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Riding in offshore winds

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darippah
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Riding in offshore winds

Postby darippah » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:22 am

So who here rides in offshore winds in a large enough body of water where you will not make it to the other side? If you do how to you make this dangerous choice safer? do you pack a pair of swim fins? Make sure there are other riders with you?

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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby RalfsB » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:26 am

I would not do it without a rescue boat.

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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby ronnie » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:39 am

Only done it once when having a lesson.
They had a guy in a boat offshore and lifeguards with jetskis a few km down the coast in case the engine in the boat failed.

I'm sure there must have already been threads asking the same question.

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Saami
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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby Saami » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:15 pm

I kite in off-shore winds, when the conditions are tempting enough and I think it is reasonably safe.

In a sense, it is no different from kiting in on-shore winds, because it really boils down to the same thing: You must at all times have a viable exit plan. What that exit plan is can vary. Sometimes, it is a boat. Sometimes, it is having people on the water or on the shore watching you and being ready to arrange a boat rescue. However, personally, even if there is a boat available, I don't like to bet on the boat being there when I need it (because engines can break down, and people's attention can drift). So, in my case, I simply try to make sure that I am never further from shore than I feel confident that I can swim. Again, this is really no different from when you are kiting in on-shore winds (because if / when your kite deflates completely for some reason, it hardly matters in what direction the wind is blowing - your choices are going to be down to swimming or waiting for rescue).

So, never go further out than you think you can swim - whether we're talking about off-shore winds or on-shore winds. You have to try to be realistic about your ability to swim in, though. Personally I know that I can swim for hours if I have to, but I also know that that doesn't matter one bit if the current is against me - even a weak current can push me much faster than I can swim. So, know your spot, and spend some time watching the water and currents before heading out.

From a practical viewpoint, I tend to feel safe as long as I am inside breaking waves and know that there are no strong currents pushing out to sea. The waves will usually help bring you closer and closer to shore if you end up having to swim in. But, again, this really varies depending on the spot. In certain reef breaks where you have a lot of water flowing out from the reef, it might be impossible to swim in - so again, know your spot well before heading out!

And sure, swim fins would obviously be helpful. I don't carry that myself, though perhaps I should. I do keep a storm whistle and a small signaling mirror on a lanyard in my boardshort pocket, though. And stuff such as EPIRB radio beacons would obviously be a huge backup if you're kiting in the developed part of the world, but I've never kited with one of those myself.

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Saami
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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby Saami » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:27 pm

Oh, and one more thing: Be mentally prepared to ditch your gear if you have to. Kitegear can be replaced.

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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby pj sofine » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:39 pm

Never.

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Kamikuza
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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby Kamikuza » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:21 pm

Saami wrote:Oh, and one more thing: Be mentally prepared to ditch your gear if you have to. Kitegear can be replaced.

This. Well, at any time really.

I've done it twice - cross-off both times, once on the ocean (next stop - Peru!) and once on the lake (15km to the next beach) but both times the waves were driving onto the shore so I was planning on an easy swim or sail with the kite. There was plenty of wind though - dunno if I'd contemplate it in light or lully wind at all...

No other gear, except a different mindset.

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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby el_guestos » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:23 pm

Be mentally prepared to ditch your gear if you have to. Kitegear can be replaced.


Agreed!

Goes on quite a bit here in Tarifa as when the Levante blows we get a real nice little wave and perfect flat section in front of town. Of course horror stories abound and there are regularly guys with long walks and lost kit, but everyone is in the same boat so they keep an eye on each other and everyone knows that the worst that should ever happen to you is you lose your kite....the fishermen round here normally pick them up and sell them back to you anyway!

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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby JGTR » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:24 pm

In a sense, it is no different from kiting in on-shore winds


Erm am I missing something??

Off shore winds will blow you our to sea, onshore winds will blow you back to shore, how is that the same thing???

I appreciate there may be scenarios where off shore conditions are acceptable but personally I never kite in off shore winds unless there is boat cover. Kiteboarding 101 FFS!!

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Saami
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Re: Riding in offshore winds

Postby Saami » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:05 pm

JGTR wrote:
In a sense, it is no different from kiting in on-shore winds

Erm am I missing something??

Off shore winds will blow you our to sea, onshore winds will blow you back to shore, how is that the same thing???

Correct, off-shore winds pushes you out to sea and onshore winds pushes you towards the shore - as long as you are connected to an inflated kite. The highlighted piece is the critical point. You can't go out kiting in on-shore wind or in off-shore wind and assume that you will remain attached to your kite, or that your kite will remain inflated! Harnesses can break; kites can deathloop and force you to release them; kites can deflate. Once your kite is gone (or in the water and completely deflated), what will matter is not the wind but the current, your swimming ability, and whatever rescue services that may be available.

That is what I meant when I wrote that kiting in off-shore wind is really no different than kiting in on-shore winds. In both cases, your operating assumption has to be that at any given moment, you may lose your gear. That has to be the basis for your planning, whether you are kiting in on-shore wind or side-shore wind or off-shore wind; and that is what has to determine how far from shore that you allow yourself to go.

I see a lot of people tacking way, way out to sea by themselves in side-on-shore winds in areas with notable currents. I can only assume that they are very, very confident swimmers.


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