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Coach 02-27-2008 01:29 PM

Lucky to be alive...kitemare gone really bad.
Thanks to the following guys who came to my rescue Tuesday, Feb 26th, at the backside of the skyway. Good friends, quick to respond. Thanks John (Skemp), Bob, Scott, Herb and Toby. I don't ever post on this but it's important that you guys know how appreciative I am. Spent last night in the ER, coming home late last night. Mild concussion, nasty knot on the back of my head, low grade whiplash, 4 inch laceration that needed dermabond, slightly dislocated right hip, bruised ribs in the back. I am fine and home now. Upon finally recalling exactly what went down -- at least this is how others relayed it to me, combined with what I recalled this morning, here is what happened. Figure I explain it now so I don't have to tell it a hundred times. First of all, I don't see how this incident could have been avoided. It was NOT rider error. Apparently, a bridle line(s) snapped - I have not examined the kite yet, but I recall the bridle lines hanging off the kite when John wrapped the kite up. Bridle line(s) snapped when I was about 300 meters directly off the launch area, heading slighly NW towards the skeleton of the boat in the water. I heard a snap and then the kite apparently (according to Scott who watched the whole thing), went into a down loop. Wind seemed to be about 20-25 knots and I was on my 12 Cab SBI, which I always ride in those conditions on my tiny SS Doyle 125 board. Kite went into the most f'ing powered up loops I have ever seen or certainly felt. SW wind, again, pretty healthy. I managed to get out of the hook and I figured, as usual, the kite would eventually crash and stay in the water. I got dragged about 700 yards, at about 25 mph (according to Scott, again) and I was able to get out of the first two safety systems and was getting dragged by my leash, which is very stretched out and the bar/lines/CL were about 4 feet away and I was UNABLE to break the final safety system to break the kite away and let it fly. My harness got spun around and i could NOT access that little shit ass red loop on the Mystic harness, which after further review is a BAD system in this situation, IF you have it hooked up as the handle pass system. Bottom line, the kite did not depower and kept looping, only crashing two times, according to Bob, and only for about 2-3 seconds. They said I was fighting the entire time and that they could see me fighting to break the kite loose. Anyone who has been pulled in these conditions by a hard pulling kite like this knows that when that lease is stretched out and you are attached to it, even a guy as big and strong as me has no chance unless you can break the kite away. Anyway, got pulled under and over the water, almost drowning on the way for about 700 yards. The longer I kept going, I immediately realized that this kite was not going to crash or stay in the water. At one point, Scott said that I had stopped for a couple of seconds and that it lit me up from 0 to 25 again a couple of times. I realized the kite wasn't coming or staying down as I approached the skyway/highway near the little bridge, heading towards St. Pete. I knew it was going to be bad as there are NO trees there, mangroves, anything but a 3.5 foot chain link fence. I knew I had one chance left - that when the kite hit the ground and I got yanked hard onto the oyster laiden rocks and concrete there, I may be able to dive forward and grab that little o-type ring above the CL on the Cabs' that breaks away the kite. ONE LITTLE TINY TREE grabbed the wing tip of the kite long enough for me to do this. I got slammed into the rocks/beach and managed to break it away and it went into into the grass on the other side of the fence a few feet from rush hour traffic. Apparently, as I don't remember much, John was sprinting down the shoreline and arrived first - sorry mate if I don't remember much. Anyway,Bob, Scott, and Herb were soon behind and Toby to follow, riding downwind from the beach. Pretty banged up but happy not to have been pulled into the highway and killed. I have been in many situations in my four years of kiting, some caused by my own stupidity while learning and some not. But this was a first. Aren't the bridle lines about 800 test? Certainly a percentage more than the regular 600 pound riding lines, correct? And this kite is in good shape and not compromised in anyway. I was using the handlepass loop on the mystic harness and a slingshot lease that had NO release point at the harness. The Mystic system with that little red loop/grab does work, but when the harness gets turned around at a 45 degree angle and the kite is pulling you from the back, where it attaches behind the rider, the little red grab handle is NOT readily accessible. I was fighting like crazy to find it but I could NOT. And, the CAB flying saucer type ring that breaks the kite away by the CL was way out of reach as I was being pulled by the leash. I tried to get free of my harness as well but that Mystic fits tight and I was directly connected, as I take the one side hook out and run the straps through instead of using the little hook so it fits better and stays better. I was unable to get out of my harness. Anyway, I am alive - without exaggerating, it was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me - - I had PLENTY of time to grasp what was about to happen to me as I was fully powered up, being pulled by a powerful kite at about 25mph towards rush hour traffic on the skyway, finally crashing down about 12 yards from being pulled into the "shit". Thanks for all your help mates. Thanks for staying with me, looking after me and spending what seemed like a couple of hours watching over me until I seemed good enough to move on. I moved on right to the ER, as I pulled over and heaved out a gallon or so of saltwater and got a massive headache which turned out to be the concussion. I will let you guys know where the bridle lines broke when I inspect the kite tomorrow. Thanks again, John, Bob, Scott,Herb, Toby,Reno, Ryan. Imagine that, Toby to the rescue - I think he rescued my board! If I left anyone else out And thanks for the tons of phone calls I got this morning - Eric, Jeff, Brooke, Randy, Reno, and others. If I left anyone out, I apologize. Still a little foggy. Thanks fellas. Bill Eastburn

Erick 02-27-2008 01:42 PM

Dude, I'm just very glad to read from you that first, you are alive and second that hopefully soon you will start riding again. Get well soon brotha!

BigR 02-27-2008 02:18 PM

Sorry to hear that Bill,

Glad you're alright.

This seems like an important lesson for any of us that have 1st generation Bow kites from 2006 that have never had the bridle lines changed. It is now 2008 and those bridle lines would now be over two years old. So, People, we should all check our bridle lines on all older bow kites for wear and tear regularly. Even though the lines might be 800# test they can still easily break if the braided coating on the outside of the lines breaks thru.
Why? Because the inside portion has 800# test, it has long strands, it also breaks very easy by abrasion or sharp objects.
The outside coating is like 50# test , BUT, it is very resistant to abrasion and sharp objects. Hence it protects the inner lines. However, once that outer part breaks then the wear quickly breaks the inner part.

Hopefully you'll be back on the water again soon Bill

Skyway Scott 02-27-2008 02:21 PM

Very glad that your kite did hit that one tree, Bill. I am confident if it did not hit the tree, you would be in the hospital or dead today. I am sure you are freaked out enough and know this, but it's a fact that the odds of your kite hitting that one lone tree were exceptionally low. That kitemare definitely ranked top ten for the 50 or so I have seen. If not for the tree, it would rank top 3 for sure (as if you want to rank high?....... not )

Just glad you are okay. I hated watching it and was feeling nothing but anger at the situation and wanted to kill the f'n kite. It was obvious you were at it's mercy. I was so happy to see you were "okay".
Most of the time this stuff is all fun and games, but we are obviously one line away from getting screwed. You now unfortunately know first hand how fast things can switch from fun to fuc#$d on a kite.

Glad you are getting better, Bill.

bryanleighty 02-27-2008 02:25 PM

so glad you are ok.. bravo for everyone that helped..
reality check that even skilled riders can get into trouble..

i'll tell you that story was tough to read.. even tho i knew you were ok.. but just having to imagine what you were thinking.. that you knew EXACTLY what to do but you couldnt physically do it.

Sorry Tom but it looks like you will have to give your "scary, looping out of control kite, cant get my QR released" trophy...

I assume your kite is a couple years old? 2 .. 3 ??

reason I ask is that just 2 months ago (about 5 or 6 sessions back for me) all 3 of my 2006 waroo kites had bridles snap.. all within 3 days.. 3 different kites..

then Dan B. had his 2006 14m bridle snap just 2 weekends ago.. i think he was 2 sessions after mine broke.

(just read BigR's comments and agree 100%.. I would bet that we will be seeing more and more bridles break on 2006 / 2007 kites thru this year..)..

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE everyone get a leash with a simple QR on it.... SS leash with QR are 20 or 25 dollars..

BigR 02-27-2008 02:42 PM


PLEASE everyone get a leash with a simple QR on it.... SS leash with QR are 20 or 25 dollars..

Also, the cabrinha leashes with the little red saucer quick release thingy at the end are very very good and extremely easy to activate.

People should all throw away their leashes into the garbage if they do not have a QR system on them

Coach 02-27-2008 02:50 PM

Raul...thanks for your post. Listen, that little saucer deal was COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY UNACCESSIBLE. When you get out of the hook, that thing goes with it due to it's location. With a leash stretched to it's maximum tension (and more, as its' stretched out from riding/crashing unhooked and reeling the kite back in), it's about four feet long. With the kite pulling that hard, the leash stretched out that far and being out of the hook/CL, it was way too far away to even reach or activate. I am a big guy, 6'3" with a long reach and even as long as my arms are, and as strong as I am, I couldn't climb up the leash while being worked to get to that release to break the kite away. NO chance. I was trying like hell. WITHOUT A DOUBT, THE LEASE SYSTEMS THAT HAVE RELEASE MECHANISMS (LIKE THE BEST AND SOME OF THE OLD SS WITH THAT RED SLEEVE AND PIN HOOK), ARE THE ONLY WAY TO GO. I had no way of getting the kite off of me other than trying to get out of my entire harness in this situation. And believe me, I tried. Too much tension to even budge the straps to release myself from the harness. And as far as a knife - - no time. I hadn't even given the knife a thought, as I was going so fast and I would have HAD TO CUT THROUGH THE LEASH. I couldn't even find the red loop safety release on the mystic harness, let alone think about using the knife. I was trying to grab the leash and hang on it to slam the kite into the water harder, hoping it would blow up. It was like being pulled behind your truck at 25mph, knowing I wasn't going to stop UNTIL YOU DID.

toby wilson 02-27-2008 02:58 PM

Glad you are okay Bill, definitely a wakeup call for me.

I wanted to make sure that your Doyle lived for you to kite another day with it!

That was one of the scariest things I have ever seen. Like others have said, just knowing that you are helpless and can't come to your bro's aid is the worst feeling in the world. I am changing my NSI leash out for a flexi right now. ;)

onthefritz 02-27-2008 03:05 PM

Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like a scary scenario to be in. Glad things worked out for you and you're still alive. Get well soon!

BigR 02-27-2008 03:07 PM

Hey Bill, you were using a cabrinha kite but not a cabrinha leash.
The cabrinha leashes come with that little saucer deal which hooks up right next to your harness so that is is always accessible and you don't have to grab a bar that is impossibly out of reach. Basically the complete cabby system gives you TWO QR's

Glad you are OK, sounds scary mary

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