Originally posted on May 3, 2004 at:
I heard about a recent kiteboarding incident in Ireland that I wanted to pass along. It involved a very experienced traction kiter (10 years exp.) out with an open cell traction foil kite. He was out wave kiteboarding near Sutton when his safety system broke during a sudden lull causing his kite to crash and rapidly become unrelaunchable. Many of us have used open cell foils over the years but a serious problem is that if they land on the water for more than a second or two they generally stay there.
Sutton apparently has well known dangerous currents which swept the rider offshore. He wrapped his lines up and trailed his kite out on the surface to reduce the drag. He then lay on his board and tried to swim in but soon realized that he would only wear himself out against the opposing current in cold water before making shore. Fortunately, the kiteboarder wasn't riding alone and had friends at the launch. So, he decided to stay put and await rescue. One of his friends eventually rode out to him after about 30 minutes and asked how he was doing. The disabled kiteboarder asked him to send help out. The rider had become very cold and tried to wrap himself up in the foil kite to conserve body heat.
A helicopter passed overhead a short time later as the rescue boat was unable to find him given the high surf in the area. The rescue boat then came along and took him to shore from about 1.7 miles from shore.
More about this at:
http://www.kitesurfing.ie/index.php?nam ... highlight=