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Saunton Beach death

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matth
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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby matth » Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:51 am

Does anyone know what happened. Article says girlfriend pulled him from the water. So was it a hard crash? natural causes?
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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby iriejohn » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:41 am

Won't know until the coroner's report, and even then the cause of death might be unclear.

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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby TheRussian » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:29 pm

RIP.... thoughts & prayers to family & friends.

As noted, wait for the coroner's report.... but even then, it is unlikely the full details will ever be established.

On high wind days, check prevailing & forecast conditions at your spot & surrounding upwind spots, gusts, water temp/conditions, triple check all equipment (only use your newest kite, bar/lineset), wear a helmet, only use a kite that will cope with the max gust and even then, you are in the lap of the gods if it goes well.

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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby SamYoung » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:50 pm

Hi,

Was there ever anymore information released about this incident??

I'm totally shocked, last had a lesson with Ben at Christmas just tried to contact him again to book another one and found my Whatsapp messages wouldn't deliver!
He was a great instructor. Devastating to hear this has happened.
Thoughts are with the family.
:-(

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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby fishyface » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:27 pm

nothing2seehere wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:40 am
Hugh2 wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:57 pm
Okay, I will bite. Sometimes I end up in overpowered conditions in Cape Town on my 7m. If I try to keep the kite low when on the beach, as advised by several folks above, while understanding that the wind strength is less down low, I feel vulnerable because if I get pulled off my feet and tumbling sideways, I will likely lose control of the kite and end up in a worse situation. Instead, I feel more comfortable keeping the kite above me and under control, even if I'm getting lifted a bit, because I know I can keep control of the kite above me and not get tumbled sideways and lose control. And note that I routinely dump my kite to leash at the end of long downwinders as my way of "landing" on deserted beaches, but I do it from having the kite directly above me so it falls directly downwind of me under control in a place I choose, so I know what to do in an emergency. In summary, I disagree with the idea of keeping your kite low if you are overpowered on the beach.
I kind of see what you are saying. But do you fly it directly overhead at 12? Or more like 10-11 or 1-2 when you are massively powered? It makes a difference to be slightly off centre.

You are right that there isn't a one size fits all and it depends on the situation and the hazards around you. Sometimes being dragged sideways will be a preferable result to be lofted downwind depending on the terrain. Never been to Cape Town so can't comment on the conditions but in the videos of the pros, it generally looks like they favour the kite at 2ish pulling them towards the sea.

If you can't keep your kite low without being pulled off balance how do you launch or land in those conditions? Sounds really sketchy to be in conditions where you may be pulled off balance during the launch. Do you find you have to get it up to the zenith as soon as possible?
Rather late to be replying to this one (about flying a kite at 12 on the beach, not about Ben Witts, R.I.P)

I have witnessed an accident on the beach that was pretty severe; concussion & memory loss etc., punctured lung, two broken legs & a broken shoulder.

The cause of this accident was the novice kiter keeping the kite at 12 on a windy day. The wind was a little gusty, kite overflew and then 'dropped' straight down a few metres, directly into the most powerful section of the wind window. Of course it then powered up quite low to the ground and bang...kiter is ripped across the beach at great speed with no chance to use the QR.

So that (in my humble opinion and unfortunate experience) is why it's not a great idea unless winds are very light.

Also I think this is something that isn't being taught so much. Well maybe it is now, but I was never taught this in 2012 when I started kiting. Also, I'm not at all surprised to see / hear people doing this, because they are 'programmed' to keep the kite at 12 when learning to body drag & early waterstarts etc. They get used to this as some sort of 'neutral', safe position for the kite. They then assume this is also the case on the beach. Perfectly natural - but should be discouraged methinks.

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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby Flyboy » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:42 pm

fishyface wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:27 pm
Rather late to be replying to this one (about flying a kite at 12 on the beach, not about Ben Witts, R.I.P)

I have witnessed an accident on the beach that was pretty severe; concussion & memory loss etc., punctured lung, two broken legs & a broken shoulder.

The cause of this accident was the novice kiter keeping the kite at 12 on a windy day. The wind was a little gusty, kite overflew and then 'dropped' straight down a few metres, directly into the most powerful section of the wind window. Of course it then powered up quite low to the ground and bang...kiter is ripped across the beach at great speed with no chance to use the QR.

So that (in my humble opinion and unfortunate experience) is why it's not a great idea unless winds are very light.

Also I think this is something that isn't being taught so much. Well maybe it is now, but I was never taught this in 2012 when I started kiting. Also, I'm not at all surprised to see / hear people doing this, because they are 'programmed' to keep the kite at 12 when learning to body drag & early waterstarts etc. They get used to this as some sort of 'neutral', safe position for the kite. They then assume this is also the case on the beach. Perfectly natural - but should be discouraged methinks.
Gusty wind + inexperience is a dangerous combination. An experienced kiter is aware of an unstable kite due to gusting wind & reacts to correct, moving back if necessary to put tension back in the lines & being prepared to sheet out aggressively to minimize getting pulled by the kite if it drops into the power zone. A beginner is not likely to have that instinctive understanding of what to do. Even having the kite lower may not avoid problems - a luffing kite may tumble across the wind window & launch the kiter.

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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby Toby » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:27 am

Fishyface: how strong was the wind that day ?

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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby slide » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:17 pm

kiting in "overpowered gusty conditions" is not something anybody should ever try , was it onshore or off , it may be possible if you are pushing against the ocean , but certainly not on a landboard

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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby fishyface » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:07 pm

Toby wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:27 am
Fishyface: how strong was the wind that day ?
Hi - sorry for super-lame late reply (again) :-p

It was averaging about 18 knots, but due to a small cliff / outcrop behind the beach, there were occasional big lulls followed by gusts. Another experienced kiter had a couple of 'moments' on the water and remarked afterwards that he'd misjudged the gustiness himself.

This novice kiter was back on the water a little over 6 months later (complete with screws and pins etc.) and is now a pretty safe and accomplished kiter. In all honesty I think the total memory loss really helped :naughty:

Oh, forgot to mention: The injuries were very severe due to the kiter impacting an extremely solid sign on the beach, that read "beware of strong currents". If only the signposts hadn't been 4" square and buried in concrete!
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Re: Saunton Beach death

Postby jonysan » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:53 pm

Having Kitesurfed at Saunton for the past eighteen years, I feel confident enough to say that over 90% of kiters at the beach fly their kites at between 11. to 12 o clock, when walking back up the beach. and around 11 o clock when going to the water. the reason. the beach can be up to 400 metres wide at low tide, and the wind is predominately onshore or cross on. So most people walk diagonally to the water and the kite is "flown" which assists.
When coming off the water, and the wind is strong then it's safest to have the kite at 11 to 12, with bar trimmed for depower. and knowing you might need to pull the quick release. it can be a long walk back up the beach, so keeping the kite low and having a gust pull you over could start all sorts of problems.
It may not be "text book", but it works for us.

As far as... Big signs embedded in concrete, I presume Fishyface is referring to a different beach.

Saunton beach is a few miles long, backed by sand dunes, and very wide at low tide, usually one more than 15 kites out, so never crowded.


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