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Electric Shocks and Kiteboarding

lots of valuable articles from Rick Iossi, FKA Inc.


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RickI
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Electric Shocks and Kiteboarding

Postby RickI » Wed Dec 01, 2004 3:35 pm

kitesurfing turkey wrote:So which material is craeting this?lines,kite it self or just the up and down,8figures?


This has been explained a few times before but I can't locate them through the search engine so here goes ...

If you move a conductor through a differentially charged field, electric current will be generated through the conductor. This is what makes dynamo's generate electricity.

Spectra kite lines are poor conductors, otherwise many more kiters would have been electrocuted upon striking high tension powerlines than have apparently succumbed to date. Still, if you coat the outer surface of the kite line with moisture and better still salt, it will conduct electricity a bit better.

If there is an adequate charge differential between the surface and area aloft, particularly it seems if the humidity is lower, then your moving conductor, (kite lines), may develop a static charge. If you create a gap to ground, i.e. jump, you may cause a discharge. Folks have had loud discharges on jumping and one lady even said she saw a blue flash when she jumped once.

In other cases the discharge from the control bar can come every time you pull on the bar such as during sinusoiding. Hank on the bar and you get a painful zap to that hand. Still at other times there can be a continuous and even painful discharge from the control bar.

Atmospherics play into this in a big way of course. In SE Florida, the only times I have experienced this phenomena, lightning started within 15 minutes. HINT: DROP YOUR KITE PRONTO, you're waving around a 100 ft. lightning rod around on a flat surface! To keep flying in such conditions is bad, really bad as you may be destined to finish your kiting career as toast. The only other time I experienced this out of Florida was off of Cape Hatteras. There was some electrical activity but it was about 15 miles + to the north and moving to the NE with no apparent activity in my area. The humidity was lower and the discharges on jumping fairly loud. The last one was so loud that I called it a day.

Until we understand this better it would be good to avoid performing electrical experiments while kiteboarding. I doubt that trailing a grounding wire in the water will do much good if you are struck by lightning. Considering conductive surface moisture and surface water contact discussion of the relative merits of carbon bars, insulative booties, boards, bindings, etc. seems to be irrelevant.

More at:

http://www.nottltd.com/article.html
http://www.keohi.com/keohihdtv/hdrecept ... nding.html

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RickI
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Posts: 8683
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Local Beach: SE Florida
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Location: Florida

Postby RickI » Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:57 pm

ccc

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RickI
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Posts: 8683
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
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Local Beach: SE Florida
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Brand Affiliation: Cabrinha
Location: Florida

Re: Electric Shocks and Kiteboarding

Postby RickI » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:21 pm

Kiters worry about lighting quite a bit too, more than squalls it seems. We can easily be taken out by a lightning strike, happens way too much on land. Has yet to happen to a kiter, unlike a stupid number of storm loftings. Still, good stuff to know and think about.


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