There were actually two accidents in New Zealand in 2002 that I wrote about blending the circumstances in my recollection nine years later. One involved a squall while the other involved uplift lofting. You have some demanding riding conditions.
getting pulled over the front of a landboard is not an option! it equalls serious paint. So you set a stance and lean the hell back. any gust translates into sliding not being pulled over the front. sliding on a landboard is very controllable compared to the water. From there the worst case scenario is to be hit by a lull and fall off backwards. the much prefered option! it still hurts more than the water tho. Luckily riding on hard smooth sand beach is more repeatable than riding in chop and waves. so you crash much less. its more like riding butter flat water.
ForThe nelson death the guy was flying a 15m PL Gorrilla. So an older arc style kite. The max gust for the day is still in dispute. a local kiter who was kiting on the same day mentioned gusts to 50 knots, however any reports i have read on mention max wind speeds of 30 knots. The guy was very experienced and infact was an instructor. I still to this day do not know why an experienced flyer would put up a 15m foil in winds gusting to 30knots. I can only guess he underestimated the wind speed or the wind built very quickly while he was flying.
ps the confusion re kitesurfing/landboarding was the media's lack of knowledge.