Reports of "Real Kitesmares"
Unfortunately these people were not dreaming.
updated: April 5, 2013
Do you have a story that you would like to add? Contact us.
For those people thinking...
" I don't need a lesson, I'll just begin with a small 9m"
"... buy some cheap gear and figure it out myself"
..This page ( not a budwiser ) is FOR YOU!
These "Real Kitemares" are NOT here to scare you off, quite the opposite! We want you to be aware of the risks involved with Kite Sports, and to learn from the experiences of others. Think about what the rider could have done to prevent or minimize the risk.
When you head for the beach, imagine doing everything right. Imagine arriving home, feeling great, and being stoked about another amazingly fun kiting session.
Focus on what you WANT to happen on the water, focus on Safety, respect of others, new friends, new adventures, and having another outstanding day participating in the sport you love. In short...
"Learn fast, Kite Safe, get Amped, go Huge, and Share the Stoke!"
"Kitesurfing Disaster at the Vaal Dam"
Location: South Africa
Kiter: Daniel Lehmann
Wind: Very strong, Approximately 25 knots
Kite: 11m Cabrinha
Well if you'd like to add the following lessons that I learned from the whole experience that would be great:
"At the time of this accident I was still very much a novice kitesurfer.
Although I had taken one or two lessons in the past, I was not familiar enough with the emergency procedures. I also was definitely not experienced enough to attempt flying an
11 square metre bow kite in upwards of 25 knots of gusty inland wind. I should have practiced my emergency procedures to commit them to muscle memory and to figure out where my priorities lay. I did not take enough time to realise that replacing a kite is far cheaper than surgery to reconstruct a crushed vertebra. Instead, I tried in vain to save my kite when I should have ejected early on in the whole series of unfortunate events. I hope that this video helps other budding kitesurfers to realise the value of reliable and safe training and that it is better to lose your kite than to lose your life.
..."The worst part is that I actually did know how to eject the kite but I was not FAMILIAR enough with it for it to be a natural reaction in that very quick moment when it all went wrong. That's the importance of practice until something becomes muscle memory. It's all well and good to know your procedures when you're methodically thinking about them; a completely different story in the heat of the moment" ... Stay safe and happy kiting!"
Thanks. If there's anything else you guys would like to add, feel free.
The video directly below is a PERFECT example of why kiteboarding lessons are needed.
The MOST important part of lesson is learning about the safety aspects.
including a good undstanding of how the safety systems work and what to do
do when you have a malfunction. Learn a plan A, and plan B, and C.
Always carry a Hook Knife. Replacing cut lines is much less expensive than a trip to
the emergency room.
Sept 2011 Artical from South Africa entitled:
" Inability to detach from Kite from Harness triggers rescue missions"
The lesson from the artical is simple.
YOU MUST check your gear including the safety devices / Releases.
TEST your quick-release to ensure that it opens under tension.
LEARN alternate methods to disable your kite in the event of equipment failure.
The artical is wrong where it say "unpredictable conditions".
As a participant, it's up to you to learn about weather, tides, waves, currents, and other
factors that affect safety.
If you're out there and not sure if conditions are safe ( within your skills and abilities )
Better to be on the beach, and wishing you were kiteboarding,
then to be on the water, and wishing you were on the beach.
Use your brain.
Learn, Read, check, double check, and then enjoy the rewards of
Even a Small Trainer kite "can" be dangerous
Even a Small Trainer kite "can" be dangerous in the wind is too strong or
if the conditions are beyond YOUR Skills and Abilities.
Hi, I want to share my story, because I feel it's really important as I was just a beginner
and wish I knew what I knew now.
My brother and I had been practicing power kiting with a 2.8 meter kite.
We had gone out at least ten times or more in winds around 13-20 knots.
Just one month ago on November 23rd,
the wind was blowing really well around 20-25 knots.
So we went to our usual spot and started to fly the kite in large figure eights and was feeling kind of over powered. I had a feeling I should stop as the pull was feeling too strong, We weren't trying any tight kite loops. Then on one pass from high right 90 degrees
to 45 degrees center the kite pulled me in a strong gust so hard I flew about 10 feet and landed with my arms straight out, doing a face plant and flip. I immediately knew I had dislocated my shoulder, because I couldn't feel my arm anymore or move it.
I got my brother to lift it straight up and it went back into place easily.
The bad news is it popped out again one hour later and also one week later with almost no movement. Even after wearing a sling for a week. Over the month I saw many doctors
and they all say my shoulder is unstable that I can't work out, do sports or any over head lifting until I get surgery.
I got an MRI and one doctor still couldn't tell me if anything was torn in my shoulder such as the labrum or rotator cuff. So now I am waiting to see the surgeon with the MRI images. The worst part I was one month away from going to Dominican
Republic to try real kiteboarding for one month. I am still going thankfully, but not kiting. Really bad timing and stupid accident.
Lesson, even a training kite can be dangerous in 20-25 knot winds, if you are steering it quickly. Never fly a training kite in winds greater than 20 knots. I think it says on the manufactures warning not to fly above 20 knots also. My mistake. The accident happened
so quickly there was no chance to let go of the bar, I was already off the ground and back down in 1-3 seconds. Always kite with another person, because if you are injured in a remote area it could save your health or life. Also a dislocated shoulder is not a
simple injury and can happen more easily than people think. When the bone comes out it stretches ligaments and the capsule, they never return to normal. Causing for more dislocations and need for surgery.
Recommendation, always sit down when piloting a training kite, if it does pull you will mostly drag across the ground instead of jumping with the kite. If you get pulled over sitting, or pulled to standing and almost falling over then stop immediately. Make sure
the stopper ball on the safety leash is not stopping the kite from depowering. The ball on this kite was stopping the middle line from going any further than three feet. Even when I hit the ground, and let go of the bar, the kite and safety leash dragged me another 5 feet.
Meaning even if I had let go of the bar in time before, the safety leash would have pulled my other arm out. Thanks, Paul Bradley Age: 29
We took the liberty to highlight ( Bold ) some words above.
" If you ever "have the feeling you should stop" or feel that the conditions are beyond
you comfort zone, or your skill level...
That feeling that he should stop, was ignored, and you read the result.
Listen to your gut feeling, it's highly. intelligent.
"Unable to release the bar". Yes, it can happen. The way to prevent it, is to physically
practice releasing the control bar so that it becomes part of your muscle memory.
Knowing what to so, is NOT the same as physical practice.
Wind Speed limit? 20 Knots? It's not a bad rule of thumb, but it depends on
your weight, your kite size, your skills and abilities, etc. Progress gradually,
and if you're uncomfortable then stop. We wish Paul a 100% recovery.
My name is Annamarie Love. I live in Hawaii. I'm 46 years old, 114 lbs, and began kiting 6 months ago (respectively). I am able to get up for a bit on a light wind day 10-12mph (12 meter Contra/ 135 lab rat board). No turning capabilities yet.
On July 9, 2010, as I was coming in to the beach in Kailua, HI, instead of bringing my kite to the neutral position and walk up the beach, I pulled too hard to the right (in fear of my kite landing in the trees), and my kite got caught in the power zone. Nevertheless, I was lifted 20 feet and slammed back down in the shallow water. The kite continued to pull me down the beach, so I emergency released my gear.
Since I landed in a standing position on my left leg, I shattered my Femur, Tibula, and disconnected my Meniscus. I have pins, plates and bone graphs holding my knee together.
Lesson- Fly your kite with care, it doesn't take much to turn it. Also be aware of the wind conditions. Pay attention to the gusts...
And that's my kitemare....Aloha,
Drift Launching gone wrong in the Florida Keys.. Lines Slice into fingers
June 10th, 2012 Geiger beach , Big coppitt key. Near Key West.
With no one to go with I've been self launching the kite by drift launching it. The first few times went fine but I tried it as the winds were 18-20 knots and after I had the lines off the bar I noticed I big tangle 10 feet up past the bar. I let the bar float and went up to untangle it and as I'm doing this a big gust came in and picked the kite right up even though I had the front lines tight in my hand and the back lines slack. I tried to hang on to the front lines hoping the kite would come down but instead the lines sliced into four of my fingers before I had a chance to let go. I then stepped back just in time to dodge the bar as it came whizzing by at head level. The kite then flew 50 or so feet in the air and a few 100 feet downwind before landing on the beach and doing a few rolls up to a barb wire fence. Luckily I was able to run over and grab the kite before it decided to take flight again into the fence. The only damage was to my fingers and my pride as 2 kiters that were already there had seen the whole thing. That was about a month ago and my fingers are still healing. Luckily they didn't get stuck in the tangle or I may have lost a few digits. Not sure if this is a kitemare or not but it definitely taught me to respect the kite and certainly to not try things past my skill level such as self launching. Thanks again!
Captain Seth Hopp
Onshore Winds, with Tiny Buffer Zone and Large Boulders
June 29th, 2010 Mammoth Lakes, California
"This kitemare occurred at Grant Lake in the June Lakes / Mammoth Lakes area of the Eastern Sierra's. I kiteboard in the Eastern Sierra, where the wind is notoriously gusty. Usually it tends to be on the light side at the accessible kiting lakes around here: Crowley, June, and Grant. However, even so, the wind can gust surprisingly high, even on a light day. It was late in the afternoon, and when my kiteboarding buddy and I arrived at Grant Lake, the wind was very light, approximately 13 to 18 mph, averaging around 15 mph. The water level was very high, which meant some of the gravely beaches where I might otherwise have started from were underwater. This left very few options for launching points. Using larger kites, his a 14m, mine a 15m hybrid, we launched from a gravely beach in a cove, where the wind was blowing onshore with a bit of an angle into the cove. To get out into the lake involved making a first reach nearly parallel to the shore, and then clearing some boulders a bit off of the shore. My buddy, who is both much more experienced and lighter than I took out his surfboard, strapless, and was able to clear the rocks just fine. As for me, I'm 190 lbs in weight. Not being as experienced with a strapless surfboard and recognizing the sketchiness of the launch, I opted for my twintip. I figured in those winds even if I could not make it around the rocky section, I'd be able to veer back into the beach section at the last moment and it would still be safe due to the light winds. I was about 5 or 10 minutes behind my buddy in setting everything up and launching my kite. My first couple of attempts to get going I just ended up back at the beach. The third attempt I ended up a bit among the rocks -- that should have been a dire warning for me. Walking back around the cove and upwind was taking some time, during which the wind conditions were drastically changing, (After the incident, my meter was showing upper 20's with a peak of 34 mph!) Furthermore, walking around the cove I neared an embankment, and I was afraid of being lofted -- another clue.
So I started out, got planing and edging, and had a good line going -- at that point it seemed I was going to clear the rocks just fine. A spectator even mentioned afterward that it had looked as if I would make it. Unfortunately as I approached the rocks, the wind first seemed to momentarily lull, causing me to go downwind and heading straight for the large boulder I had intended to clear. At this point I should have pulled my quick release -- actually I should never have been out there at all! However, instead I figured maybe I could just go around the downwind side of the boulder and still get around the point into the open water. By the way, everyone should be aware that turning the board downwind inevitably causes the kite to drift downwind and power up, right? Now at this point, the wind suddenly started to heave and surge, and I no longer had clean consistent power. I cleared the downwind side of the boulder, but could not hold on to my new line. Looking downwind I realized I would be pulled straight into another boulder (sticking up about a foot above the water-line). I put out my kiteboard straight out in front of me and braced for the impact. I am not sure whether I pulled the quick release just before that impact, upon impact, or just after impact. Somehow I knew I would be okay with that first impact, and it was flipping over and landing onto whatever was beyond it that could have been really really bad, and much worse than fortunately it turned out to be. I don't know, but I'm going to guess I was accelerating to around 20-25 mph at this point. So approaching the boulder I tried to brace and absorb as much energy as I could. It was, BAM! and the next instant I was flipping over the other side, completely disoriented and just trying to get my body in a position for the second impact. Everything happened so fast. I found myself in about a foot of water with rocks all around. I stood up as fast as I could, hoping that the quick-release had worked and the kite was not about to continue with me again. Fortunately it was on the ground, with a 3-foot long rip and bladder blowout along the leading edge, in the sage brush, and not going anywhere. Just to be sure I disconnected my leash. I was not knocked out, nor did I hit my head -- it was more a feeling of being disoriented for a moment and trying to determine my injury status. I felt quite fortunate to be standing, with no broken bones. All I could do is look down shake my head. I did not go into kiting thinking I would do anything stupid, yet here I was. In collecting myself the thought crossed my mind that I was a fool to have ever gotten into this sport in the first place. As a side-note, my buddy, finding himself way over-powered, had decided to pull his quick release and drift in.
It took a couple of hours for the pain to really kick in. I write this the following day afterward, sitting around at home completely useless. I have 3 areas of injury: #1 A banged up left hip and muscle pain when I try to move my left leg. #2 Pain in my right ankle joint or calcaneous (from impact, not a sprain). #3 Pain in my left posterior rib area and pain when moving certain ways or taking deep breaths. This later pain made it difficult to lie down and sleep last night. After some time of sheer misery I found it necessary to pile up several pillows to angle my upper body in order to sleep, which needed to be on my back. Standing and walking is slow and painful and I wish I had one of those walkers old people use. Just getting around my apartment to get a drink of water or go to the bathroom is a chore. (That said, wide-mouthed containers can make life a whole lot easier for a guy!) Getting up from bed was very painful -- I try to be strategic about it to minimize motions and pressures that will hurt. This morning I had to be careful not to pass out. I cannot emphasize enough how lucky I was. It could have been a whole lot worse -- I could have broken my neck, compressed vertebrae, etc. Had it been just a little worse I may well be an inpatient at the hospital right now. I do feel someone above was watching out for me that day.
Lessons Learned: #1 Always leave a large safety buffer downwind. Don't even think of starting in an area where there is not a sufficient buffer zone, particularly where there are rocks. #2 Don't get in the mindset of "I think I can." Instead think about what can go wrong -- especially considering sudden gusts and lulls that can take you by surprise. #3 Pay attention to changing conditions and be willing to pull the plug (even though you took all that time and effort to set up and are ready to go.) #4 Listen to that little voice in your head -- if it feels unsafe, don't go. #5 As soon as your buffer zone is compromised beyond what you initially intended, pull the quick release NOW rather than try to keep going and attempt a different way around. If it gets worse, then you have absolutely no buffer zone at all and you're screwed. #6 Just because your kiteboarding buddy can do it does not mean you can.
In summary through my eagerness and desire for an epic kiteboarding session I could have killed pr paralyzed myself -- a very sobering thought. Absolutely no kiteboarding session is worth that." - David Lee June 29, 2010
NEVER let anyone touch YOUR control bar while flying a power kite.
25 Jan 2010, main beach of Langebaan, Western Cape, South Africa
"after 6 pm in gusty winds with 7 metre kite, I wanted to land my kite but no kite boarders
were on the beach.
Although I am a certified IKO trained rider, and self‐landing is in the books and
lesson plans, I was never taught to physically conduct a self‐landing. I don’t
recall having been taught self‐landing in theory, either.
Self rescue, yes. Selflanding, no.
I considered returning to the water to attempt to land my kite, but instead
decided to draw the attention of two people a distance away down the beach.
I asked the first one who approached if he could help me land my kite. Next
thing I knew his hand was on the bar. I said, “don’t touch the bar.” He continued
to grasp the bar. I said, “stop!...go away….let go of the bar!” He refused to let
go. Then he decided to pull the bar down and powered the kite. I ended up
flying into the air and slammed into the beach in pain.
I was wearing a helmet and impact vest, otherwise could have lost consciousness
and sustained chest injuries.
I managed to use the quick release and remove the chicken loop from the
The kite drifted down the beach. The lines damaged and the kite tore while I
yelled to the passers by to call an ambulance.
My injuries turned out to be a couple of fractures. On the right arm, I had a
dislocated shoulder and broken upper humerus at the shoulder, while on the
other arm there was a fracture on the hand near the thumb.
I ended up getting initial treatment through the public hospitals in Vredenberg
and Cape Town, but the nature of the fracture at the shoulder would require
screws and plates. One of the doctors said I could get immediate treatment at a
private hospital where he also works, but that would require payment upfront.
We were talking about $7,000 USD. I had two forms of insurance. The primary
insurance would require me to receive certification from the Greek consulate to
confirm my hospitalisation. I would still have to pay first and seek
reimbursement later. The IKO kiteboarder insurance has a $10,000 deductible
and so it wouldn’t cover anything.
Rather than languish in the public hospital in Cape Town or pay up front for
private care, I decided to return to Greece for treatment where my insurance
would cover me completely. The doctors saw me on 1 Feb 2010, examined the xrays
from 25 and 27 Jan 2010, took new x‐rays and CAT scan, and prepared me
for surgery. However, the new x‐rays showed such progress in self‐healing that
surgery was no longer necessary.
I should be fully recovered by the end of April 2010. I will never kite alone again.
- Dimitrios Polychronopoulos
So you want to buy a Board Leash?
Posted on Kiteforum Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:09 am Subject: Cured of the Board Leash....
"Pictures are worth a 1000 or so the saying goes. This happened today in about 20 knots in pretty choppy surf. I am a beginner and got a leash so I would spend less time retrieving my board and more time on it. I was wearing a helmet and the leash was a long real leash made for kiting not a surfers board leash. Lets face it I'm lucky that all I got was 13 stitches and a trip to the ER. This had the potential to be life changing or ending."
"Pretty much a beginners wipeout. Wave caught the board as I was trying to build up speed after a water start. As I came up out of the water to regain my footing that is when the board caught up with. I have come to realize what everyone was saying about how dangerous they where. I wish that I could have heard about a story like mine to have understand just how bad it could be to me but a slingshot kiteboard catapulting past you could end up hurting someone else as well. I'm not going to say anyone should or should not use them that is their choice to make. Just think it is good to share what can actually happen. I can replace a lost or damaged board I can't replace my head."
November 7th 2009 Kite: 3.5m Trainer , Wind: 18 mph+
"...took my kite out today and bashed my face and body so hard into the ground that I knock the wind right out of me. I have 2 one inch long bloody gashes in the middle of my forehead (my face looks ridiculous now), I think I bruised my lungs or ribs and my right hand and wrist is swollen and hurts. The worst part is that I don't know how it happened. I've taken the kite out 3 time before and did fine. However the winds were 8 to 10.."
"...Now I know why they call them "power" kites. Your description was probably what happened because I only hurt one hand. I think it was the hand that didn't let go fast enough. The wrist strap was connected to my other hand. It happened so fast that I don't even think I could have let go fast enough. I am going to practice letting go of the bar 10 times a day everyday now..."
"I've attached a picture of my forehead that got smashed into the ground. It doesn't look that bad but it hurts ten times worse than it looks"
( As far as we can tell, she was hit by a strong gust, and release with only one hand. Having only one hand remaining on the bar caused the kite to turn a tight circle and probably loop. Whether it was just one large power sweep, or a full loop, the little 3.5m still pulled hard enough to cause injuries.
Remember:: When releasing the bar, release both hands at the same time.
Practice dropping the control bar on the ground several times so that it will become automatic.)
"Hi Jeff, I don't mind if you use my emails and photo. Just don't forget to mention that I may have a fractured wrist and ribs along with bashing my head. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.Thanks for all the advice. I'm definitely shooting for light to moderate winds next time."
August 15th, 2008 - Board Leash
Hi Jeff, I’ve only recently taken up kiteboarding - tried to do all the right things (bought a trainer kite, had lessons etc, always get assistance when launching/landing etc etc)
but still managed to end up doing something very stupid a few weeks ago that could have ended up a lot worse than it did.
I was practicing my waterstarts with a large board which had a surfboard style leash attached to it. I had been tempted to take it off as I’ve heard of nasty leash related accidents, but was assured by many people that it would be good to leave it on until I got the starts cracked. The kite came down after a failed attempt at getting on the board, and whilst I was trying to relaunch it – the board drifted through the lines and went behind me just as the kite powered up and took off. Before I knew what had happened, the kite was looping like crazy dragging me backwards through the water. I released the chicken loop which made no difference, so I then released the safety leash too – not realising it was the board leash that was connecting me to the kite (wrapped around the bar) so I had a fully powered kite, with no depower looping like a demon – with no way of cutting the board leash! I ended up getting dragged through about 200meters of surf, then 50yds up a beach when the kite finally impaled itself on a fence post and stopped. Lessons learned: · Don’t use a board leash without a QR system (especially the surfboard kind) · When connected in this way, releasing the chicken loop and kite leash was the worst thing to do – as I couldn’t depower the kite or reach any of the lines once I’d done this. · Once I’d recovered and calmed down, I realised that my harness had a QR on the suicide connector (which is what the board leash was connected to) – releasing this would have instantly got rid of the kite.
Best regards, Ian from Scotland
The above email from Ian is loaded with valuable lessons. Here's our view:
His only big mistake was listening to people who suggested to use a board leash with a kite. Never use any type of board leash ( when using a kite ), unless you understand the high risk and feel that value of your board is higher than the value of your life. Board leashes combined with a kites power are a bad idea Know your gear, know all of your safety options, and what do in case of an emergency. We're glad to hear that Ian escaped without any serious injury and appreciate his contribution to this website and other kiters.
Professional Kiteboarder Dimitri Soaring over Stiltsville
July 18th, 2008 from Marcos in Spain. Leg caught in run-away kite
I was looking through your website reading the kitemares and have realized that no one has submitted anything new for a long time. I think kitemares are the best way to learn. So here is something that happened to me a couple of weeks ago (big rookie mistake). First of all I am an experienced sailor (every type of sailing boat), surfer and getting pretty good at kiteboarding. Well, the other day I rigged my brand new 12m Best HP Nemesis (COOLEST KITE ever) with about 20 knots wind and went to self launch. The only problem is that were I usually kite in the south of Spain can be extremely gusty. I burry one wing tip and start making my way back to the bar. All of a sudden I feel one of those gusts (27knts) so I turn around just in time to see my kite launch without me. The only thing that I could think was that this brand new kite is not taking off without me. So I leaped on top of the bar......BAD IDEA. Not only did I not grab the bar but managed to get my leg caught on it making the kite turn into a very fast kiteloop. To the horror of my poor mom who had just arrived to the beach, she saw her son leap into the air by his leg and then dragged over 50 meters through a rocky beach only to stop/crash against a lifeguard house. The result of this shitty bad call was no skin left on chest and back, bruised ribcage, busted shoulder and a broken kite!! Lesson learned was...
LET GO OF THE BLOODY KITE ITS NOT WORTH IT. The sad thing is that before that I had told a lot of friends, who were starting to kite, the kite is worth nothing compared to the rider. Practice letting go of the kite!! KEEP KITING BUT BE SAFE!
Kitemare.com Recommends: leaving your Kites safety Leash attached to its proper place on the bar. ( Steel ring on the chicken-loop, or one of the safety grab handles ). In the situation of a kite trying to escape, Grap the end of the kite leash, and NOT the bar. This will stop the kite from getting away and depower the kite at the same time.
Friday, January 20, 2006 11:02 PM Alex Korakis Tampa, FL
The follow incident happened to a very good friend of mine. Alex Korakis
Alex is an accomplished Surfer, Windsurfer, Sailor, Kiteboarder,
Here is a copy of the email I received from him:
"Jeffrey what’s up?! Hope you're havin fun in Brazil.
Whelp looks like that Master got schooled. I have to say I never had a kitemare until now, and it’s gonna be a bit of a haul. After four doctors, all recommend surgery for get this –
A Rupture of my Pectoralis Major Tendon – From the MRI’s they believe about 80% of my tendon has snapped. If I skip surgery I risk not being able to reconnect it later, so I’ll be in surgery on Wednesday, Jan 25th. Without the Pectoralis muscle there is little to no internal rotation of your arm and the side of the rupture causing you to have an inverted chest. Gotta be fixed. After 27 years of Extreme Windsurfing and 3 years Kiteboarding and no major injuries until now here are the latest lessons learned:
1) Don’t get out of shape – You may know a move well but you’re muscle’s and tendons shrink when not used constantly and may be unable to handle even a usual blow
2) Always stretch at least a little before you begin
3) Before you try any big moves make sure your muscles are warmed up enough to take a blow. Meaning go back and forth for at least 10 minutes before you start rippin hard.
Basically what happened to me was I was not warmed up and my muscle did not stretch enough so the Tendon pulled right off the bone.
4) One of the differences between kiteboarding and windsurfing is sometime when coming down from a jump on a kiteboard it’s instinctive to put one hand down behind you as if to break your fall. This can easily tear your pectoral tendon and also your bicep tendons (bi – meaning two). Normally pectoralis tears are from No. 1 Body builders trying to bench press too much, No. 2 Waterskiing, and I’m guessing you will see more in kiteboarding as the sport grows. Note: That even the 20-25 year olds are at risk of this. A few lessons from the past that kept me injury free until now: 1) If you have not been working out or kiteboarding regularly pick a flat water spot when the wind is no more than moderate for 4 or 5 sessions before you push the limit. Why – If you’re muscle’s are not built up your joints will be absorbing the impact of bouncing across the chop/waves and thus is where most the damage is from.
2) High jumps are also not good if you’re muscle’s are not built up enough to absorb the impact, and this will destroy your joints. The list goes on and on these tips are just a few general for protecting your body from unnecessary injury.
Conclusion: Now I face General anesthesia which means they put you under and open up my arm, they then cut the remaining approx 20% of tendon, inject my muscle’s with a muscle relaxer so can be stretched, drill a hole in the bone where the tendon used to be connected and anchor the tendon to the bone. The tendon then splices together with the bone over a period of time in which my arm is immobilized for a period of 6 weeks. Once I’m finished with that I must go through 5 months of rehab to re-strengthen the arm and stretch the tendon w/o popping it off again.
The cost is approx. $20,000.00 which fortunately I have good health insurance or it would be even more painful. Jeffrey – You rock!! Talk to you soon - Alex"
Jan 21st. 2nd email from Alex: Electric Air Pump? Just say No.
"Yes you can use it on your website. Lesson No. 5 previously omitted
I’ve seen many people with electric pumps to inflate their kites. I never bothered purchasing one, I’ve always felt manually inflating the kite is a good warm up.
On the day of the injury I was feeling lazy and a guy standing next to me had just finished pumping up his kite with an electric pump, he offered it to me so I figured why not I’ll give it a try.
My injury occurred on my 2nd gibe, had I pumped up my kite manually my muscles may have been warmed up enough to stretch instead of snap. I would recommend a manual pump, as it gives you at least a little warm up to your muscles so they can stretch if your body needs to over extend for a maneuver.
(Note: that was the first and last time I will use and electronic pump – Ironic isn’t it!?" Alex
Hawaii Lofting. Freak Thermal bubble lofts Erik Eck up over 200 ft.
Icy water swim and Trainer Kite in a Tree: 1/8/06:
Received from Andrew from Canada. With no instructor around for hundreds of miles, I knew I had to push the trainer kite to it's limit to know what a wee little 2.8 meters can do before attempting a 9.5. My girlfriend Caley and I had been flying on hill tops, ravines, fields, and shrubby forests, seeing what the wind was like in different places. Nothing quite prepared me for a windy day (guessing here, but 40 km/h or so) when we decided to make the BEST of a canoe ride. The idea was for me to launch the kite, at which point Caley would canoe over and then we'd go for a wind-powered cruise. Simple enough. I stood on the dock, and Caley stood on a rock directly downwind, the lines brushing against the very steep granite shore which rises up into pines and birches above. In what I later learned is a "hot start", the kite shot into the air with me behind it, legs kicking in the air as I swung like a pendulum under the kite and dropped into the icy water. In the excitement, I forgot to steer the kite, and instead of sending it out over the water, it turned directly into the trees where it remained, flapping in the breeze, at eye-level with Caley's parent's living room picture window. (Trust me, Ron was more than happy to mention its presence whenever the opportunity arose!) Three days later the wind was finally calm enough for me to climb the tree and carefully extract it! Thankfully only my reputation was damaged. Lessons? Hell yeah...that's why the trainer's a good idea. Seems like most of the kitemares involve stupid places to launch the kite in questionable conditions. Glad I did it with a 2.8 or it could have been me in the tree.
Broken Neck and Back - Tim in Austrailia
It had been a relatively poor season in Melbourne (2004), Australia. There were not many 'good' days where we could get out and have a good solid day of kiting and me and my friends had decided to rent a house near Phillip Island (about 2 hour drive from Melb) and hope for some good wind around Christmas 2004. We got down there on the 26th of December and were promised a good South Westerly wind of about 20-25 knots. We were all experienced kiters with at least 3.5 years of kiting each so we knew what not and what to do. We had kited at this spot near the Island many times and it is an amazing place. There is a small island just off shore that provides very flat water and great wind. We were stoked at the idea of getting onto the water. When we arrived the conditions looked great, windy and flat. My friend and I swapped kites, I gave him my 10m and I took his 12m and we hit the water. After about 10 mins we realized the wind was starting to gust around 30 - 35 knots so we decided to come in. I was first, so one of the girls came onto the beach and as I was trying to keep my feet on the ground I tried to land the kite, with her catching it. I remember only a small amount of what happened, however I had the kite at about 45 degrees and a huge gust came through.. About 45 knots we guess but it doesn't really matter. I was picked up and flew through the air about 20 meters and hit a sign with the kite fully powered. I hit the sign with my head and immediately broke my neck, in 2 places and my back in one. After I hit the sign, I was then lifted into a barbed wire fence. I woke up just before I hit it and managed to get my feet up to minimize the impact. I turned the kite and then went out to sea. Again, I could not breath so I turned the kite to shore and passed out. Luckily the kite hit the fence and stopped. I was unconscious and thankfully one of my friends held on to me and minimized the distance I was dragged down the beach. After seeing this my other friends released their kites and came to help. An ambulance was called and I was airlifted to hospital with multiple spinal fractures, a broken jaw and broken cheek. I was operated on and had my neck fused and a halo placed on me to stop any movement. Needless to say this was very painful. Luckily I am almost completely recovered and looking forward to getting back on the water in a couple of months. What I should have done: Released my kite and let it hit the water. Its better to have tangled lines than a broken neck. If you can't keep your feet on the ground… let the bloody thing go!! I hope this can serve as a lesson and helps someone else. It was not a nice experience…. Tim Lapham
**** Tim sent the 2 photos (below) to us in hopes that they will make a lasting impression.
Left: Ambulance, Right: Hospital
Jan. '06 Update from Tim Lapham (Rider above )
Hi mate, Just a quick update to let you know that I have been in the water now for the last 6 months and thoroughly enjoying my kiting. Whilst purchasing another kite today was talking with the shop owner who said that a customer had returned their kite today as their wife read the story about me breaking my neck on Kitemares.. is a shame as it was my fault, not the sports. Can you add something to say that I am back up and kiting and having learnt my lesson, much safer and conscious of the dangers that I need to respect in this great sport. My experience is not meant to scare people off, rather it is to help educate.
The sites great and keep up the great work supporting this great sport. - Tim
Strong Gusty Winds + Direct On-shore wind direction = Dangerous Combination
Claudio, at about 180 lbs. was out riding for about 15 to 20 minutes with a 12 m Inflatable kite around midday on New Years Eve. (Dec 31st '04)
Wind was almost onshore at an average speed of about 20 mph and gusting between approximately 15 to 25 mph by one source. Wind speed observations are still being researched. He may have performed a small transition jump nearshore to change direction when he was caught by a gust and blown from the water while in mid air, on to shore. He fell on impact and tumbled forward apparently inducing a kite loop that pulled him inland. As he moved further inland the kite started to rise to the zenith. At about this time he came up to a dead tree, his kite lines may have been guided by the branches of this dead tree as he was pulled upward into the tree. He was momentarily caught in the tree with his kite flying overhead. Another kiteloop may have ensued launching him up through and out of the approximate 35 ft. high tree. He then passed behind cover of brush as he left the tree blocking the view of one observer. He was found shortly after this by another kiteboarder on the ground. Claudio may have moved following the impact, in the mind numbing shock of the accident, potentially aggravating his injuries. The entire accident was estimated to have happened within a 15 second interval. Emergency services were called and he was taken to a hospital. Additional details will be included in the summary once the available information has been collected and evaluated. Remember in kiteboarding, distance is your friend. Many kiteboarders frequently ride near shore despite this simple fact. Sometimes bad things happen and a good buffer zone can be a God Sent in potentially sparing you from serious injury. Claudio was severely injured for only doing what many other riders routinely do and may likely be seen doing at many launches next weekend. That doesn't make it advisable or safe however. This is a good time to reevaluate how you ride. Claudio was hospitalized with: - Paralysis in both legs below the knee - A broken back - A skull fracture - 6 broken ribs among other injuries. He regained consciousness after about two weeks and had his respiration tube removed after about 18 days in hospital. He is currently speaking and had some sensation below his knee. Written by Rick Iossi is KiteForum.
Direct On-shore Winds > Impact > Death
On Tuesday, November 12, 2003 at approximately 3:30 pm,
Alex Caviglia the President of Adventure Sports was injured in a serious kiteboarding accident. The incident occurred at Matheson Hammock Park in a suburb of Miami. Matheson Hammock is one of the most popular locations for kiteboarding in Miami. The conditions at the time of the incident were ranging between 21-34 MPH and gusty. The wind was from the NNE and directly onshore. The incident occurred within seconds after the launch of his kite. The launch area is confined and approximately 35 meters in length and 2 to-5 meters in width (from the water to the parking lot). Due to the onshore conditions and the narrow width of the launch site, Alex was limited to being only 4 to 5 feet from the shore (knee deep in water) prior to his launch. His kite was also either over the land or just 2-3 feet off the shoreline. An experienced kiteboarder assisted in the launching of Alex’s kite and had released the kite after Alex had signaled him to do so. The launch was clean and free from fouls or twists. Alex proceeded to raise the kite to approximately the 3:00 position (about 12 to18 feet above the water and very low). Just after the launch, the gusty conditions caused the kite to drift slightly back (down wind and over the shoreline), approximately 8 to10 feet from its original position which was far forward and out of the power zone. The kite quickly and sharply accelerated, causing Alex to lurch forward, out of control. Given the extremely narrow span of the launch region, Alex had literally a fraction of a second before colliding with the shoreline. Two witnesses (both kitesurfers) indicated that Alex had neither the time, nor the opportunity to activate his safety release system and that his hands never left the bar. Fortunately, two of the witnesses on the beach (one a kiter) were fire fighters and certified paramedics. The first assistance by one of the witnessing paramedics reached Alex within 15 seconds of the time of the accident. The quick acting paramedics were able to contact emergency services within seconds and directly request that the Trauma center launch a rescue helicopter immediately. Alex was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Trauma center in Miami where he remains.
Alex’s current condition is critical, but stable. He has suffered serious head injuries, but doctors have performed procedures that have gone as planned and without incident. He is reported to also have other serious, but less threatening injuries. These injuries are yet to be determined. Doctors at Jackson Memorial hospital have indicated that more information on the severity of Alex’s injuries will come during the next 48 hours. Alex is an accomplished sailor, windsurfer, and kitesurfer. He has over 40 years of experience in all types of sea and water conditions. He has windsurfed for over 20 years and has 3 years of kiteboarding experience in a variety of conditions. He is 47 years of age and in very good physical condition. We are all keeping hope and staying optimistic for Alex’s quick and full recovery. The support from industry colleagues, friends, and well wishers are sure to provide inspiration to Alex’s family in this difficult time. All of Alex’s family, friends, and co-workers thank you for keeping Alex in your prayers.
Update: Alex passed away after being in a coma for many months.
**** Key points: Kiteboarding IS an extreme sport and has risks. Direct-onshore winds, small launch areas, and strong gusty winds are always extremely risky. Down-hill skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, etc, have equal risks. Avoiding injury or death is mostly a matter of understanding the risks and then deciding where you want to draw the line. Taking risks is up to you. If you choose to push the limits... go for it. BUT... NEVER, NEVER put other people "non-risk takers" in danger.
2 Kiters dragged by 1 Kite
Received Tue 5/20/2003 8:51 PM, from - Ken Whiteman
I don't know how you post kitemares on your site, but I've got one to share. Last weekend, my friend and I went to the sandbar at Hood River. We rigged our shared 11.5 Liquid Force Apexx kite and I proceeded to spend about 45 minutes kiting back and forth learning how to jump. I then came back into shore to hand off the kite to my friend so he could give it a shot. Like our instructor had shown us, we transferred the safety leash first. Just as my friend fastened the safety leash to his wrist, but before we transferred the bar, a gust caught the kite and pulled me about six feet into the air. My friend, with the leash attached to his wrist, stood and watched as the "safety" line tightened and put the kite into a death spin. The power generated by the safety line being pulled managed to send both of us flying, me pulled by my harness and my friend pulled by his wrist. Things happened very quickly, but somehow the safety line burned through my wetsuit and left a nice bloody burn/scrape in my neck in the process. The kite continued to do full spins through the power zone and we continued to get tea-bagged down the beach until miraculously the two left hand kite lines snapped allowing the safety line to work again. To simultaneously break two 600lb test lines gives you an idea of the force involved. I had a shackle, but was too awestruck to pull the pin. Next time I won't hesitate. Ken's Lessons learned: 1. Never transfer the safety line to someone who isn't in full control of the kite. If in doubt, land the kite when transferring it. 2. Use a shackle/safety release. Mentally prepare yourself to pull the safety release. It is not intuitive to pull it when in a stressful situation, so be prepared. There was too way much force on my harness for me to release the kite without a shackle. 3. Always wear a helmet. Luckily this time I didn't need it, but after six staples in my scalp from last summer's kiting experience, I consider it mandatory equipment.
Big Gust and a Broken Clavicle
This was received by email on Mon 4/21/2003 7:26 PM:
I'm old enough, and experienced enough that I should have known better. I've windsurfed for nearly twenty years, barefoot water-skied, skydived, flown helicopters and experimental jets and spent my professional life ( as an Orthopedic surgeon) repairing those that have crashed. A friend sold me his 14m kite and we spent several afternoons flying it in very light winds on a large grassy field. I watched Ken Winner's "How to Rip" several times and was impressed when told that large kites are very powerful and should be treated like a loaded gun. What he didn't say is that YOU ARE THE BULLET! After an afternoon of bodydragging it was obvious that this was to be my next sport. Then is happened. After feeling in full control bodydragging and getting up for short periods, I took a break to warm up- the water is 16C.When I went to launch the only experienced kiteboarders were out on the water. A windsurfer launched me in a gust somewhat downwind. The last thing I remember is the pull felt VERY STRONG as he launched it. I remember squatting down and pushing the bar the limit of the chicken loop. I awoke dragging to a stop by my safety harness on my wrist. I had launched about 80 or 90 ft. onto a hard divot made by a truck going through soft ground weeks before. I drove twenty miles home, showered, and went to the ER to determine what other than my clavicle was broken. X rays showed eight rib fractures and a punctured lung. And I was lucky. Nothing I've experienced prepared me for the sudden acceleration that can occur in a gust. There is do way I could have unhooked! Expecting to unhook is like trying to catch a bullet after pulling the trigger of a gun! A helmet and body armor are essential as never being tethered, hooked in or otherwise tied to the kite when anywhere near the beach or obstructions. The reality of medical costs, my hospital stay of two days, make it essential that one avoid injury. One could buy a kite an hour and have money left over.
- Doug Benson, Chico, Calif.
A loose Kite tangles into Silkes Kites lines > Dragged > Impact > Died
Unfortunately I have very bad news: German Silke Gorldt, one of the best kiteboarding ladies of the world, died today at the worldcup in Germany. Following happend: one kiter let go of the kite and bar and got tangeled in Silkes lines. the kite started to spin in winds of 6-7 Bft and got so much power that Silke was dragged behind it over two wooden wavebraker and the beach before stopped before a fence. On the way to the hospital in a helicopter she died. When she got dragged she tried to get out of the depower loop, but couldn't get out of it. So this should be a signal to all of us and more important to all kite producers to sell kite with quick releases only! And for us as riders, don't go out without a quick release.
Use a kite leash.
Kiter Jumps to close to another Kiter, lines tangle, Lucky escape
Well this is my kitemare story and it's a miracle that I survived! I think it is safe to say that since I was two years old I have been cheating death my whole life. I have been hit three times by cars when I was just a young boy, but not all at once. Then there was the time I was in the Army and had missed my flight to South Korea, and that plane was shot down by a Russian warplane. Then there was a time I just about disappeared during a kayaking adventure. I never saw it coming! But July 1st 2002 at the south jetty of Newport I saw my death coming and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was a beautiful, windy day July 1st, and my buds Brian Wichner and Jimi Kerr and Steve were all there and so were a bunch of windsurfers out playing in the waves. The wind was blowing pretty good that day, a nice 20 to 23 miles an hour, but here at the beach the wind a lot of the time will come up around 4pm so it was edging to 26 to 28 by the time I got my four line 6.5 up in the air. I only weigh 140lb so the 6.5 was a lot of kite for me, so I pulled down on my center line as far as I could go with it and it felt good, so I went out and left Jim Kerr on the beach setting up my 5.0 for himself, “Ahh”, it felt good to be in the water again jumping and riding waves as I have been doing now for 3 years. Being a surfer and windsurfer for the past 25 years has taught me a great deal of water rules, and I know that to eat it and pay rent in the surf is all part of the game and it just happens. Most of us know the rider up on a wave has the right of way, and whether paddling out or powered up by your sail or kite, the rider coming in has the right of way. So there I am going out fully powered up with my 6.5 and I see my friend Steve on his 8.5 coming in on a wave, Steve who I have never seen do a jump is riding a nice 3ft. Wave. So I start to go down wind to give him a wide birth, I am thinking we are a good 100 feet away from each other and then he does the unthinkable, he launches himself up about ten feet and lands down wind right next to me. Just before he lands I tried to turn but it was to late. My kite is at 12:00 O’clock and Steve throws his four line kite in the wrong direction and I am now looking up at eight kite lines singing a tune in the wind I have never heard before nor do I ever want to hear again. His kite heads for the water at mock three and mine does the same as they both twist with each other and I some how am getting tied up as Steve lets go of his kite bar. Both Kites are down but I have 5 or 6 lines wrapped around my body, my board and some how around my neck! Out of the corner of my eye I can see my 6.5 getting ready to power up and go skyward, just as I get the lines off and away from my neck my kite shoots to the sky like a rocket and I see all eight lines go into what looks like one great big piano wire. I just missed get my head cut off is what went through my mind as I am now beginning to get pulled up out of the water about 20 feet and then slapped back down like a rag doll for about a thousand yards. I am not sure how many times I was smacked down repeatedly but what I do remember is the feeling of being beating to a state where I was about unconscious. Now I am getting dragged down wind and I am hog tied three different ways, one around my ankles, two around my harness, and third around my board. I am so tied up I have one free hand to try to get my little knife that came with the harness but that is just about impossible to do when your getting dragged through the water at 30 miles an hour with one hand tied to your back and one kite wants to go out to sea and the other is doing this death spiral spin and wanting to go down wind. Finally Brian Winchner fly’s down to see if he can help and I am yelling at him (I need your Knife!) what I don’t know is he can not just kite up to me and hand me the knife, his knife is strapped to it’s sheath. I finally just looked up at the sky and said God I don’t know where I am going and don’t know what to do? And a voice came to me and said headstand, lose this gear or lose your life. So I tried one more time to get myself free and this time got my leash off of my ankles, which then loosen up everything and then started to undo this mess that had me hog tied to my board. “OH God” I am free of all lines and board and now I am swimming in only to meet Jim Kerr swimming out to rescue me. Later after everything washed in I found out that one of the lines had cut through my board like butter, my kite was torn and tattered, Steve’s kite was just fine and the lines of coarse looked like a birds nest. First thing Steve said to me was, I am so sorry bro I thought I killed you as I dragged my worn out body out of the surf. I was lucky that day but it also instilled in me that when your number is up, it’s up!
Jon Monroe/ Headstand
Bad Judgement Injures Rider, Damages Sport! Posted by: Rick Iossi
Incident # 3 02 1 Date: March 1, 2002 Location: East Coast of Florida, USA
Summary: A kitesurfing instructor and professional kitesurfing competitor with very extensive experience had just completed giving a lesson. He rigged up an Airblast 11.8 m quickly connecting a new Airrush control bar for the first time. The winds were side offshore gusting to 30 kts. He did not carefully preflight his setup as he was in a hurry to get out on the water. He is on the order of 6'2" and weighs about 220 lbs. He launched upwind of a nearby truck and van. He was not wearing a helmet. Apparently the actual overall length of the back lines was much shorter than the front lines resulting in the front lines almost being slack. In effect this large kite was rigged for maximum power and minimum controllability in strong gusting winds. Immediately following launch he was violently dragged into the truck smashing in the grill and hood with his body. He was then dragged on to the hood with his leg getting caught by a plastic bug shield on the hood and badly hyper-extended his leg. He then plowed into the windshield, smashing it. He was then lofted up and over the vehicle to a height of 20 ft. and violently landed upside down hitting his head and shoulder on the ground. Two bystanders rushed up and grabbed him, which re-powered the kite.
ALL THREE people were then lofted on to some large boulders in the water. The two bystanders let the rider go at this point. The rider was dragged at speed out over the water and into a "no wake" manatee sign, bending/breaking the sign with his body. He was then dragged up on to a sandbar. Stunned bystanders on the opposite shore though that he was dead. The rider eventually sat up and started to rewind his lines indicating that he did survive. He was dragged and lofted at high speed over an overall distance of about 100 yds. And over water about 50 yds. As there were no boats in the area a windsurfer paddled over to the rider on his board and brought him back to shore and had him transported to the hospital for treatment. The rider said that even though he tried desperately, HE COULDN'T UNHOOK FROM THE CENTER LINE OR CHICKEN LOOP. As a result of this serious accident banning kitesurfing at this singular launch area in this part of the State is under consideration by the governing authority. All the injuries suffered by the rider aren't known at this time but include a badly damaged knee and bone deep oyster cuts at many places on his body. Lessons learned/prevention:
Many hard lessons are carried by this account; some of the critical ones follow:
1. ALWAYS CAREFULLY PREFLIGHT your gear. On high wind days, two or three checks wouldn't be too cautious. In pre-flighting MAKE CERTAIN that your lines are of equal length.
2. If you have new gear try very hard not to try it out under extreme conditions. If you must use new gear check it out very carefully.
3. NEVER launch upwind within one or preferably more line lengths of anything that you wouldn't want to slam into. Bad things happen, even to a rider of this superior level of skill.
4. Pick your kite size very carefully. Even though this rider was about 220 lbs., using a kite the size of an AB 11.8 m with unstable gusty winds around 30 kts. could be called grossly incautious. Remember this kite lofted three people at one point.
5. Here is another case where a helmet and impact vest could have made an important difference in degree of injury or even actual survival. Remember this was an extremely experienced rider who if the conventional wisdom is accurate, which unfortunately it is not in my opinion, would NEVER NEED A HELMET.
6. GOOD JUDGEMENT is the most essential kitesurfing resource that we have. If you don't exercise good, responsible judgment, all the skill and experience in the world may not help or even save you. Good judgment is the product of thorough training, careful experience and CHOOSING TO USE IT! If you trivialize safety this sport can have a way of putting you inline in the most violent and damaging means possible.
7. Hooking or snapping into the center or chicken loop near hard objects carries a significant risk and set of consequences if things go wrong. Think carefully about the consequences of doing this and the means of managing emergency situations if conditions demand it.
Comments: You can have more experience and skill than virtually any other rider but all that may not save you from bad judgment. Excessive over confidence is now quite common among experienced riders in Florida (many with less than one year of experience), and no doubt elsewhere. Also denial that anything bad will come from irresponsible kitesurfing habits is also pretty commonplace. Wearing basic safety gear like helmets and impact vests, "DON'T LOOK COOL" in some kiters minds, so many riders don't use them, amazing! As a result incidents are happening along with injuries and kitesurfing bans are being FORCED ON the governing authorities, who really have few choices in this, by the riding practices of these careless riders. Launches are being closed almost routinely through the acts of irresponsible but otherwise capable kitesurfers. I will talk with them about a means of improving safety and they will say "yes that is a reasonable precaution" and then go out and do just the opposite. The abundance of riders showing poor judgment and lack of responsibility are putting not only themselves but also bystanders and access to this incredible sport at risk. This is happening on almost any windy day in my area. I suspect that this pattern is much more widespread. So, we continue on the way we are going and reap the rewards, many avoidable injuries, incredible accidents and incidents, some injured bystanders and ban after ban. Alternatively, we can start to apply pressure to approach this sport with the respect and caution that it demands. This pressure can be applied individually, through tactful communication, one on one, through kitesurfing associations and simply by the example we set when we ride. If you don't have a kitesurfing association and if you need one, go form a new association. It isn't that hard and I would be happy to help. The choice is ours to make. Too many riders are choosing to ignore these simple practices. In doing this they are committing our sport to imminent bans, at least in more populated areas and many of their number to inevitable but readily avoidable accidents and injuries.
Subject: Broken ribs,Stitches,& a humbling experience
Date: Tue Oct 9, 2001 8:53 pm
"Hi Everyone, I'm new to the group and would definitely like to share this experience so that we all may learn something (and for those who have already learned, forgive me for triggering any flashbacks.
First, a little backgound on me. I have been flying big traction kites for about eight years now. I have several stacks of Flexi's and several quad line foils for buggying. I have logged hundreds of hours of beach dragging and jumping and have also eaten my fair share of sand. I fly huge single line show kites and also do kite aerial > photography. I am no stranger to kites.
I am however, new to kiteboarding.
Coming from a kiting background, I chose to purchase several Peter Lynn kites; The 1120, 840,& 630. Not to get off the subject but I chose peter lynn because he is the pioneer of traction kiting. I've been out about a dozen times so far. The first few times were disappointing. The Arc lacked the extra reinforcement needed to accommodate the new rider. Not being accustomed to being on the water with the kite, I crashed them "rookie style" and tore the leading edges. Jeff Howard at Precision Kites and a team rider for Airush, was very nice and did an A+ job in fixing my kites (thanks Jeff!). With my kite quiver back in order I was all stoked to get out there and rip like my friends were (there are only four of us on the Island that kiteboard). They had started one and two seasons ago. The next > several sessions for me were all breakthrough sessions. I was getting good rides and was getting accustomed to the new speeds of kiteboarding ( as opposed to buggying). My only consistent problem > was going upwind on my right foot forward side. I would say that I was your typical new rider experiencing the typical new rider learning curve.
Now for the point of this post. My friend jeff put up his Naish 9.5 and seemed fine. I put up my Arc 840 and it seemed fine. Moving the kite as I usually do before heading out on the water, I flew the arc at the top of the window left and right venturing ever so slightly > into the window to test the feel of the kite. All seemed fine power > wise. I did have a cross in the lines but I did not think much of it > because it was just one cross (maybe this was my first mistake) While > doing my test flight my friend Schuyler showed up (he has the previous > post "respect the power"). We chatted for a minute about the wind and > them BAM! i was gone.
I small gust had picked me up just about 3-4 > feet (not uncommon) but then all of a sudden instead of putting me > down, it was as if someone up there yanked with all their might on the > kite. I was thrown full speed, I mean FULL SPEED! into the back right > side of my 71 land rover wagon. I was in the air to begin with so > there was nothing to slow me down. My body slammed HARD in to the > vehicle, my right arm shattering the glass, my rib cage crushing in > the side if the vehicle. Every ounce of oxygen left my body. I was > actually pinned to the vehicle and finally, somehow, the kite broke > away. > > The final tally: 2 broken ribs, a laceration on my right arm that went > down to the bone, and a banged up knee. > >
What I have learned: >
1. No matter how insignificant, if the lines aren't clear, bring the kite > down and fix them. (even though I don't think that was the problem) >
2. Make sure there is nothing down wind that would be considered an > obstacle. (my truck by the way was not directly down wind. It was > between 2 and 3 o'clock. about 20 yds almost to my right) >
3. Previous experience is a plus in power kiting but can also work > against you. >
4. make sure the if the wind is gusting that it is not gusting beyond > the limits of your kite. ( I have a wind meter and I don't think this > was the case) > 5. If the kite is in the air, no matter how stable the kite, PAY > ATTENTION! THINGS CAN CHANGE VERY QUICKLY!! > > What I don't Understand: > > 1. what happened? was this a rogue gust out of nowhere? My kite was > at the top of the window, depowered. In all my years of kiting, I > never got yanked like this. > > Input, theories, and questions greatly appreciated. > > Michael"
Thursday Sept 27th, Maui, HI Launched face first into a car.
A pro kiter from Germany recently asked a tourist to hold her down, on the beach downwind of Kitebeach, as she climbed into her wakeboard. The person accidently pulled her left shoulder, the kite took off to the left, over the land, she was launched head first into the bumper of a parked car! She was UNCONSCIOUS under the car with her kite fully powered. She had multiple lacerations and required numerous facial stitches and may have permanent scarring....she was lucky!
Lofted of the Water and into a parked car 100 ft away
Sat Sep 15, 2001 Hobie Beach, Miami
"There was one unusual incident. One kitesurfer apparently got picked up while about a hundred feet from shore in the gusting onshore wind and hurled along into the side of a parked CAR! The kitesurfer appeared to be uninjured fortunately, which was pretty impressive considering the damage to the car. It was parked immeditely beside my car which came through intact strangely enough. The car the guy hit probably had about $1000. in body work damage done to it. I was about 15' away tearing down my rig when this guy dropped in, literally. The lesson from this incident, is to STAY WELL OFFSHORE while you are out and underway, 200 feet minimum. This precaution goes double in onshore winds as we had today. It is worth noting that the wind was not gusting that high, generally in the mid to occassionally high 20 mph range." Fly safe, Rick
Date: Sat Aug 4, 2001 8:56 am
Subject: Kitemare Yesterday On-shore Winds
Well it didn't happen to me but I had a part in it. I noticed one of the experienced kiters at our local east coast spot (intercoastal bay) was out with his 8.4 airblast in the water, and couldn't get it relaunched for some reason. He was getting pulled into shore with winds 16-22 or so, but he looked fine. I was done for the day and buzzed down to help him get sorted out. When I got there he had the kite stabilized on shore and wanted to relaunch. I was a little surprised he wanted to relaunch at this location (direct onshore wind, almost no beach, road with houses on the other side), but who was I to question someone who was better than me, and spent all season launching from different on-shore locations. In fairness we had all been doing more onshore launching this year as we were getting better. He had a twist in the line which, he was going to spin out after he got the kite up, and he had a permanent quick release in place of his chicken loop. Let's see, twist in line, kite not relaunching from water, what's wrong with this picture? The kite went up fast and well past vertical. Something was definitely wrong with the lines and worse yet he was fighting to get it back to vertical. Right before my eyes the kite rips low through the center of the power zone and in 5 seconds he gets dragged (more like F-16 being catapulted off a carrier deck) about 70 feet across the road (with twin tip in tow), up a curb and across a lawn into a tall house bush. The amount of pull these kites generate in the center of the power zone is truly scary. The kite turned went over the top of this 2 story house and hung up on the other side at the same time he tunneled into the bush. I ran over; he seemed to be in one piece except for a nasty gash in elbow. He was still gripping that control bar like his hands were glued to it. Well, he was bruised, and scraped up but generally OK (and lucky as hell he ended up in a bush and not a brick wall, or worse yet into an oncoming car). After we were done pealing the kite and lines off the house, and apologizing profusely to the little old lady who came out, this guys wife comes running up (she was out windsurfing nearby) with that combined look of "are you OK? and what the hell did you just do". Yeap, every married man's worst nightmare. At that point I truly felt sorry for him. We smiled and downplayed it as best we could. The only equipment damage was about 5 mm perfectly shaved off his Hannah Crew TT fins (asphalt makes great sandpaper). Lesson learned? 1. No more onshore launching for me, especially with blunt objects around. 2. I will start to speak up when other people start launching in lousy on-shore locations. I don't want to be the beach police but I also don't want us to loose access privileges either. It seems that no matter how good you are, you will eventually get something tangled or mis-set and get dragged big time on launch or while sailing in fully powered conditions. Until things settle down to some steady state there is no way you are going to get out of the chicken loop, get your hand on some quick release, or grab a knife to cut lines. Once that kite was launched this guy had about 3 seconds to react and get to his quick release before he got rocket launched. I think most kiters would have reacted just as he did. Happy Kiting Targa Dave A friend of mine says he was actually unconscious for a few seconds, dragging face down in the water after getting nailed in his unhelmeted head by his urethane-leashed board. When he came to he was still gripping the bar. - Mel ,contibuter to the kitesurf newsgroup,
Kitemare - quit kiting? Banned Beaches
From: Robin Zwissler
Mon Aug 13, 2001 4:33 pm Subject:
It happened Sunday before last weekend, I had a blast at Waddel Creek with my AirBlast 6.3 and Litewave 169 and NSI Tantrums. I am using the Wipika bar with permanent depower loop and "locked" it in my harness. iwindsurf was reading 20 - 35 mph at that time. When doing a loop jybe pretty near the shore I noticed a AR5 flying in my lines without a rider at the bar's end and of course it caught my lines. Pointing offshore, the kite "stack" was then pointing onshore and the other guy's kitebar was moving up to my kite. Of course there was little control and due to the now really overpowered pull of my stack of kites I could not get out of the locked-in control bar. I tried to get the kites down to ground, so that I had a chance to unlock the depower loop and unhook myself, but in these windspeeds the stack was just pulling all the time and the kites were bouncing back in the air. After a short time I was pulled western style on the beach behind the kites. The guy who let the AR5 go wanted me to let go, but I was still locked in. After maybe 100 ft being dragged on the beach I was thinking about the street that was not too far away anymore. Then the guy could reach the leader lines and another guy caught one kite and I released myself. No injuries happened. My kite is still in perfect shape, but the AR5 was destroyed. The scary thing is that there was such a massive pull from the stack in these winds that you can't believe it. Being in bindings did not help either. You just could not react like you wanted. I would have tried to cut the lines with my DaKine harness hook knife shortly after that point, but I do not know if that would have worked in that situation where you were dragged like a feather weight behind "your" kites. After that incident I packed my stuff and called it a day. 8 days after that I still think about quitting kitesurfing. I do not blame the other kiter, he was experienced and I also let go my 6.3 there once when it launched in the powerzone and I did not use a safety leash. The amount of kiters will still keep rapidly growing leaving much less space for mistakes. I now understand why some people try to ban kiting. It IS dangerous and if you thought you have everything all the time under control you might be wrong. The power can be tremendous. Losing control is not always your fault. I had several incidents before that when beginners where pulled downwind out of control and nearly catching my kite lines. The problem is you do not see them when you are downwind of them. I do not blame the Wipika depower setup, either. I like it and do not know if I would have been able to unhook from a "normal" depower loop in that situation. Maybe I will try to stay upwind of everyone in the future or quit. But I don't think so, it's too much fun on the water. But there might be a big problem with too many kiters at the spots pretty soon needing too much space each. Robin The worst kind of Kitemare...KiteBoarding Ban in Miami Florida.
Info taken from FL kitesurf assoc newgroup. I heard from Victor Hernandez today, that kitesurfing access to Virginia Key Beach along Bear Cut in Miami is now closed. The lifeguards have been concerned about kitesurfers launching too close to bathers and coming too close to bathers and windsurfers while underway. We are going to attempt to negotiate a conditional reopening. More news on that to follow. It is time that kitesurfers that go Kitesurfing in Miami-Dade County, at a minimum, start to take this access issue very seriously. We have just lost two of the best launches on Biscayne Bay and in terms of ease of access and reliable good winds, one of the best launches in the upper Caribbean. Crandon may reopen if we can get insurance. Things are not looking great in that area right now but time will tell. Virginia Key may be reopened but if it can be accomplished we will no doubt be giving up some freedoms, closeness of launch area, etc. For the remaining spots in the County,
it is critical that we keep kitesurfing as free from complaints and incidents as possible to avoid more lost launches. Victor is going to pass on to me his email list for the last organizational meeting. I suggest that we have a general meeting of kitesurfers that go off Miami-Dade County within two weeks and preferably one week. I will be sending out emails in that regard. The main purpose of this meeting will be to bring everyone up to date on the closings and to discuss tactics to avoid more closings and other issues. If it is possible to regain access to Virginia Key Beach and Crandon Park, that information will be sent around as things develop. Kitesurfing is all about fun, freedom, going full out and getting away from hassles. Our numbers have grown, issues are coming up along with hassles and we have a choice. We can take the effort to self-regulate, be responsible and careful to avoid complaints and incidents or we can go at "business as usual", and the odd succession of rare incidents may bar us from this excellent sport a beach at a time. I vote for getting together to try to avoid all this banning and restrictions. I know that by signing up for this list most of the rest of you feel the same way. We now have to get the word out to other kitesurfers that aren't on the list. We need to spread the kitesurfing guidelines and encourage folks to follow them. -Rick