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 Post subject: Comparative risk of kitesurfing
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:29 am 
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Again and again sad news hits us, letting us know about kitesurfing accidents and fatalities... and it is important that we learn from these cases, technically and behaviour-wise, in order to keep the risk as low as possible.

What I would be interested in is to know more about the comparative risk of kitesurfing. Just an example for what I mean:

When I look at smoking, there are 20 million smokers in Germany, and 140000 smoking related deaths every year, which makes a risk of 1 in 150 smokers. 20000 new lung cancer cases every year are related to smoking in Germany, which makes a lung cancer risk of 1 in 1000 smokers.

You could continue and do this for other unhealthy habits and compare this to the risk of all kind of sports, like horse riding, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, swimming, etc., and kitesurfing, of course. Maybe Rick Iossi or other people who know more than me about it can help with some info on the issue... or advise about a related thread in the forum...


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:26 am 
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Dont smoke while your kiting, simple as that. :cool2:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:30 am 
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yes, would be very interesting for sure!
I think, horse back riding is the most dangerous sport.
Skiing or snowboarding is also very risky...that's why I don't do it anymore, too dangerous!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 2:52 pm 
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Toby wrote:
yes, would be very interesting for sure!
I think, horse back riding is the most dangerous sport.
Skiing or snowboarding is also very risky...that's why I don't do it anymore, too dangerous!


Yeah... I think of one says "kitesurfing is dangerous" one should see that in comparison to other habits and sportive activities... My hypothesis is that there are many other things which are way more dangerous than kitesurfing... but it is not easy to find hard numbers about it, as for horse riding, e.g., number of people practising the sport, and number of people who die or are disabled for reasons related to the sport... Having a list about such risks would provide a much better feeling about "how dangerous kitesurfing really is"...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:07 pm 
My gut feeling is the kiting is fairly safe.
The first several hours present a very serious threat, especially to a non-initiated (no lessons) person who "goes for it" in some real wind.
It seems that after that, if you are a safety conscious person and practice safe kiting, this sport is pretty safe. I definitely feel more at risk driving on the freeway to get to the spot, than I do actually kiting.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:29 pm 
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After a lot of reading on this, I firmly believe that 99.8% of it comes down to the rider. (the 0.2% is the wacky stuff nobody can predict or prevent)

But if the rider chooses high-risk conditions (extremely gusty and strong/unstable), and if the rider is careless about the kite and other gear (doesn't check for wear&tear, doesn't double-check when rigging, rigs the wrong size, doesn't take lessons or learn how to fly the kite first, etc.), then the rider is dangerous and will have a dangerous session.

Don't blame the sport if you're the one acting dangerously. It was a different story years ago when nobody knew any better and the gear was primitive, but that excuse is no longer valid - the gear is much better and there is tons of information available now. There are known risks and if you do nothing to avoid them or reduce them, then it is no different from playing in traffic...


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:59 pm 
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Toby wrote:
Skiing or snowboarding is also very risky...that's why I don't do it anymore, too dangerous!


What about kitesnow, do you think that it is safer ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:27 pm 
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Tom183 wrote:
After a lot of reading on this, I firmly believe that 99.8% of it comes down to the rider...


Yeah... but that is true for all sports... for horse riding, bike riding, e.g... What I would really like to know is a kind of average risk list of a variety of sports and habits... My expectation is that kitesurfing is much safer than many other sports or habits which are not even perceived as "extreme"... My impression is that the image of kitesurfing is much more "extreme" than it really is...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:48 pm 
I think you nailed it Wolfgang.

Obviously a rider can make this sport extreme (I am equating extreme with high risk of injury) by trying handle-passes while going over rocks or only 90 feet offshore in dead onshore 30 knots winds.
But, a safe rider (even doing awesome tricks) is fairly safe from injury most of the time, I think.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 6:49 pm 
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Hello Wolfgang,

I put something together summarizing fatalities through July 2006 with as many comparisons to other activities as I could find at the time. The original thread appears at:

http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/posting. ... e&p=444737

and the article is reproduced below:

[quote="RickI"]An article from August 2006 follows that was requested for publication. Some things have changed since that time including perhaps a reduction in kiting fatality numbers. The primary cause is still apparent today, Operator Error, flat kites when properly preflighted, maintained and operated can offer more complete depowering in strong winds than experienced with past systems. Guys are still making poor choices, technology has improved but as always is imperfect. Things seem to be improving regardless of these considerations. Hopefully with continued rider hazard awareness, appreciation and avoidance along with improved technology fatalities and accidents in general will drop further.

[i]

How dangerous is kiteboarding? This is a fairly simple question with a variety of possible answers. Let’s look at some accident statistics in an effort to answer this question. This information is of interest to most kiteboarders however it is far more important to know and practice the means of avoiding accidents.

Global loss statistics are hard to come by. There is a fair quantity for the USA to look over however. Three kiteboarders were lost in the USA in 2005. Using estimated rider populations in the USA (25 to 50 thousand that own kiteboarding gear), this equates to roughly 6 to 12 fatalities per 100,000 riders for 2005. This allows us to make rough subjective comparisons to other activities.


Estimated Fatality Rates In USA
Activity - (Losses per 100,000) - Source

Paragliding - 88 - 1) http://www.ushga.org/safety/PG2005 AccidentSummary.pdf
Unintentional injury deaths from all causes - 56 - 2) WISQARS http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars (2003)
Motor Vehicle Traffic injuries - 15 - 2) WISQARS http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars (2003)
Kitesurfing - 6 to 12 - 3) http://fksa.org/ (2005)**
SCUBA diving - 5 - 4) http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medic ... /index.asp (2003)
Pedestrian - 2 - 2) WISQARS http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars (2003)
** The range was derived from the estimated number of kiteboarders in the USA.

So, based upon these statistics, you may be more at slightly risk of suffering a fatal automobile accident in the USA than to be killed kiteboarding. Alternatively, you may be at perhaps half the risk of being killed while SCUBA diving than kiteboarding. Paragliders appear to be substantially more at risk of fatal injury. NOTE: all of these statistics are estimates to varying degrees and are derived from differing assumptions. Also, actually fatality rates per country vary substantially year to year. The statistics have been calculated from generally unconfirmed reported observations received from around the world. If new credible information is received regarding historical accidents as happens on occasion these statistics can change.

A more accurate statistical picture might be obtained with a comparison of accidents to hours kiteboarded. At present there is no available accurate estimate for the total number of hours kiteboarded in the USA.

NOTE for every kiteboarding fatality there are far more (likely many 100’s to 1000’s) non-lethal injuries attributable to the same causes. Many of us know of people who have been hurt practicing our sport, some quite seriously. In working to avoid severe injury through proper kiting practice riders may well avoid any injury at all. This is a major point of this article.

Some of the trends in kiteboarding fatalities worldwide (total number of 52 through July 2006), are summarized below. These statistics have been calculated from reported but generally unconfirmed observations received worldwide. All parameters are not known in all cases. Credible new information received in the future as sometimes occurs may alter some of these statistics.

1. The most experienced riders appear to put themselves at the greatest risk.

Experience
4 or more years = 42%
3 years = 23 %
2 years = 15%
up to 1 year = 17%


2. Older riders in their late 30’s and 40’s appear to be at highest risk. NOTE: there is NO information available regarding serious but survivable injuries which could significantly differ from this summary. That is, just because you are fairly young doesn’t mean you have a free “Get Out of Jailâ€Â


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