Several important points that should be known by all kiteboarders are underscored by this sad accident.
1. REACT WELL IN ADVANCE of excessive gusts by fully depowering your kite using the leash or other emergency depowering mechanism.
This should happen prior to any substantial change in wind and gust speed, direction or temperature. DON'T WAIT too long as other injured riders have in the past.
2. Always be aware of weather conditions while riding.
Get in the habit of frequently looking around and to windward to signs of changing weather, e.g. suspect clouds, white caps, wind line, blowing dust on land, etc..
3. Thoroughly evaluate predicted and realtime weather prior to heading off to kiteboard.
Some ideas along these lines appear at: http://fksa.org/viewtopic.php?t=130
4. Regularly practice solo landing in a variety of conditions with a load tested and maintained quick release
to where you are comfortable doing so at anytime while continuously maintaining a reasonable downwind buffer. DO NOT BE OVERLY RELIANT ON ASSISTED LANDINGS. THIS EXCESSIVE RELIANCE HAS KILLED RIDERS IN THE PAST.
5. DO NOT WAIT TO COME CLOSE TO HARD OBJECTS & BYSTANDERS TO DEPOWER WITH UNSTABLE WEATHER MOVING IN.
You will likely not know when and how severely the wind might build along with lightening hazards. Microbursts associated with squalls and Virga
can send tremendous wind gusts out 2 1/2 miles away.
6. Wear reasonable safety gear.
7. Work on launching and landing unhooked
with a reasonable downwind buffer. The minimum distance of this buffer goes up with wind and gust speed. Unhook immediately pending dropping your control bar if applicable to your safety system. Rehearse just letting go of the bar prior to an emergency happening.
More ideas on safer kiteboarding practices that might reduce the odds of injury appear at: http://fksa.org/viewtopic.php?t=478
It is human nature to try to sort things out on our own, particularly absent other kiteboarders. There were several opportunities for the man to have depowered his kite and avoid the accident. Still, it is a judgement call as to when and if we "pull the plug" on all that potential power exerted by the kite. Lots of riders have held in too long in the past and tried to sort things out. This sport and problems can distract us into delaying or avoiding early response at all. The accident experience suggests that we should depower the kite as a matter of course earlier given the uncertainty posed by developing weather systems.
We need to reevaluate the potential hazards posed by the sport in unstable weather along with the relative inconvenience and hazards of early depowering and JUST DEPOWER early BEFORE the emergency arrives with all its uncertainty. Certainly unhook while evaluating conditions and be prepared to release the control bar.
AVOIDANCE OF THE HAZARD AND EMERGENCY IS KEY. We need to use the best weather planning and monitoring available in our respective areas to TRY to avoid falling into these circumstances. People caught in severe cases of dragging and lofting rarely attempt to or are successful in emergency depowering their kites for a variety of potential reasons.
SCUBA diving, hang gliding, powered flight, automobile driving, American Football ALL went through avoidable accidents in the early days due to lack of knowledge, appreciation and means of avoidance of hazards. Each of these activities went through respective crisis in their day. It would be good to minimize or even avoid ours through building knowledge. This is a primary reason that these sad accounts are written.