I don't care How much Sh*t Ya give me ; NOT launching someone
i don't know at Mohave , without asking how long they bin kiting and
if there familiar with the nuances for the things that can Kill them
If i don't like your answer, i'll simply tell Ya to do a self tether launch because the
wind today isn't safe to kite in ; i'll also Discourage you from kiting
there if i get the idea that you don't know what your doing.
I saved an ignorant woman's Life one day by using that strategy ; she
was totally Clue-less on how to use a kite, never took a lesson, and
had no idea what could happen to her 100Lb body while
hooked into a 8 to 10M kite in a 30mph wind . All this while her 220Lb
son was looking like he wanted to smash my face cause i wouldn't help
his mother !!
If your in the USA, and you encourage someone to go kiting by talking to
or launching them, then your Also liable for damages if they get hurt.
Yep -- that's F*cked-Up , but there's already bin cases won by shrewd lawyers
with some rather Large awards.
The First thing the injured person is gonna say :
"Someone should-a Warned me", & then watch there Lawyer go to work on Ya.
This is a major issue. Rick and others suggest it's a kiteboarder's own responsibility to decide when and where to fly/ride. Fair enough. But a beginner needs the input of others with more experience to help him/her make good decisions. People simply aren't capable of knowing much about anything until they learn it, though that's easy to take for granted once one does know. It seems strange to me to arrive at a beach, realize immediately with my own senses that the wind is blowing about 15 knots, and then see someone pull out a wind meter because they can't tell 5 knots from 20. But once, that could have been me too, until I learned.
Many times I've been asked to launch an unknown kiter in conditions or location that could be dangerous, depending on skill level. It's a tough position to be in... trying to understand how well his/her representation of skill level and understanding of the immediate environment matches reality. Some such kiters have proven to be far less capable than they realize, and some turn out to be experts. The trick is to help, without facilitating danger or offending. I normally do my best to politely converse, understand experience and skill level, and spell out the potential severity of local conditions and hazards.
Part of a recent such conversation:
Unknown kiter - "Well, I suppose at worst I'll end up downwind at that beach."
Me (as politely as possible) - "No, the worst will be a fatal head injury on that rock breakwater in the turbulence of those trees."
RickI wrote:The kiter is always responsible for his actions, regardless of how clueless he might be.
Sounds like he had some help in making bad choices however going right back to his instructor.
I am only talking about responsibility, I don't see how it could ever be otherwise, outside of lessons of course. During instruction, I feel the teacher is responsible for things within reasonable limits. This isn't the same thing as avoiding serious problems before they happen after class however. The guy may be clueless, how will he ever know unless someone tells him, aside from a session in the school of hard knocks. Instructors should cover a lot more than the basic mechanics of kiting, some do but many do not however.
I think the kite community has an obligation to try to help the guy to avoid obvious, serious problems. If we ignore him, it could go bad for everyone. There is lots of precedent for this. Folks may not always be receptive to input but I still think we should try. There have been dozens of posts on this going back many years.
I had a bad launch with an experienced kiter the other day, he asked me to launch him from behind a row of cars where there was a slight wind shadow. I was a little wary but he seemed confident....so the kite kept luffing and he firmly directed me get into the wind so I did, he said okay, I let the kite go, it back stalled dropped into the zone and he got dragged on his ass for a few meters. I was crushed thinking it was my fault, so I ran over grabbed the kite and told him we are gonna launch in front of the cars closer to the water like everyone else. It really put a damper on my day thinking it was my fault. I analysed the situation and talked it over with him and we both agreed it was a mistake launching from where he did. No one was injured thankfully but I try and take launches and landings super seriously.
PS.... Sometimes its hard to tell if randoms are experienced or not.
I launched a guy who seemed like he was experienced.This was a gusty cross shore day which means at the launch site the wind is stuffed up by upwind trees/buildings. once you get on the water and out of the wind shadow its ok.
He said he had been kiting for several years. He talked the talk and when i launched him it seemed like he flew the kite well. after I launched him he didn't haul arse to the water. he stayed on the beach with the kite at the zenith pulling the bar in doing little jumps. To be honest at that stage I had walked off. But i did think it a little off given the gusty conditions.
Next minute he gets lofted and smashed into the beach. Then fails to activate the safety and gets dragged a good 50+ meters down the beach.
He ends up stuffing up his shoulder. We clean him up and I take him to the hospital.
Any way the info he failed to tell me when he said he had been kiting for 2 years is that he really hadn't done much kiting at all for the last 1 1/2" years.... So he had just learnt and then stopped...
It's your local kite spot,you do whatever right to keep it safe,always inform local condition,hazards,beach rules when i see a new face (observe new kiter to see any dangerous behavior) talk to beginners to encourage safe practice.We all play in it.
Ok it's clear that all involved share some of the responsibility.
One. The instructor.
An instructor should never say "ok ,your good to kite anywhere" to any student. If he does his job right he should do exactly the opposite. I tell all my students to stay below a certain wind speed and only practice away from people and solid objects. Never do it alone and only have expierenced kiters launch or land the kite for them. When I train someone they fly a teathered kite until they can consistently control it's flight. Not until they demonstrate that control does the teather come off the kite. I have a series of exercises that they must complete step by step. I also never place a time limit on the student. They should be able to come to as many sessions for as many hours as THEY NEED to complete all the exercises. Each student is an individual and should be trained as such. I know this next point will rub many the wrong way. I believe that instructors who also sell or profit from gear sales have a bad conflict of interest. I have seen many students who have been sold old, worn out or even dangerous combinations of gear just because the instructor was trying to make an exta buck. Off brand gear used to be more of a problem than it is now. I could go on a bit but you get the gist. When it becomes about $$$ the quality of the lessons often suffer. These future, potential kiters trust instructors to take them down the best and safest path. We should not let them down.
Two. The student.
Even If yougot a good understanding of the sport in your lessons you should not go right out and push the limit. BUT, after a student has finished the lessons given by their instructors it's up to them to take them seriously. If, as a student, you received a good quality lesson and learned how to safely fly the kite you should know the difference. The two most important questions a student should ask himself before he even unpacks his kite are " Is this a good place FOR ME to kite" and " Are these good conditions FOR ME to kite in." If you are not sure don't kite. Plain and simple. Pay attention to your training! If you ignore your training or go against the better advice of more expierenced kiters and you get hurt. It's your falt. You were warned!
Three. Local crew and expierenced kiters everywhere.
When some guy or girl shows up at the beach it's very obvious if they are new or have some time on the water. You can see it in how they move, unpack gear and where they set up. They stand out like a sore thumb. They often want to ask questions but are too shy. They often misinterpret the focused attention of expierenced kiters on their own sessions as an unwillingness to help the new guy. Be engaging. Don't ignore the new guy. Remember what it was like when you started? Besides that, the access you save may be your own. If just a few suggestions or a little help makes the day safer for everyone we all win. And if you see that the new guy is not ready for stronger wind, fast current, offshore winds or closer quarters tell them. It's not fool proof but it goes a long way to improving the sport for us all.
Ok there is my $00.02. I know there are people who will disagree with many of my philosophies, all of them or none. Just remember that first day you had your hands on a big traction kite. Mine was in 1998. All the people I have met who helped me when I started have a special place in my memories. How will you be remembered by your fellow kiters?
Beginners should practice in spots where:
*they are not launching amongst non-kiters.
*the water is shallow enough and the bottom firm enough that they can stop at any point and walk back to the starting point or self-rescue (or there is a short and safe downwind landing with no people walking on the beach)
*they do not overfly non-kiters in the water or on the beach, keeping well more than a line length separation.
*there are a minimum of hard objects
or they should be in a school setting with jetski support.
I realize not all areas have these characteristics available. We cannot expect the general public to be aware of the possibilities of launch problems, kites falling out of the sky, etc..