Contact   Imprint   Advertising   Guidelines

WAVES & DOWNED KITES

forum for kitesurfers


User avatar
RickI
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 8768
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: SE Florida
Gear: Cabrinha
Brand Affiliation: Cabrinha
Location: Florida

WAVES & DOWNED KITES

Postby RickI » Fri Feb 20, 2004 12:12 am

I just heard about an accident today involving a very experienced kiteboarder. The rider was doing a downwinder with a 20 m LEI kite in lighter winds, roughly 12 mph gusting to 17 mph side to side onshore. There were some 4 to 6 ft. ground swells forming about 300 ft. offshore.

The rider repeatedly tried to relaunch his kite from the water with no success. He then decided to "self-rescue" by winding his lines up on his bar, swimming up to his kite.

A breaking wave caught his kite and moved it towards shore at speed with considerable force. He became tangled in the kite lines with lines snaring his hand and wrapping around his neck. He rapidly tried to free his neck from the lines and eventually succeeded. He was not able to free his hand however. The rider was blown/drifted the approximate 300 ft. to shore with the lines wrapped around and sliced into his hand. The rider reportedly wasn't carrying a hook knife nor was he wearing gloves.

Bystanders responded rapidly once the rider came to the beach and rushed him to the hospital. The kiteboarder has suffered a laceration to the bone around one thumb, tissue loss from other parts of his hand along with vascular and potential nerve damage. Treatment is still ongoing.
Last edited by RickI on Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
RickI
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 8768
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: SE Florida
Gear: Cabrinha
Brand Affiliation: Cabrinha
Location: Florida

Postby RickI » Fri Feb 20, 2004 12:13 am

Wave loading on a kite can be tremendous, far in excess of loads that might ever be realized in wind given the greater specific weight of water when compared to air (800 times greater!). We worry about line cuts in gusty winds, wave loading puts wind loading to shame in terms of shear force when it comes to cutting potential.

Speaking from personal experience it is hard to be certain that you are actually free from entangling lines when your kite is floating on the water. That means you could be tangled and potentially injured by an accidental relaunch or by a wave catching and loading up your kite. The risk of injury goes way up if you are winding up your lines if the kite relaunches with substantial (which normally shouldn’t be possible if you wind up your lines unevenly for at least one wingspan or more at the start) or if it is caught by a wave.

So, what to do?

Specific conditions of your circumstances need to govern your decisions in this of course. The goal is to get your kite and yourself into shore as quickly and safely as possible. Damage to kites in waves is easy to do and line cuts can also happen and potentially be quite severe. As with many other things in kiteboarding, avoidance of ever falling into something like this is best for a reliable outcome. Otherwise things can get a little uncertain and complex depending upon actual conditions. A few ideas for consideration follow.

If it looks like you are going to have your kite caught by waves before you can secure your kite, some guys might elect to hang on to the control bar and drop it at the first sign of it being caught by a wave. Some might even detach their kite leash to avoid loading the kite up as much as possible. If your open kite is caught by a wave it might be torn as many of us have learned the hard way, particularly if you are still attached by the kite leash. Still that beats causing a significant tear in YOU. Also, you need to be fairly confident that the kite won’t auto launch and run off downwind without you once it hits shore. It is important that there not be bystanders in the water between you and the shore in this of course. This is one reason to avoid crowded areas when wave riding.

Normally, it would be best to limit winding your lines up on your bar when you are confident that you can do this before any waves catch your kite. A kite can still impart some significant load in a wave even if the lines are wrapped unevenly. Sailing in by “bailing outâ€

User avatar
sid5150
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 540
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 5:10 pm
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Satellite Beach, FL

Postby sid5150 » Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:18 am

:o OWEE!

I sure hope the gent has a speedy recovery.

If he were wearing a helmet, though, it might have helped him out. (I apologize :D )


In all seriousness though, I have been in the same situation many, many times (Until I started flying foils - They don't hindenburg into the drink). To stay safe, I suggest the following :

* If your wave dives in the break zone & you won't be able to relaunch it, punch out. There's no shame, and you kite will live to see another day.

* Punch out and stay out! If there is no one in the area, let the kite ride in on the leash. The lines are going to be a tangled rats nest, but at least you'll have a working kite and fingers. Winding the lines up in the breakers is WAY too risky (as RickI's story illustrates).

* Try to swim in parallel to the kite (while it is on the leas). This will reduce the liklihood of getting tangled in your own lines.

* If the winds are a bit offshore, and you are WELL out of the breakers, that is the only time that I would try self-rescue.

* If you witness this kind of drama from the beach - Help a brother out!

* If you don't punch out and a wave cathces your kite, kiss it goodbye.


Sid sends

User avatar
gottmoore
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 967
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: my own little world

Postby gottmoore » Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:06 am

Full agreement w Sid!

I guess its the dark side of waves

if you drop it in the impact zone
dont even bother
time for the leash
nothing good has ever come of
me trying to hang on or get a kite up
from there
ripped kites or worse
it all sucks! :cry:

next stop wave kiting triathalon
swim to shore, sprint for equipment, un cluster rock star wig


do everything you can to keep the kite up
keeping a higher than usual kite angle helps too

porkus
Medium Poster
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:27 am

Postby porkus » Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:16 am

one english site i saw suggested carrying somesort of safety blade/knife for this scenario ie to cut the lines
had similar experience being tangled in my lines after line caught arund craypot, luckily wind light, not far off shore, scary but not life threatening

User avatar
RickI
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 8768
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: SE Florida
Gear: Cabrinha
Brand Affiliation: Cabrinha
Location: Florida

Postby RickI » Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:28 am

Another consideration in this might be that Big Kites and Big Waves don't necessarily mix all that well. That is not to say that a smaller kite won't load up substantially in a wave. It is more to do with the lack of ease of relaunching a large kite in marginal winds with powerful waves piling through and higher likelihood of damage to the kite if a wave gets a hold of it. I was reminded of the big kite/big wave thing yesterday.

Your posts about staying away from the lines and just sending your kite off if you are in or near to being in a breaker zone have merit. I have felt that there outta be a law, if they are waves there should be wind! Then again, I don't surf.

Also, it is always a good idea to carry hook knives and wear gloves. You may not be able to cut yourself free if you fall into it, but it is nice to have the option. The gloves help manage excess hand wear in long 6 to 7 hour sessions and aid in line control during solo landings if you are forced to do so.


No worries Sid, I know you were just kidding about helmets. After all ...

Motorcycle helmets haven't been strictly required by law for motorcyclists for almost four years in Florida after thousands of bikers fought for years for the privaledge of potentially injurying themselves more severely in impacts.

Helmet use by motorcyclists is therefore largely voluntary with lots of folks not wearing anything at all.

By showing a helmet in your avitar for over 180 posts, you have made a strong, indelible stand in favor of voluntary helmet use regardless of trends to the contrary.

That is an excellent example to provide for kiteboarders. That's the spirit and THANKS!

terminalveloce
Medium Poster
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:45 am

Postby terminalveloce » Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:08 am

I know plenty of people who've carried hook knives for years, but have yet to meet anyone who's actually used one in anger. Anyone?

Sailmakers rates are lower than surgeons (and undertakers, although a pine box is probably cheaper than a kite :-? ).

Nico
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 2645
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2002 1:00 am
Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: private kitebeach on my doorstep,
Le Morne.
Style: wave
Gear: Drifter kites, wave boards
Brand Affiliation: Cabrinha, naish
Location: Mauritius, waterman since 1960
Contact:

Postby Nico » Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:55 am

I found the recon system from Cabrinha to be of great help in surf situations.
Relaunch is rapid, or reverse launch even quicker if you pull on both back lines.
This has saved me and my kite several times from certain destruction.
Nico

Freddy B
Frequent Poster
Posts: 422
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 9:39 pm
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: West Coast of Florida

Postby Freddy B » Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:08 am

This brings me back to a topic I posted a couple months ago. Although it is not directly on topic regarding being safe with your lines.

I have noticed that it is more difficult to relauch in medium to large waves. (I live on the west coast of FL so I don't know anything about large waves)

Does anyone have a different technique to relauch in waves?

I might note that I am using the Recon system where I can choose which way to relaunch my kite. What is the best direction to relauch the kite? Offshore/against the wave or onshore with the wave?

User avatar
sid5150
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 540
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 5:10 pm
Kiting since: 0
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: Satellite Beach, FL

Postby sid5150 » Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:58 am

RickI wrote:Another consideration in this might be that Big Kites and Big Waves don't necessarily mix all that well. That is not to say that a smaller kite won't load up substantially in a wave. It is more to do with the lack of ease of relaunching a large kite in marginal winds with powerful waves piling through and higher likelihood of damage to the kite if a wave gets a hold of it. I was reminded of the big kite/big wave thing yesterday.

Your posts about staying away from the lines and just sending your kite off if you are in or near to being in a breaker zone have merit. I have felt that there outta be a law, if they are waves there should be wind! Then again, I don't surf.

Also, it is always a good idea to carry hook knives and wear gloves. You may not be able to cut yourself free if you fall into it, but it is nice to have the option. The gloves help manage excess hand wear in long 6 to 7 hour sessions and aid in line control during solo landings if you are forced to do so.

I don't know about the 'use a smaller kite in big waves'. While the relaunchability is a plus, there is no guarantee that it won't plop right in front of wavezilla. That might give a false sense of security.

The hook knife is a great idea - Most harnesses come with them. However, I have heard some disturbing reviews that some models may not be particularly effective. It isn't really easy to try them out if you don't have spare spectra laying around either.
I wish a kite mag would do a head-to-head test of that sort of thing. It would be a lot more useful than 'What Bri Wears to Beach Parties' or 'Look what Skyy does with a Rental Car'.

GOTTMORE has a great point that I use, but haven't thought of - Make sure you tune your kite for stability on those light wind days. Test fly that thing on the beach and make sure it is dialed in. ANYTHING you can do to keep that thing out of the water is helpful.

RickI wrote:No worries Sid, I know you were just kidding about helmets. After all ...

Motorcycle helmets haven't been strictly required by law for motorcyclists for almost four years in Florida after thousands of bikers fought for years for the privaledge of potentially injurying themselves more severely in impacts.

Helmet use by motorcyclists is therefore largely voluntary with lots of folks not wearing anything at all.

By showing a helmet in your avitar for over 180 posts, you have made a strong, indelible stand in favor of voluntary helmet use regardless of trends to the contrary.

That is an excellent example to provide for kiteboarders. That's the spirit and THANKS!
I do what I can, as I realize that someone as sexy as I will always be sought after as a role model. :wink:

If they ever develop that Predator-style helmet with a shoulder-mounted laser cannon - Rest assured, I will wear my helmet ALL the time. In the water, on the bike, at the grocery store, in bed, on a plane, in the rain, etc. :thumb:


Sid sends


Return to “Kitesurfing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bartolo, bluespresso, justbob, Lloyd107, Medanostrapless and 24 guests

cron