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Safety - article about kitesurfer washed out to sea

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MissionMan
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Safety - article about kitesurfer washed out to sea

Postby MissionMan » Fri Apr 25, 2003 12:54 pm

Thought this article would make for an interesting discussion. A number of people have brought up safety incidents relating to squalls etc, but what about being washed out to sea or having your kite go down when you're far out. Even if you could swim back, sometimes a current could take you way out.

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Guest

Kite in the Drink

Postby Guest » Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:20 pm

Had a great Easter lunch last Friday and continued to socialize in the afternoon. After half a dozen beers I noticed the wind had unexpectedly come up and at 4.30pm I had to bail down to dutch inne (perth) for a kite. Steady 14knts, a few waves, not so many people out -

I was having a great session. 800mtr out the back and a foward loop transition - for some reason I wasn't on the pace enough andhe kite dropped in the water. The X2 14M did the classic "twisted water snake" - I couldnt even get it to the position of rolling it on to it's back ! Leaving my board i continued to get blown down wind to the Cottosloe groin.

A wave ski rider came out and asked if I needed a hand, I replied can you grab my board , and he asked where it was, about 600m directly up wind I replied ! After being in the water for about 30min, I relaunched - Thankfully the wave ski dude retrieved my board - it was now getting darker.

When I came back to my car another kitesurfer told me of a shark siteing not 600m away from were I was acting like a verical lure for half an hour ! And very near the spot were another shark had taken the life of a swimmer last year !

It's good for the soul not to be in contol all the time ! (if your not living on the edge your taking up to much room)

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tracstarr
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Postby tracstarr » Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:39 pm

wow, that article is almost the exact same thing that happend to a friend of mine two weeks ago. He was out alone only about 200m offshore when the winds switched and tossed his kite backwareds overhead, lost it and couldn't relaunch. he only had a wetsuite on and the waters were only about 37F. The lines wraped around his leg pretty tight and even after cutting the line he couldn't totally untangle. He said he got really cold really fast and was starting to get tunnle vision. Luckly someone on the beach had seen the kite crash and called 911 saying that a hot air balloon crashed in the water. just as he was loosing it a local fisherman hauled him outta the water. He said that's when he just shut down. After a few hours warming up he was shaken but ok. anyway, when he called me the next day he was still pretty shaken. tomorrow is gonna be the first day back out since. but this time with a few of us......

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Postby RickI » Fri Apr 25, 2003 3:34 pm

tracstarr wrote:wow, that article is almost the exact same thing that happend to a friend of mine two weeks ago. He was out alone only about 200m offshore when the winds switched and tossed his kite backwareds overhead, lost it and couldn't relaunch. he only had a wetsuite on and the waters were only about 37F. The lines wraped around his leg pretty tight and even after cutting the line he couldn't totally untangle. He said he got really cold really fast and was starting to get tunnle vision. Luckly someone on the beach had seen the kite crash and called 911 saying that a hot air balloon crashed in the water. just as he was loosing it a local fisherman hauled him outta the water. He said that's when he just shut down. After a few hours warming up he was shaken but ok. anyway, when he called me the next day he was still pretty shaken. tomorrow is gonna be the first day back out since. but this time with a few of us......
That is an intense incident. I was thinking that riding in the Halifax area with abundant cold water and varied often intense weather, irregular rocky coastlines and currents could be full of challenges. I am glad that your friend came through ok. Always riding with others with adequate exposure clothing for downtime in the water should help. Do you have wind reversals like that very often? What other precautions do kiteboarders in colder areas practice?

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Postby tracstarr » Fri Apr 25, 2003 3:51 pm

well here in halifax there are only 3 of us, and i've heard of a 4th, but the other guys i'm out with don't have much for saftey. they both have leashes and knives, that's about it. The water is always cold here, even in the middle of the summer. Lots of people only have wetsuits and say it's enough. it's all the surfers wear. but for kiting we end up a lot further away from shore than the surfers and inharently have more danger. but, as far as cold water precautions i don't think anyone here that i've ever seen has any. I personally have a pyro drysuit with good gloves/boots and hood that keep me toasty warm. i also wear a pfd under my pyro. I hate the cold so i keep warm, and i use to be a lifeguard, so i know the dangers more than most. after my buddy telling me this i've been thinking of carrying something to signal someone with and such, but i don't know what would be the best. Things are definaly pretty sketchy around most of the places here, and with the lack of people on the water let alone the beaches in the cold, there's not a big change that anyone will see you go down if be.

I've already told myself never to go out alone, i always have someone on the shore watchin JIC. and now after what happened to my buddy, everyone here feels the same. personally, i also have a few windsurfing buddies that i go out with too.

as far as the winds switching like that, i can't say i've seen it happen too often, but it does. i've never been out when it has.

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Cape Cod Kite Chick
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Postby Cape Cod Kite Chick » Fri Apr 25, 2003 4:08 pm

Rick,
As you might have heard we had our coldest winter on record here in the northeast. Salt water bays were frozen for a mile out and stayed that way for almost a month. Salt water freezes around 28F, so by the time it had broken up enough for us to get back out the water temp probably wasn't more than 30F. No matter how many layers you wear under your drysuit if your kite goes down you will not survive long in that kind of water. The precautions we took were to only go out at low tide at places where we could potentially walk back in if something were to happen. Also I'd go out regularly in on-shore winds which is something I normally won't do. But when there's still snow on the beach there really aren't any beachgoers to worry about and I'd rather take my chances getting blown back into the beach than with the freezing cold water.
Crazy stuff I know but going all yearround isn't usually such a survival test for us Cape Codders!

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Postby Stokes » Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:32 am

Missionman, you're right. Should focus on this as well. Just so many things can go wrong in any situation. This sport can be a recipe for disaster. Mate of mine had to let go of his bar and Kite :o , after being dragged out too far from shore. They never found the kite and he had one hell of a swim back to shore. That's the Formosa strait-a mean mother f#@$ :evil: . Nice to focus attention on these things. You just never stop learning, doing this sport. Like the new grab-lines for self rescue on the new Toro2 kites. Should be helpful under certain conditions.
Stokes :thumb:

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Postby Guest » Sun Apr 27, 2003 9:41 am

The guy in the incident from the newspaper article is my best friend. We both went out kiting and the sea was quite strong. He cannot stay upwind yet so he usually just drifts downwind and then walks back up the beach. Anyway after about an hour long session I got off the water and waited for him. I couldn't see him so i suspected that he had just gone home to his flat, which is just off the beachfront about 1.5km from our starting point. I packed up my stuff and went home. Only later did he call me and tell me about the incident. Looking back, I feel really guilty about not paying more attention to him his whereabouts, I mean, he could have died. So this is a lesson for all you guys - if you have a buddy who is learning to kite make sure you keep a close eye on them, accidents can happen very quickly.

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Postby RickI » Mon Apr 28, 2003 2:19 pm

Serious stuff and we do this sport for fun too. Then again, missing a few details can send you into grief in many other sports too, such as off pieste skiing, rock climbing, even bluewater sailling, etc. Details!?

Many of the accidents that I read about might have been avoided IF the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines had been followed. Regarding the story that Missonman passed along:

3. Know your equipment’s limitations as well as your own. If you aren't 100% healthy OR IN DOUBT, DON’T FLY! Always maintain an energy reserve while out kiteboarding. Hydrate regularly and wear adequate exposure clothing to deal with extended time in the water. Don’t kiteboard alone or further from shore than you are readily able to swim in from.

and

6. Is the weather acceptable, free of storm clouds and excessive gusty winds? If storm clouds are moving in, land and disable your kite well in advance of any change in wind or temperature. Consider organizing an alert air horn and flag signal for your launch as a warning to riders of pending unstable weather. Are seas and wind condition within your experience, ability and appropriate for your gear? Offshore and onshore winds should be avoided. REMEMBER: TWICE THE WIND – FOUR TIMES THE POWER!

exerpts are from:
phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=6849

Easier said then done, right? Possibly, but then again, if riders actually look these guidelines over, carefully and think about them, they could do some good. The guidelines have been prepared from the analysis of dozens of reported accidents and are intended to try to improve safety and to reduce access issues.

Kiteboarding is an incredible sport and one that can be "dangerously easy" particuliarly under all the varied conditions that can occur globally and seasonally. Kiteboarding is definitely not as easy as it looks.

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Postby stephen » Mon Apr 28, 2003 3:25 pm

Kitesurfing accidents would be reduced even further if it were a regulated sport like skydiving and microlighting. You can't just buy a microlight and fly it. You have to have a licence and in orde to get a licence you have to do a course and pass a test, ect. If the same concept was applied to kitesurfing there would be a lot less serious accidents.


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