A Pro kiteboarder of substantial experience over the last five years, had just launched his 14 m LEI kite in onshore 19 to 23 mph winds last week. He then noticed another kiteboarder that had lost his board a ways down the beach. The Pro rode down, grabbed the board and returned it to the other kiter. The other kiter had his kite sitting leading edge down on the beach so the Pro walked over, with his kite still in the air, and relaunched the kite. The Pro had done this sort of thing MANY times in the past with no problems, that is until THIS time. The kiter in the water miscontrolled the kite on relaunching and sent it over the Pro, blocking his view of his own kite and loaded up some of his lines.
As a result, the Pro's kite did a kite loop downwind OVER LAND, lofted the Pro up 6 to 10 ft. off the ground and fired him into a head first collision with the sand about 25 ft. away. The kite then powered up again and slammed the Pro head first yet again into the sand another 15 ft. away. The Pro was injured but wasn't treated, I think. He is a fairly tough guy and didn't detail his injuries to me. He told me that if something like this happened at either of his other two normal launches his head first impacts would have been against parked cars and/or pavement.
The Pro told me that he MIGHT consider doing a kite relaunch for another rider while well offshore with his own kite aloft but NEVER again WHILE ONSHORE AND NEAR HARD OBJECTS.
Pro and advanced riders sometimes do things that the rest of us shouldn't attempt as we just might not pull them off. Guys with tons of experience MIGHT have the speed and familiarity to dodge a nasty accident where someone of less time riding might be thrown headfirst into a bad accident. Then again, even the Pros get dragged into grief and misfortune on occasion as well.
A few more lessons come out of this accident:
1. Helmets, only for launching off kickers and sliders, right? No, not if you have a bad day even if you have more experience and skill than the majority of riders. The Pro was LUCKY and if he hit something hard a helmet MIGHT have reduced the damage from the impact. If you aren't wearing a helmet of course, it is academic.
2. While you are near hard objects, it would be a good idea to keep your kite low to the surface and offshore and to get offshore as rapidly as possible. You MIGHT get away with coming near potential entanglements with a flying kite then again you might not as happened in this case. The Pro was trying to help someone out which was to his credit. He concluded that the risks of such a procedure on land far exceed potential benefits and he will not be doing this sort of assist again.
Be careful out there, sometimes skill just isn't enough to compensate for a bad day.
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