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Learn from Mistakes of Others

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Toby
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Learn from Mistakes of Others

Postby Toby » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:09 pm

Gear

Kite Leash

Leash Without Function

What happened?

We know kite leashes are important, it shouldn't be necessary to rehash that at this point for most of us. Years back we used to argue about this amazingly enough. Suicide leashes have a strong following, despite what the name implies. I don't know how common this is at other areas but around here I see guys heading out at times with their suicide leash coiled on the harness "Wonder Woman" style but not connected to anything. This means your kite is unleashed.

Unleashed kites can do some serious harm. I was told a story recently about just that sort of accident. Many of the details prior to the lofting were only seen by the victim whose observations appear below. Others saw events following the lofting.

Guys were out in a squall among numerous other squalls, first mistake but others followed. This was in Miami during Tropical Storm Fay shortly before the rider in Ft. Lauderdale was hurt. A kiter was heading back offshore when he noticed a guy launched a jump in his direction. The outbound kiter stopped and brought his kite to the zenith to try to avoid hitting the guy jumping. The jumping kiter landed and was hit by a particularly strong squall gust. He may have been knocked over or simply had the bar ripped from his hands, he was unhooked and was wearing his leash "Wonder Woman" style. That is for looks only and not attached to anything. The guy sitting with his kite at the zenith about 30 ft. offshore suddenly had a second kite bar wrap his lines resulting in TWO looping out of control kites. He was lofted out of the water and about 40 to 60 ft. inland. He smashed hard on his side against the sand fracturing his C2 (hangman's fracture) and C3 vertabrae. The kiter managed to activate his primary QR at this point amazingly enough. He was still pulled by the looping kite so another kiter tried to hold him in place while a third guy ran up and opened his secondary quick release defusing the situation.

The helping kiteboarders DID A VERY IMPORTANT THING by working to keep the injured kiter immobile. This act likely saved the kiteboarder from serious paralysis perhaps for life. There have been other injured kiters who were not so lucky as to have people there to try to keep them immobile. He was very fortunate that his C2 fracture wasn't more severe. That is the vertabrae and related nerve network they try to break with a hang man's noose causing loss of life through asphyxia.

He has been in a Halo Vest (head restraint collar) for seven weeks and may need to have it on for 8 to 12 weeks total. You sleep, badly, sitting up with these things on. The kiteboarder has no medical insurance and has ripped through his savings, taken out cash advances to the maximum on his credit cards, had to sell his car and has been out of work for 7 weeks. The kiter shouldn't have been out in the squall but he didn't deserve to be taken out by someone else's kite and physically and financially messed up like this.

Another accident with similarities claimed the life of Silke Gorldt in 2002 at a Pro competition. That is a runaway kite with no leash. Also she had no Quick Release, few did in those days.

What can we learn?

- Stay out of squalls, always.
- Always use a well tested kite leash. By not using a kite leash you are putting yourself at risk most of all compelling you to hang on to your kite in extremes. Then there are all those potential victims downwind. If you see a "Wonder Woman" wannabe, talk with them tactfully and effectively, OK?
- Never put others at risk with your jumps. Always allow a safe downwind buffer with jumps and riding in general.
- Practice hitting your Quick Release physically and mentally regularly as seconds can count.
- Wear reasonable safety gear.
- If you kiterboard, have adequate medical insurance.
- If you see someone with potential neck trauma try to keep them calm and immobile. More comments about this under "Head Injury" at Medical Info.

FKA, Inc.
transcribed by: Rick Iossi

Board Leash

Board Leash Teeth

What Happened?

There is a girl that rides in the spot we ride that uses an Oceanus reel leash. I have told her for the year we have known her to get rid of the thing and drag back to her board. Yesterday she decided to not use it anymore. Unfortunately, it was after she broke out most of her front teeth. She fell, got dragged down wind with her back to the kite, came up for a breath, and her board caught up to her and hit her in the mouth. Full damage is fractured upper jaw, many stitches inside her mouth, front upper teeth pushed up into the roof of her mouth, 2 lower teeth broken off...in short her teeth look like she is from Arkansas. She spent an hour with an oral surgeon yesterday, and goes back to see him Monday. She obviously has some extensive dental work to be done. Oh and she did have the 1 meter extension line on her board.
leash 1.jpg
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What can we learn?

- don't use a board leash at all, even if you wear a helmet
- learn how to bodydrag back to your board
- if you think you need a leash, you may consider a tool like the "GO-Joe".
go joe.jpg
GO-Joe from Ocean Rodeo
go joe.jpg (24.11 KiB) Viewed 2129 times

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Toby
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Re: Learn from Mistakes of Others

Postby Toby » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:16 pm

Conditions

Big Gusts 1

At about 5 pm, Monday a dark squall was moving in from the southeast into Ft. Lauderdale Beach, FL, USA. Visibility was about 2 to 3 miles with frequent rain showers and passing clouds. This particularly squall was lead by a zone of white water or intense rain showers. Squall lines had been clocked at traveling 60 mph or a mile a minute that day related to Fay. So, by the time the squall was seen, it might arrive in less than 3 minutes with powerful winds from the gust front perhaps arriving even before that. In effect faster than anyone might be able to come in and secure in some cases, you have no time.

Two kiteboarders in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA, had just landed on the beach and had their kites low waiting for guys to grab and secure their kites before a severe squall hit. The winds had been around 16 kts. with one of the two kiters underpowered on his 9 m kite at the time. They had come in to avoid the squall but arrived too late to escape its impact. While they were standing there squall winds exploded to 40 to 50 kts in seconds. Torrential rain also started.

The other kiter was standing about 20 ft. further north and just south and east of the SE corner of the wooden deck where the news cameraman was located. The kiter to the south kept yelling to the kiteboarder "keep your kite down" over and over again. Despite this sound advice, the northern kiter may have panicked perhaps when dragging started, as he suddenly brought his kite up from the horizontal initiating a lofting in the strong winds. Guys were likely seconds from grabbing his kite but it flew up and away from them. He was lofted a distance of about 100 ft. north in the southeasterly gust. He struck and was dragged through the sand and then lofted again as shown in the video. One observer said the speed of flight exceeded that which he has seen in high wind kiteloops. The kiterboarder flew roughly 275 ft. horizontally and about 20 to 25 ft. high over parked cars falling into A1A. This intermediate landing did not show up in the news video clip. He was lofted a third time about 40 ft. into an alley between a restaurant and mid rise condominium building. He was seen to hold on to his bar throughout the accident with both hands and made no attempt to Emergency Depower the kite. He struck the pavement and perhaps the south building wall of the condo.

Another kiter saw what happened and sprinted across the street in driving rain, poor visibility indicated in the video to aid the kiteboarder. The lofted kiter was lost to view so the responding man ran through the restaurant and around the building furiously trying to locate the lofted kiter. He found the man lying in the alley in seconds. The responding kiter immediately disconnected the man's quick release disconnecting his kite. The man was flying a 9 m flat kite. There was a tremendous quantity of blood around the man. He was unconscious but quivering. The man had two ragged holes in his knees, a bad laceration to his forehead, broken ribs and perhaps other undesignated injuries. He started to moan and come around but was delusional and started to say over and over again, "Let me go home, I don't want to kite anymore." He tried to get up with substantial strength while several first responders held him motionless in place. Emergency services were on the scene in force in an amazingly short period of time. The man is in his mid 20's, about 160 lbs. and has about 4 to 5 years kiteboarding experience and was self-taught.
1 crash.png
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What can we learn?

- Don't go out in onshore winds.
- Never go out in a storm, or if strong gusts are forecasted.
- The kiteboarder is amazingly lucky to be alive. Looking at the high velocity of his lofting and head first flight, likely impact against pavement and/or the building it is miraculous that he isn't far more grievously injured than reported. He wore no safety gear reportedly such as a helmet or impact vest that might ease the trauma of limited impacts. Such simple aids have made the difference in survival and lessening injuries in some kiteboarding loftings in the past. Despite this the, use of this simple safety gear is far from the norm currently. Helmets never were used at one time in football, these things take time unfortunately.
- Responsible kiteboarders would not have been out in an area of such violent, abundant and closely spaced squalls. Unfortunately, in these early days of the sport not all participants acknowledge the severity of these hazards yet. They discount the hazard if they even consider it at all and every once in a while one is injured or sometimes even killed as a penalty for this indifference.
- Such meteorological hazards are fairly easily avoided through proper Weather Planning and Monitoring. The odds of being surprised by powerful gusty wind is substantially diminished with such procedures. Risk isn't removed but when is that the case in life? Not doing proper Weather Planning and Monitoring in the face of changing weather is foolish in the extreme. It is akin to flying cross state in summer through major thunderstorms and never bothering to look at forecasts or radar. People just don't do it.
- When you get lofted, there is nothing you can do while in the air...it is very important, to stay calm. You need to fly this gust, keep control of the kite. And just before you hit ground, you need to release, since you might break your arms or get unconscious. This is not possible, if you don't think about it before and have it in mind. But it is possible, if you keep thinking about this and get the system in your head. This is your only chance anyway.


Big Gusts 2

What happened?

By alsoares

My fellow kiters who witnessed the accident said that a gust hit him very hard and similarly to what happened in Fort Lauderdale yesterday. I wasn't there, although I wish I could have been there, I'd certainly have advised him not to go to the water, as I did before at other occasions.

Just to make things clearer, the weather conditions were totally inappropriate for kitesurfing. The kiters who dared to confront the bad weather hadn't been kitesurfing for a certain time, so they were eager to enjoy one day of strong wind. I thing this is the reason that may have blind their sense of danger to the point that they didn't notice any sort of cloud formation (cumulus nimbus, rather frequent here during the winter season) approaching the spot. I believe a cumulus nimbus was approaching them because another kiter who was driving his car nearby told me he had noticed a dangerous cloud formation like that, a few minutes before the accident.

A bad signal of an approaching and dangerous cloud is a fast drop in atmospheric pressure, usually followed by wind speed drop. This signal is the last warning of what is to come. A few minutes after that, the wind increases significantly and very fast, followed by intense rain. It seems exactly what happened while Alexandre was in the water. The other kiters were all leaving the water because the wind was getting lighter, I believe they haven't noticed the cloud. At this time Alexandre rushed to the water, could hardly sail 200 meters and when he was coming back to the shore the wind started to increase, at first slowly. When he was next to the shore, his kite fell down. He succeeded on relaunching his kite when the first gust came, dragging and lifting him. First, according to reports from the other kiters, he managed to land on the beach, but before he could do anything to get rid of his kite, he was violently pulled against a tree, breaking branches and flying directly into a fiberglass wall of a handicraft facility. His uncontrolled kite, now positioned at zenith, lifted him 10 to 15 meters high above the handicraft facility. Alexandre was possibly already unconscious. His kite lost power, and he dived to death, next to the opposite sidewalk of the street, where he hit his head against the asphalt.
2 crash.jpg
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What can we learn?

- Never underestimate bad weather.
- Check your safety-release system more often.
- Develop and keep your 'muscle memory' active. That is, train repeatedly and exhaustively how to activate your safety-release system until the point you'll be able to activate it by reflex, without thinking. If you can do it in two or three seconds, you can save your life.
- Use a helmet and a impact vest.
- Revise your equipment frequently, replacing worn ropes and lines.


Big Gusts 3

What happened?

I understand this experienced kiter launched a 16m EH freestyle kite in about 9 to 10 kts. on a lake in Quebec. A large black storm cloud moved in and brought stronger winds with it gusting into the 30's. The rider was rigged big with a C kite and ignored the changing weather, as long as he was allowed to anyway, sigh. The guy was progressively overpowered as you can see until eventually, he was yanked into land in no time at all. He seemed to be preoccupied with being heavily powered to overpowered for about 30 seconds prior to getting dragged on his edge into shore. This should have been enough time to release. It took less than two seconds to slam into shore after he lost his edge which was sufficiently violent to likely block his releasing at that late time. He may have tried to pull his quick release but it has been said, perhaps in the wrong direction for successful operation?! We need to practice this stuff often before we might ever need it.

phpBB [video]


What can we learn?

- Do proper weather planning and monitoring. Act EARLY to avoid deteriorating weather before it hits.
- Properly maintain and regularly practice emergency depowering. DO NOT expect to be able to figure this out during an emergency.
- Use adequate distance.
- Don't rig to big.
- Use proper safety gear.

User avatar
Toby
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Posts: 35811
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 1:00 am
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Re: Learn from Mistakes of Others

Postby Toby » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:21 pm

Helping Others

What happened?

by nj kiter

So yesterday i awoke to the sound of thirty knot wind houling out side my bedroom window. So i got ready and headed out to my favorite place which would be the sholes in barnegat light. I sold my 9 that i used frequently. So i pulled out my trusty yarga. The session began on a good note. Surfing the head high surf, launching over them, and off of them. It was great all untll a bridal line on the kite snapped by my guess would be a mega gust.

Way out in strong current in the big waves toying with me while i was trying to swim in. Because the kite would not fly. The kite and the current were pulling me out even further to sea, so i released it from me and said goodbye to her and let go.

After that i swam in for about 30 to 45 minutes. Reached the beach and laid their for a while. Got my act together and left.

Something i found interesting i was out with about ten other kiters. And while i was swimming in, the current would pull me further away from the crowd. And no one stopped to offer help. All of them kept going on like it never happened. I am not complaining or anything. But it just goes to show you in life or death you really are on your own, that you cant rely on other people. I lost the kite that i learned on i did my first tricks downwinders and good time on it. But i am glad i made it back to land with those conditions.

What can we learn?

- Check the conditions before you go out, knowing the currents and wind forecasts, they might switch to offshore winds.
- Never ride out too far. Always keep in mind that you might need to swim back, and know how far you can swim back even with having less power the longer your session is.
- If you feel you won't make it back to shore with your gear, let go of it, don't think twice.
- Always watch other kiters being out with you, and if they are in trouble, ride there and help out. If you cannot help yourself, get help from other riders or the coast guard.

Strong Onshore Winds

What happened?

A kiter wanted to launch his kite on Ruegen, Germany. The conditions were strong, onshore winds, with gusts up to 37 knots. The iter wanted to trim his 9m kite and launched it, with the help of 2 friends holding on to him. The were standing on grass, which was wet. The kite's lines had a tangle, therefore the kite created lots of pull, and all 3 were pulled for about 10m, then the kite got even more powered up, the harness grab handle broke and the 2 helpers lost the kiter, he got lofted and hit a 1.5m high sand wall.

I got airlifted to the hospital, broke his head and shoulder.

What can we learn?

- Do not go out in onshore winds.
- Do not launch your kite in strong winds.
- If you need to trim your kite, expect the kite to have too much power to handle. Try to avoid to trim a kite in strong winds. And if you need to trim it, don't do it in onshore winds. You can trim it in sideshore winds, standing in the water, that will give you some time to act if something is not correct.

Sudden Wind Speed Changes

What happened?

We were sailing in Cleveland on Sunday and wind was cranking (for here) about 20-25 all morning. Went out on my 9m for a bit and after coming in a big storm rolled through. Since we were already at the beach we decided to see if it would pass over. After about 20 minutes of rain the upwind sky started to clear and winds dropped to about 8mph which seems to happen after a thunder cell (usually it stays calm for the rest of the day after the storm). Since it was nice out and wind was steady we figured we would put up the 16m crossbow. After the lines were run out and pumped up I check the wind speed with the anemometer and it was right around 13 mph so we thought "great".

The wind might have picked up a little by the time I went to actually launch but nothing alarming. We moved to the edge of the wind window to launch and after he gave me the signal he was ready and the lines all looked in order I let go. About a half a second later he was running full speed and half a second after that he was 5 feet off the ground traveling fast. After about 75 feet (he body was now near me where I launched so he at least went the distance of his lines) he hit the water (about 2 feet, so not much cushion) pretty hard. I yelled at him to let go of the bar, it all happened so fast he still had it in his hands. At that point he got picked up again about 5 feet of the ground and traveled another 20 feet on the beach and landed hard again. He popped both quick releases and ditched the kite. I ran and flagged the kite and my brother went to check on him. He got up completely fine other than just being a little shaken up. There was no one down wind of us and no hard objects close by but the whole situation still had a serious potential for injury and spooked us all a little.

After that the wind continued to build and within about 45 minutes it was back up to 20.

What can we learn?

- always have an eye on the weather, specially if the wind drops suddenly, then it suddenly can increase as well
- check local forecasts, also for gusts. Normal wind sites do not forecast gusts, so you should check other websites as well, e.g. Weather Online
- before you want to launch the kite, have a look upwind if you see stronger wind approaching you. See if whitecaps are suddenly moving towards you.
- if you are the launch helper, do also check the conditions and make the kiter aware of a sudden change if you fee or see it.

Waves and Lines

What happened?

By "Wetstuff"

This past Wednesday afternoon I was attempting to squeeze something out of sub-10 knots conditions and a lousy holiday forecast with a 7-2 surfboard and a 16m North Vegas. There were waist-to-shoulder high sets in the ocean and I was sliding over the tops on slight downwind diagonals. There had been flooding rains in our region recently so there were few tourists and no other kiters. A few surfers and the tourists were upwind.

I did not have enough inertia to get over one wave and I got swept off the board. While I got rolled - the kite fell. Before I got totally clear of the lines; one line had a wrap on the middle finger of my right hand while the kite caught the next wave and started a Tug-of-War.

Luckily, I cannot remember it any longer, but there was a creepy sound of the line attempting to remove my finger.

After getting free of the lines, I let the kite wash in. The board was on its way and I had to swim in with one open hand and one fist. I trucked up the beach with my kit and had a couple of surfers help me out of my spring suit in the parking lot. The fist pressure limited the bleeding.

My wife is a nurse at a hospital about 40 minutes away and I drove to her ER. After two hours, 18 stitches done by a PA [physicians assistant] and a Tetanus shot - I got to relax and consider.
1 hand.jpg
1 hand.jpg (14.36 KiB) Viewed 2120 times
What can we learn?

I made a number of critical judgment errors that I would hope you would not repeat.

- The wind was too light for my 90kgs. If any kite is hesitant to stay at zenith during the lulls - pack up.
- The wind was too light for being in the ocean. On flat water the only problem would have been the kite relaunch.
- I did not have leaders on my lines. In the old days there would have been thick leaders which would have been easier to dispense with.
- I did not appreciate the danger I was in. Had I.. I would have gotten away from the lines a lot faster. [next time, eh?!] The knife in the back of my DaKine harness never moved either...also, not enough time.
- I was alone. Had this line cut an artery in my leg or upper arm - I may not be typing this. [I am going to ignore this #5 - because I am pretty self-sufficient, but I would not recommend it to other people.]

There is a new kind of ER process for the lightly injured: Clean them up - stitch them up - "Call your doctor in two days." My wife is an insider, so she got me an appointment a day later with the only hand specialist in our area.

He basically said that I had macerated the tissue along with one nerve and an artery ..and came that close to him removing the finger because of the damage. The tendons were perhaps nicked [he was looking at a closed wound] but not cut. There's loss of feeling on one side. The artery on the other side seems to be compensating for the cut artery - at the moment. I do not really care, but he said that further repair of the finger would in fact be more difficult than a hip replacement. The only real stinker is that I cannot get it wet or do anything beyond flexing the tendons for three weeks.


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