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Old 05-06-2020, 09:21 PM
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Default KS #10 - When Extreme Ability Isn't Enough

** Kiteboarding scenarios were first posted in 2002 in the old Yahoogroups, then on Kiteforum and other forums over the years. They consist of plausible kiting incidents and accidents that haven’t occurred but may or may not have been inspired by real events. They are stories of likely events containing object lessons worth considering by kiters.

KITEBOARDING SCENARIO #10 - When Extreme Ability Isn't Enough or Bad Riding Conditions ... Go Bad**

A very experienced and skillful kiter had been riding at this same launch for over a decade. It was along the shore of a very large lake. The shoreline has a narrow 40 ft. sand and cobble beach followed by some 20 ft. cliffs with scattered boulders. When the wind is out of the south it is side offshore from the coast a few miles out making conditions particularly gusty. Once you ride away from shore and the area of dirty air caused by wind shadow from these land features the wind evens out somewhat. Inside though a wide gust range is common with southerly winds.

This rider was unusual, he not only was very experienced but also a very capable athlete. He had particularly fast reactions with strong commitment and no hesitation. This came from years of kiting and other extreme sports. His honed reactions had not only allowed him to develop a high degree of skill in kiting and other action sports but had likely saved his bacon many times over the years. He was an aggressive rider by nature, allowing little room for error routinely. Despite being an early kiter and a fairly extreme one at that, he had never been to the hospital to deal with injuries before.

He was flying an 11 m high aspect flat kite and being on the heavy side it had served him in similar winds in the past. The kite boosted very well but you had to be careful to avoid stalling it particularly in the absence of much buffer to recover in.

There were about a dozen guys out riding a variety of kite sizes. Launch and landing conditions were demanding but locals know this and try to manage as best they can. A friend of this rider had actually been lofted ashore a few times and knocked unconscious repeatedly in excessively gusty conditions at another launch in the area also with wind shadow conditions in the past. The winds this day were between about 10 and 25 kts..

He had chosen to launch and ride off a particular narrow section of beach in part because there were spectators in this area and waves nearshore a bit lower for tricks. When he was first launched that day, his kite stalled suddenly in a major lull and he felt compelled to open his Quick Release to Emergency Depower (fully kill the kites power). He did this without hesitation and suffered no injury. This was a warning about the severe nature of the conditions in that area.

He was out riding within about 100 ft. off shore doing tricks to the enjoyment of the spectators. His kite had stalled in the lulls and gone down about four times that morning in the dirty air nearshore. This was another significant warning of the poor conditions. As he was riding, he was hit by a sudden lull dropping the kite followed by a powerful gust which lofted him off the water, flung him horizontally and into the sand at high speed. This happened so fast as to defy even this accomplished rider's impressive reactions. He was likely knocked out on this first impact. His kite relaunched and dragged him further inland likely striking some rocks along the way.

He had suffered severe injury, was unconscious with no vital signs. An off duty nurse from a nearby picnic ground performed CPR and eventually revived him before the EMTs arrived. He suffered a broken arm, legs, pelvis, multiple rib fractures, a ruptured lung and traumatic brain injury (TBI) related to a bad gash. He also suffered spinal injury resulting in current paralysis below his waist. In time hopefully it all will heal.

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transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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