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Learn from this old fool... by "Wetstuff"

Forum with lots of safety info - a must for newbees

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Learn from this old fool... by "Wetstuff"

Postby Toby » Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:48 pm

This past Wednesday afternoon I was attempting to squeeze something out of sub-10kt conditions and a lousy holiday forecast with a 7-2 surfboard and a 16M North Vegas. There were waist-to-shoulder high sets in the ocean and I was sliding over the tops on slight downwind diagonals. There had been flooding rains in our region recently so there were few tourists and no other kiters. A few surfers and the tourists were upwind.

I did not have enough inertia to get over one wave and I got swept off the board. While I got rolled - the kite fell. Before I got totally clear of the lines; one line had a wrap on the middle finger of my right hand while the kite caught the next wave and started a Tug-of-War.

Luckily, I cannot remember it any longer, but there was a creepy ‘sound’ of the line attempting to remove my finger.
After getting free of the lines, I let the kite wash in. The board was on its way and I had to swim in with one open hand and one fist. I trucked up the beach with my kit and
had a couple of surfers help me out of my springsuit in the parking lot. The fist pressure limited the bleeding.


My wife is a nurse at a hospital about 40 minutes away and I drove to her ER. After two hours, 18 stitches done by a PA [physicians assistant] and a Tetanus shot - I got to relax and consider.


I made a number of critical judgment errors that I would hope you would not repeat.

1] The wind was too light for my 90kgs. If any kite is hesitant to stay at zenith during the lulls - pack up.

2] The wind was too light for being in the ocean. On flat water the only problem would have been the kite relaunch.

3] I did not have leaders on my lines. In the old days there would have been thick leaders which would have been easier to dispense with.

4] I did not appreciate the danger I was in. Had I.. I would have gotten away from the lines a lot faster. [next time, eh?!] The knife in the back of my DaKine harness never moved either...also, not enough time.

5] I was alone. Had this line cut an artery in my leg or upper arm - I may not be typing this. [I am going to ignore this #5 - because I am pretty self-sufficient, but I would not recommend it to other people.]

There is a new kind of ER process for the lightly injured: Clean them up - stitch them up - "Call your doctor in two days." My wife is an insider, so she got me an appointment a day later with the only ‘Hand’ specialist in our area.

He basically said that I had ‘macerated’ the tissue along with one nerve and an artery ..and came ‘that’ close to him removing the finger because of the damage. The tendons were perhaps nicked [he was looking at a closed wound] but not cut. There’s loss of feeling on one side. The artery on the other side seems to be compensating for the cut artery - at the moment. I do not really care, but he said that further repair of the finger would in fact be more difficult than a hip replacement. The only real stinker is that I cannot get it wet or do ‘anything’ beyond flexing the tendons for three weeks.


I do not wear my helmet any longer. My floater vest stays dry. My booties stay in the truck. ...but I just ordered pair of the best sailing gloves!

j i m

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Postby HvyD » Fri Jul 21, 2006 1:54 am

Thanks for taking the time to get the message out there.

I have been riding for 4 years now, & have just recently made a pact with myself to keep the 19 M Boxer in it's bag if winds are < 10 knots. Too many times have I escaped certian injury & on one memorable time in Antiquia having lines wrapped around my ankle & ....... well I don't know how or why that kite didn't power up in its position..... there truely was devine intervention that day.
Yes, that line cutter in the back of the DaKine harness has limited real-life application.

Still lots of summer after your wound mends.
You will be back out there in no time & hopefully just a really cool scar to brag to all your kite board'n buddies about.


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