A map of Door County, Wisconsin, USA on Lake Michigan.
The wind was on at BaileyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Harbor, Wisconsin, USA after a fitful summer of lighter winds on Lake Michigan. Stein Erik Gabrielsen or Stein for short was out taking full advantage of the winds. Stein has been kiteboarding for quite a while. He first took lessons from Flash AustinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s protÃƒÂ©gÃƒÂ©, Kristen Kat Tracy on Maui in 1999. He has been an active windsurfer since 1982. So, wind, water and tricks are nothing new to Stein. He is actively involved with PASA as Outreach Director for kiteboard training.
The wind graph for Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin about 30 miles to the south of BaileyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Harbor appears below:
The wind was about 30 mph side shore or from the SSW and the sky was clear at BaileyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Harbor. Stein had checked weather radar and noticed some storms inbound but they were still safely 60 miles away at around 2:30 pm when he was riding. He describes smooth, butter like conditions inside the 100 yard long jetty shown in the satellite photo below followed by knee high waves on the outside.
Interestingly enough, he had just had a heated exchange earlier that day with a former student from a couple of years back about throwing down tricks close to shore. Little did he know that he was going to back up his position with a painful practical demonstration in short order. He had been riding on a 12 m Windwing kite but had just rigged down to an 8 m Windwing in consideration of the building winds.
A view of the jetty towards the east.
From: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/kinnaly1/ ... ailey1.jpg
Stein had just thrown a double back loop followed by a kite loop and was certain he was about to nail the landing when the wind gusted perhaps to 35 or 40 mph. As a result, the kite looped another half turn or so and Stein thoroughly off balance at this point, BURNED IN HARD at high speed. He told me that he must have pulled this trick off a hundred times in the past but not this time, not quite. He was dragged at high speed while hanging on to the bar in considerable pain but eventually popped his quick release to activate his kite leash. The kite leash attachment promptly ripped loose and sent the kite flying off downwind parallel to shore. They are in a habit of a having a chase wave runner on standby on the shore along with several other kiteboarders. So the wave runner responded to the situation and grabbed the kite.
In the meantime, Stein was conscious but in considerable pain, barely able to breath or move and was fortunately floated by his impact vest. He was carried into shore as he was unable to swim in. He was taken to the hospital, x-rayed and found to have no fractured ribs but had some separated cartilage at his ribs. He also had some signs of minor kidney injury from the impact. As a result, Stein will be off the water for a couple of months per Doctors orders to allow things to heal.