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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2002 9:19 pm 
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KITEBOARDING SCENARIOS #2

Dealing With Runaway Kites

A runaway inflatable kite trailed by four lines and a control bar is flying your way in 25 kt. onshore wind conditions, you are an experienced kiteboarder and:

I. you are standing on the beach,

II. you are standing on the beach with your kite in the air
and do not appear to be able to avoid the trailing lines,

III. you are kiteboarding offshore and do appear to be able avoid the trailing lines.

A scenario is also presented in which you tangle kites with another rider while you are both underway.

NOTE: The conclusions and responses are reasoned and are derived in part from experience. They are by no means absolute or the only viable approaches. Input is welcome on this.

What should you do?

1. How to avoid the problem in the first place.

Short of staying away from kiteboarders or trying to compel all the riders to use and check their depowering leashes for reliable performance, you really can't avoid this problem. In most areas runaway kites are relatively rare although it has been indicated that in Maui several runaways kites are released a day. Other popular riding areas may have similar problems but to a lesser degree. Leashes will sometimes be yanked off the rider creating a runaway kite situation. This can happen for a variety of reasons including, the leash is improperly secured, the velcro cuff is disabled by sand, leash hardware is weakened by corrosion, the leash is improperly configured to properly depower the kite size in use or the load on the leash fastening exceeds the safety release pressure of the fastening supplied by the manufacturer. If you release your leash, a good practice is to grab the leash line with your gloved hand to help support your wrist cuff or harness connection. Wearing other normal safety gear such as a good helmet, impact vest and hook knife may also reduce the chance of injury in such an incident.

Careful maintenance of leashes is critical. A leash self testing procedure that is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to all kiteboarders is described at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... formation/

It would be good to also warn bystanders to stay away from kites and lines for their own safety. A sign for launch areas appears at the above address as well.

NOTE: All of the following scenarios are dangerous and the outcomes uncertain despite the intent of the possible responses explored below. As in the case in many other kiteboarding incidents, the only sure course is to avoid the circumstances in the first place. The only feasible way to do that and still kiteboard around other riders is for all the riders to use reliable kite depowering leashes. Hopefully a trend in that direction will develop in the near future to improve the safety of both riders and bystanders. Input on this is welcome.

2. How to deal with the problem if it is too late to avoid it.

I. you are standing on the beach,

If you are sure that the area downwind is free of people, power lines and development for several hundred to a thousand feet or more, consider letting the kite fly inland until it stops on its own.

If there are bystanders or development downwind, try to stop the kite BEFORE IT LEAVES THE WATER. Run into the water in line with the travel of the kite and try to catch a wing tip or portion of the leading edge. If you are successful in grabbing the leading edge, work down to a wing tip to properly depower the kite.

If you miss the kite, consider trying to secure the kite by grabbing ONE LINE ONLY. Understand that you may not succeed in this and may be injured in trying. If you have to do this and aren't wearing gloves assume that you will receive a line burn and may be cut, possibly badly. Try to wrap something around your hand first such as a shirt. Also, the line my slide through your hands despite your best efforts. Trying to grab a single line should be undertaken only as a last desperate and essential action to protect others downwind. DO NOT GRAB THE KITE CONTROL BAR, unless the kite is not moving. If you grab the bar the kite will strongly power up putting others downwind at risk of impact by the bar or cuts from the lines.

If bystanders without known kiteboarding experience try to intercept the kite ahead of you, yell at them forcefully to stay away for their own safety. If the kite is well powered it may remain airborne and out of reach until well inland, potentially defeating efforts to grab the kite itself.

II. you are standing on the beach with your kite in the air and do appear to be able to avoid the trailing lines,

Try to move your kite down to the side to help you run powered up away from intercepting the runaway kite lines. If this doesn't look like it will work or you don't have enough time to run, prepare to drop your control bar and engage your kite leash.

Two options come to mind including releasing your kite bar at time of impact or immediately before. Keep a hand on the release for your kite leash as the runaway kite may tangle and power up your kite lines leaving you no control. Alternatively, retain your control bar and see if you can deal with things after impact. If you chose this option be ready to release your control bar very rapidly. Things could go from bad to much worse very rapidly in this later approach. Also it is possible that the runaway kite may cut one or more of your kite lines thereby releasing your kite anyway.

III. you are kiteboarding offshore and do appear to be able avoid the trailing lines.

The response in this case is almost the same as in II. with the exception of trying to run out of the way. If you think you have a chance you could try to very rapidly ride out of the way but this may be more risky than the following. Prepare to release your control bar just before or after contact with the runaway kite. The rest of section II. as described above applies.

Take pains not to ride into the kite lines if trailing the kite on the water. If you tangle the lines, this will power up the kite and a severe line cut may result. If impacting lines is inevitable, try dropping your bar before impact, grabbing your hook knife and be prepared to rapidly cut whatever lines come in contact with you.

Two Riders Tangle Lines While Holding on to their Control Bars

If you catch another riders lines while the other rider still is holding the control bar, one approach would be for you both to retain control of your kite bars, avoid unnecessary control inputs and try to stabilize both kites. While attempting this be ready to release your kite bar and activate your kite leash. Kite lines may be cut during this process despite your efforts, so be prepared. Ideally both riders should release at about the same time. Be prepared to release your leash wrist cuff or harness connection if things become dangerously powered up despite having activated your kite depowering leash. There is no guarantee that the kite leash will function properly with another set of kite lines wrapped up in them and may force you to release your kite leash fastening. Keeping well clear and maintaining careful awareness of the kite lines of others is far more desirable than trying to successfully manage tangle kite lines.

Leash Self Test Procedure

Please review and perform the kite leash test described at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... formation/
Make necessary adjustments if indicated in your leash system.

3. KSI accounts, if any, that are related.

(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... formation/)

#29a. Incident 3 02 2,
#20. Incident 1 02 1,
#10. Incident 10 01 2,


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2002 3:45 pm 
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For those that may not have looked into this yet, the three reported set of cirumstances that may have led to Silke's recent tragic death are in part explored in this. Unforunately, I have yet to confirm which of the three actually occurred. Aside from expressing our sincere regret for Silke's sad passing, all we can try to do is to try to learn from this and work to avoid it from happening again. All four of these scenarios are not only possible but probable and have happened many times around the world.

I have intercepted runaway kites on the beach but have never dealt with one offshore or tangled lines with another kiteboarder. So my responses are reasoned and derived from what I have heard from others. Input from those who have dealt with runaway kites, have tangled lines with another rider or from alterantive viewpoints would be welcome.

These hazards are a reality in this sport and will remain a threat until safety systems improve, are universally used and good riding judgment is more commonly practiced. Until things change, we really should talk about how to deal with these hazards. If not, we can always pick this up after the next accident.

Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2002 2:29 am 
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Points well taken, Rick. Of course you're right that we should thoroughly examine these scenarios. You've done a great job of that, so far. I, too, encourage those with first hand experience in these matters to step up and tell us what they saw.

I have to say that after all the online safety discussions since Silke's tragic accident, it seems like things are quieting down again. Perhaps many people are ready to move on. However, there is still much we can learn and improve on by continuing to focus on safety. I think we owe it to Silke to keep it up. C'mon guys, this subject has direct bearing on what happened to Silke! Let's follow Rick's lead on this subject and make things better in honor of our lost comrade. Take the time to read these scenarios and lets get this thread going!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2002 7:23 am 
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Quote:
It would be good to also warn bystanders to stay away from kites and lines for their own safety.


Very important point! Hey everybody, if you have bystanders immediately downwind of where you are launching or landing, GET THEM OUT OF THE WAY FIRST! Don't take any chances with this! If you've never seen a close encounter with this, let me tell you it's ugly. It's also usually avoidable.

Bystander's safety should be like a Golden Rule of kiteboarding. Besides basic human morals and loss of kiteboarding access issues we might also keep in mind the potential liability factor. If there are humans downwind in the danger zone, you better warn them at the very least.

We spend allot of time discussing hard objects downwind but what about people?!
Be cool: Give people the chance to get well clear before you (or anybody) launches or lands a kite on the beach.

Keep having fun but take good care~

:cool:
John


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 2:57 am 
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Instant kite crashes upon launching usually happen because people hook the lines up backwards. Even if you check them twice you can sometimes fool yourself if you're distracted. If that happens and someone is just downwind of you, it could be disasterous. So in addition to making sure there is nobody downwind of the launch zone and in addition to double checking your lines, how about spending one dollar to mark your lines with the very latest idea in safety? Check this out, if you haven't already:


http://www.kiteforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=1381&forum=1&1

:cool:


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 4:28 am 
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Hello John,

Thanks for your input on this. I have received some other comments in another about trying to grab a moving kite by one line. People have had line burns, cuts of varying severity and amputations due to tensioned kite lines in the past as we know. As a general rule of thumb you should NEVER grab a tensioned kite line. I tried to emphasize that in attempting to grab the line of a moving kite, that you may not help anything and in fact may be injured. Then again, we should think about bystanders, if any, that may be downwind and vulnerable.

I have worn gloves for many years while kiteboarding. They protect my hands from 6 to 7 hour sessions on the water and also help to deal with the odd line issue. Cut resistant gloves with kevlar fibers would help protect even more in this context. Even these gloves may not protect against a particularly nasty encounter with powered up kite lines.

I am reminded of the story of the teenager in South Africa that almost had his neck cut by a runaway kite. So, doing nothing as a rule of thumb, if you miss grabbing the kite itself isn't a great option. If the kite is moving slowly enough there isn't much of a hazard to grabbing a line. If it is moving fast the hazard may be great.

What do you folks think?
Rick Iossi


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 4:56 am 
Perhaps recommend that people try and stand on a line (with booties) instead of grabbing it. As more people wear booties then gloves.
However I wouldn't want to be caught by the leg in this situation.

Stu


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 7:43 am 
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I use gloves as well, you never know what is going to happen...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 8:10 am 
just a thought on this subject.

If you can run to catch the kite - do so.
If you cant run to catch the kite then the lines is not a good idea either (too much wind in the kite).
Makes sense?

/Johan


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 10:56 am 
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Hi Johan,

you are absolutely right.
I wouldn't catch the kite while flying even with gloves.

Toby


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