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Old 05-11-2006, 09:12 AM
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ricki ricki is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
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A good question came up on

Originally Posted by scatmandu
Hey guys, really interesting posts.
I'm not nearly skilled enough to do anything like this at the moment, but would anyone be willing to post some basic how to's on dragging someone in along with some tips for safety in this type of operation?
I would say continue to work on kite handling, board skills and just becoming at home with your gear and in a variety of conditions. In the interim, you could do a lot by giving the person assurance, making sure they are floating OK (with a life jacket, etc.), noting where they are and approximate drift and considering running into shore and asking someone to send help out. Alternatively, the best call may be to stay with them making an easier to see target and wait for help to arrive. Every situation is different and needs to be considered on its own merits.

Important, talk with them from a distance, making sure they understand what you wish to do and are rational. Panicked victims can effectively drown rescuers if things go poorly.

"Always approach the situation cautiously,
choose the suportive role if in doubt,
actively rescue only when safe to do so."

Once you are more at ease with your gear, your options will become better known to you almost naturally. It is best to study a situation before engaging in it to try to plan around difficulties and not inadvertently make things worse for them or yourself. The wind speed, direction, wave and current conditions, how much kite power you have to use and where you need to take your passenger should factor into your analysis. You might be able to make good speed on your own body dragging but with the added weight and drag of a passenger you may not. You don't want to lose control of your kite and have it go down in the middle of things either. Nearby inlets, adverse currents, changing seas all should be considered if applicable. I usually carry about a 20 ft. section of 1/8 inch nylon line in my impact vest. It makes setting up to tow people fairly easily. Most of the time, you may not be able to get up on a plane like Gebi. Having a light girl and Olympic background can help along having done tandem runs before.

Most of the time you will be stuck body dragging like Doug did. I hadn't thought of keeping my board on my feet and dragging in that fashion. That very likely saved him from losing his board. Still, keeping the board adds a lot of drag, costs speed and ability to ride closer to the wind if necessary. A lot of this comes down to choices. If you do manage to keep your board and if it is safe to leave your charge, e.g. they have a life jacket, you might even have the option of riding into shore for help at speed if necessary.

Dave had an easier time because his guy already was on a surfboard AND he had a tow point. Normally you want a tow line at least ten feet long to keep them from hammering into you. I recall Dave telling me he was getting slammed by the guys board at one point. So, carrying a thin towline can pay dividends.

Kiteboarders are sometimes adept watermen. Thinking the problem through, having some minor aids along and then acting for effect can make a difference for some poor soul and add to a kiters day. It also gives me something interesting to write about!

Other ideas out there?
FKA, Inc.

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