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 Post subject: KITE LOOP TO SLAM IN!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:00 am
Posts: 8218
Location: Florida
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A map of Door County, Wisconsin, USA on Lake Michigan.
From: http://www.doorpi.net/

The wind was on at Bailey’s Harbor, Wisconsin, USA after a fitful summer of lighter winds on Lake Michigan. Stein Erik Gabrielsen or Stein for short was out taking full advantage of the winds. Stein has been kiteboarding for quite a while. He first took lessons from Flash Austin’s protégé, Kristen Kat Tracy on Maui in 1999. He has been an active windsurfer since 1982. So, wind, water and tricks are nothing new to Stein. He is actively involved with PASA as Outreach Director for kiteboard training.

The wind graph for Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin about 30 miles to the south of Bailey’s Harbor appears below:

Image
From: ikitesurf.com

The wind was about 30 mph side shore or from the SSW and the sky was clear at Bailey’s Harbor. Stein had checked weather radar and noticed some storms inbound but they were still safely 60 miles away at around 2:30 pm when he was riding. He describes smooth, butter like conditions inside the 100 yard long jetty shown in the satellite photo below followed by knee high waves on the outside.

Image
From: http://terraserver.microsoft.com/

Interestingly enough, he had just had a heated exchange earlier that day with a former student from a couple of years back about throwing down tricks close to shore. Little did he know that he was going to back up his position with a painful practical demonstration in short order. He had been riding on a 12 m Windwing kite but had just rigged down to an 8 m Windwing in consideration of the building winds.

Image
A view of the jetty towards the east.
From: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/kinnaly1/ ... ailey1.jpg

Stein had just thrown a double back loop followed by a kite loop and was certain he was about to nail the landing when the wind gusted perhaps to 35 or 40 mph. As a result, the kite looped another half turn or so and Stein thoroughly off balance at this point, BURNED IN HARD at high speed. He told me that he must have pulled this trick off a hundred times in the past but not this time, not quite. He was dragged at high speed while hanging on to the bar in considerable pain but eventually popped his quick release to activate his kite leash. The kite leash attachment promptly ripped loose and sent the kite flying off downwind parallel to shore. They are in a habit of a having a chase wave runner on standby on the shore along with several other kiteboarders. So the wave runner responded to the situation and grabbed the kite.

In the meantime, Stein was conscious but in considerable pain, barely able to breath or move and was fortunately floated by his impact vest. He was carried into shore as he was unable to swim in. He was taken to the hospital, x-rayed and found to have no fractured ribs but had some separated cartilage at his ribs. He also had some signs of minor kidney injury from the impact. As a result, Stein will be off the water for a couple of months per Doctors orders to allow things to heal.


Last edited by RickI on Thu Aug 26, 2004 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:18 pm 
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Location: Florida
Stein considers himself to be fortunate to have avoided drowning or worse bodily trauma by following some simple routine practices for kiteboarding. He cites the following as contributing to a less severe outcome in this accident:

1. He was wearing a good impact vest and feels this was responsible for saving him from some severe broken ribs, other internal complications and potentially drowning after being disabled by the impact.

2. He was wearing a helmet and credits this with potentially sparing himself a perforated ear drum.

3. He was riding in sideshore winds, no closer than 300 ft. from shore. He was dragged for a distance at speed and if he had thrown this trick closer to shore he might have been dragged over land at high speed.

4. He wasn’t kiteboarding alone and had a wave runner on standby to assist with his recovery to shore.

Stein feels that if he failed to do any one of these things he could have been more severely injured. Stein isn’t your average rider. He rides at a high level of competency and throws down some demanding tricks. Still, he takes the trouble to look out for number one despite shredding hard because he realizes that things can go wrong in kiteboarding?!

He wears an impact vest, helmet, checks the weather, uses distance, rides with friends and in general does the simple things that can improve the odds if things don't go quite to plan. Who would have thought that in the seconds before landing he would have been wacked by a strong gust? Lots of riders don’t bother with these simple precautions and ride as if nothing will ever go wrong. Sometimes they are right but not always as accidents have proven. Know your sport, take reasonable precautions and ride hard or set yourself up for an avoidable hammering one of these days. More choices ...


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