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Another UK Kitesurf Fatality

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Re: Another UK Kitesurf Fatality

Postby RickI » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:33 pm

RIP to the rider. I am very sorry for the loss of the kiter and wish his family and friends strength. Thank you Toby for monitoring things closely in these threads.

I just learned of this terrible accident and have only started to look into things. I hope local information from kiters becomes available about specific circumstances of the accident.

What follows is a general discussion of precautions related to the conditions similar to this site. This may not bear upon this sad accident directly however. I write this to help reinforce good practices built upon past accidents in similar settings as kite season is in full swing in the region. It would be good to work to try to avoid more serious accidents if we are able. Looking at the rescue photos, the cobble beach seemed quite narrow with the higher tide bringing the kiter close to the cliffs. At lower tides the width of the beach increases, as shown below. Launching and landing around high tide in gusty winds could be challenging. If the kite goes into the lift band off the cliffs, if that even happened in this case, that could cause problems. Side to side-on winds can be made unstable near the cliffs due to wind shadow. What limited wind reports I can find from Compton Bay indicate the wind was from the southwest or roughly onshore around the time of the accident. Fluidity mentions keeping the kite 45 degrees off the land to try to avoid these near cliff winds which is good. In gusting strong wind precise kite control can be a problem at times demanding more of a downwind buffer. People can become accidentally lofted in gusty winds which may place the kite into the lift band or uneven wind shadowed conditions off the cliffs if present or it may bring them into the cliff with very little time to act. If the tide is higher, you may not have much downwind buffer. The cobble beach may require additional care due to difficult footing to avoid stumbling, downlooping, etc.. Special care would be needed in riding nearshore in high wind, waves with boulders as well particularly given the close proximity of the cliffs. Careful preflighting/correct line attachment, free of tangles and maintaining good control of smaller, appropriately sized kites are key in stronger wind conditions. Larger kites have less room for error despite major depowering ability under "controlled" conditions. Local experienced riders have learned to deal with these factors over time. Past sad accidents may have compelled some to try to kite around lower tides with wider beaches for more reliable launching and landing. If isn't fun to blow off a kite session due to less than ideal conditions but sometimes it is what we need to do until things improve. Be careful out there and good winds.
The vicinity of the accident
beach n cliffs.png
A google earth image of the beach at a lower tide. Sustained onshore winds can alter the amount of exposed beach as well, through "meteorologic tides."

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Re: Another UK Kitesurf Fatality

Postby Jamie-NYC » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:55 am

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Re: Another UK Kitesurf Fatality

Postby Voeah » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:18 pm

Here some info

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