an email from firstname.lastname@example.org follows:
"Dear AKA Members,
With minimal notice, the AKA insurance provider has elected not to renew our coverage of sanctioned events and individual liability for fliers. This cancellation takes place at mid-night, April 30, 2004.
Over the past 12 months, our policy has been effected by two significant claims. In both cases, the person causing the accident was not a member. One was at an AKA sanctioned event where membership was required but not verified. The other involved a person flying a kite owned by a member. AKA opposed both claims but they were ultimately paid by our insurance company. Then they dropped us.
We received final word late today.
In anticipation of this change, 90 days ago I instructed our Executive Director to begin the time consuming and challenging task of finding a new policy. Earlier today, we received one proposal and another is expected by Monday. We expect to reinstate coverage of sanctioned events very soon. But events for the weekend of May 1-2 are definitely not covered. We informed organizers last week of possible changes and two gatherings have sadly decided to cancel.
How and whether we will be able to resume individual coverage remains unclear. The Board is considering several alternatives. As you know, we distributed a survey to members asking your opinions about insurance just two weeks ago. We hope to have news on individual insurance in about ten days. But at this point and until further notice, individual flying is not covered.
This insurance problem is frustrating for both your Board and the entire Association. Our experience appears to mirror problems being faced by similar recreational organizations. The insurance industry has implemented major changes since 2001.
During the past ten years, we have paid out over $25,000 a year in premiums, against claims averaging under $2,500 annually. However, the most recent accident resulted in a $25,000 claim.
The bottom line is that the officers and members of the AKA didn't do anything to create this problem and the Board is working hard to resolve it. I intend to have some positive news for you very soon.
Meanwhile, let me stress that, after midnight tonight and until further notice, there is no supplemental insurance policy covering individual AKA members nor primary policy covering sanctioned events, and that AKA can assume no liability in any case which might arise.
Please be particularly careful.
PS - I'll be mailing this report to all members to insure that everyone, whether they are online or not, will receive the news.
PPS - We're looking for an attorney with some expertise in liability insurance issues. Any legal-fliers out there with a few hours to help the AKA?"
*** REPEATING MAIN POINTS FOR PAID AKA & FKA MEMBERS
-- As of now and until further notice, there is NO individual rider insurance coverage. The AKA and FKA assume NO liability for claims that may arise.
-- Discussions are underway with management at Crandon Park regarding the future at kiteboarding there. No conclusions have been announced yet.
-- As David Gomberg, the AKA President stated "We expect to reinstate coverage of sanctioned events very soon." As such coverage for riding for Crandon Park MAY be reinstated soon.
-- Also, as, the AKA President mentioned some form of individual rider coverage may be offered at some point, perhaps in the near future. Stay posted for developments in this area.
I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. The insurance industry appears to be fond of last minute renewals. Last year, the renewal quote came in on the last day of coverage after very substantial effort in seeking/negotiating quotes. At the same time, furious efforts have been underway for months this year to attempt to find new coverage at the AKA and more recently at the FKA. Many of us are aware of the poor direction insurance has taken in this country in recent times, particularly since 9/11/01.
Substantial efforts have been expended and will continue to be expended in an attempt to find coverage, particularly with regard to Crandon Park. Again, it is not known yet what effect this will have on access at Crandon Park nor when coverage will be secured again.
*** I would ask for paid members patience while we attempt to resolve things in terms of Crandon Park access and individual rider coverage. Further annoucements will be made on this subject in the near future regarding Crandon Park access or alternative provisions on the FKA list, once more information is available.
Please be careful out there and stay posted for additional information in the next few days on the FKA list.
*** SURF EXPO 2004 ***
Full size: http://tinyurl.com/6nmh8
Back to Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, USA to see what the manufacturers are bringing to kiteboarding.
The Show floor.
Full size: http://tinyurl.com/4og2u
... and to checkout other intriguing aspects of this huge water sports and apparel show.
Kites, uh, yeah ... we're here to look at kite gear! Some articles in this series will treat a single exhibitor
when a lot of content was provided in other cases a few exhibitors will be described in a given article.
So, let's start off with Airush.
CLICK FOR MORE INFO:
The Airush booth staffed by Dimitri Maramenides, team rider for Airush.
Full size: http://tinyurl.com/6ghmf
Note: the carpet in from of the booth is straight, not shaped along a 90 degree bend. The composite photo
distorts the alignment of the image.
1. The X-Pact, one of the FIFTY plus boards types and sizes offered by Airush this year. The X-Pact is intended
for intermediate to advanced riders that want a very durable board.
3. Jeff Howard started making these bomber plywood boards recently for Airush and at an attractive price.
4. The Secret is stated to deliver performance at a reduced price for the advanced intermediate rider.
5. Dimitri is pointing at the Reactor which replaces the Lift Pro. Dimitri told me the good (and bad thing)
about the reactor is that it is a very, VERY fast kite. Airush even includes the following warning with this kite:
"WARNING - THE REACTOR IS EXTREMELY SENSITIVE TO RIDER INPUT. FOR ABSOLUTE EXPERT USE ONLY."
Dimitri said it is a light and efficient kite but can still stand up to abuse, he said his kite hits the water more
than the average beginner as he pushes the evelop.
6. The kite has been reinforced at critical wear points.
8. Showing some of the extra abrasion panels on the leading edge of the kite.
A photo of the Reactor underway (Water photo credit: Airush)
The Pilot which replaces the Trio. Dimitri said the Pilot is a good choice for new kiters and for schools
and is very stable in flight.
The Flow back again for 2005. Dimitri indicated that the Flow is not only good in waves but also delivers
excellent jump hang time.
The Lift back again for 2005. Dimitri described the Lift as being very stable with a pull like a truck.
All the Airush 2005 kites can be rigged with a 5th line attachment.
10. Dimitri had a serious kiteboarding altercation with a tree while in Greece last year. The accident resulted in some
reworking of his ankle as shown above. Dimitri tells me it helps with his stability while riding.
Will a future Surf Expo cover intentional surgical riding enhancements?!
How about kiteboarding weedwacker to tackle
More about Dimitri at: http://www.gwa.gr/gwa/modules.php?name= ... cle&sid=12
11. Dimitri also called attention to the kite/board bag present at the left of the image.
12. The Airush collection of bars and accessories.
Be sure to checkout the Airush website at: http://www.airush.com/ and with your local retailer should you have questions.
Say goodnight Alice?
Be back soon with more from Surf Expo 2004, stay tuned ...
Copyright 2004 FKA, Inc.