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Old 08-25-2004, 09:55 AM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Default Peter Nordby's Accident

Incident # 11 00 1 "Rider Fatality In Texas" Location: Corpus Christi, TX, USA
Date: November 1, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 6
The following reported information has been assembled from various personal accounts and articles. As with any KSI account, accuracy is intended but cannot be assured given natural limitations of recall, relative observations and the limitation of facts that may be never known.

Peter Nordby, a very experienced kiteboarding instructor, windsurfer and Olympics class sailor of many years had gone down to the shore for a short kiteboarding session. He launched in the Pachery Channel area of Corpus Christi, Texas on November 1, 2002. The winds were onshore 13 mph gusting to 35 mph with Peter flying a 6 m unidentified four line inflatable kite. It has been stated that onshore winds are relatively rare at this launch with side shore to side onshore conditions being more common. Also, meteorologic and lunar tides along with excessive rainfall had resulted in substantially higher water levels than normal with the edge of the water being much further up the shoreline than normal. So instead of having the more usual 300 ft. width between the edge of the water and the parking area barrier there was about 50 ft. or less. The parking area barrier consists of low steel or timber poles interlinked by steel cable. The bottom in this area is very slippery. Peter had a reputation for being safety conscious and cautious. He was also in the habit of generally using smaller kites than other riders. He didn't believe in using snap shackles so he was hooked into the chicken loop but was not using a quick release. Peter was using an impact vest but not a helmet.

Peter had just launched and had made two tacks placing him about 50 to 75 ft. offshore. He sudden fell over during a turn, perhaps during a strong gust and landed on his stomach. The kite was low and aimed downwind towards shore. Peter was dragged very rapidly towards shore and up the beach in a very short period of time. It is not known if he attempted to unhook but it was suggested that he may not have had time to react and try to unhook. He struck one of the parking barrier poles face first at high speed. A call was made to 911 and Med Evac helicopter airlifted Peter to the hospital. Peter was later pronounced as deceased.

Lessons learned
1. Onshore winds and particularly high, gusty winds have a higher rate of kiteboarding injury regardless of skill.
2. Launching upwind within 100 to 200 ft. of hard objects can commit the rider to serious injury if things go wrong regardless of skill.
3. Choosing to ride in less than optimal conditions reduces the factor of safety or allowance for the safe management of misfortune or error and may result in accidents and incidents.
Peter was an accomplished, skillful kiteboarder, instructor and sailor of long experience. Peter was well liked and respected and his loss and contributions will be missed by the kiteboarding community.
In choosing to ride in less than ideal conditions, onshore high gusting winds at a launch with unusual adverse conditions, high water, a much narrower beach than normal with nearby hard objects, the factor of safety to tolerate or compensate for misfortune will be greatly reduced. In hindsight, launching at Pachery Channel under these adverse conditions was ill advised even for a highly skilled kiteboarder. Of course many such sessions could be completed by highly skilled and even less capable riders without serious incident in similar conditions. The probability of having a serious accident or incident merely goes up in such cases. When misfortune comes in one of these sessions however; the rider's ability to cope may be seriously compromised by the adverse conditions. Serious accidents sometimes seem to be the culmination of a series of small choices and in some cases errors that when combined overwhelm the ability of a rider to safely manage through.
The same conclusions could apply in choosing to undertake many sports, hang gliding, diving, off trail skiing, mountain climbing, etc. under marginal, intense conditions. Lastly, riders should always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, a reliable chicken loop quick release, a tested kite depowering leash, gloves and a whistle. These aids may not help in some circumstances, perhaps not even in Peter’s case. In many other cases these aids have already spared injury and will continue to do so in the future for those that choose to use them.
The Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines have been derived from accidents such as Peter’s and many others. These guidelines may modify riding style in some cases but they may help to aid safer kiteboarding with a lower probability of serious accidents and incidents. Kiteboarding is a potentially dangerous extreme sport and there will be accidents regardless of what safety procedures and guidelines may be adhered to.
In the absence of following such guidelines and procedures it can only be assumed that the quantity of avoidable accidents will be greater. Riders will always make choices in this and in other extreme sports. Some choices will have a more serious weight than others.
Related information:,00.html
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transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 10-24-2007 at 08:50 PM.
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