have a duty (to yourself) to have a rescue plan in place such as a boat service that is responsible to look out for you? I know you were rescued by a boat, but it sounds like this was through luck / thoughtfulness rather than having been arranged by you in advance.

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby Hugh2 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:48 pm

My buddies and I routinely look out for each other, especially anyone less experienced at our local lake in Illinois, or at Cape Hatteras, but what really impressed me when I started kiting in Cape Town ten years ago is the ready help from complete strangers when I had problems, like my center line breaking at Dolphin Beach, or completely losing my kite one time at Kite Beach (stupid mistake), or my kite deflating far out at Big Bay. Each time another kiter checked on me, and twice pulled me into shore. Others recovered my kite. Since I've become more competent and confident, I've returned the favor many times, mostly recovering boards for others, but most recently towing a downed foiler with board and wrapped-up kite back to the beach. So here where most people don't know each other, and in summer most are tourists, there is good support. So I would say nobody saw what happened to Gunnar.

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby SalmonSlayer » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:01 pm

plummet wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:46 pm
Hmmmm the stuff of nightmares. I think Gunnar is potentially wrong in one regard. I doubt anyone saw his crash or noticed that he was down. It's probably more of an issue on a very crowded beach. Unless you are openly looking for down kites to check and then watch the downed kite for a period of minutes will you ever notice that someone is in trouble. On a busy beach there are often downed kites. Some people take a while to self-rescue and are completely safe. Add hydrofoiling distances to this and it makes it even less likely that you have been seen. Gunnar mentions others were several hundred meters away. This is a long way to accidentally notice someone. Most kiters mow back in forth in their little bubble and hardly notice things within their own line lengths. Is this the way it should be? no. But it is what it is.
Expecting people to change within the kite community is a bad bet.

I think Gunnar should take responsibility for his choices that got him into this situation. I regularly kite away from shore and away from others, but it is a situation I put myself in. It does no good to be outraged by the assumed inactions of others. I doubt one person saw Gunnar and purposefully ignored a kiter they thought was in distress. If you chose to go out further than you can swim in, you are putting yourself at risk (I do it often). If you choose to kite away from the crowd you put yourself at a greater risk of not getting assistance from others. I do it all the time. What Gunnar experienced was the downside of taking these risks created by his choices. It has happened to me too. It will eventually happen to most people that make similar choices.
Last edited by SalmonSlayer on Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby jonysan » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:24 pm

Hey Foil,

I like your Ethics.

As you know, it's not a time for blaming someone for their mistake, or bad judgement. it's a time to stand up and be counted, or skulk away.

------------------------

Whether Gunnar was stupid, or unlucky doesn't matter,

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Re: Important Message: I almost died - Gunnar Biniasch

Postby RedSky » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:10 pm

Damn! This brings back memories.
Last edited by RedSky on Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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