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Old 09-03-2010, 09:44 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Bad accident in the Netherlands

A kiter of ten years experience was landing on a beach in Holland when a powerful squall moved in. Winds were boosted to 6 (22 to 27 kts.) to 8 (34 to 40 kts.) BFT possibly higher. He was flying a 7 m kite parked at the Zenith when he was overwhelmed by the wind gusts. Best approach is to Emergency Depower your kite immediately and be ready to release the lot if that fails to kill the kite power assuming there is no one downwind to harm with a runaway kite. Sitting with your kite parked in lofting position is not a good way to wait for an assisted landing particularly in the middle of a violent storm.

Originally Posted by Lord of the Boards
Here's more good news! Stefan is still recovering from his surgery, but he was already fit enough to share his story:

Hi guys,

I am the german kiter who smacked down at Wijk an Zee last tuesday.
Thank you for all your good wishes, they really helped me! I was really really lucky to survive this accident and thanks to the perfect chain of rescue and everybody that helped nothing worse happened!!!

I can give you some facts if you are interested:
I am kiting since 2000 and befor that I was windsurfing for 20 years. I would say that I am experienced in high wind and big wave conditions. I am married and have a little daugther - I would not say that I am an adrenalin junky and I am quite fit, aged 42.

Last Monday evening I met with two friends in Wijk an Zee to go out the next day. In the morning we went to the beach to have a look at the conditions. It was quite a big day, a little gusty and with slightly turning winddirections. Nothing to worry about, I just returned from 3 weeks kiting in Denmark with bigger days. In the morning I flew a 9m Waroo Pro, the wind picked up and we made a lunchbreak. In the afternoon I went out with a 7m Waroo. The wind was still picking up so at one point I stopped every "risky"actions and just rode between the really beautiful waves (no high jumps and stuff...) and enjoyed the scenery. Always looking if there are any other kites outside - and there were.
Than I wanted to finish kiting, went to the beach like 1000 times before, slowed down, stopped and my friend asked me if I wanted to land my kite - I said yes. He hurried up to put his windsurfboard away and than "it" happened.
This is how I remember it:
I was sitting with my butt in the sand, board in front of me, no speed, kite was 12 to 1 - a really safe position. Than I was dragged downwind what really surprised me. Here it starts to become little estimating - I think I was slightly lifted and pulled downwind, touched the ground, turned a little and made a steering mistake and messed it up. I believe I half looped the kite, was torn in the air and downwinds. I have a little film in my mind of the moment when I flew over the beach, head first. I was thinking "far too fast, far too high - BANG". I do not exactly know how often I hit the ground, I just remember one big bang and I was sure that this was it. Thanks to a lot of guys at the beach that really helped at that moment I am still here - once more thanks. The next 7 days where hell but I made it. Now my neck is Titanium enforced by two screws, it was a quite difficult surgery (Friday) and it was done in Muenster university hospitle by speciallist. I was really really very lucky to be still alive. From what I understood most of these injuries are deadly, the dens is just to high, right at the breathing centre.
Yesterday I was sent home. Unbelievable. Pure nightmare and pure happiness.

I am thinking about what happened and what went wrong since it happened. I talked to my two frinds who where there. Sure I messed it up and miss-steered the kit. But why was I dragged downwind and liffted the first time? Freakgust? Just bad luck? I don t know... Where the conditions above my skills? I not sure - if so I was very lucky a whole lot of times before where nothing happened in same situations.

What do I personally learn from this?
I don t know if I will ever kite again. I will never ever go out with a kite smaller than 9m. I will never ride a overpowered kite again. I will be much more aware of the danger of a kite (even in the zenit) at the beach.

I never thougt this could happen to me - unskilled beginners ok - but me? No way. And than it did. One second, that was it... I did not see the danger of the situation, it was just like always. No time to pull the safty at all and after the smackdown I couldn t.

Kiting is the best sport I know. But guys - it is not chess. Even if you are kiting for ten years and you think you have seen everything - be careful. I heard stuff like this hundrets of times and always thougt: Yeah sure - but I am a safe kiter - skilled and experienced and careful. Bullshit.
4 years ago I was kiting in Portugal, jumped, lost one foot out of the strap, kicked the board away like 1000 times before. When I hit the water the wind had pushed back my board which hit me at my head. I was very happy to make it back to the beach. The docs fixed it with 9 stiches, I looked like a zombie. Bad luck or good luck? We lost friends to windsurfing and a lot of friends had bad kite accidents. I don t want to sound like your mom and maybe I am still shocked and too old for this stuff but please promise me to take care!

Once more thank you to everybody who helped me and thought of me!

;-) stefan

More about this accident on a Dutch forum at:

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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