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Cautions from the UK

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Postby RickI » Mon Apr 15, 2002 4:11 pm

I just came across the following thread on the BKSA site. It deals with something that could happen pretty often but fortunately doesn't, for whatever reason. It is always best to do assisted launches. If that isn't possible, I would set your kite up in solo launch position at the last minute and keep a good eye on it until you have it successfully launched. I have included the whole thread as a lot of good points are made.

Rick Iossi

MissionMan 4-3-02 @ 11:59 AM
We had an incident on Monday.
Guy was kitting up a kite in the self launch position when someone tripped over the lines. (we assume - because the kite suddenly lifting up into launch position without warning)

Winds were 15 but lifted to 20 gusting to 30 knots. The kite was a Cabrinha 9,4 Blacktip 2001 model.

The result of this was the kite lifted. Two guys who were at the kite tried to grab the bar, but only succeeded in getting some cuts on their hands from the lines. The kite then flew down the beach, lifting another kite and ripping it, before taking out a teenager, who received line-burn around the neck, cuts to the arm and cuts to his hand. From there, it lifted, and landed on the highway where two cars ran over it.

The result could have been far worse (someone could have been killed) especially if the kite had landed on a car travelling at speed on the highway, blinding the driver's vision of the road. Kite needless to say was torn and bladders burst.

Lessons to be learnt - use assisted launches wherever possible, do not kit up your kite in self launch positions, especially not in high winds, and attach safety leash ASAP.

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not sure.

Sean.C 4-3-02 @ 12:25 PM
Yeah man, I saw someone setting up a Cab BT in the self launch position the other day. Such a fundamental dumb ass thing to do.
Sure ya don't need basic lessons.. yer gonna learn by yer own mistakes eh! Take out a few folks on the way.. no worries.

corey 4-3-02 @ 6:33 PM
I still do not understand why people rig up using this method. Often people will leave the kite with tip folded over whilst putting on wetsuit etc. Asking for trouble I feel.
Apart from the already proven danger, it is not good to be putting added presure on the bladder by leaving it sanded down blowing in the wind.

I personally feel it is best to rig up with kite safely weighted down then you can also check your lines are connected correctly.

An incident such as this just shows how important it is to have 3rd party liabilty insurance. down to about £25 this year.

One of the biggest problems with people getting into this sport is we are all keen to teach them actual technique and often over look tips etc, which could have helped avoid this situation.

Those who have been doing this sport for a while now will have already come across this incident or similar. Lets try let others learn from our knowledge.

Another major one that few people get taught is self rescue. I often see people swim to their kite without winding in lines, or they wind up lines without taking a safe distance in on one line first to kill the power in the kite. this needs to be covered. Perhaps a safety section in Mag Sean on this topic?

Corey Adcook

Wipika & F-One UK Brand Manager

qbert 4-3-02 @ 6:38 PM
You can tell who has just started, Dont give up

qbert 4-3-02 @ 8:56 PM
Corey gives good advice.
He learned the hardway as did most of us in the early days when there were no instructors or courses to attend. I'm an advocote of improving the saftey of our sport and we all have a part to play.

We all mess up from time to time, put this behind you and learn from it. You can never be too prepaired for danger.

Corey - Remember those starting blues, with kites and cars?

I hope you are keeping well.

sbgaffney 4-4-02 @ 8:17 AM
True enough, the longer I've been doing this sport the more I realise how dangerous it can be and how simple it is to remove a large portion of the risk.
As the old saying goes you start out with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience and the trick is to fill the bag of experience before the bag of luck gets emptied.

These basic tips and warnings should be the first thing people get taught, it will protect themselves, the public and the sport. A simple lists of do and dont's is a good start.

DO check the wind and tide forecast beforehand

DO check your gear is in good order and correctly rigged

DO kitesurf with a buddy or as a minmimum inform someone before and after your session

DONT rig up in confined or busy areas near hazzardous objects

DONT let your kite hover at the zennith whilst on land (one day you will get lofted)

DONT leave a kite unattended on the beach unless it has been disabled.

DONT venture out farther than you can swim

DO think about and practice self rescue

DONT be and ar$ehole with a kite

timba14 4-4-02 @ 9:16 AM
Call me stupid and shoot me down in flames !! (I guess this is what this site is for anyway)
When you say "don't let the kite hover at the zennith whilst on land" - do you mean launch and get in the water asap?

because alot of vid's etc tell you that when the kite is in the neutral zone (zenith?) it ain't gonna produce any power Oh dear I'm all confused now !!

pumpkins 4-4-02 @ 9:59 AM
I reckon gaffney's right, because most kitesurfing injuries actually seem to occur on land rather than water, quite strange for a water based sport!
As for the kite in the zennith position, if you are in a country where its not too gusty (not england!) then yes the zennith position doesn't have generate much power, the problem comes when you get a lull(?) then a gust, the kite changes its angle of attack because of the lull then when the gust comes the kite is in the perfect position to generate up lift, the result +10ft lift over hard and rough ground and painfully landings.

A slightly lesser evil is to put the kite half way between the side of the window and zennith this way if the kite luffs you have a much better chance of regaining tension in the lines and therefore recovering the kite. I reckon!


Rv 4-4-02 @ 11:16 AM
I'd agree, the zenith is not the best place for big kites when on land, but then you have to be careful lowering it down to one side as well, or you run into the exact same problem you are trying to counter.
The lower you bring the kite, the more turbulant the wind is likely to be, causing the kite to fall back and rush forward. While this won't loft you, you will spend most of your time dealing with it. In my (limitied) experience, around 40-60 degrees up seems to provide a happy medium.

Sean.C 4-4-02 @ 11:24 AM
This is true enuff... parking at the zenith is not ideal, despite what your instructor told ou or what the vids say, as it can lead to lofting like gaffers mentioned... it can also over fly and luff where it will fall straight down into the power zone where it may get itself together and sling you into oblivion. Park it more to the edge around 40-60 degrees or so and you will get dragged at worst which is better than a lofting , also if it luffs it will fall down the edge and not into the zone.
Main thing to learn from what mission man is reporting and what I saw the other day is to rig up and attach your lines with the kite secured down in the dead position and lay everything out DOWNWIND first... zen out, check, double check and triple check that everything is connected correctly before setting up for a launch whether its assisted or not.

The guy I saw had his BT layed out with the folded wing tip in the self launch ready to go position... then he attached the lines and began to unwind them from his bar as he casualy walked back upwind from the flapping kite!!! Bonkers... lucky for him it wasn't windy.

On the mag safety tips, corey, this is the kind of thing we want to concentrate on an a regular basis, even if it gets a bit repetative ( there are always newbies and not everyone gets every issue ) Next issue we should have some basic launch stuff and some really good shots of Jeremy doing self rescue routines including winding lines in etc. Boring again for many of us but essential non the less and far more important than throwing tantrums :smile:

jasevinda 4-4-02 @ 12:07 PM
When is the next Mag out?

sbgaffney 4-4-02 @ 12:08 PM
timba parking the kite at zennith on land is one of the worst habits you can get into, even in light winds keep the kite towards the side for the reasons already stated, I spent 18 months parking my arc at zennith without incident before I got hit by a gust from nowhere and lofted a good 15ft up, lucky for me there was lots of space and soft sand to land on. I dont do it any more! At least if you get dragged you have the option of using your quick release (if you got one)
Whilst in tarifa recently I noticed all the locals kept the kite at the side of the window whilst on the beach, even when having to walk upwind in light winds. Obviously the gusty Levante has taught its own lessons in the past.

timba14 4-4-02 @ 10:04 PM
thanks guys for clearing this up just thought i'd mention it as alot of the vid's mention the neutral zone as a powerless area let's hope some new guys/gals read this and think otherwise!
Ps Never Assume feckin check!

rick 4-15-02 @ 2:01 PM
Thanks MissionMan for posting the account of this accident. Things like this are readily possible and it is very fortunate that they don't occur more often. I would like to include this incident in the accident database. I would very much appreciate it if you could email me privately at to help with some additional questions.
Lofting is a serious thing. Kites lift very effectively as they are designed to do. I always say, "don't point a kite where you wouldn't want to go." With a nice gust that is exactly what will happen. Today, if I see riders on or near land with kites near the zenith or neutral (deceptive term), I wince. I am very pleased to see this level of awareness of the hazard on this forum.

It is important to note that even if you have your kite near the ground in strong to very strong gusting winds, if a particularly powerful gust comes up the kite may be lifted into the center of the powerzone anyway. This is what happened recently with the rider that flew an incredible 250 horizontally over land in a sudden 51 kt. gust in Cabarete. The key is to keep your kite low and avoid being hooked in or snap shackled in near hard objects. This later procedure will mean major tradeoffs in feasible wind range for a given kite size even using the trim strap to maximum advantage. It really is a question of how much assurance you want to have in avoiding a potentially very serious accident, if or more accurately, when, that major gust hits you someday.

Rick Iossi

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Postby Johnny TBKS » Mon Apr 15, 2002 4:37 pm

Yessir....very serious safety issue here with that.

Self launches are potentially dangerous if they aren't handled in a safe manner.

One should NEVER weight down one wing tip and then leave the kite unattended for any length of time at all.

Assisted launches ARE best. If one must do an unassisted launch, LEAVE THE KITE NOSE DOWN and weighted with ballast until you ARE READY to go. Then and ONLY then set the kite into self launch position and keep a real close eye on it until you get back to the bar...and wast NO TIME getting back to that bar!

Whenever I see someone weighting down a wingtip here and then leaving the kite, I am quick to get myself over there and flip their kite over for them and then approach them as to WHY I did it. Ya, I have tried talking to them BEFORE moving their kite, but that just gives the kite more time to do it's thing and they aren't always real receptive. SO I first, eliminate the immediate danger then proceed to educate them.

Let's keep it safe! Let's keep it free! And let's do our best to keep any and all bans AWAY from our beaches!

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