A beginner kiteboarder from Italy launched a 9 m LEI kite to ride off of Ponta Preta at the SW coast of the island of Sal in Cabo Verde in early February 2004. Cabo Verde is a group of 10 islands located approximately 400 miles to the west of Senegal in NW Africa.
Winds were side offshore at about 20 kts. with ground swells forming about 50 m (170 ft.) or less from the rocky shoreline at heights ranging from 3 to 4 m (10 to 13 ft.). Ponta Preta is widely known as a demanding, advanced riding location.
The rider reportedly fell over in a wave and was swept into the rocks. He was not wearing a helmet or impact vest. His back was seriously injured although to what degree it is unknown at this time. It is not known what other injuries the rider sustained from this impact. The accident was stated to have occurred at about 4 pm and the rider was flown off the island at about 6 pm as medical care is quite limited on the island. The rider died during the flight of unknown causes. If additional information is available about this accident, please contact me by private email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
Last edited by RickI on Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sorry to hear this.
I was quiet happy that since November nothing happend (if I'm right).
So this is a new shock.
Once again a crazy story. I wouldn't be ready for thies spot myself, how can a beginner or intermediate?
We all can be glad, that fatalities happen to people going over the limits or not paying attention to safety precautions. And this happens in many types of sports (e.g. snowboarding).
This way WE are the reason and this has to be changed to avoid unneccessary fatalities. They are avoidable.
And we can be glad that it so far never hit anyone not kiting (bystanders, swimmers etc.). If so, the heat will be on and you will see how fast they ban this sport everywhere!
So if you can't take care of yourself, we might not care, but if you don't care about others, we care. And this is a call for all riders without leash in areas where other people are around !!!!!!!!!!
true, if someone was around.
We need to pay more attnention to people we don't know at our local spots and watch them.
If we see that any problem can occur or we see that we can help and give an important info, we HAVE to do it!!
Still as in the case of the last fatality in Spain and of the tourist that was lofted into the second story of a building in Brisbane (and survived), the rider needs to take good advice to heart. Both of these guys were warned but blew it off as they "could handle it."
I don't know what the answer is to this destructive side of human nature. It truly is natural selection at work, sad to say. Still, if you see something you need to try as best you can to warn the rider off. I have heard of MANY cases in which the advice was taken to heart and the guy didn't go out under ill advised conditions. At least the rest of us can try to learn from these negative experiences.
Its a very sad story.. my condolences to the family and friends. Bad sot such a story right now cause i'm going on saturday to Sal.. I dont feel happy now. Hope such things never happen again. For myself I dont show up at this spot.
One guy appear to me and FlyHigh and ask if we use a security leash.
A: Yes allways and everyone use a Kite leash in this spot
Q: Can you assist me to setup the leash
A: Yes sure
When we saw the kite it was a 16m we said to him that almost the guys were riding with 12 13 and 16 was to much for him.
A: No problem I've been 12 years with windsurf with winds much stronger than this.
We help him to setup the leash but we notice that he didn't understood nothing about kite.
He ask for an assistance start nd we help him allways saying that it was too much for him but nothing...
15 minute later with some drags in to the water he slam the kite 1 meter away from a fisherman and blown away the main bladder.
After this I never again assist someone that I not sure that he is knowing what is doing, I couldn't stay well with me if something happen to someone.
I think the remedy to this is a International license to fly a kite, if you don't have it you have to take a course and them you can fly a Kite like scubadiving and in scubadiving you don't put in danger other's beside you.
yes but you don't beleive it how many times we said that it was not conditions for him to go, to many riders to learn to strong for a 16 but the only way is order him to not go and with what authoroty can I do that, none what so ever.
How many guys did you see like this I have already saw too many, portuguese that buy the kites on the net or in a second hand newspaper.
My problem is that I don't want to take part on something that for example kill or severe injury someone, I simpe don't. Turn my backs, yes it's not a solution but what can we do with some jurks heads.
I think that this quind of things unfortenly will happen offten and offten until some International authority take Kite in case and do something, like in other sports.