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Another UK Fatality

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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby robclaisse » Sun May 09, 2021 12:51 pm

I was not at the inquest but know Chris's wife so have heard more details directly. The linked article covers the basics but the inquest was long and very detailed so covered far more than what was written in the news.

I believe Chris's Wife will write something detailed shortly but just so this thread doesn't go off in the weeds with conjunction and assumption I'll give a few additional facts which will hopefully put some of this into perspective.
  • Chris was wearing boots but his board was completely off his feet and not with him when the first person spoke to him. I don't believe we know how he ended up out of his boots and without his board.
  • No one saw him crash or what happened with his kite (lifeguards or other kiters) so there is a big hole as to what started everything.
  • The lifeguards testified and said that even though the beach was red-flagged they thought it was a perfect day for kiting and didn't have any issues with kiters being out.
  • There were waves but supposedly not that big at all for Watergate bay so any rips etc were not seen as being a major factor.
  • The BKSA was at the inquest and spend a lot of time helping the judge understand how everything works in kitesurfing with the kite, lines etc. The BKSA also have had all of Chris's equipment and checked the lines, bar, chicken loop etc to see if there were any malfunctions. Nothing was discovered that show a malfunction with his equipment. There are still some unanswered questions about how the lines snapped and when - but again as no one saw this kite go down it has been hard to connect all the dots.
  • Though the final judgement has the cause of death as drowning, there is still a lot of uncertainty here too. It does seem like he had a cardiac event, possibly attributed to a head impact but after a postmortem and numerous investigations, it once again is hard to say exactly what happened, and the order of events.
We'd all hoped that this full inquest would bring a clear picture of what happened but unfortunately, in this case, there are still too many unknowns to be able to draw any real conclusions. We can all make a load of assumptions to fill in the gaps but then it's just a hypothetical case and not a real-world learning experience. There is a good chance this was a freak accident, likely caused by a weakness in Chris's brain or heart but it's all too inconclusive so it is near impossible to really.

Chris was a very experienced, sensible kitesurfer and he loved kiteloops and strong winds but sometimes bad things just happen that are out of our control, things we can't plan for. The BKSA has been heavily involved with this incident, know all the details and it is part of their job as the UK governing body to see if there are actually lessons that we can learn from this, if there are, I'm sure they will let us know.
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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby Toby » Sun May 09, 2021 2:04 pm

Thx Rob!

Please share any new updates on this once available.

PS: I also almost drowned like 40m away from shore...but it was offshore wind.
I had no more energy to swim...but luckily pulled myself to my kite on the 5th since I released before.

Maybe he just lost energy like I did.

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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby JohnyOhio » Sun May 09, 2021 2:45 pm

Thanks Rob.

Really appreciate you taking the time to post this.

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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby Hugh2 » Sun May 09, 2021 3:45 pm

I have broken all four lines on three kites. It can be a very violent event. I also saw Lewis Crathern crash at the KOTA at Big Bay a few years ago where he landed a megaloop backwards in boots and was pulled out of them. He was knocked unconscious and would have drowned if fellow competitors had not rescued him. A violent looping crash could have snapped him out of his boots and board, combined with tomahawking kite into the water snapping all four lines might explain this unfortunate accident.

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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby elguapo » Mon May 10, 2021 10:29 am

JohnyOhio wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 12:32 pm
downunder wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 11:41 am
JohnyOhio wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 10:43 am
Think WE ALL need to read this news report on the inquest findings and discuss. ... te-5359037

This man was an experienced kiter. He had the skills, probably more than the majority of us.

I appreciate that local news may not want to publish anything that would make this loss any more painful and tragic, but the guy involved would no doubt want the sport to learn from this tragic event, make the sport safer, and prevent more loss of life.

Facts we know:
- sea state and conditions on the day. Beach was Red-Flagged.
- guy was a BKSA judge, so highly experienced kiter and waterman.


How can we access the full inquest findings

Was the guy wearing a PFD or impact vest? If he wasn't, is this mentioned in the inquest as a major contributing factor that may have avoided this tragic loss of life, given the beach was Red-Flagged?

Was the guy wearing boots? If this is the case, is this mentioned in the inquest as a major contributing factor given the beach was Red-Flagged?

Drowning from exhaustion swimming in a rip is obvious. If there were other factors, we have a duty to check these were highlighted.

We all need to learn from this and start wearing impact vests or PFDs, EVERY time we go out in waves,

This guy was the real deal. He was experienced and competent in the water.

We all, including the BKSA, the IKO..... have a responsibility to him, to learn from this loss and identify how we can make our sport safer.

RIP Chris Prior
Who are we? Cmon buddy. Sharks are taking life in AU, as we discussing here. Heaps more died off sharks then ever will be in kiting.

And yes, my buddy also died. How can anyone prevent an accident? Plus, what about people who think taking risks make them alive?

My buddy would probably never ever accept wearing a pdf. Just like most surfers never wear a shark shield.

Is the industry of making shark detterant in it coz of saving lifes or making a dough? ;)
Sorry for the loss of your buddy and I appreciate there are numerous other risks to life including sharks.

I do think 'we' (personal pronoun - the kite community) need to be more thorough in identifying contributing factors, if we want to improve the safety of the sport.

Toby - we can assume if beach was RedFlagged its likely there were massive rips which would leave anyone exhausted after dropping a kite. To be 30mtr from shore and not make it out especially with someone there to tow you in is absolutely tragic.

If not wearing a buoyancy vest was a factor, or if wearing boots was a factor, we need to highlight them and learn collectively from this.

If that's what is likely to have caused it, we all need to acknowledge, and the governing organisation's to promote that going out in heavy surf is high risk if not wearing extra buoyancy. The same goes for kiting in waves with boots.

Having a conversation about this within our community can change perceptions about risks and how to reduce them and ultimately make the sport safer for everyone.

legislate restrictions and new loss of freedoms...absolutely no.
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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby Herman » Mon May 10, 2021 11:26 am

My condolences to those concerned. I have lost friends in similar circumstances and know the hollow feeling it leaves.

My post is just to ask readers to understand the beach signals, I am extrapolating from my local beach. Lifeguards are not there 24/7, much or even most surfing will be done when lifeguards are not even in attendance. In my case the lifeguards only cover the school holidays. The red flag imho is largely aimed at families with children who require a totally different level of supervision compared to a seasoned Waterman. Of course out of courtesy riders will talk to the lifeguards before venturing out in this sort of situation and I expect it is a regular occurrence on those beaches. Riders here will also assist the lifeguards whenever the need arises. It is not a bureaucratic system.

Again my condolences.

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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby edt » Mon May 10, 2021 12:23 pm

Terrible accident. Of course we all want to know how it happened so we can learn from it. My condolences to friends and family.

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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby apollo4000 » Mon May 10, 2021 1:18 pm

My heart goes out to his family.
Thanks for sharing Rob pass on condolences.
Happy to debate the pros/cons on a different thread but out of respect for Chris, I’ll leave it there on this one.
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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby downunder » Mon May 10, 2021 1:27 pm


U realise this happened 6 months ago?

The only reason this thread was reactivated is coronial inquest made public this days.

Now, many, many countries do not have a coronial inquests.
Even AU does not have it for things like kiting fatality. Or shark incident.

I would argue that a coronial inquest is only for some people.
Would you like to learn how Mark Sprod Aka Coldshot died? I was there, but did not see it.

There was nothing anyone could do. He tripped on landing, hit the chin so head first, and kite pulled him over next 100m. It was a 7m if remember well.

Some kiters managed to hold his legs while others tried to grab the kite. It was a no go. Kite pulled him off next 70m. This people today have a PTSP probably.

What would a coronial inquest found? Nothing.

My view on that is well known. Accidents happen. Live with it. Can we learn anything from it? In my view, no. It is contraproductive for the readers who migth think kiting is risky. And than ride a push bike instead. Which is not risky ;)

Each to his own.

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Re: Another UK Fatality

Postby edt » Mon May 10, 2021 1:52 pm

yah I mostly agree with you downunder. Kiting has risks. Guy was experienced, these accidents still happen. Mainly when we kiters see an accident like this we want to think it's user error. And if we just don't do that one thing that this guy did, we'll be fine. The truth is anyone can have an accident. It's actually not too bad for kiters, we are usually pretty realistic and accepting of the risk. I still think this sport is the most fun you can have for the amount of risk.

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