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10th day out nearly died.

Forum with lots of safety info - a must for newbees


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gilana
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Local Beach: We live on our sailing yacht and at the moment we are in the San Blas Islands of Panama, and we sometimes have visiting guests to come spend a week of wind with us...

Laura and Mike
Favorite Beaches: Chameys in San Andres Isla Colombia
Yansaladup in Kuna Yala Panama
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10th day out nearly died.

Postby gilana » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:44 am

Hi, I hope to let you guys know what happened to me in order to prevent repetition.

It was my 10th or 11th day Kiting. I launched from a palm studded island, on the edge of the island with the wind 14-18 knots. My wife launches and she does it well, and I had a few good rides, and then I come back to the island to chat and have some water, she is all alone there. Some other friends had left a rope of about 30 ft long with a caribiner on the end tied to the last tree in a row, about 5 ft up. I would kite up close, keeping the kite high because of turbulence from the palm trees, coast to a stop and then the board sinks in about a foot of water, I step out of the straps, grab the board, and park the kite on the water in the direction I just came from. I walk back to the caribiner hook it in the chicken loop, and take pressure off the harness, unhook, and then disconnect the safety leash. The kite just lies there, and I had done this many times before.
To have another session, its the reverse order, approach bar, kite is lying at the edge of the window, nicely parked on the sea, I attach safety line, hook in, take the strain, unclip caribiner, and grab the bar, fly the kite up, and away we go..

EXCEPT...

I walked up hooked in my safety, hooked in the harness, and could not get the caribiner undone because of sand, then.....A lull, combined with possibly a wave moved the kite downwind, it lost wind, it turned on its back, the wave left, the wind gust came, (All of this was worked out later I saw none of it) The kite went straight through the power zone to the opposite side of where it was parked, I was at the apex of a line that went from the tree to me, then to the kite like an 'L' or to imagine it better, like a drawn bow string with arrow attached.

I was plucked out of the footstraps, off my feet and lost consciousness from the whiplash, I flew (According to witnesses) horizontally and like the arrow released hit a palm tree that was exactly 30 feet, the same as the rope, away from the anchor tree.

Two CAT scans, severe concussion, bleeding from nose, ears, and vomiting, back pain for 4 months, headache for a month, no beer for 6 WEEKS!!!! etc...

What did I learn?

1 Keep the anchor line short, like one foot. That way you cannot be flung in an arc of acceleration.
2 When hooking in, stand facing the kite, and don't take your eyes off it, learn to hook in by feel alone.
3 Kiting is safe, but can be dangerous in an instant. I never knew what happened, this is all pieced together after.
4 BEWARE OF SOLID OBJECTS.

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Toby
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Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby Toby » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:59 am

Thx for sharing your story. Glad to hear you made it. Could have been worse.

To comment it, all I can say: I prefer to launch and land my kite with the help of someone. Because things DO go wrong. And the possibility of problems is IMO higher doing it yourself than getting help.

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edt
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Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby edt » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:28 am

thanks for the story. this is the first time I have heard of a tether catapulting someone like that. Glad you decided to keep on kiting. I'm not going to give any advice because it sure seems like you learned your lesson.

geopeck
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Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby geopeck » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:42 am

Hey Gilana - thanks for posting about your experience with the tethered self launch. There's always a new way to get hurt and this sounds like one that could have happened to lots of experienced riders, including myself.

Another way that this could be avoided is remove the CL from the carabiner and then go to the hook, same in reverse. I definitely have done it both ways without thinking though all the possibilities. But I think your 2nd point - keep your eyes on the kite - is the important one. There's only so much stability parked at the edge of the window and murphy's law will catch up to everyone eventually.

ronnie
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Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby ronnie » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:37 am

Your mistake was hooking in the chickenloop before releasing it from the carabiner. You have to watch the kite all the time too, as has been said, and respond if things start going wrong.

It is a case of following the correct procedure.

As a beginner, unfortunately you are not aware of all the things that can go wrong and why everything is done in a certain way. Reading through accident or safety threads helps make people aware of what can go wrong, so thanks for posting and I hope you have recovered fully.

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Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby longwhitecloud » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:47 am

Seems an old school attitude due to high depowered kites but i stand by it - nothing has really changed when shit hits the fan - distance is your friend - includes from objects that may cause turbulence.

If u can see your kite start to backstall/ fall into powerzone due to eg super gusts windshadows it is time to release immediately onto a single line front line flagging system and ask questions later - I seen some horrific stuff that simply ejecting real quick would have sorted out - but - rehearse it - it's worth it.

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Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby plummet » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:45 am

Ouch!

I can offer some further advice.

* Wear a helmet.

* Use an s hook not a carabina. Its way easier to unhook one handed.

* As soon as you get to the kite fly it. I bit of bar pressure does wonders for stopping a kite roll back.

* If conditions are too gusty don't teather launch. drag launch is better.

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Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby windrupted » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:39 pm

Tether launching is only for the very experienced, that might be the bottom line. But it looks so easy! There are some horror clips on YouTube involving silly people attempting to tether FLY paragliders, they never end well.

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Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby tomatkins » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:19 pm

Welcome to the club!

Many years ago, I had this kind of thing happen with high wind and a "C" kite. For a while, I found myself suspended about 6 feet above the ground, in a somewhat stable situation, which I found surprising but interesting... then, all of a sudden...WHAMMM... the next thing I knew, I was loose and flying through the air... and then...........the 2 foot in diameter, "root ball" of the little tree, went past zooming past me in my flight.

I was lucky that day, but after that, I put a "quick release" on the anchor rope, to make sure that I could always get loose of the tether rope.

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gilana
Medium Poster
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:34 am
Kiting since: 2014
Local Beach: We live on our sailing yacht and at the moment we are in the San Blas Islands of Panama, and we sometimes have visiting guests to come spend a week of wind with us...

Laura and Mike
Favorite Beaches: Chameys in San Andres Isla Colombia
Yansaladup in Kuna Yala Panama
Style: Old School
Gear: Ozone Edge 9m V8
Ozone Edge 9m V9
Ozone Edge 10m V9
Caution Santa Cruz Redline 132 TT
Advance "JB-Weld Special" :) 140x40 TT
Brand Affiliation: None
Location: San Blas Panama
Contact:

Re: 10th day out nearly died.

Postby gilana » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:44 pm

Thank you all for your advice and assistance.

I the suggestions that I liked are,
Fly the kite, its more stable than one just parked.
Use a hook not a caribiner
Unhook rehook, not be hooked in and tethered.

These in addition to the short tether is a good idea. I have seen a kite tethered to the back of a sailboat, self launch and start looping as weed pulled one steering line.

There are times when a short tether is safer, like in the proximity of solid objects, and there are times when a long one is safer, like tethered to a boat with nothing downwind.

I am, and always was very ready to QR, I test my QR every time I go. Its like a reflex now, but, that day, I was unconscious before I realized that anything was happening.

It must be said that I am endebted to the other kiters who helped that day. My wife was just holding my head, one female kiter ran and did a QR, another gathered the kite and parked it on the island, still others went to get ice, they put me in my dinghy, carried me back to my boat, undressed me, hosed me down of blood and sand, and put clothes on me. I was then put into a fast lancha and taken on a 45 minute boat ride to a river dock, then a 2 hour 4x4 ride through the jungle, to a local hospital, and then in an ambulance to the nearest city another 45 minutes. I can remember none of this, but I have thanked all the actors that helped that day.

Biggest bummer was the threats from my wife to cut up the kite and sew it up as a Batman costume, (its black)


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