Ponta Preta, given large powerful groundswells, the short distance to a rocky shoreline and side off winds is a technical launch and potentially hazardous riding area. It has been described in various online sites as a pro to advanced kiteboarding area only. This is no spot for any one other than strong riders and given the reported level of experience of the rider he should not have launched at this location. Given the power and speed of 3 to 4 m ground swells and less than 50 m to the rocks, a rider could wipeout and slam into the rocks quite rapidly. I understand that there are beginner and intermediate spots off the NW coast of the island of Sal with side onshore winds and more manageable wave conditions. The person that I spoke to on the island indicated that insufficiently experienced kiteboarders wanting to ride off this world famous area is a problem. There is no one to just stand around to quiz and potentially warn off kiteboarders from this wave spot. It is up to visiting kiteboarders to research local conditions, ask for advice and critically to take prudent advice that they are given. This applies to riders visiting ANY area. It is not known if the riders injuries would have been lessened or not by use of a helmet and impact vest. Even pros and advanced riders can get into problems at a launch like this. Still with advanced ability they may be able to come out of things with lesser injury and if not at least they have enough experience to accept the possible consequences.
Manu Bertin shown riding big surf off of Ponta Preta. It is beautiful to watch. Manu was one of the first kiteboarders on Maui back in the mid 1990s. I imagine he rode off of Hookipa and perhaps even Jaws which the above images resemble. Still, Manu is a world class rider and is thoroughly familiar with big wave riding and no doubt the consequences of hitting the nearby rocky shore at speed. This sport is incredible but have a care to ride within your abilities. A big part of that is researching launches at destinations you are going to visit, asking experienced locals for advice and following prudent advice that is given. There are other wave riding spots around the world, often with shallow rocky bottoms and iron rocky shores nearby. Mokes in Oahu with rocky nearshore conditions claimed a rider a couple of years ago. That rider was very experienced but things just didn't work out that day.
More at: http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2300037