marina wrote:Rick I generally agree with you that the low and go is the way to place your kite in super gusty conditons, but when dealing with mother nature, one just never knows eh? Remember the report you did on the french guy in Cabarete that got lofted from Bozo beach almost to the street? He had brought his kite down and it was inches away from his friend's hand to catch it when suddenly that 51mph gust front came through, powered up his kite and away he flew.
Too true Marina. This is one of the more notable exceptions that I am familar with. An air foil or lifting surface confronted with high speed flow will react violently with small inputs. Stick your hand out your car window at 60 mph and feel the response to hand movements vs. at 20 mph, the added wind speed makes a great difference in speed and violence of response. I would suspect in this case and perhaps others, some minor uneven bar inputs were substantially amplified by the high wind and up the guy went to over 100 ft. off the ground and 800 ft. downwind. So in the seconds or a major gust it is hard to predict what might happen. Still, short of being unhooked what are your options based upon what we know in advance?
It is not feasible to toss out a set of guidelines that work for ALL conditions and launches, at least not in under a very large quantity of text, under current conditions. All we can do is to toss out some generalities, ask riders to think ahead and to do what is appropriate for their launch and current conditions. Too often, these thoughts don't seem to even come up for some riders. Hence the general guidelines and why we are even talking.
Thanks for all the good that you have done Marina and continue to do online and at the beach.
'caneman wrote:maybe i am just crazy, but why the heck is that girl taking on onshore winds with crap loads of peeps around? She had to keep it high in that case but dang, can't you find a slightly less crowded area than that? at least teh kiteleash anchored her down.
The girl was standing in a fenced off prep., launch and landing area at a the Kiteboard Masters 2002 competition in Miami Beach, FL. There were no people downwind of her. The winds were dead onshore as I recall however. This was poor but very common technique even then. People merely denied the hazards were significant and rode the way they felt. This has changed slowly over the years but at least it is changing. She wasn't using a kite leash as virtually no one else was either. That is a board leash and a potential means of driving the board into her. People weren't taking that threat too seriously either in early 2002. Silke didn't meet with her sad end until June of that year. Much of the kiteboarding community wasn't ready to accept some of the realities of the sport until her tragic accident brought some of these issues up in a very big way.
Tom183 I appreciate your input on the KSI data and accenting good common sense points. Run a search under "squall" and RickI on kiteforum.com and you will see that this has been a favorite topic for quite a while. People are still learning about signs of unstable weather. Unfortuantely, in some temperate areas, there are minimal visual signs of incoming squall gusts. It all can look grey, to black to rainy. In those cases even more weather planning through color radar and other resources is indicated. Sadly, color radar isn't even available in all these areas or if present at low resolution without a subscription fee. Then there are the more rare cases of clear weather gusts. This may be more rare in some areas but they still do exist. Keeping your kite low routinely when near land is a common sense response to many conditions however specific measures should be employeed that offer the best safety for your actual conditions. The point is that to rely upon avoiding unstable weather in all cases may not be that realistic. However I do agree that it has been clearly avoidable in most of the serious accidents that I am familar with. Add in launching and landing unhooked and keeping your kite low, if local conditions support it, and you may have your best chance for avoiding lofting and dragging in uncertain conditions. I very much agree with your assessment not to go out if in doubt about conditions. Unfortunately, this awareness will likely escape some people in the future as it has in the past for whatever reasons.
If your kite is low, over clear sand and near the water, unless the wind gust majorly overpowers you or takes a major directional change, you should be dragged into the water and away from impacting hard objects.
Ready to launch ...
Kite is low, time to GO, offshore. If you are dragged, ideally you should be dragged into the water unless there is substantial wind direction change. Otherwise you may going flying off over land. Avoidance is the key and unhooked launching and landing should help even more.
Be ready to depower your kite and even release your kite leash if necessary even if you are being dragged through the water. I was forced to do this four years ago when my early kite leash tied in knots over the end of the bar while I was being dragged at high speed over sand. Breathing can be difficult under these circumstances and sometimes you are left with little option but to set the kite free to fly off offshore.
The data shows that the only solution - for everyone, regardless of ability - is to PACK UP when conditions are bad.
So what is bad? 90 km/hr wind in -25C? I have kiteskiied in very strong winter wind (wind that keep everyone in door) in deadly cold weather (any exposed skin is badly burned - yes burned from cold not from heat) using 0m lines going more than 80km/hr...
It's all about knowing the limits and not to blindly trust the kite by "permanently" attaching to it.
Rick's recommendation to keep the kite low on land is good but if you don't think that it is wise then don't even hook in on land....
P.S., I have known to attempt to kitesurf in wind where noone want to try (Luke Stanek, the world buggy champion for example) and still survive after 7 years by using some very simple rules...
You are right Hung, launching and landing unhooked would substantially improve our accident experience. Still, regular rehearsal and conditioning is needed. Some people will just hang on or the lifting may be progressive as shown in Jo MacDonald's video. For my part, if the kite exerts excessive force and I am not hooked in, the bar is yanked out of my hands reliably to date. Some folks on the other hand, just hang on even though they are not hooked in. Thinking about this, once you escape gravity with the initial pop up, the force felt by the rider is less as he is now traveling in the same direction and speed as bar. Think about the bar pressure during a jump, it usually isn't that great during portions of the jump. So, your opportunity to have the bar ripped from your grasp automatically is at the onset, after that some may just hang on and go for the ride.