I was going through some OLD photos and guess what I found from four years ago ...
RickI out on an F One 7 m STW and a HiTech Directional board, Miami Beach, April 2000
This was shot during the premier of a new ESPN type network for South and Central America. The winds were fitful but a bit of a breeze came up with some looming squalls. Hey nothing wrong with squalls, except for lightning of course... NOT! I had relied upon squall winds for years for WINDSURFING, so why not for kitesurfing!? BAD choice but in those early days not all of the hazards were known or understood, even the more obvious ones sometimes.
Five months later, I received a violent, practical demonstation at 60 mph about some of the critical differences between windsurfing and kitesurfing when it comes to squalls and powerful gusts. Nothing that strong or violent blew through this day however squalls do deliver nasty surprises here and fairly often too. More about the lesson at:
under 1c. KSI, 5. Special Documents and Lofting 9-17-2000.pdf
Live and learn ... if you are fortunate enough to survive the lesson. I had been dragged over 100 ft. at high speed two months before the photos shown were taken in a squall gust too. Some guys just need to be hit with a large enough 4 x 4 board to get the idea, jeez!
What a difference a day and a 50 to 60 mph gust can make in your outlook and understanding.
Bottom line, squalls and kiteboarding don't mix ...
No to to mention safe kiteboarding with board leashes, without helmets or impact vests, parking your kite in lofting position on land, I think I had a foil kite leash in these photos ... etc. Time is a great teacher., IF you are allowed to option to retain what you learn.