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Kiting in offshore winds...

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Toby
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Kiting in offshore winds...

Postby Toby » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:20 am

I just wanted to share a little story, which happened to me lately, and which was pretty scary for me.

I was in Portugal for the PKRA course race event. Alvor has sideoffshore wind and the water had about 16°C. I only had a body and a long sleeve neoprene top.

We had some races and then I went for jumping, and suddenly my harness opened on one side. I dropped my kite, and tried to get it back on, but no luck. Got the kite up again and rode to the beach. Just before the beach where I was able to stand, I dropped my kite again and put the harness back on. Now I tried to relaunch my kite, but due to a leak the front tube wasn't stiff enough, so I couldn't relaunch, but get dragged away from the beach.
So I let go of the bar releasing to the 5th line and wanted to swim back to shore...I was about 60m (180 foot) away from the beach.
After swimming for about 1 min I felt my power going down quickly...and then the kite started to pull harder so I didn't move towards the beach anymore. I lost all my power and thought I'm going to drown, so my only chance was getting to the kite and laying on the fronttube. So I pulled myself on one line to the kite and lay on it.
I knew there was the judge boat out, so I knew I will get back to the beach.

Lesson learned:

- only go out in offshore winds if there is rescue watching you.
- if you feel you loose power quickly, get back to the kite and lay on it
- in general I would recommend to get to your kite, and swim back in laying on it, this way you will save a lot of energy
- if you are bad at relaunching, don't even go out in offshore winds
- if no one is around, think about your life and not your gear...just released it and let it go

Greets
Toby

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Windrider
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Re: Kiting in offshore winds...

Postby Windrider » Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:04 am

Toby wrote:I just wanted to share a little story, which happened to me lately, and which was pretty scary for me.

...I felt my power going down quickly...and then the kite started to pull harder so I didn't move towards the beach anymore. I lost all my power and thought I'm going to drown, so my only chance was getting to the kite and laying on the fronttube. So I pulled myself on one line to the kite and lay on it.
You better not die on us from a kite accident. That would be embarrassing as all Hell! How would we explain it to each other? Who would clean out the garbage posts??? Who would send threads to Flamers Paradise? Who would interview the beautiful kite babes???? (Well... maybe not that last one... sure we could find plenty of volunteeers...) But it would be embarrassing, y'know...

Seaman
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Postby Seaman » Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:19 am

After swimming for about 1 min I felt my power going down quickly...
This was probably to drop in body temperature. The temperature of the water this year in Portugal has been very low compared to other years. With the water at about 16 ºC your body can loose heat very quickly.
Also swimming dragging your kite ill tire you faster. It’s best to grab the LE and swim holding it.

I think you can add two more lessons:
- use good thermo protection
- use floating device especially in adverse conditions (off-shore)

I’m glad you get out of it ok.

Dirk
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Postby Dirk » Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:20 am

Well, Portugal has cold water even in summer. The surfers there wear 3/2mm full suits even in summer. I guess with more neopren on you would have kept your power. I would add that to the list: have adaquate protection according to water temperature.

tungsten222
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Postby tungsten222 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:57 am

Original message expired.
Last edited by tungsten222 on Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Toby
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Postby Toby » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:07 am

normally I would have taken a thicker wetsuit, but I was told a body will be fine...the locals had at least shorties or long wetsuits.
But still, know what you do in these winds.
I was amazed how quickly my power level dropped, and I wasn't far away from the beach, that really scared me!

I agree, riding away from shore with too little heat protection is VERY dangerous. You only chance it to get to your kite asap and use it as floating device...otherwise your kite could also drag you if it has a little power and you will drown as well...

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Postby RickI » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:54 am

Hey Toby,

Glad you came through OK and thanks for sharing your experience. lt accents just how badly things can go wrong with an offshore flow even when you are near shore and in lighter winds. Add hypothermic conditions and things can unravel more rapidly and catch riders by surprise.

Imagine being in almost identical conditions as you came up nearshore but then add sudden 25 to 40 mph gusty side offshore conditions with the arrival of a predicted powerful cold front. You would still have other kiters onshore nearby but no operating boat in the vicinity. The water would also be cold likely cooler still. These circumstances cost a rider his life in Connecticut. More at: phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2324004

If there wasn't a rescue boat nearby or if you were lost from sight with sunset later in the day things could have been far worse. This without any violent but fairly predictable frontal wind shift and spike. Makes you think.

There was another case of a kiter lost near sunset in offshore, hypothermic conditions that will be covered in the upcoming Kiteboarder Magazine. He made it back on his own and with quite a story to tell of survival in winter and at night.

Details, some can be more serious than others if things go wrong. Hope you had fun in Portugal, would like to checkout the coastal areas someday.

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

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RickI
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Postby RickI » Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:55 am

Any other offshore wind experiences out there like this? There must be quite a few in addition to less eventful sessions.

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Re: Kiting in offshore winds...

Postby afflatus » Sat Sep 01, 2007 7:19 pm

I guess nobady ever taught you how to self rescue.

Just kidding, I only say that because I have yet to figure out when when wrapping your shit up in a little ball would be helpful...

Over and above that, you might consider buying a CO2 actuated safety float gismo...

Perfect item for this sort of fatigue thing...

No boats, no way to swim it against the wind, tierd? so so f-en tired...

time to pull the handle and get some instant flotation...

As an added bonus the handle as our name right on it...

It says, JERK


Toby wrote:I just wanted to share a little story, which happened to me lately, and which was pretty scary for me.

I was in Portugal for the PKRA course race event. Alvor has sideoffshore wind and the water had about 16°C. I only had a body and a long sleeve neoprene top.

We had some races and then I went for jumping, and suddenly my harness opened on one side. I dropped my kite, and tried to get it back on, but no luck. Got the kite up again and rode to the beach. Just before the beach where I was able to stand, I dropped my kite again and put the harness back on. Now I tried to relaunch my kite, but due to a leak the front tube wasn't stiff enough, so I couldn't relaunch, but get dragged away from the beach.
So I let go of the bar releasing to the 5th line and wanted to swim back to shore...I was about 60m (180 foot) away from the beach.
After swimming for about 1 min I felt my power going down quickly...and then the kite started to pull harder so I didn't move towards the beach anymore. I lost all my power and thought I'm going to drown, so my only chance was getting to the kite and laying on the fronttube. So I pulled myself on one line to the kite and lay on it.
I knew there was the judge boat out, so I knew I will get back to the beach.

Lesson learned:

- only go out in offshore winds if there is rescue watching you.
- if you feel you loose power quickly, get back to the kite and lay on it
- in general I would recommend to get to your kite, and swim back in laying on it, this way you will save a lot of energy
- if you are bad at relaunching, don't even go out in offshore winds
- if no one is around, think about your life and not your gear...just released it and let it go

Greets
Toby

sisky
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Postby sisky » Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:47 pm

Ok, i am not the best story teller but here it go's. Also, this is a good experience for people to read that are now headed to north Peru for the waves. As for I live here and have seen my share of people get their ass kicked at this spot.

The place is called Lobitos. it is an amazing wave for both surfing and kitesurfing. Normally the wind starts off directly offshore and then as the day progresses is will switch to side off, the wind still keeping the wave prefectly smooth. The wind here also tends to be very gusty due to hills and high cliffs that are right on the beach at the top of the point.

On this paticular day the surf was head high with sets that were a few feet overhead. Surfed it for about 2 hours, then a friend and myself decided to kite as all the other guys surfing got out of the water and left empty waves. The wind this day really did not switch all that much and was still blowing pretty much offshore to just a touch to the sideoff. Us, from kiting here a bunch, decided to still go. All was good for the fist 45 min.... caught a grip of waves, was a little hard dealing with the offshore, but this place is pretty special in the set up as the bay is so defined and the waves reel down the sand prefectly. You can depower and park the kite (bow kite) and just wack the lip down the line. the offshore actually made getting back to the take off spot a dream...

I started to notice that my kite was acting a little funny. the tips started to flair and the bridal was getting a little funky. I figured one more wave was no big deal.... well big deal it was. As i passed the line up and entered the area where the wind gets all gusty as shit, my kite turned complealy inside out and bowtied. It hit the water and then loaded up with wind again and took me for a bit of a drag out to sea. when the kite hit the water again i reach up and grabed the little ring, that i guess you should hook your leash to, and started to reel in the line.... What happen is my main valve failed and i was loosing air in the kite. My friend saw the drama that i was in and he tried to grab my board (regular surfboard) to bring it in as it was getting blown to sea and told me to just deal with the kite and swim in. I swam with a flat kite for about 45 min fighting current and wind. I actually was hoping for a mack set to wash me in... finally made it in way down the beach. Drama still not over..... my friend was having a hell of a time with the board, since it was a surfboard. everytime he would pick it up it would blow out of his hands. He stuck with it the best he could, but he was getting dangerously close to a pier and fishing boats that are down the point in the bay. I grabbed another surfboard and paddled my ass off for my board as i called him off the rescue effort of my board. It took me no joke an hour to get to my board as it was getting blown out to sea, i came close to giving up when i realize that i was almost 1k out to sea and was not making much ground, even asked a fisherman to give me a hand in his boat, he just waved and laughed... that did get me pissed enought to chase it down. I ended up more than 2k's down the beach..... fun walk with 2 boards when it is blowing 30+

Lucky day for me... i could have been a whole lot worse. moral of the story, if your kite starts to look and fly like shit come in... Oh, especially in offshore wind....

for all headed to north peru.. it is magic here. but the magic at certain spots can turn to black magic fast. There are tons of great spots to get your feet wet in the surf, but just make sure your know what you are doing and always respect the guys surfing that are trying to paddle into the waves.


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