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 Post subject: ACCIDENT DETAILS - WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:17 am 
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On Friday, January 28, 2005 a 185 lb. well experienced kiteboarder was rigging up to go kiteboarding. He was near the NE corner of Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas as shown on the map. The launch is known as Go Slow Bend for the nearby roadway to the east. In NE winds it is a popular launch for smooth water in side to side offshore winds with a lee shore in the distance to land on if necessary.

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Nassau and the location of Cable Beach on the north central coast.

The wind had been mainly sideshore from the NE at around 20 to 25 kts and building slightly. The weather was partially cloudy with no storms in the area.

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The rider was anxious to go kiteboarding as he had not had the opportunity for a free riding session for a while. He considered not going out given the strengthening wind conditions but decided to go anyway. Another kiteboarder gave him an assisted launch with his 8 m inflatable kite at a point northwest of the rider with both of them on the beach adjacent to the water at about 2 pm.

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In the area north of the launch looking to the NE.

It was at low tide and the bottom nearshore consisted of more or less level hard bottom with sand pockets and scattered small rocks. The area was well covered over with sand until the hurricanes blew through last summer.

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The view to the west southwest from the launch across Cable Beach.

The wind was NE or sideshore at time of launch at about 20 kts and gusted and then lulled while shifting more easterly. At this point the wind was OFFSHORE blowing the kiter away from the land. This caused the kite to initially power up and then drift downwind to the west closer to the center of the wind window when the wind gusted strongly to about 27 kt. The rider had the sick sinking feeling rush over him at this point and started to try to unhook and pull the bar to steer the kite downwind away from shore. He was lofted about 3 ft. off the surface a short distance and then landed on his back. He was dragged across the shallows a distance of approximately 30 m at about 30 mph. He had a Dakine moveable spreader bar which he credited with aiding him in unhooking and releasing the kite. His spreader bar and kite leash attachment ripped free from his harness as it was damaged during the dragging resulting in the kite flying away. The kite flew off and landed on the beach on the far side of the bay.

The rider suffered serious scalp lacerations possibly from scraping across the bottom along with other injuries. He managed to stumble into shore and await the arrival of the ambulance.





*** WARNING: GRAPHIC INJURY PHOTOS FOLLOW ***














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Last edited by RickI on Sun Feb 13, 2005 3:14 am, edited 19 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:18 am 
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The rider suffered serious scalp lacerations requiring 20 stitches and about 40 staples as shown in the photos below.

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He also broke his shoulder, collar bone and fractured a vertabra. He is having trouble seeing out of his right eye at present. The kiteboarder was in hospital for 7 days and was released about a week ago.

It seems unlikely given the speed of travel that the kiter hit an actual rock head first but more likely suffered severe abrasions and lacerations while scraping across the hard uneven rock bottom nearshore.

He is planning on making custom kiteboards (with one arm until his shoulder heals) and shooting kiteboarding photography as he recovers.

The rider plans to condition through swimming and rehab then climb back on the horse that threw him (kiteboarding) as he really loves the sport and beat the fear demons out of himself.

He tells me he is going to hand out copies of one of those scalp injury photos to others in the future along with a warning to wear a helmet when kiteboarding. He told me this story because he wants to try to help other people to avoid going through something like this.


Last edited by RickI on Fri Feb 11, 2005 4:34 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:19 am 
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Happier times with his son.

Some comments on this accident follow:

1. The rider almost chose not to kiteboard because of the strengthening wind conditions. Sometimes it is best to go with your gut in things and as they say, "live to kite another day."
If conditions seem to be excessively gusty carefully consider not riding.

2. Try to pick a kite and line setup suitable for anticipated winds targeting the lower to mid wind range max.
Avoid intentionally or accidently going out in overpowered conditions.

3. Work to ALWAYS launch UNHOOKED.
Practice the technique in more moderate winds, it isn't that complex or hard to do. Learn to trim your kite for max depower feasible while still maintaining stable flight for the kite size and wind speed to better manage the kite load. If you have an acceptable downwind buffer if you need to you just drop your kite to the leash and depower it ideally with no problems. Practice "just letting go" in an emergency as opposed to clinging to the bar like grim death.

4. It would have been better had the kiter and his helper walked out into the shallows well away from shore before launching. He indicated a 1 m depth of water was about 70 m offshore. It sounds like the hurricanes moved most of the soft sandy bottom out of the shallows. Finding a sandy verge in a reasonable riding area may be difficult off some parts of the island at this point. If there is an area with side to side onshore clean winds with a sand bottom it would be better to launch and ride there, if such an area can be readily accessed.

5. As the kiter says, ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET, a good one suitable for kiteboarding and use an impact vest while you're at it. These simple aids may not help in a severe accident but then again they may make an important difference in the outcome and recovery. A good helmet might have lessened the abrasion and impact scalp injuries in this accident.

One thing is certain, if you don't use safety gear it will do you NO GOOD whatsoever.


People have said helmets make them look bad.


Do you really think having your scalp look like rider's would make you feel more cool?



Thank God the injuries are mainly above the hairline and he should have his good looks back in no time.

Get a good SKID LID for kiteboarding, wear it when ever you ride and forget it is on. The last part comes naturally for most people.

Take good care and heal fully and fast. Thanks for sharing your story to try to help your fellow riders. Good luck with your board fabrication and be sure to post some of your photos.


Last edited by RickI on Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:54 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:52 am 
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Location: Vancouver, Canada. rides Naish,Ozone,North, Spotz,Aguera
Thanks Rick for another informative post. I hope this scares a few more kiters into buying helmets. In 5 years of kiting I have always used a helmet ..partly due to posts like this.

You are never too good to not need a helmet, this guy was no beginner.

:wink:
Chris Glazier


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:36 am 
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Very scary indeed i hope you get a speedy recovery ...Ive been kiting for 5 years i bought a helmet with my first little kite package year 2000 and i have keept it on my head almost every session .But then it wasnt cool to kite in the same way it is now i guess...But im old 31 years :) So i dont care whats cool anymore.....If someone could give me a valid reason why not wear a helmet i would be curious to hear i..I would lie if I told you my helmet are super comfy but when i ride i dont care about a itch or a pinch here and there i am doing something that love and i wanna keep doing it for many years to come...PS my helmet is one size to smal i think ive made it half size bigger over the years :)

In my five 5 years i havent had any injuries, but ive had som scary moments but gotten away whitout a scratch ..I also have a integrated impact waist harness that i use...Hey as far as i know most of ya need every little help you can get to save whats left of youre beer drinking brain cells......

Anders.......


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:51 am 
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I think that the photos of the hundes are not necessary


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:41 pm 
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if these pictures help to avoid one more accident like this, the pictures are worth millions!

Good to see you soon back on the water!

With forecasted strong and gusty winds I prefer to stay at home, avoided me nasty days for sure!

Greets
Toby


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:20 pm 
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Why can't the manufacturers make helmets better looking? They either make you look like a penis (Gath) or like some Battle Star Gallactica hero. Why can't they follow the Harley Davidson riders skull caps or something of the like. If it's good enough for motorcyclists, why not kiters?

I think I'd wear a skull cap, but that's it.

Honestly, I can't say that I have ever seen a good looking helmet

BTW, I realize Beavis & Butthead would have a field day with that last sentence. :bye:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:41 pm 
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People do not wear helmets because they do not see anyone wearing them. THey are obligatory in most countries I guess but nobody wears them because no one does in competitions. There are no cool videos or pics of riders wearing helmets. It's not a question of helmets being ugly. There are good looking helmets such as pro tec, pryme etc but nobody is going to wear them unless they see others wearing them.

I think that this guy will have scars for all his life and I am not sure that his hair is going to grow back. I do not want to discourage him or anything but he is going to carry the signs of this incident for life. A sport should be fun and this is clearly not. MOst of the wounds he suffered I think can be cured but the head...well the ppictures speak for themselves. He is lucky he is not paralysed.

I Think that unless kitebeaches and clubs start organising themselves like having a waverunner to take you out and launch safely when in water, having a rescue boat that can assist launching and pick you up when in trouble, accidents are going to keep happening.

For now I do not have the money ( still studying BLEAH!!! ) but when I get some money the firt thing I am gonna get is a waverunner, maybe split the cost between a couple of guys and take iit with me whenever I go Kiting. At least I can kite in offshore winds which here ere really great but useless!!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:38 pm 
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How many folks here have played ice hockey, gone mountain climbing, race bicycles ... and how many of these same people refused to wear helmets in those activities?

We are humans not lemmings charging on-masse off the proverbial cliff, necessarily. We have independent will and reasoning powers to help us along on our way.

Somethings we do just because they make sense not just because everyone else is doing it. That is what draws lemmings to take that fatal plunge, no independent will, apparent reasoning, they are hardwired. We aren't or at least we don't have to seem to be that way.

Why not choose to take a right turn instead of hurtling off that cliff? It is in your power and you don't have to look to others to help you on your way. We wouldn't even be talking about this in full contact american football, hang gliding, etc. why talk about it here. The evidence is in, why not act for effect?


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