A lot of these are scary, dangerous, painful stories, I, on the other hand, have a whole list of embarassing dumb stories (fortunately have not lost my shorts yet). Here's a few.
A nice fall day, winds in mid 20s, side to side on winds, shallow water in North Carolina sound. No one was around and I could have easily tethered launched which I had done hundreds of times from that spot. I figured what the heck, why not practice drift launching in case I have to do it. So I go nice and slow taking my time. Drift the kite and when it launches all four lines are in a rats nest about half way up the lines. So I quickly bring the kite down to the water hoping to free it. Thinking I got it freed I relaunched it and the lines are still knotted and the kite starts looping. I get it back down in the water leading edge down. I am in thigh deep water and it is slowly pulling me down the beach. No panic, but just walking down the beach and trying to figure out the next smart move. I was on a 2 line IDS system, so I had my doubts about pulling the CR (since all 4 lines were pinched together), but might as well see what happens. As I expected nothing good, still powered up but now just be pulled slowly down the beach by one line. So I figure since it is blowing side on I would fully release, the kite would blow in, and I would run around and grab it. Piece of cake. So I do that, but the bar and lines sink down catching the eel grass and sand with enough friction to tension up the lines. As I am running around front, the tension is enough to roll the kite on its side and it starts pointing up wind. Although the wind is side-on the kite is moving offshore on its own. WTF? BTW I had just bought this kite. So I am in a 4-3 wetsuit, and running in a full panic as the water goes from knee, to thigh, to waist. Just like in the cartoons I would get about 15 ft from the kite and then it would jump ahead 5 more feet. My legs were on fire and slowly the distance was increasing. I see my friends on the beach shaking their heads trying to figure out what I was doing while I am splashing and chasing my kite and I am convinced it is on a 23 mile journey across the sound. In an heroic effort one friend grabs a nearby kayak, paddles out and saves the day. The next day my legs felt like I ran a marathon.
Warm sunny day and winds forecast to come up to upper 20s by afternoon. I had a small leak in the leading edge bladder so I figured best take care of it early. So I soap it up looking for a bubble, but cannot find it. So I get a little irritated and if a little soap is good then more is better. Finally, find the leak. It is hot and windy so all the soap drys up before we put in the new bladder. My friend reminds me to rinse off the leading edge, but I figure why. I go for a couple of runs, and come in for a while. Until it really starts cranking. Getting ready to go out I ask another friend to launch me. As I walk into the water and start untwisting my lines, I see him pick up the kite to get ready, and it slips out of his hand into the power zone. In horror I watch it loop and then shoot straight up to 12, but by some miracle my hands were not on the bar and I am not launched into the bushes. So I am pissed and start yelling at him, asking what he was doing and if he was trying to kill me. He was apologetic saying it just slipped out of his hands, he could not understand it. Then I remembered the massive amount of dried on soap that now was probably nice and slick with a little moitsure on it. So feeling pretty bad realizing what I had did (and not going to admit anything), I said not to worry about it that I had seen a lot of scum in the water and that must be the cause.
We were going on a long soundside downwinder and the launch was very crowded. So rigged as quickly as possible to get out of the area. The downwinder is about 4 miles of marsh before there is a pull out option. Halfway through, I go into a canal like slick in the marsh. My kite starts to flutter and it looks like it is losing air. It is a brand new kite so I am pissed that there is a leak. Anyways I land the kite in a very undersirable location and when I get it in I see that I had cross threaded the valve. So now I have to walk out of the knee deep marsh mud and then walk two miles (of course it was exactly half way). Every person who went buy would ask what happened and if I needed help. Of course I had to "honestly" tell them that must have gotten a thorn in the bladder at the launch site.