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Four CLOBBERED by Cold Front

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RickI
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Four CLOBBERED by Cold Front

Postby RickI » Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:47 am

A powerful cold front was predicted to move into Southern Florida bringing strong winds 30 to 35 mph out of the Northwest yesterday, (Sunday, Jan. 23, 2005).

Image

Lots of riders had been following the forecast for several days in advance. An experienced rider had just arrived at the beach at about 9:00 am. The launch was on the west coast of Florida. He noticed a line of black clouds moving in from the NW. He assumed that this was the leading edge of the long awaited cold front. He noticed four young guys out on the water ranging approximately 15 to 18 years old, on 12 to 15 m kites with a max. weight of about 150 lbs. They guys were out in approximate 12 mph winds, in sunny conditions and were somewhat underpowered.

The experienced rider walked up to another guy on the beach who apparently knew the riders on the water. He pointed out the black menacing cloud line moving in and suggested that he call his friends into shore to land/secure their kites. The guy blew off the warning, saying “they’re good riders, they can handle it.â€
Last edited by RickI on Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:19 am, edited 7 times in total.

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RickI
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Postby RickI » Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:49 am

There is a LOT more to kiteboarding than just rigging, riding and throwing some tricks.

Decorating trees, houses, walls etc. with lofted riders isn't going to help our access or the guys that got slammed for that matter. A man was partially paralyzed recently when he was lofted in less powered circumstances a short distance on to shore.

PLEASE learn about kiteboarding before JUST DOING IT.


KNOW about your local weather, read the forecasts, know the signs of changing weather, rig for anticipated conditions. Monitor weather conditions continuously and a lot more.


IF excessively gusty winds hit, DESPITE all your best efforts to avoid it, DEPOWER USING YOUR KITE IMMEDIATELY, WHILE YOU HAVE THE OPTION. If you don't have a kite leash to depower your kite, prepare to kiss your butt goodbye potentially. Guys have lost it in the past for hanging on just too long when powerful winds slammed in.


Once you are lofted and flying through the air or being ripped across the water at speed, you may not be able to pull off depowering the kite. It can be mere seconds from lofting/dragging to impact with NO time to react. What do you do if you drive off of a cliff ... Not much, it's too late.


Looking cool is important, right? Best to thoroughly know what is going on to avoid looking stupid AND risking trashing your kite. How will you look to your friends if your actions get everyone kicked out of the launch?


More ideas about these and related subjects appear at:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2300704

Some information about weather planning appears at:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2300711


While you are checking the weather forecast, check the Sat. images and realtime winds at http://www.ikitesurf.com/ and forecasts, radar and Sat. images at http://nws.noaa.gov/ or equivalent sites in your country.

You can often see the leading edge of the cold front in the sat. images and perhaps also the leading edge squalls with some wet cold fronts. ALSO, look up coast to see if the front has triggered wind spikes. Look at the wind speeds and times in the following plots for stations further to the north. Some cold fronts have violent embedded squalls at their leading edge. Realtime winds with frequent direction changes and rapidly varying gusts can be a give away of such unstable potentially hazardous conditions.

Image
The front hit at about 5:30 am here, about 135 miles north of the launch and stayed up for a while. NOTE: all wind graphics are from http://www.ikitesurf.com/ including the new, very nicely detailed windgraphs.

Image
Further south, about 80 miles north of the launch, the leading edge of the front hit at around 6:30 am and stayed up for a while

Image
At this station, about 25 miles north of the launch, it went off at 9 am and stayed up for a while.

Observations at the launch indicated the frontal winds hit at about 9:30 am.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE, who could have possibly predicted this would happen?


Anyone.


So, risk being clueless cannon fodder OR learn your game, please. This isn't rocket scicence. Learn about YOUR local conditions. Why risk looking like a loser because of ignorance?



Have a care out there.
Last edited by RickI on Tue Jan 25, 2005 8:21 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Postby consumer » Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:36 am

i once saw a guy loop his kite on shore by accident and superman into a small tree and then just totally ragdoll tumble along in the sand, I just stood there going "oh shit, oh shit"

he was wearing a helmet and full safety gear(vest etc), he walked away from it with some minor cuts and bruises, and ofcourse a mild concussion.

The speed with which i saw him hit was rediculous and im sure the helmet saved him from serious injury if not his life.

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Postby RickI » Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:38 am

As a footnote, the very experienced rider that related this account, rigged up a 7 m kite, grabbed a 124 cm board and proceeded to be overpowered for his session at 180 lbs.

This other guys weighed substantially less and had kites OVER TWICE AS LARGE (FOUR TIMES THE POWER), and they were INTENTIONALLY going out in these forecast high wind conditions. They also ignored signs of a significant change in weather. One guy even hot relaunched after almost getting bashed just before.

Knowledge can set you free and it may help you to avoid looking really stupid or really injured some unlucky day.

This isn't a major attack on young guys, more of a heads up. Older guys have made similar errors in judgment but with far more permanent, negative consequences in the past.

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Postby RickI » Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:42 am

consumer wrote:i once saw a guy loop his kite on shore by accident and superman into a small tree and then just totally ragdoll tumble along in the sand, I just stood there going "oh shit, oh shit"

he was wearing a helmet and full safety gear(vest etc), he walked away from it with some minor cuts and bruises, and ofcourse a mild concussion.

The speed with which i saw him hit was rediculous and im sure the helmet saved him from serious injury if not his life.


Wow, that is some story! A helmet and impact vest won't necessarily save you from injury or worse, but they might make an important difference. It sounds like the guy you saw getting yanked and slammed might agree. Thanks for passing it along.

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Postby D_Clark » Tue Jan 25, 2005 8:01 am

Thanks for the tale. It seems like incidents like this are just going to happen. Kites are not forgiving in over powered conditions. In windsurfing you can be over powered and aren't likely going to face serious physical injury. You just drop the sail if its to windy and every thing stops, not so with a kite. This windsurfing sail size selection mentaility leads to bad thinking for people who convert to kiteboarding.

I kite with my Father who is in his 60's and has been kiteboarding for a couple of years and was a windsurfer since 1980. The problem is that he usually sails a meter bigger than most people when windsurfing because he isn't very effiecent. This thinking carries over to kiteboarding where he almost always picks a kite to large for the conditions. More than once I have had to stop him from using a kite that was 2-4m bigger than what I was riding and he is a novice kiter, I'm an intermediate and like to ride very powered. I once caught him pumping up a 20m while I was out riding on a 12m in about 20knts. I have been charged with insubordination more than once for forcing him out on a smaller kite. The problem is that he isn't learning and I don't ride get to babysit him all the time.

Now he wants to buy a 25m kite and I don't want him to for the above reasons. I know he will try it to ride it in too much wind, but I can't tell him no. So its not just the young guys who can get into trouble.

- DC

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Postby bondo » Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:24 am

Thanks for the tale. It seems like incidents like this are just going to happen. Kites are not forgiving in over powered conditions. In windsurfing you can be over powered and aren't likely going to face serious physical injury. You just drop the sail if its to windy and every thing stops, not so with a kite. This windsurfing sail size selection mentaility leads to bad thinking for people who convert to kiteboarding.

I kite with my Father who is in his 60's and has been kiteboarding for a couple of years and was a windsurfer since 1980. The problem is that he usually sails a meter bigger than most people when windsurfing because he isn't very effiecent. This thinking carries over to kiteboarding where he almost always picks a kite to large for the conditions. More than once I have had to stop him from using a kite that was 2-4m bigger than what I was riding and he is a novice kiter, I'm an intermediate and like to ride very powered. I once caught him pumping up a 20m while I was out riding on a 12m in about 20knts. I have been charged with insubordination more than once for forcing him out on a smaller kite. The problem is that he isn't learning and I don't ride get to babysit him all the time.

Now he wants to buy a 25m kite and I don't want him to for the above reasons. I know he will try it to ride it in too much wind, but I can't tell him no. So its not just the young guys who can get into trouble.

- DC


perhaps try and sell him on a bigger, more forgiving board. everyone overlooks the board, but proper board choice for the conditions and skill level will make a hell of a difference...

well, anyway, be sure he is properly insured, have a first aid kit on standby and document the impending catastrophe in full, maybe save RickI some work... :-?

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Postby sq225917 » Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:29 pm

rick, once again that's a superbly put together report, with exceptional local weather data to back it all up.

i still think you are providing THE best service to new and moderately experienced kiters who dont have a full year of variable conditions under their belt.


keep up the good work.

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Postby xray » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:24 pm

W.O.O.S.H

This was the W of Weather!
With all the non windsurf kids jumping to kitesurfing right now they lack all the essential knowledge about the weather and the winds. Something not likely to happen anyone with a sailing, paragliding or windsurfing background...

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RickI
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Postby RickI » Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:26 pm

D_Clark wrote:Thanks for the tale. It seems like incidents like this are just going to happen. Kites are not forgiving in over powered conditions. In windsurfing you can be over powered and aren't likely going to face serious physical injury. You just drop the sail if its to windy and every thing stops, not so with a kite. This windsurfing sail size selection mentaility leads to bad thinking for people who convert to kiteboarding.

I kite with my Father who is in his 60's and has been kiteboarding for a couple of years and was a windsurfer since 1980. The problem is that he usually sails a meter bigger than most people when windsurfing because he isn't very effiecent. This thinking carries over to kiteboarding where he almost always picks a kite to large for the conditions. More than once I have had to stop him from using a kite that was 2-4m bigger than what I was riding and he is a novice kiter, I'm an intermediate and like to ride very powered. I once caught him pumping up a 20m while I was out riding on a 12m in about 20knts. I have been charged with insubordination more than once for forcing him out on a smaller kite. The problem is that he isn't learning and I don't ride get to babysit him all the time.

Now he wants to buy a 25m kite and I don't want him to for the above reasons. I know he will try it to ride it in too much wind, but I can't tell him no. So its not just the young guys who can get into trouble.

- DC


Too true, there are lots of older guys that discount weather hazards. Some are no longer with us either sad to say.

I too used to windsurf overpowered and also because I wasn't that efficient.

I carried the need to be slightly overpowered into kiteboarding. I got over it however. Some of the newer smaller kites are INCREDIBLY efficient! There is NO need to rig overpowered to be able to boost big. I try to rig a kite size to be bit underpowered or in the sweet zone for anticipated conditions routinely. The fun and easy fast feeling of some smaller kites today is great!

Show some of these illustrated weather posts to your dad and some of the accident recaps. Windsurfers generally have honed weather/water sense. Still, it isn't very often that they are lofted into trees by picking a too large a sail size or by deciding to keep windsurfing as a squall moves in. If he is up for it, have him PM me so that we can talk.


Kiteboarding is totally different from windsurfing with regard to weather/gust hazards. The proof is in the accidents, often readily avoidable ones too, through use of knowledge and care.


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