All these incident happened just in the past few month and I have many other witnesses I’d like describe so everybody can see how careless people are about this new sport in Miami for the records.
Saturday, at my local spot in Matheson Hammock Park the conditions were 12 gusting to 18 mph winds onshore from the N.E. Two beginners showed up with a Black Tip 12.2 Cabrinha, my friend Tim informed them of the “Flying Rules”. Beginners in all cases must walk out far away from the shore to stay, and keep others safe. They mentioned being informed of out site as being one of the best places to learn. Warnings given by a friend who is very active helping people. Here I just call him “Enforcer” were not seriously taken since Enforcer had to go and let them know again of the rules out there since they were flying the kite too close to the shore. This time Enforcer was a bit more aggressive.
I was out for a while, decided to come in and came in then Enforcer went out. Enforcer came in, left his kite on the grass deflated flat out ready to roll it up while he was responding to questions from a couple of visitors on how to get started. He pointed out how people can get in trouble when they ignore the conditions and rules. Suddenly I looked up and saw one of the young muscular beginner, without a life vest, or helmet being dragged through the rocks. His shorts were ripped off from his body, and then went through Enforcer’s kite ripping it in multiple places. He continued to fly naked over cars and parking lot while the kite stayed in the power zone traveling and spiraling at high rates of speed. First the guy landed between two cars and than lofting again, and smashing into a van leaving a big dent. This process was repeated again smashing into two other cars.
Finally Enforcer, the visitor, and a third guy caught up with him holding him down while Enforcer unhooked him from the harness. Unfortunately, he was hooked into the permanent loop and could not let the bar go without using any means of Quick release system. After releasing the kite finally landed on a tree by the restaurant. The visitor received a 6” long deep cut across his leg; his jeans were also ripped of course. We don’t know how, but we do guess it was the control bar after being released.
The poor guy was lying face down on the ground while we told him not to move while we placed a call to a 911 operator. He was conscious but bleeding a lot from multiple places, and a lot of bruising.
By the way, loosing my shorts and harness is something that I’m very familiar with. At that time I was still learning and using a board-leash which was hooked into my harness. It was a low tide day, and very gusty SE. As soon as I launched the kite, the wind picked up lifting me up 12’ and flying through the air while the board was anchored to the muck. People on the shore of course whistling for the show. Now you could understand how I lost my shorts, and harness. After that, I decided not to wear a board leash ever again, and also have a snap shackle for quick release so I am hooked into the chicken loop to de-power the kite while launching.
There was another incident I witnessed about a month ago. Conditions were 12 to 14 mph N.E. onshore.
A beginner who from up north claiming to take lessons in Miami, said he knew how to launch a kite. After explaining step by step on how to do this, I asked to help me launch my kite since nobody else was around. As I was entering the water, I could tell he was having problems handling my kite. Suddenly he let it go before I was ready and the kite flew into the No Parking sign leaving 6” cut on fabric.
On top of all that, right after the incident a girl was out flying a 9.2 Cabrinha got dragged towards the shore and crashed the kite almost knocking my head off. The kite launched again and dangerously now near the shore being dragged again while I was yelling for her to let the bar go. Finally, she ended at the edge by the shore with the kite landing on the parking lot.
After this and very unlucky day, I spoke with both girls and made them aware of the danger in learning in this types condition without any help from someone that knows what they are doing. The girl who was flying mentioned she already took 4 hrs lessons on water from a well-known teacher. Luckily she was ok!
Let me mention the most unbelievable case about 2 month ago. An older guy came with his wife and trying to “rig-up” the kite for about 2hrs. Finally his wife helped to launch the kite in about 10 mph wind and the kite landed on a tree. Several of us helped to take it down and finding out that the L.E. was only half way blown up and 2 lines (front and back) were mixed up on one end. We helped him to re-launch to fly the kite while his wife was mentioning this is the last time helping with a kite. She was laughing and bragging about the husband that he is a pilot and already crashed 2 airplanes. First time ran out of gasoline and second time forgot to bring the landing gear down.
Let’s not forget my friend “pinky”. Well, not exactly his name but it does come to mind every once in a while. About 5 month ago walking out of the water and holding his kite in hand, he made the mistake to leave lines over the kite, and too close to hand and fingers. Another kiter out of control lifted upwind of him and being dragged ran into him, ripping his kite right of the hand and only to find out that he was now missing the end portion of the right pinky finger. He is now ok and flying. This is one mistake that could have been avoided by maybe both kiters.
I hope this is a lesson for all beginners and even teachers to learn from.
Any comments are welcome. How to avoid serious injuries, police the area, and enforcing the Rules of Flying which is very important in order to be alive and to fly at our Park.
Last edited by DrLightWind
on Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.