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 Post subject: Adrift In The Irish Sea
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 12:37 am 
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I heard about a recent kiteboarding incident in Ireland that I wanted to pass along. It involved a very experienced traction kiter (10 years exp.) out with an open cell traction foil kite. He was out wave kiteboarding near Sutton when his safety system broke during a sudden lull causing his kite to crash and rapidly become unrelaunchable. Many of us have used open cell foils over the years but a serious problem is that if they land on the water for more than a second or two they generally stay there.

Sutton apparently has well known dangerous currents which swept the rider offshore. He wrapped his lines up and trailed his kite out on the surface to reduce the drag. He then lay on his board and tried to swim in but soon realized that he would only wear himself out against the opposing current in cold water before making shore. Fortunately, the kiteboarder wasn't riding alone and had friends at the launch. So, he decided to stay put and await rescue. One of his friends eventually rode out to him after about 30 minutes and asked how he was doing. The disabled kiteboarder asked him to send help out. The rider had become very cold and tried to wrap himself up in the foil kite to conserve body heat.

A helicopter passed overhead a short time later as the rescue boat was unable to find him given the high surf in the area. The rescue boat then came along and took him to shore from about 1.7 miles from shore.

More about this at:

http://www.kitesurfing.ie/index.php?nam ... highlight=


Last edited by RickI on Tue May 04, 2004 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 12:44 am 
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It is fortunate that this rider had nearby friends and an excellent rescue service shoreside. Open cell foils can be a lot of fun to kiteboard with although I personally think that they require considerably more skill to kiteboard with than inflatable kites in varied conditions. Lets face it if they hit the water for much time at all they generally convert to a sea anchor. Technique and edging are the main ways to expand viable wind range, etc. So, it mainly takes some well developed skill to keep open cell foils flying and as long as things go well, have at it. These type foils were very popular with some pro riders only a few years ago for the significant air they would deliver.

Still we all are vulnerable to breakage, LEIs, foils, whatever and things will happen given enough time. Even if this rider was out with an LEI and a line, harness, etc. broke or the kite otherwise was unrelaunchable, a similar outcome would have likely occurred.

I guess it comes down to choices. As great as the surf sounds in that area, that offshore current sounds like a rough proposition. Flying a non-relaunchable kite in potentially hypothermic waters and heavy seas a bit riskier still. We meter the risks we expose ourselves to through our preparation and choices. This is just one more way of getting into trouble. Without the intercession of his friends onshore or in the absence of the helicopter to ultimately find the rider when the boat could not, it is quite possible this story might not have had a happy ending.

As we say so often, choose well ...


Last edited by RickI on Tue May 04, 2004 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 12:52 am 
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Location: Dublin, Ireland
RIck,

i wasn't around on the day it happened, but here is a map showing the place where it happened. i marked sutton with a black dot. One of the reasons for the strong currents is the channel , which you can see it fills and empties quiet fast.
Image

nobody really likes kiting in sutton (more boards lost there than anywhere), but sometimes its the only option if the wind is blowing offshore at dollmount, which is also marked.

the surf there isn't great, it s mainly chop, not much waves. plenty of white horses etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 4:57 pm 
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Thanks for uploading the map Kitedude, I didn't have a lot of luck searching using "Sutton." So, when the wind is out of the west riders launch to the west of Howth Harbour? It looks like the hills to the west would toss out some rotor with westerly winds, with gusts and lulls.

Image
VIEW FROM EAST PIER OF HOWTH HARBOUR
From: http://www.rte.ie/tv/weather/spring/7.jpg

It is a beautiful area to ride in to be sure. The coastal features in the area with those narrow embayments would create some serious tidal outflow as you say. Tricky stuff if your kite goes down and doesn't come back up. Aside from making sure other riders know where you are, you might even consider what they recommend in South Africa, flares & whistles to help rescuers locate you if things go south. You folks are fortunate to have good rescue services so close by.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 12:01 am 
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spot on there,

when its blownfrom the west we hit sutton. as you can see it's coming from the land adn will be gusty and messy,

the picture you have there could me a bit misleading, thats off irelands eye, just out a little bit, when the tide is out, theres a sand bar and you can nearly walk right over to it.

just to give you some example of the wind, i was out there a while ago and the wind was blown fairly strong westerly with an incoming tide, one of the lads came off his board, and it went with the current.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 12:36 am 
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Location: NW Pacific
I kite alone in 48 F degree water with a foil where there are strong currents and I carry a pair of swim fins in a simple homemade backpack. I have used them to swim a half mile when I couldn't relaunch my kite. I dump the kite and board and harness and head for shore to come back later with a boat and get my gear. The fins I use weigh nothing and are very comfortable. I also wear a hooded 7mm wetsuit that allows me to be comfortable for four hours if not longer in the water.FINS


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