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New Rider, Tangled Lines & The Corkscrew of Death

lots of valuable articles from Rick Iossi, FKA Inc.

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New Rider, Tangled Lines & The Corkscrew of Death

Postby RickI » Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:06 pm

This is a repost from some years ago from the FKA site:

I received an email about something that happened last Friday to a new kiteboarder on his first time getting up on a board. Conditions were side onshore about 17 to 22 mph average 19 mph. The 140 lb. kiteboarder was flying a 9 m kite. The rider fell over, had one of his outer lines get caught inside a carabiner. He had used the carabiner to secure a knife to his harness. The kite started spinning, pulling him along about 1/2 mile out of control in bursts until the line broke. Kiteboarders should avoid wearing stuff that can catch or tangle flying lines. It is a good idea to consider using breakable line or sufficiently weak pull ties to secure possible entanglements, e.g. hook knives, etc.. His account is more interesting and impacting than this summary and follows below:

Carabiner "Key Chains"

Don't use these for kiteboarding or anything else that can easily snag or catch line. Breakable line or pull ties might be a better option to consider. If they get tangled by line ideally they should break free.

"Last Friday I launched the kite, got a foot hold on the board and launched myself for the first time. I'm thinking Ya I finally got the hang of this sport, I'm kicking Ass! So now I'm about 100 yards off shore. I start going back to the beach. All Right I'm kicking Ass, I'm doing it! Just before I get to shore I turn around and start going back out again. Again, Wow I must be a natural. But this time I didn't do too well, something tragic happened.

I got launched up in the air, lost control, and ate shit really bad. Some how one of the lines got caught on my harness and wouldn't let me go. I realized I was in a very serious position. The kite crashed into the water. I could tell that it wanted to launch back up again. It was feathering in the wind, changing directions, and was getting ready to do something wicked. These kites have a mind of their own, they want to go up no matter what your agenda is. The next thing I remember was a sudden jerk and their I was, getting launched up in the air and dragged through the water from 0 to 20 MPH in a second.

The kite started looping which is the worst thing imaginable ("the corkscrew of death"). It was going straight up then straight down over and over. The kite was literally circling in the air. I WAS SHITTING MYSELF AND THEIR WASN'T A THING I COULD DO ABOUT IT! I was getting thrown around like a rag doll. Then the kite would hit the water and I would get a breath. Before I could exhale I was back skipping across the water trolling for sharks with my body as bait.

I just bought a knife Wednesday and I said to my self, "I have to cut these lines. Do I really want to do that? They are like $50 a piece......" Then I got my ass kicked and dragged another 50 yards and said to my self, "If I don't cut these lines right now I AM GOING TO DIE!! I pulled the knife out, reach over just before the kite relaunched itself again, pushed the knife to the ropes, and the kite shot up in the air, and ripped the knife out of my hands in less than a second. I looked back and saw my brand new knife floating in the water. Before I could look forward again I was launched back in the air, came crashing down and started funneling saltwater as if I was at a Frat party. "OH MY GODDDDD. THE ONLY THING THAT IS GOING TO SAVE ME IS GONE. I AM SO SCREWED!!!!" I can't tell you how scared I was. That was the first time I really thought I could die. I was horrified. I was totally out of control.

I had to get unhooked from the line or it is over because I don't have enough strength to be tossed around anymore. The line was hooked onto the sheath of my knife out of all things. the very thing that was suppose to save my life I lost and got me into this mess. I opened the clip that was connecting the sheath to my harness. I wanted to take it off me. The line just snapped and broke. I guess it was too much stress. My kite was completely torn up and entangled with the lines. I was in shock.

That was the heaviest situation I have ever been in. I went through head on collisions. I have been held under water while surfing. I Got a surfboard fin stuck in my leg next to my femoral artery. I have had too many bike accidents to talk about. I have seen death face to face a few times in my life. This experience scarred the shit out of me more than anything I have been through yet. Writing about it is pretty funny but their wasn't anything humorous about this. The only thing I could think of while I was swimming back to shore was how glad I was that I bought my life vest 4 days after we talked about it online.

I went out and learned that I had been dragged over 1/2 mile downwind. I told some people about this but I don't think I will tell my family. It might make them uneasy when I go out next week.

Thank you for the advise."

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