Don Monnot wrote:
I've read lots of pontification on this topic, but no documentation based on analysis of the accidents. What were the conditions, how frequent are the accidents, what was the chain of events that caused the accident/incident, and what type of equipment were they using? Anybody have any statistics or accident/incident analysis to back up your opinion?
November 11, 2002:
A new kiteboarder but long time windsurfer was out in an new area in side shore winds shifting
between 14-22 knots much of the day but at the time of the accident it was only 12-16 knots late
in the afternoon. Apparently the rider had been advised to take lessons but as there was a waiting
list he decided to try to learn on his own. The water temperature was quite cold at 9-12 degrees
Celsius. There were about 20 kiteboarders out in the area at this time. There is a large harbor
wall bordering the launch that was paralleled by a strong current on this day. The rider was using
an Aero 10 or 12 without a shackle or Quick Release but was wearing a helmet, impact vest,
gloves, knife and whistle. He was using a Wipika 175 cm board with a board leash. The actual
details of the accident are unknown at this time. His kite was seen to be on the water then flying
then back on the water in a relatively short interval. He was later dragged ashore by his kite near
the harbor wall and found unconscious and without a pulse. Other kiteboarders responded
immediately with first aid. He was in a deep coma but some evidence of brain activity was
present for several days. He eventually passed away in hospital. He was found to have a bruise
around his right ankle the attachment point of the board leash and a small cerebral hematoma
under the occuput (a small blood clot in the brain at the back of the head, above the neck).
The kiteboarder was a physician as is a friend of his who also kiteboards. The other physician
proposed the following sequence of events. The kiteboarder lost his board, dragged underwater
and recoiled striking the rider at the back of the neck and beneath his helmet. The hematoma
and the bruising in the area of the kite leash support this conclusion. The rider was knocked
unconscious and was apparently lying face down in the water and drowned.
Also November 2002:
An experienced rider was out in gusty conditions with a board leash. At one point he was dragged at speed and
the board slingshotted into his face. The fin lacerated the riders throat. Also he had several teeth broken and was
bleeding profusely. He was rushed to the hospital by bystanders. He was in poor condition due to blood loss and
related trauma at the emergency room. He was treated and is in the process of healing.
A kiteboarder was out in variable side offshore winds estimated at 14-15 knot with
gusts to 17-18 knots and lulls to 11 knots in relatively calm water and at low tide. The rider was
out with an unidentified kite about 15-18m2. The rider made a jump near the shore but fell upon
landing. The leash hurled the board against the rider's head, who then immediately lost
consciousness. Fortunately two other riders saw the incident and rescued the injured person. He
regained consciousness at the beach and was flown by rescue helicopter to the hospital in
Rotterdam. The rider was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd.
That's just from the 2nd half of 2002. Do a search and you'll find plenty of firsthand stories from people who have had near-misses and/or near hits.