Riders kiteboarding and standing upwind and close to hard objects and bystanders is fairly common in many launch areas around the world. Often kiters get away with it, just NOT always. There have been readily avoidable accidents over the years and probably more on the way.
In kiteboarding, Distance Is Your Friend. Use it, always.
How else can you explain the fatality of a very experienced kiteboarder and waterman in only 12 knots of wind?
This man was not alone in discounting the hazards of kiteboarding simply because they aren't shoved in our faces on a constant basis. I see it not that uncommonly on local beaches. We don't have rock layers, that commonly, but we do have bystanders, boards, logs, cobbles, etc. that could do serious harm. Guys can strike bottom and be knocked over to slide up the beach, their kites can wrap bystanders, waves can knock them over with similar results, etc. Checkout the KSI for stories of past accidents caused by lack of distance BY CLICKING HERE
A helmet might have spared this kiteboarders life. This is yet another of a growing list of sad losses and injuries that might have been avoided or minimized if safety gear had been used.
A rider recently was injured in a very similar accident in SE Florida involving a nearshore transition also within a few feet of shore in onshore winds. This accident resulted in paralysis of both of the kiters legs below his knees.
We don't control the wind, it controls our movements to a large degree. If we are too close and a gust comes, even a light one, we may be injured or injure others regardless of skill. Some of us will learn from this man's sad sacrifice and modify how we ride. Others among us will remain indifferent and largely oblivious of the hazard we pose foremost to ourselves and then to bystanders and our access to ride.
Another very experienced rider was recently killed in approximate 15 kt. winds with a 16 m kite in Colorado, USA. Just because the winds are light doesn't mean you can't be hurt. More about this accident CAN BE FOUND HERE
People frequently drop their guard in lighter winds although more than a few never quite raise it regardless of conditions. Some just trust to luck instead of knowledge and good technique to try to dodge problems.