1st, I have to say for any beginers out there, or any one who does not feel totaly comfortable in VERY VERY powered situations - DO NOT TAKE UP ANY 12m kite in 30 knots, unless you are prepared to get thrown around, or have a very good anchor, or weigh more than 90 kg. Funny you mention the AB 8.4... (also 2001) I used mine in 29 knots, and I weigh 75kg. Full depower, full trimmer, I could stand on the beach without geting blown downwind, kite above my head, but I aws shitting myself when I launched it, and had 2 people anchor me from the back of my harness.
Nati, I am sorry, but I do not agree with you. Keeping the kite above your head in these OVER powered situations is a lot more dangerous, even for experienced riders. Getting hit by a gust is something that happens very very fast and unexpected, and being lofted into the air, can cause panic, which will result in immediately loosing all control over the kite and serious injury. Rather get dragged though the sand a bit, preferably feet first, if you can avoid the face dive. Also, by having the kite above your head you have MUCH less grip on th ground, to move or even resist to the kite, as it pulls you up. Why when walking with a kite after a downwinder do we all walk with it low to the ground? Cause it is much easier, there is the same force on your body, from the kite pulling, but you have the advantage of gravity, and your full weight on the ground, rather than only half or less, when the kite is above you.
What you describe, is a completely unusual situation. In my opinion the guy who grabbed your bar is a complete nice person, unless he is not a kiter and was trying to help - that might expling it... You cannot compare the force generated by the kite suddenly diving from above your head towards the beach, to the force of a gust hitting.
Anyway, I just want to conclude by saying - going out over powered is dangerous, no matter what you do. One mistake and it could be your last. It sounds very glamorous and cool to be able to hold the kite in such high winds, or to surf, and it is crazy when you jump, but it is very very dangerous, so being as cautious as possible is extremely important. Have a little respect for the wind - she can kick our asses any time.