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Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

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Regis-de-giens
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby Regis-de-giens » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:35 am

I often ride offshore, and indeed the pleasure is great but risky ;To me there is no absolute answer to this question , as there are show stoppers like for example :
- your site : offshore current
- wind previsions : high wind variation expected (including drop of wind)
- thermical risk : cold water and/or no good wet suit
- site fragmentation (other kiters, safety or tourists or fisherman, VHF or mobile network)
- your physical conditions and your swimming skills obviously
- your equipment (board amovible leash, lifejacket, watertight backbag with mobile phone and urgency number already recorded, whistle, little flippers, sometimes a marine VHF); all in all it does not distrub the ride, franckly

Of course it is your own decision to increase the risk, but my point is that for example hydrofoiling in light offshore wind without current in summer breeze with 2 other aware kiters is feasible without taking too much risks and even without backbag IMO (but I agree we never know, but also for onshore winds with obstacles in the beach for example);

Personally I ride in a frequented area, rarely alone when off, so we are riding offshore with 1 or 2 collegues even in the winter ; in that case I have a mobile phone with me, good thermical protection with gloves, in the morning in the week-end to maximize the chance to get help from a tourist of fisherman boat. But I must say I had one or two bad surprised (with side-off current) for which the safety described above where or were close to become useful (mobile, flippers, LEI for its flotation and better visibility from distance).

All in all, it will depend on your motivation for riding vs the risk your are ready to take: kitesurf is always risky more or less , offshore is just an increase of it , like doing big jumps close to the beach is ...

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Toby
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby Toby » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:39 am

I can only repeat, any kind of offshore wind is dangerous and can take your life.

You need at least someone kiting with you or a boat rescue available who has an eyo on you all the time.

I personally had a bad experience, I nearly drowned...sideoffshore wind...tried to swim back 30 m to shore...didn't make it and lay down on my tube kite to not drown.
Then a boat dragged me back to the beach...

It was during a worldcup, so lots of support around. If it was just me...I would have been blown out to see sitting on my kite...

Be warned!

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FLandOBX
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby FLandOBX » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:03 pm

I advise against it.

I know of a group of offshore-wind-kiters with jet ski support who were feeling good until the jet ski had engine trouble. In this case, there were no casualties.

I also knew an experienced kiter who went out in offshore wind, lost his board, ditched his kite, couldn't swim back due to strong currents that pulled him out (was within shouting distance of shore), drowned, and was found floating (dead) 60 miles south several days later.

It's just not worth the risk, IMHO.

SpaceRacer
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby SpaceRacer » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:47 pm

Wow. I am so glad that I posted and that we have this great community that looks out for each other. Offshore/side offshore winds look so benign from shore with smooth water and beautiful waves but I now see that there are a lot of unseen hazards and things to consider. Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice in a timely manner. SR

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Toby
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby Toby » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:00 pm

Always welcome...that’s what this forum is for 👍🏻

SpaceRacer
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby SpaceRacer » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:29 pm

Yup :thumb:

plummet
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby plummet » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:34 pm

Toby wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:39 am
I can only repeat, any kind of offshore wind is dangerous and can take your life.

You need at least someone kiting with you or a boat rescue available who has an eyo on you all the time.

I personally had a bad experience, I nearly drowned...sideoffshore wind...tried to swim back 30 m to shore...didn't make it and lay down on my tube kite to not drown.
Then a boat dragged me back to the beach...

It was during a worldcup, so lots of support around. If it was just me...I would have been blown out to see sitting on my kite...

Be warned!
Bear in mind that the worst case scenario of drowning and death is the same for all wind conditions. We need to consider whether our own perceived risk assessment is the actual risk. It is possible that we can get complacent with routine and perceive the risk factor inaccurately.

As an example. Kiting perfectly powered in cross off conditions in uncrowded waters with a few other kiters as back up if shit happens may actually be a lot less risky than kiting fully powdered on an 18m in 25 knots in a crowded lagoon doing tricks close to other kiters and beach users.

Let us not kid ourselves that our own form of kiting is not risky. Every time we enter the water the ultimate worst case scenario is death.

I have actually had many more oh shit moments in onshore conditions than I have in offshore conditions. Maybe its because I'm lulled into a false sense of security that onshore is safer? Maybe I am riding with more caution in offshore because I perceive it to be riskier?

longwhitecloud
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby longwhitecloud » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:30 am

yep there are situations where you will pray that you had a leash on your surfboard, a wetsuit on , or a floatation device.. and a competent friend. if you are mot experienced at surfing and are not used to floating around in the ocean on a surfboard in offshore winds, then i can see a a whole other level of problems.

i think about woodmans point in wa too.. perfect flat water, but if you go out beyond jyst over waist deep you risk big problems

Knowone
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby Knowone » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:18 am

Side off provides the best wave kiting conditions (IMHO). Side off winds 'hold up' the wave,providing for the most exciting possible 'smacks'...
The consequences can be higher, but give me side off everyday!
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maxriderkite
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Re: Kitesurfing offshore or side offshore winds

Postby maxriderkite » Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:35 pm

I've been riding offshore all the time during the summer and it was by far the best sessions I've ever had! Flatwater, force you to learn well upwind and much safer with gusts or risks to be pulled in the air by the kite because you simply fall or go in the water instead of to the beach, rocks or whatever hard obstacles.

BUT, but all of these times I was riding offshore, I paid a 'security package' for the year from my kite club which had every day 2 boats waiting on the beach, they were always looking at the kite zone (they also had binoculars) so any kiter having troubles with his kite floating on the water, they were going to rescue him (and it happened to me many times). I strongly advise if you have the chance of having a kite club or school offering this, you enjoy your ride and feel so much safer!
Last edited by maxriderkite on Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.


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