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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2002 6:15 pm 
Last weekend, we had a couple of serious kitesurfing accidents in Miami, FL
that I recently heard about and wanted to pass on. The two incidents had
some common characteristics both to each other and unfortunately to other
accidents at these launches in the past. They both involved kitesurfers
being lofted into hard objects during kite launch while still onshore in
gusty onshore wind conditions. Both kitesurfers were from out of town, a
woman from California and a man from another country. The woman had her
accident at a beach where two riders were lofted into cars under very
similar conditions within the last six months. One of those other riders
was taken to the hospital due to injuries sustained and the other walked
away, after doing over $1000. USD in damage to the parked car. For more info
on these past accidents checkout:

Incident # 7 01 1 at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... Database/K
itesurf%20Accident%20and%20Incident%20Database%20Dec.%2012%2C%202001.txt

The woman had just launched her kite and was then reportedly lofted skyward
and fell down into some timber poles driven into the ground at Hobie Beach.
She was reportedly bleeding from the mouth when she was transported to the
hospital. She was subsequently treated and released from the hospital.

The man was also lofted during launch and was also flown inland into a hard
landing narrowly missing more of the same type of timber poles at Virginia
Key Beach. I understand that his injuries may have also justified a trip to
the hospital but he declined as he was planning on flying out the next day.
As I understand it, neither rider was wearing a helmet or impact vest.

So what?! Both of these launches are technical, intermedite to advanced
launches because of:

1) Close hard obstructions, e.g. cars, trees, posts and at at one launch,
large rock groins and at the other an adjoining highway.

2) The demands of the launches are even greater in onshore winds as the
lofting potential into hard objects goes way up.

3) The past history of serious accidents.

As a result Virginia Key Beach may soon have a kitesurfing ban (which has
long been threatened) and Hobie Beach has new, fortunately logical
restrictions.

I understand that two kites were released into the four lane highway at
Hobie Beach over the weekend, making the number at least five runaway kites
in recent months to go into the highway. Any of these kites could have
caused a very serious car accident in a highway. We need to get
responsible about safety and leash use or the regulators will force us to be
or more likely just ban kitesurfing in this accident prone areas.

The reality is that beginner and novice kitesurfers go off both of these
sites frequently, because:

a. They don't know any better, it's a beach with water, wind and other
kitesurfers so lets have at it; or

b. They ignore good, well intended advice to go to some place
safer to practice.

Again, so what?! We are going to repeat history and accidents until someone
dies in one of these incidents unless we learn from all this and effectively
spread the lessons on. I am sure that these conditions of onshore winds
with nearby hard objects are relatively common worldwide and accordingly the
accident potential is also high. In reality any of the injured parties if
they had hit head first they could have died. The accidents could have been
avoided by not placing the kites in or near neutral following launching and
in the woman's case launching well offshore from the shallows with
assistance. Better still they could have been avoided by the riders going
to easier and safer launch areas. Finally, even experienced riders and particularly new riders need to accept that the risk of accident and injury goes up substantially with onshore winds and for that reason may be worth avoiding. In the case of beginning kitesurfers I would say in the sense of self preservation and the maintenance of kitesurfing access for everyone, onshore winds should be avoided.

This new sport is aging a bit, the regulators are paying closer attention
and the rider and accident counts are rising. Good communication and common
safety practices would help a great deal in helping to assure rider safety
and continued kitesurfing access. The work of instructors and kitesurfing
associations is laid out but until they are more common and having effect, it is up to the
kitesurfers at large to look out for their own.

Fly safe,
Rick Iossi


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2002 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 1:00 am
Posts: 1949
Location: Hamburg, Germany
hey dude,


i'm soory to tell, but a few months ago, a kitesurfer in spain (or france) died in a similar accident.
as far as i know, it happend in holland, too.

in germany, an experienced girl got hit by a very strong gust and lofted a few hundret meters --- she is now recovering and will be able to surf again.
there was another accident at a popular kitespot in germany where the rider got his foot ripped off.

so if you have to go out in onshore conditions, don't go out overpowered, have a good safety and learn to use it!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2002 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:00 am
Posts: 29271
Location: World (KF Admin)
Onshore winds are really dangererous.
made the experience myself.
Specially to beginners it is a no-no!
But also for experienced kiters it isn't the best decision to go out. Anyway an experienced kiter doesn't act that panic when a gust hits (normally).
I think it is very important to check the weather conditions everytime we go out.
In Germany the DWD offers great forecasts mentioning heavy gusts with rain or thunderstorms.

Another problem is the line setup routine.
I almost got injured by launching the kite with the lines twisted.
I didn't follow my routine and took enough time to put the lines where they belong, because I wanted to go on the water asap.
Just 5 minutes more (or less) will save time in the hospital or our lives.

Whatever we can do, we should!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2002 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:00 am
Posts: 94
This forum will try to help in any way we can to avoid any accident!

All users can provide their tips for safer kiting.

Looking forward to it!


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E-mail me or if you are registered, send a private message.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Webmaster on 2002-01-14 16:42 ]</font>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2002 4:31 am 
Murdoc,

I hadn't heard about the incidents involving the German girl and guy. I maintain a kitesurfer accident database at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... 0Database/

with the intent of trying to spread the hard won lessons of riders that had accidents in the hope that others won't repeat the experience. I have included discussion of all the fatalities that I have heard about worldwide including the ones in Spain and Holland. If you could provide more information on the German incidents, particularly the lofted girl that would be helpful. Alternatively, if you could put me in touch with any kitesurfer eyewitness or even the victims that should provide even more reliable information.

As a general note to everyone else, if you experienced an incident or accident that you feel contains a lesson worth passing on, please email the info to me privately and I will upload it to the database.

Thanks,
Rick Iossi
flkitesurfer@hotmail.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2002 10:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:00 am
Posts: 29271
Location: World (KF Admin)
She went on TV with her story.
A very known magazin has a TV magazin, too.
Unfotunately I didn't see the whole story, just the end and never got any copy.
I will try to get some information for your database


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2002 1:12 pm 
In Hungary we have about 80 kitesurfers (guess). Almost all of them are beginners, practicing on the south shore of Balaton lake where the water is shallow.

When we have good wind it is 90% onshore and 70% gusty. It is always dangerous. Storms can come up very suddenly on that lake. Wind can change from force 4 to force 9 in a matter of seconds. Ok, it only happens a few times every summer. Some beginners just do not want to listen. In October we had a day, when there were 3 accidents on 1 day on one spot. 3 kites were ripped apart. Thank god nobody was seriously hurt yet. One of the guys was going to the water with a Wipika 2 line kite in very gusty conditions. He was told not to do it by more experienced kiters, but he did not listen. When his kite was started, he remained in the water for appr. 3 seconds. Then he had to climb down from a tree. His kite was in pieces.

It is difficult to find another site in Hungary, but by following some rules many of us have been able to avoid accidents. Considering our spot here are the most important two.
1. Get away from shore, walk into the water at least 30 meters before starting the kite. (If you cannot do that, you should be absolutly sure, not to be overpowered; which is impossible to say in gusty conditions)
2. Have a safety leash. (after a few sessions I took it off as I did not want anything hanging on my hand, until I was hit by a gust which lifted me up to 6 meters while I was close to the shore. I really paniced. I spent the rest of the day on the beach and the following day I put the leash back on.) Another aspect is, that if you have a leash you will be able to let go off the kite in a problem situation without losing it; it is quite expensive.

HG


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2002 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2001 1:00 am
Posts: 51
Location: Latvia
...kite-paraplaning...I thought it is joke:
http://www.kitesite.co.il/50meter.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2002 2:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2001 1:00 am
Posts: 51
Location: Latvia
...and that`s why people dont like UFOs falling in the parks:
http://www.kitesurfingaustria.at/frame/news/Verbot.jpg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2002 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 1:00 am
Posts: 1949
Location: Hamburg, Germany
hey ERX,
as far as i know, this insane pic is real - and there are eye-witnesses...

this can be caused by a thing called 'hot-spot'

when a dark place like an area of dark green grass or a parking lot heats up in sunlight, it can create a freak-thermic which can send you up this far.
the rider, however stayed cool and survived with a few minor injuries.

i read about it in kiteboarding magazine...

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go big (but not this big),

murdoc

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: murdoc on 2002-01-14 15:21 ]</font>


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