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Old 09-10-2004, 03:36 PM
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Default Kitesurfing Safety Information Year 2002 - Vers. 12_17_02

Kitesurfing Safety Information Year 2002 - Vers. 12_17_02

TERMS OF USE: Access to and use of this information is restricted. This resource is intended for the reading and private use by KITEBOARDERS ONLY to improve safety. Use by other parties for any other purpose or reproduction of portions or the entirety of this copyrighted document by ANY PARTY, is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is given by the owner. In proceeding below to review this document, the user fully agrees to comply with these restrictions.









KITEBOARDING SAFETY INFORMATION (KSI) Introduction
This collection of reported but largely unconfirmed kiteboarding accidents and incidents has been prepared with the goal of improving kiteboarding safety. It is intended to spread the lessons learned from these accounts. The accuracy of most of these accounts is not verified and as such they should not be considered so. Ideally, the reader should view these accounts as describing potential credible scenarios that could lead to injury. The rider should gather ideas and perspective on how to avoid similar accidents and incidents. Kiteboarding is a new and rapidly growing sport. Safety concepts and knowledge are still being learned and spread. It is a goal of this resource to aid that process where possible.
It is important to put the frequency of these reported accident and incident accounts in perspective. These few dozen reported incidents generally represent the extremes in this sport. They do not represent the perceived normal rider experience. All accounts over a three year period. Estimates vary, but in that three years roughly ten million or more hours may have been spent by riders kiteboarding worldwide. Surveys are in progress but for now this is a rough estimate. The vast majority of these hours are perceived as having been free from serious incidents or injury. These scenarios represent incidents that reportedly happened to a minority of riders and should not be taken as "normal" by any means. Similar statistics for verified bicycle, aircraft or automobile accidents would be vastly more shocking in terms of the high numbers of victims per year and dramatic injuries worldwide. This resource has been prepared to raise the state of awareness and to avoid accidents. The point is that these reported accidents and incidents could potentially occur to any rider in conditions similar to those described. As such, kiteboarding should be viewed as a potentially dangerous, extreme sport that deserves careful training, practice, preparation and judgment to be safely enjoyed. With the expansion of knowledge, use of appropriate caution and adoption of better safety and riding procedures these risks should be reduced substantially. We are all still learning about this sport and the hazards that may be out there.
Often the difference between a safe kiteboarding session or an injurious one is prior knowledge, appropriate safety gear, practice of procedures to avoid problems and careful, informed judgment. This resource is intended for the downloading, reading and private use of kiteboarders only. Use by other parties for any other purpose is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is given. This document is protected by copyright and reproduction of this document or portions thereof is prohibited without prior written approval of the owner.
Kiteboarding when undertaken in a responsible, informed fashion with proper professional training and preparation may be safer than other popular sports such as hang gliding, off-piste skiing, mixed gas scuba diving and many other pursuits. The preparation of this collection of stories is to improve common knowledge, awareness of threats to safety and questionable riding practices. The following examples will hopefully illustrate the potential costs of poor practices and judgment.
I want to express sincere thanks to Brett Gibson, founder of the Mid-Atlantic Kitesurfing Association, for proof reading and helping to revise this document. Also, I want to thank all the riders that have provided input that resulted in the creation of this resource. Constructive comments, suggestions, alternative views, credible eyewitness and particularly participant account information are always welcome and should be emailed to flkitesurfer@hotmail.com.

Table Of Contents Page
Introduction .................................................. ............................... 2
Table of Contents .................................................. ..................... 3
Organization .................................................. ............................. 4
Disclaimer .................................................. ................................. 4
Correlation of Accident/Incident Circumstances ......................... 5
New Accounts and Additional Information .................................. 5
Kiteboarding Account Summaries
Year 2002 (Accounts 19 - 72) ...................................... 7
Year 2001 (Accounts 6- 18) .................................. Separate File
Year 2000 (Accounts 1 - 5) ................................... Separate File

Organization
The accounts are divided into four sections, including:
General Information
This section provides an account number, date of the account, reported date of incident and location information. When possible, other reports of the account were sought and/or received from others. The number of these other reports is listed in this section. If information was received directly from the participant, it is noted in this section as well. Finally, if the information is described by a published internet account, the URL will be provided if it is known.
Summary
This section provides details that have been related without embellishment or comment. Despite attempts to verify the accounts, they should not be assumed to be verified. However, they may represent realistic but potentially hypothetical object lessons or scenarios for kiteboarders. Remembered and second party accounts may have errors and as such should not be assumed to be verified or necessarily to depict actual occurrences.
Lessons Learned
This section provides opinion regarding potential improved safety practices for kiteboarding derived from the experience related in the account. These ďLessonsĒ may alter with time as new knowledge is gained and distributed in the sport. When new credible practices become known, they may be incorporated in updated versions of the accounts.
Commentary
This section provides opinions and specific observations based on the reported account. These comments are intended to discuss relationship to other incidents, trends, general precautions or other relevant topics.
Disclaimer
The account summaries listed in this resource may not be 100% accurate. Although accuracy is intended, it is not guaranteed in any fashion. No responsibility is assumed whatsoever for any errors, omissions, conclusions or consequences thereof. Attempts have been made in some cases to verify the accounts, but none of the account details should be considered to be confirmed or fully accurate by the information contained herein. Kiteboarding may potentially be practiced with reasonable safety with thorough training, current good practices, safety gear and by employing good judgment. This sport can be very dangerous if it is not approached with the level of care described. The same conclusion could apply to operating a car, bicycle or boat if the same lack of care as described was employed in these activities. These reports represent reported information and related opinions and are not intended to represent positions or opinions held by any organization or group. Other valid conclusions and procedures may be drawn from the information contained in this resource and will likely be drawn in the future as kiteboarding knowledge and safety technique is better understood. Participants are generally not identified by name, unless this identity is common knowledge or release is given. The goal of this resource is to impart lessons learned from the reported experiences of these individuals or likely scenarios and not to unduly embarrass or criticize the kiterboarders.
It is regretted that they have reportedly gone through these experiences. Sincere thanks are extended to them for helping to improve the safety of this sport with their accounts.
This resource is intended for the downloading, reading and private use of kiteboarders only. Use by other parties for any other purpose is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is given. This document is protected by copyright and reproduction of this document or portions thereof is prohibited without prior written approval.
Correlation of Accident/Incident Circumstances To Specific Accounts
(Being updated 11-17-02)
A. Use of a good helmet may have reduced chance of injuries in account #'s:
1,1a,4,5,7,8,9,11,12,14,16,16a,1819,20,21,22,23,
25,27,28,29,29b,30,31,32,34,34a,37,38,39a,39b,41,4 2,48,49,

B. High winds were involved in account #'s:
1,1a,5,9,11,12,13,15,16,16a,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,2 5,
27,28,29,29a,32,34,37,38,39a,41,42,44,48,

C. Lofting occurred in account #'s:
1,1a,4,5,7,8,9,11,12,15,17,18,19,20,25,28,29,30,32 ,37,39a,41,42,

D. Rider was upwind of nearby hard objects in account #'s:
1,4,5,6,7,9,11,13,14,16a,18,20,23,29b,37,41,42,

E. Onshore winds were present in account #'s:
4,5,7,9,11,15,18,19,20,29b,32,37,39a,41,42,

F. Unstable weather was present in account #'s:
1,1a,2,3,4,5,8,9,11,19,20,32,37,39a,42,

G. Inability to unhook from the chicken loop figured in account #'s: 4,6a,11,15,37,39a,42,48,

H. Board leash use figured in account #'s:
17,24,26,28,29b,31,49,

I. Injuries are known to have been reduced by helmet use in account #'s: 4,15,19,24a,35,39a

J. Proper preflighting could have helped to avoid accidents in account #'s:
16,29,30,33,34,35,48,

K. Self launch or improper assisted launch/landing contributed to accounts #'s:
22,29a,33,34,39

L. Glove use may have helped in account #'s: 2,3,29a

M. Proper kite leash function could have helped in account #'s: 42,42a,48,






Kiteboarding Account Summaries
Year 2002


72. Incident # "Second French Kiteboarding Fatality " Location: France
Date: December 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

A new kiteboarder was out with a 14.3 m Takoon Scoup kite. He could stay upwind but was still working on basic kiteboarding skills. When he initially setup the wind was quite light and side shore in direction. Squall or storm clouds were in the area and some other kiteboarders warned him that it might not be safe to go out on the water and that he should be careful. He kiteboarded for about 1/2 hour and then returned to the beach as the wind had grown up to 25 kts. with approaching black squall clouds. There had been about ten other kiteboarders out but they had landed their kites prior to this time. The kiteboarder had come ashore some distance away from the other kiteboarders and too far away for someone to catch his kite. He was seen to be lowering his kite to near the ground when a 40 kt. gust hit. He was lofted to 6 m off the ground and flown inland. He hit ground and was then dragged. He eventually hit a wall after traveling an approximate 200 m horizontal distance. It is unknown whether or not he tried to activate his quick release. He was not wearing a helmet. The rider died from injuries suffered upon impact.

Lessons learned

1. Don't ride with unstable or squally weather in the area.
2. Regularly mentally and physically rehearse anti-lofting techniques and other emergency procedures. This will allow you to frequent test your safety gear and to potentially reduce your reaction time in managing an emergency.
3. If there is ANY doubt about being able to land your kite BEFORE weather conditions seriously deteriorate, depower your kite while still offshore and away from hard objects. Be prepared to swim in towing your kite.
4. Unhook or disconnect your chicken loop and hold your bar if you may be potentially hit by an excessively strong gust so that your kite leash will be readily activated.
5. DO NOT RELY exclusively on others to help you land your kite and better ready at all times to release your bar. This requires the routine maintanance of an adequate buffer area downwind.
5. Always wear appropriate safety gear including a good, well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves, whistle, hook knife, etc..
6. Always listen and carefully consider the advice of other riders. If in doubt, don't go kiteboarding.
7. Consider launching and landing "unhooked" or not connected to your control bar.

Commentary

This was yet another sad avoidable accident if the rider both knew and appreciated the hazard of riding near squalls. Unfortunately, though obvious upon careful reflection too few kiteboarders either know or more critically appreciate this hazard, today.
This situation is improving but it is likely that there will be more accidents and incidents before the threat is more universally anticipated and appreciated. Ignoring the advice of other riders has contributed to at least two fatalities and many lesser accidents. It is important that the mechanical attachment to the chicken loop be regularly maintained and tested to improve the chance for proper performance during an emergency. Active kite beaches should institute and squall warning signal, say three fast blasts on an air horn and perhaps a red flag. Riders should be aware of the meaning of these signals. Anytime squalls are in the area riders are at a higher level of risk and such conditions should be avoided. If you see a hazard moving in, prepare in ADVANCE to manage the situation, while you still can. Releasing the potential power of the kite while still well away from hard objects is KEY. This rider was dragged about 200 m or roughly 650 ft. How close do you want to be to shore before reacting given the distance that you can RAPIDLY cover in a strong gust.
Fatality, Warned, Squall, Lofted, Failed to Release, Limited Experience, No Helmet, Solo, Nearshore


71. Incident # "Overconfidence Injures Rider " Location: Wellington Point, Brisbane, Australia
Date: Dec. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3


Summary

A tourist with little kiteboarding experience visiting from another country, chose to ignore the advice of local riders and launched in excessively gusty conditions well beyond the operating wind range for his kite. He had ignored similar advice on the previous day about similar extreme wind conditions. Winds were offshore 10 to 35 kts and extremely gusty as it passed over a number of hills upwind. The rider was going to go out on a Slingshot 12 Torque. The rider was lofted inland from the beach, went over two power lines and hit the second story of a building. His kite lines knocked out the power to the area. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The story was picked up by the international media.

Lessons learned

1. Always ride in conditions suitable for both your ability and for your equipment.
2. ALL new riders should secure adequate professional kiteboarding lessons.
3. Always check the windspeed and see what other riders have been using in terms of gear before selecting and launching your kite.
4. Avoid excessively gusty winds.
5. Listen to the advice of more experienced riders.
6. If you have an unsafe rider confront him with several of your friends in an attempt to keep him from injuring himself, possibly others and putting your access at risk. It isn't convenient but neither are riding bans.
7. Lots of other conclusions can be reached regarding this incident but the most obvious cause is that the rider had NO IDEA what he was launching in and stupidly chose to ignore the advice of more experienced local riders.

Commentary

This foolish rider could have easily killed himself in the highly avoidable accident. Needlessly knocking out power to many residents only brings undesired negative attention to the sport. Retailers should insist on seeing proof of training or link training to new gear purchases. There should be little opportunity for such a poorly trained and unaware individual to blunder into such an accident. If you are selling used gear privately you have a similar responsibility to screen the potential purchaser for appropriate experience. If you ignore this responsibility you may well be working to lose access and potentially contribute to the injury of the buyer.

Additional information:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/australia...dec2002-14.htm
Serious Injury, Warned, Squall, Lofted, Failed to Release, Limited Experience, No Helmet, Overconfidence, Excessive Conditions For Gear and Experience, Nearshore


70. Incident # "Jumping Close to Shore, Fractures Leg" Location: Sunset Beach, California, USA Date: December 8, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

Winds were onshore 15 to 20 mph and gusty. A rider of unspecified experience was seen to come nearshore and to launch a jump off of the crest of a wave. This was observed by two experienced kiteboarders who were surprised at how close to shore this rider had elected to launch a jump. A gust came along and boosted the kiteboarder up another ten feet to approximately 30 ft. off the water. The rider drifted rapidly over the land in the onshore wind. He kicked off his board just before attempting to land on his feet. The rider had dropped his kite downwind into the center of the power zone significantly powering up the kite again. The rider fell on his side and was dragged over the beach an unspecified distance. One of the experienced riders ran over to see if the kiteboarder was ok. The other experienced kiteboarder, who still had his own kite in the air ran down to try to catch the riders kite. The kiteboarder that had been dragged was not using a kite leash. The one observer managed to secure the dragged kiteboarder's kite. The injured kiteboarder has suffered a computated fracture in one leg. That is the bone was sticking out through his leg and was bleeding. Soon there were many people present attempting to help the injured kiteboarder.

Lessons learned

1. Don't jump within two kite line lengths of shore and preferably further from shore. In strong onshore winds keeping a even larger buffer zone would be advisable.

2. Always use a properly configured, maintained and tested kite leash.

3. Ride with friends and keep an eye on each other.

4. Wear safety equipment including a good, well fitted helmet, impact vest, gloves, knife(s) and kite leash.

5. Consider avoiding onshore winds or if you have adequate experience, ride with extra caution.

6. Be polite and considerate to bystanders and other kiteboarders routinely. You attitude may avoid problems and even encourage help when you might need it.

Commentary

This rider suffered a readily avoidable accident through pure carelessness. Anytime a rider is airborne his jump may be extended by a gust. Jumping nearshore should be avoided otherwise someday the odds are that things may go wrong. There weren't many bystanders on the beach on this cold afternoon. If there had been a bystander injury may have occurred. Kiteboarders need to be aware and responsible.

Serious Injury, Onshore Gusty Winds, No Buffer Zone, No Leash, Failed to Release, Overconfidence, Solo, Nearshore


69. Incident # "Poor Preflighting Drags Rider" Location: Puerto Rico
Date: November 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

A kiteboarder had just launched his kite and was violently dragged inland, lofted through a tree and then into a car parking lot. Apparently he had attached his lines incorrectly and didn't adequately preflight his gear. He had multiple quick release systems but was unsuccessful in releasing the kite. Winds were gusty and onshore. It is not known what degree of injury the rider suffered.

Lessons learned

1. All kiteboarders need to carefully preflight their gear. In stronger wind preflighting several times wouldn't be a bad idea.
2. Use a properly rigged, tested and maintained kite leash.
3. Wear safety equipment including a good, well fitted helmet, impact vest, gloves, knife(s) and kite leash.
4. Be particularly cautious in onshore winds especially higher winds.
5. Consider rigging "polar line attachments" or those that can be attached in only one way ideally.

Commentary

The observer that reported this incident thought he was watching someone get killed. The speed and violence of an out of control powered up kite is astonishing. These types of accidents are normally avoidable. The outcome once a kiteboarder has been dragged into such an occurrence is often uncertain. Quick releases and kite depowering leashes are not fully reliable at this time. The only sensible course is to use good procedures and judgment to avoid being placed into the emergency in the first place.

Poor Preflighting, Crossed Lines, Onshore Gusty Winds, Failed to Release, Lofted, Nearshore


68. Incident # "Italian Kiteboarding Fatality" Location: Ostia/Rome, Italy Date: November 24, 2002 Participant account included:No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

An experienced kiteboarder had just launched an Airblast 6.3 m kite. The wind was 15 to 20 kts. gusting to 30 kts. The observer was about 100 m away but dealing with the same strong gust and was looking in another direction at the time of the accident. The rider was lofted and dragged into a pole inland from the beach. The rider was hooked in and it is unknown whether he tried to unhook or not but he did release his kite after impact. The rider suffered a fractured leg, arm, pelvis, ribs, lung perforation and severe concussion. The rider was talking just after the accident but soon entered into a coma. He died approximately two hours later in hospital.

The observer was also lofted by the same gust but in the direction of the water. He ended up breaking a harness line. This same rider had fractured ribs in an unrelated accident early this year during the summer in similar gusty wind conditions.

Lessons learned

1. Avoid, unstable excessively gusty weather.
2. RELEASE YOUR BAR AND DEPOWER YOUR KITE SOONER THAN LATER IN A POTENTIAL OR ACTUAL EMERGENCY SITUATION, EVEN IF YOU ARE STILL OFFSHORE. This ESSENTIAL skill should be practiced to cut down reaction time should a need arise to use it.
3. Utilize anti-lofting techniques routinely.
4. Use a properly rigged, tested and maintained kite leash.
5. Wear safety equipment including a good, well fitted helmet, impact vest, gloves, knife(s) and kite leash.
6. Avoid onshore wind conditions particularly stronger and gusty wind conditions.
7. Do not launch within two kite line lengths of downwind hard objects.
8. Consider launching and landing "unhooked" or not connected to your control bar.

Commentary

Launching in excessively gusty, onshore winds can be hazardous. Many riders ignore some of the precautions listed in the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and common sense. Often luck carries the day without incident. When things go wrong the safe latitude allowed by good practice can make the difference in a close brush or a serious accident. Care is needed to avoid such accidents as skill and safety devices may not be up to keeping the rider safe if things go wrong. If a squall is approaching and you aren't CERTAIN that you can make it to shore well in advance, depower your kite while you are still offshore AWAY FROM AHRD OBJECTS! DO NOT wait until someone can catch your kite as it may well be too late to avoid a serious lofting or dragging. Just because a kite is small, say an 9 m kite, don't assume that it can be very powerful and can cause injury.

Fatality, Gusty Onshore Winds, Unstable Weather, Lofted, Failed to Release, No Helmet, Solo, Nearshore


67. Incident # "Severe Board Leash Injury" Location: Swan River, Australia
Date: November 2002 Participant account included: 1 Number of independent accounts: 0


Summary

An experienced rider was out in gusty conditions with a board leash. At one point he was dragged at speed and the board slingshotted into his face. The fin lacerated the riders throat. Also he had several teeth broken and was bleeding profusely. He was rushed to the hospital by bystanders. He was in poor condition due to blood loss and related trauma at the emergency room. He was treated and is in the process of healing.

Lessons learned

1. The use of fixed kite leashes can be hazardous.
2. The majority of riders should develop strong proficiency in body dragging which is normally quite easy in conveying the rider back to his board.
3. There is no assurance that a rebounding board will hit a helmet or even be stopped by one.

Commentary

Use of kite leashes have caused many serious head injuries including several that resulted even though a helmet had been worn. Board leashes may have contributed to one and perhaps even two kiteboarder fatalities. Static leashes have a high injury potential based upon the accident experience. Reel leashes may have a lesser tendency to rebound but injuries even utilizing reel leashes have been reported. All riders should master body dragging early on. In practice it is normally quite easy and effective. If concerns exist about runaway boards striking bathers in the surf zone, it would make sense to find another riding area. Temporary use of a reel leash is practiced by some riders when body dragging or when both hands are needed. The leash is disconnected before resuming normal riding.

Serious Injury, Board Leash, Gusty Winds


66. Incident # 11 02 3 "Belgium Kiteboarding Fatality " Location: Zeebruges, Belgium
Date: November 11, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 5


Summary

A new kiteboarder but long time windsurfer was out in an new area in side shore winds shifting between 14-22 knots much of the day but at the time of the accident it was only 12-16 knots late in the afternoon. Apparently the rider had been advised to take lessons but as there was a waiting list he decided to try to learn on his own. The water temperature was quite cold at 9-12 degrees Celsius. There were about 20 kiteboarders out in the area at this time. There is a large harbor wall bordering the launch that was paralleled by a strong current on this day. The rider was using an Aero 10 or 12 without a shackle or Quick Release but was wearing a helmet, impact vest, gloves, knife and whistle. He was using a Wipika 175 cm board with a board leash. The actual details of the accident are unknown at this time. His kite was seen to be on the water then flying then back on the water in a relatively short interval. He was later dragged ashore by his kite near the harbor wall and found unconscious and without a pulse. Other kiteboarders responded immediately with first aid. He was in a deep coma but some evidence of brain activity was present for several days. He eventually passed away in hospital. He was found to have a bruise around his right ankle the attachment point of the board leash and a small cerebral hematoma under the occuput (a small blood clot in the brain at the back of the head, above the neck).
The kiteboarder was a physician as is a friend of his who also kiteboards. The other physician proposed the following sequence of events. The kiteboarder lost his board, dragged underwater and recoiled striking the rider at the back of the neck and beneath his helmet. The hematoma and the bruising in the area of the kite leash support this conclusion. The rider was knocked unconscious and was apparently lying face down in the water and drowned. It was estimated that the rider was in apnea (the absence of spontaneous breathing) for at least one half hour. If not for the cold water temperature, is highly unlikely that a drowning victim could be reanimated after one half hour of not breathing. Other such cases of cold water drowning and reanimation exist. His injuries were substantial enough as to block recovery unfortunately.

Lessons learned

The following conclusions are based upon the information described above. As in the case of many KSI accounts, all the facts of an accident may never be known. The circumstances described above are plausible and could have happened. In the absence of supplemental or contrary information, that is the story upon which the analysis is made.

1. Kiteboard leashes based on the many injuries listed in the KSI and elsewhere pose far greater risk than benefit to riders and ideally should not be used.
2. All kiteboarders should seek adequate professional lessons.
3. Serious accidents can happen even in lighter winds.
4. Always kiteboard with one or more friends and keep an eye on one another.
5. Helmets should not be worn to protect against recoiling board impact as they may not. They should be worn to protect against lofting or dragging impact against hard objects.
6. If this rider didn't have appropriate safety gear on, specifically his impact vest he may not have made it to shore in time to be rescued.
7. All kiteboarders should use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.

Commentary

Other new kiteboarders have been injured and even killed during early experimentation while trying to learn kiteboarding on their own. Some of their stories appear in the KSI. Kiteboarding can appear to be deceptively easy but in fact can be quite complex and demanding in ways that are not directly obvious to new and even some experienced kiteboarders. Training and careful development of experience are key to safe kiteboarding in the long term. Always kiteboard with others and ride within your abilities even if it is not particularly convenient. Misfortune can arise all too easily on occasion and may not be successfully overcome.

The abundance of kiteboard leash injuries build a strong case against the use of leashes. A reel leash could be worn and used on a TEMPORARY basis as needed. While the leash is in use particular caution should be employed. Body dragging to recovery your board is relatively easy to do. I feel that kiteboarding instructors should work on developing this skill after regular body dragging and even before board water starting instruction. You may lose board if you don't use a leash however it is far less likely that your board will hit you hard enough to do serious harm, although of course it is still possible in waves. Helmets should be worn by all kiteboarders to protect against dragging or lofting impacts. Wearing them as a counter for board leash impact is not well advised as the board may hit an area not protected by the helmet as may have happened in this sad accident.

Fatal, Board Leash, Limited Experience, Solo,


65. Incident # 11 02 2 "Brazilian Kiteboarder Fatality " Location: Conceicao Lake, Florianopolis, Brazil
Date: November 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

A kiteboarder was hit and killed by a motor boat. The operator of the boat may have been intoxicated. It is not known if the kiteboarder was underway or in the water at the time of the collision. No other details are available at this time.

Lessons learned

It is difficult to describe lessons learned in the absence of additional information. Accordingly, some general precautions involving kiteboarding in and around motor boats follow.

1. Don't kiteboard in areas with abundant powerboat traffic. Making a speeding powerboat aware of your presence if they don't notice you on your own may not be feasible and collision likely as a consequence.
2. Always carry a whistle and try to signal boats well before they come into your area if you are in the water. Given engine noise this may not be feasible but it should be attempted all the same.
3. If your kite is on the water and you think a boat might run over your lines, consider detaching completely from your control bar and holding your kite leash attachment. Release the kite leash just before the boat passes over your lines and swim well clear of your lines.
4. Avoid being attached to your kite or potentially tangle by your lines if a boat runs over your lines at ALL COSTS.

Commentary

It is requested that any additional information regarding this accident be forwarded by email.

Fatal, Boat Collision, Solo


64. 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


Summary

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.

Commentary

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 Peterís case. In many other cases these aids have already spared or reduced injury and may continue to do so in the future for those that choose to use them.

There is reason to believe that if the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines had been adhered to that many of the serious accidents evaluated to date in the KSI may have been avoided or minimized. The Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines have been derived from accidents such as Peterís 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:

http://www.caller.com/ccct/local_new..._1524954,00.ht
ml

http://cfapps.caller.com/obits/obitt...Name=Peter&MNa
me=&LastName=Nordby

Fatal, Very Experienced, Gusty Onshore Winds, Solo, No QR, No Helmet, Nearshore


63. Incident # 10 02 3 "Rigging Error Launches Rider" Location: Conneticut, USA
Date:October 25, 2002 Participant account included:No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

An experienced rider insisted on having an assisted launch in .overpowered conditions with a North 9 m kite in 30+ kt. winds. The assistant was reluctant to release the kite as "it didn't feel right." The assistant continued to hold the tip of the kite despite demands to launch from the kiteboarder and two bystanders. The assistant sent someone over to hold the kiteboarder's harness. The kite was then released and shot straight up and over into the powerzone. The tremendous force yanked the shackled bar out of the riders hands and pulled the trim strap through the bar and actually broke the bar. The kite then flew free from the rider who was uninjued. A bystander caught the whole thing on video. The kiteboarder had reversed the attachment of the lines to the left side of the kite.

Lessons learned

1. If riders launch in substantially overpowered conditions they should do so accepting that they could be more readily injured or even killed than under more normal conditions.
2. All kiteboarders should carefully preflight their gear. Riders going out in winds 20 mph or greater would be well served to do 2 or 3 careful preflight checks.
3. It is fortunate that this rider chose to have an assisted launch.

Commentary

Once again, a story about a rider in denial about the true risks and being excessively careless. The sad thing is that many riders can successfully follow highly marginal practices and get away with it much of the time, perhaps. These successes can build false confidence that may fail a rider someday. In theory the rider's kitebar should not have broken under the load of this incident. If it had not it is likely that the rider could have been seriously injured or even killed. Even the person holding the riders harness could have sustained an injury. Good judgment is the best, most effective safety provision that we have. If we choose not to use it the consequences in the long term will often be serious and regrettable.

Gusty Winds, Warned, Overconfidence, Hooked In, Excessive Conditions For Gear, Nearshore


62. Incident # 10 02 2 "Squall Injures Rider, Again II " Location: Atlantic Beach, FL, USA
Date: 10/13/02 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

It was late in the day and a light squall had just passed over ten minutes early. There were squall clouds visible inland of the launch area. An experienced kiteboarder was out with an approximate 16 m Wipika four line inflatable kite in overpowered conditions. Another rider didn't launch because of the questionable conditions. While the rider was out the wind shifted suddenly to onshore. The rider kicked off his board but remained hooked in. The rider lost control of his kite and sent it over into the power window and was either lofted or dragged into the sand dunes.
Kiteboarding physician and EMT were present onshore and rendered first aid. The kiteboarder was airlifted out to the hospital by helicopter. The rider reportedly suffered head injuries, stayed in the hospital for two days then was released.

Lessons learned

1. Kiteboarders must avoid squalls at all costs.
2. Kiteboarders should always practice anti-lofting technique.
3. Always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.
4. Rehearse dealing with emergency situations both mentally and physically to reduce reaction and response time. An early high priority should be to activate your tested kite leash.
5. Depower your kite sooner than later even if it is less convenient. Later, you may not have time.

Commentary

Kiteboarders need to avoid squalls and until they do there will be more avoidable accidents. Late reactions can be as costly as choosing to expose yourself to unstable weather conditions in the first place.

Serious Injury, Gusty Onshore Winds, Squall, Lofted, Failed to Release, No Helmet, Nearshore


61. Incident # 10 02 1 " Nambian Kiteboarder Fatality " Location: Walvis Bay, Nambia
Date: 10-12-02 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3


Summary

A kiteboarder was out in 18 kt. gusting to 25 kts. with a 12 m North Rhino four line inflatable kite. He was overpowered at time of launch but managed to control it. As he entered the water he lost his board. He was subsequently dragged downwind towards a wall. His girlfriend was waiting downwind of the rider with the intent of catching his kite.
He was standing a couple of meters upwind of the wall when a gust lifted him and slammed him against the wall. He was subsequently dragged over the road and a distance of 60 m. By a newpaper account he was stated to have tried to disconnect from the chicken loop but could not.
The rider was rushed to the hospital and after a short time he was declared as deceased from head injuries. The rider was hooked in and was not using a helmet.

Lessons learned

1. Pick your kite size carefully for both actual and predicted conditions. If wind starts to build it may be better to land it early as opposed to waiting for a more convenient location.
2. Always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.
3. Practice anti-lofting techniques at all times. (see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...%20REFERENCES/
(under 4. LOFTING AND HOW TO TRY TO AVOID IT)
4. Never place yourself upwind within 20 to preferably 60 m or more upwind of hard objects. Avoid placing yourself into such situations even if you must land your kite on the water.

Commentary

Better hazard awareness and safety technique would have likely avoided this fatality. Kites are so very powerful and things can deteriorate into a severe situation very rapidly. The best response is often an early one, well before things can continue to deteriorate. Wearing basic safety gear can compensate for some errors in judgment sometimes. Being upwind of a hard object in conditions like this is setting the table for a grim outcome with little recourse if things go wrong.

Further Information
http://allafrica.com/stories/200210180037.html

Fatality, Gusty Onshore Winds, Lofted, Failed to Release, No Helmet, Nearshore


60. Incident # 9 02 7 "Squall Injures Rider, Again" Location: Pompano, FL, USA
Date:9/29/02 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3


Summary

A new kiteboarder was out with an approximate Naish 23 m four line inflatable kite. He was flying over one half mile south of a group of other kiteboarders to the north. Squalls were in the area but many of the riders were ignoring them. One rider had to be grabbed while onshore as he was being lofted as one more squall moved into shore. The single rider to the south had been out trying to get some of the increased wind from the squall as it moved closer to shore. He succeeded in getting more and to the point of being overpowered. He worked into shore and then was lofted several times in succession, being "teabagged" across the beach until he went out of sight behind a building. The riders to the north later learned that there had been a serious accident.

From various reports it was concluded that the rider was lofted up into a tree where he hit and then fell from a substantial height, hitting his head on impact with the pavement. The rider was taken to the hospital. He was not wearing a helmet, impact vest or QR. It is presumed that the rider attempted to unhook but could not. The rider entered into a coma and is rumored to have come out of it after several weeks. This is still being attempted to be confirmed.

Lessons learned

1. Kiteboarders must avoid squalls at all costs.
2. Kiteboarders should always practice anti-lofting technique.
3. Always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.
4. Rehearse dealing with emergency situations both mentally and physically to reduce reaction and response time. An early high priority should be to activate your tested kite leash.
5. Depower your kite sooner than later even if it is less convenient. Later, you may not have time.
6. Take adequate lessons to improve the odds of avoiding serious injury
7. Kiteboard with others. Talk about weather issues and how to deal with them. Some popular launches have even come up with a Squall Warning. The warning is something like several repetitions of three fast blasts on an airhorn and in some cases the hosting of a pair of square red flags as well. Riders should never be out with squalls nearby as they can strike too quickly for proper reaction. Until time and hard experience cement this conclusion in the kiteboarding community, a warning system is better than none at all.

Commentary

Riders seem to routinely ignore squalls and the danger and violent power that can come with them. Accidents including particularly spectacular ones have occurred over the last couple of years but apparently the word is still not getting out. Kiteboarders love wind and particularly when wind is light much of the time as was the case in this accident, kiteboarders intentionally put themselves at risk of injury. Many riders are not aware of this hazard while still others don't take it seriously enough. People trying to learn on their own are only more vulnerable. The term "cannon fodder" comes to mind in describing riders that expose themselves to such conditions out of ignorance. Please talk about weather issues with your friends and at local launches. Weather planning and awareness are key aspects of safe kiteboarding and too many riders are not aware of this yet or do not take the risk seriously yet. With time, there should be enough serious injury stories out among riders to overcome this ignorance and indifference. Until then there will be more such avoidable accidents until a critical mass of accounts and stories are in circulation.


59. Incident # 9 02 6 "New Kiter Lofted By Gusts " Location: Lake Grapevine, Texas, USA
Date: Sept. 18, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

A new kiteboarder rigged up with an unidentified kite in a very gusty onshore wind day. He had an assisted launch but reportedly too far off the wind into the power zone. As a consequence he was lofted about 6 ft. high and 20 ft. horizontally to impact into a parking lot railing. He suffered a broken femur on one leg and a broken ankle on the other. Neither the kiter or his helper had kiteboarding lessons and had previously only been out in light winds.

Lessons learned

1. Take adequate, professional kiteboarding lessons.
2. Avoid onshore winds and particularly if you are a new kiteboarder.
3. Always launch your kite at the correct position off the wind relative to the wind speed and kite size. That is if you are in the center of the power range for a given kite size launch at 90 degrees off the wind. If you are underpowered launch at bit further off the wind perhaps at 100 to 110 degrees. If you are near the upper limit of the power range for a kite, select a smaller kite or launch a bit less than 90 degrees off the wind.
4. Always wear suitable safety equipment.
5. Never launch upwind and close to (within a hundred feet and preferably further) hard objects.
6. Always be ready to deal with the unexpected, particularly in higher winds.

Commentary

The violent power of kiteboarding kites should not be underestimated.
The potential to injure and even kill particularly in the hands of poorly trained kiteboarders should not be ignored. If you see riders that appear to need some good advice please offer it in the most tactful, effective way that you can manage.


58. Incident #9 02 5 "Serious Dragging In Moderate Wind " Location: Cornwall, England, UK Date: September 13, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

A moderately experienced kiteboarder was out in 15 mph winds gusting to 19 mph with a 14 m Flexifoil Storm kite. He was wearing a flotation vest. The rider lost control of his kite and was dragged onshore due to a relatively low speed gust a distance of about 100 m. He was dragged into a major highway and was avoided by a speeding motorist. The motorist observed the rider dragged into an impact with a steel barrier, was then lofted 20 ft. into the air before landing in a shallow lagoon on the other side of the barrier. Bystanders were able to pin the rider down at this point and release his kite which was on the ground at this point. An ambulance and the police were called to deal with the accident. It is not known what injuries the rider sustained.

Lessons learned

1. Always practice anti-lofting techniques including keeping your kite low and to seaward when near shore. Get away from the shore without delay. Land your kite if coming into shore without delay.
2. Always wear safety gear including at a minimum a good, well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves, hook knife, whistle, etc.
3. Mentally and physically rehearse depowering your kite in emergencies.
4. Carefully test and maintain your chicken loop release mechanism on a regular basis.
5. When near shore consider staying unhooked from your chicken loop to aid ease and reliability of kite release and depowering.
6. Avoid launches near roadways and other obstructions.

Commentary

The exact cause of this accident isn't known. The winds were not particularly extreme however adequate to cause a serious accident potentially involving bystanders. Good technique near shore and hard objects is critical. Also proper technique to avoid lofting, dragging and rapid defusing of the situation if it occurs is vital. Kiteboarding can be much more complicated than it first may appear.


57. Incident # 9 02 4 "Serious Finger Injury " Location: Islip, NY, USA
Date: Sept. 13, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

A rider of intermediate skill of two years experience was out in 22 to 25 mph onshore winds reportedly with an Naish ARX 11 m four line kite. The accident was not observed by has been pieced together from various reports. The rider dropped his bar to depower the kite and somehow caught his finger in the line. At the same time the kite powered up, dragged the rider across the beach and tore some of the flesh and bone from his finger. He returned to the beach and was observed from a distance to be stowing his gear. An ambulance arrived and took him away. His little finger was amputated as a consequence of the extensive tissue damage.

Lessons learned

1. Test and properly maintain your kite leashes.
2. Wear gloves while kiteboarding.
3. If you release your bar to activate your depowering system make sure you do so cleanly and well away from your body.

Commentary

It is not clear how exactly this rider tangled his fingers in his lines. It could have impaired the complete depowering of the kite leaving his finger to carry the full load of the kite. Unusual accidents will sometimes happen. It is important to be methodical and careful while kiteboarding to try to reduce the chances of injury.


56. Incident # 9 02 3 "Squall Injures Kiteboarder " Location: IJmuiden, Netherlands Date: September 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

Several experienced riders were out when a squall started to move into the area. Violent squall related wind warnings had been previously sent out with the weather forecast. Dark squall clouds had been visible much of the day but further out to sea. Prior to the arrival of the squall, the wind was about 5 Bft. (17 to 21 kts.). A couple of riders saw the squall moving in and secured their kites on the beach rapidly. Another rider had lowered his 6 m X2 kite for an assisted landing and almost had it in the assistants hands. The wind suddenly gusted violently to approximately 9 bft. (41 to 47 kt.). The rider was lofted up to about 10 m (33 ft. ) off the beach and blew him at speed approximately 30 to 50 m (95 to 170 ft.). The kiteboarder hit the beach at this point but was lofted to about 5 m (18 ft.). The rider hit the beach again and the kite detached and flew away . A rider was seen flying over the beach with a 6 m X2 kite about 5 m (16 ft.), above the beach. Lifeguards responded immediately and rendered first aid. The rider was airlifted out by helicopter and his current condition is unknown. Within about ten minutes of the squall winds returned to normal.

Lessons learned

1. Kiteboarders must avoid squalls at all costs.
2. Kiteboarders should always practice anti-lofting technique.
3. Always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.
4. Rehearse dealing with emergency situations both mentally and physically to reduce reaction and response time. An early high priority should be to activate your tested kite leash.
5. Depower your kite sooner than later even if it is less convenient. Later, you may not have time.

Commentary

Many kiteboarders have been lofted in violent winds associated with squalls or storms around the world. The only effective way to manage gust lofting is avoidance as if you wait to the last minute or if the gust hit with little warning by the time you analyze the situation it may be too late to react to avoid injury. All kiteboarders should evaluate weather forecasts and real time winds and weather radar to evaluate for the presence of storms. If storms are in or are moving towards your area, don't go kiteboarding. More information on this may be found in the Kiteboarding Safety Resources (KSR).


55. Incident # 9 02 2 "Launch Miscommunication Injuries Rider" Location: Rhosneigr, North Wales
Date: September 7, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

A very experienced rider had been kiteboarding earlier in the day well powered in relatively steady Force 5 (17 to 21 kts.), onshore winds. It was high tide so the normally very wide beach was relatively narrow at about 12 m (40 ft.) ending at a seawall. He was going to have an assisted launch of his Airush 9.4 m four line LEI kite. He had chosen to launch rapidly, near the seawall area as opposed to further down the beach away from these downwind hard objects. During the assisted launch the rider yelled "NO" but the assistant thought he said "GO" and released the kite.

What the assistant could not see but the rider had was that the lines on one side of the kite in strumming in the wind had tangled. The kite flew up at high speed and arced over into the center of the power zone out of control. The rider was dragged into the approximate 1.5 m (5 ft.), high seawall. At that point his was lofted and flown over the seawall, slamming into the top of a 4 inch diameter fiberglass flag pole at a height of about 5 m (16 ft.) and broke the pole with his body. He was then flown over some cars and into the side of a panel truck, badly denting the side of the vehicle. There was a six foot high brick wall immediately beyond the truck which the rider would have hit if not for the panel truck. The rider was connected to or hooked into his quick release chicken loop but didn't have time to detach prior to the first impact. He was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd. The overall horizontal distance of travel was estimated to be about 40 m (130 ft.).

The rider was in severe pain, placed on oxygen and rushed to the hospital by ambulance. His injuries included a fractured pelvis and femur, rib and nicked cheek. Amazingly he did not suffer serious head injury. It has been reported that he should heal fully in time.

Lessons learned

1. Always communicate clearly with trained kiteboarding assistants. Using a signal dialog such as described in:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...ing%20Signals/
could potentially avoid further launch related accidents caused through miscommunication. There other cases in the KSI of problems caused by misunderstandings during this critical phase of kiteboarding.
2. Always be methodical and as slow as necessary in setup, preflighting and launching. Refer to the steps described in the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and other appropriate practices to try to improve your kiteboarding safety.
3. Always walk a bit further away if a more appropriate launch area is present. One that lacks downwind hard objects, bystanders, vertical surfaces that may cause uplift and other potential hazards. "Distance is your friend" in kiteboarding. Downwind hard objects are reportedly not a serious issue as a rule for most locations at this launch.
4. If you decide to hook or snap shackle into your chicken loop or harness line, even with a quick release function, you should assume that someday you will be injured by this practice. I safer course of action is never to hook in or connect to your control bar during launch.
5. Always wear safety gear including at a minimum a good helmet appropriate for kiteboarding, an impact pfd, hook knives, whistle and gloves.
6. Be particularly cautious in onshore winds. Choosing not to launch in such winds may save you injury someday, regardless of your level of skill. This rider was reported the most experienced kiteboarder at this launch.

Commentary

This was another unfortunate, avoidable accident. If fortune had not be with this rider he could have very easily been killed, at several points in this accident. Probability dictates that we will have only so many narrow escapes along with other less fortunate accident outcomes. We really need to take the power and potential hazards of this sport in all seriousness. Review and follow the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and other appropriate practices. In many of these accidents it isn't one serious error in judgment that causes things to come to harm but several. Things like rushing to launch, launching upwind of hard objects, flying in onshore winds, launching hooked in, not wearing a helmet or impact pfd, not preflighting, not using agreed launch signal dialog, etc. We really need to approach this sport with more care otherwise every once in a while a rider will be injured.

Copyright FKA, Inc. 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
__________________
FKA, Inc.

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Default Kitesurfing Safety Information Year 2002 - Vers. 12_17_02

Kitesurfing Safety Information Year 2002 - Vers. 12_17_02

TERMS OF USE: Access to and use of this information is restricted. This resource is intended for the reading and private use by KITEBOARDERS ONLY to improve safety. Use by other parties for any other purpose or reproduction of portions or the entirety of this copyrighted document by ANY PARTY, is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is given by the owner. In proceeding below to review this document, the user fully agrees to comply with these restrictions.









KITEBOARDING SAFETY INFORMATION (KSI) Introduction
This collection of reported but largely unconfirmed kiteboarding accidents and incidents has been prepared with the goal of improving kiteboarding safety. It is intended to spread the lessons learned from these accounts. The accuracy of most of these accounts is not verified and as such they should not be considered so. Ideally, the reader should view these accounts as describing potential credible scenarios that could lead to injury. The rider should gather ideas and perspective on how to avoid similar accidents and incidents. Kiteboarding is a new and rapidly growing sport. Safety concepts and knowledge are still being learned and spread. It is a goal of this resource to aid that process where possible.
It is important to put the frequency of these reported accident and incident accounts in perspective. These few dozen reported incidents generally represent the extremes in this sport. They do not represent the perceived normal rider experience. All accounts over a three year period. Estimates vary, but in that three years roughly ten million or more hours may have been spent by riders kiteboarding worldwide. Surveys are in progress but for now this is a rough estimate. The vast majority of these hours are perceived as having been free from serious incidents or injury. These scenarios represent incidents that reportedly happened to a minority of riders and should not be taken as "normal" by any means. Similar statistics for verified bicycle, aircraft or automobile accidents would be vastly more shocking in terms of the high numbers of victims per year and dramatic injuries worldwide. This resource has been prepared to raise the state of awareness and to avoid accidents. The point is that these reported accidents and incidents could potentially occur to any rider in conditions similar to those described. As such, kiteboarding should be viewed as a potentially dangerous, extreme sport that deserves careful training, practice, preparation and judgment to be safely enjoyed. With the expansion of knowledge, use of appropriate caution and adoption of better safety and riding procedures these risks should be reduced substantially. We are all still learning about this sport and the hazards that may be out there.
Often the difference between a safe kiteboarding session or an injurious one is prior knowledge, appropriate safety gear, practice of procedures to avoid problems and careful, informed judgment. This resource is intended for the downloading, reading and private use of kiteboarders only. Use by other parties for any other purpose is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is given. This document is protected by copyright and reproduction of this document or portions thereof is prohibited without prior written approval of the owner.
Kiteboarding when undertaken in a responsible, informed fashion with proper professional training and preparation may be safer than other popular sports such as hang gliding, off-piste skiing, mixed gas scuba diving and many other pursuits. The preparation of this collection of stories is to improve common knowledge, awareness of threats to safety and questionable riding practices. The following examples will hopefully illustrate the potential costs of poor practices and judgment.
I want to express sincere thanks to Brett Gibson, founder of the Mid-Atlantic Kitesurfing Association, for proof reading and helping to revise this document. Also, I want to thank all the riders that have provided input that resulted in the creation of this resource. Constructive comments, suggestions, alternative views, credible eyewitness and particularly participant account information are always welcome and should be emailed to flkitesurfer@hotmail.com.

Table Of Contents Page
Introduction .................................................. ............................... 2
Table of Contents .................................................. ..................... 3
Organization .................................................. ............................. 4
Disclaimer .................................................. ................................. 4
Correlation of Accident/Incident Circumstances ......................... 5
New Accounts and Additional Information .................................. 5
Kiteboarding Account Summaries
Year 2002 (Accounts 19 - 72) ...................................... 7
Year 2001 (Accounts 6- 18) .................................. Separate File
Year 2000 (Accounts 1 - 5) ................................... Separate File

Organization
The accounts are divided into four sections, including:
General Information
This section provides an account number, date of the account, reported date of incident and location information. When possible, other reports of the account were sought and/or received from others. The number of these other reports is listed in this section. If information was received directly from the participant, it is noted in this section as well. Finally, if the information is described by a published internet account, the URL will be provided if it is known.
Summary
This section provides details that have been related without embellishment or comment. Despite attempts to verify the accounts, they should not be assumed to be verified. However, they may represent realistic but potentially hypothetical object lessons or scenarios for kiteboarders. Remembered and second party accounts may have errors and as such should not be assumed to be verified or necessarily to depict actual occurrences.
Lessons Learned
This section provides opinion regarding potential improved safety practices for kiteboarding derived from the experience related in the account. These ďLessonsĒ may alter with time as new knowledge is gained and distributed in the sport. When new credible practices become known, they may be incorporated in updated versions of the accounts.
Commentary
This section provides opinions and specific observations based on the reported account. These comments are intended to discuss relationship to other incidents, trends, general precautions or other relevant topics.
Disclaimer
The account summaries listed in this resource may not be 100% accurate. Although accuracy is intended, it is not guaranteed in any fashion. No responsibility is assumed whatsoever for any errors, omissions, conclusions or consequences thereof. Attempts have been made in some cases to verify the accounts, but none of the account details should be considered to be confirmed or fully accurate by the information contained herein. Kiteboarding may potentially be practiced with reasonable safety with thorough training, current good practices, safety gear and by employing good judgment. This sport can be very dangerous if it is not approached with the level of care described. The same conclusion could apply to operating a car, bicycle or boat if the same lack of care as described was employed in these activities. These reports represent reported information and related opinions and are not intended to represent positions or opinions held by any organization or group. Other valid conclusions and procedures may be drawn from the information contained in this resource and will likely be drawn in the future as kiteboarding knowledge and safety technique is better understood. Participants are generally not identified by name, unless this identity is common knowledge or release is given. The goal of this resource is to impart lessons learned from the reported experiences of these individuals or likely scenarios and not to unduly embarrass or criticize the kiterboarders.
It is regretted that they have reportedly gone through these experiences. Sincere thanks are extended to them for helping to improve the safety of this sport with their accounts.
This resource is intended for the downloading, reading and private use of kiteboarders only. Use by other parties for any other purpose is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is given. This document is protected by copyright and reproduction of this document or portions thereof is prohibited without prior written approval.
Correlation of Accident/Incident Circumstances To Specific Accounts
(Being updated 11-17-02)
A. Use of a good helmet may have reduced chance of injuries in account #'s:
1,1a,4,5,7,8,9,11,12,14,16,16a,1819,20,21,22,23,
25,27,28,29,29b,30,31,32,34,34a,37,38,39a,39b,41,4 2,48,49,

B. High winds were involved in account #'s:
1,1a,5,9,11,12,13,15,16,16a,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,2 5,
27,28,29,29a,32,34,37,38,39a,41,42,44,48,

C. Lofting occurred in account #'s:
1,1a,4,5,7,8,9,11,12,15,17,18,19,20,25,28,29,30,32 ,37,39a,41,42,

D. Rider was upwind of nearby hard objects in account #'s:
1,4,5,6,7,9,11,13,14,16a,18,20,23,29b,37,41,42,

E. Onshore winds were present in account #'s:
4,5,7,9,11,15,18,19,20,29b,32,37,39a,41,42,

F. Unstable weather was present in account #'s:
1,1a,2,3,4,5,8,9,11,19,20,32,37,39a,42,

G. Inability to unhook from the chicken loop figured in account #'s: 4,6a,11,15,37,39a,42,48,

H. Board leash use figured in account #'s:
17,24,26,28,29b,31,49,

I. Injuries are known to have been reduced by helmet use in account #'s: 4,15,19,24a,35,39a

J. Proper preflighting could have helped to avoid accidents in account #'s:
16,29,30,33,34,35,48,

K. Self launch or improper assisted launch/landing contributed to accounts #'s:
22,29a,33,34,39

L. Glove use may have helped in account #'s: 2,3,29a

M. Proper kite leash function could have helped in account #'s: 42,42a,48,






Kiteboarding Account Summaries
Year 2002


72. Incident # "Second French Kiteboarding Fatality " Location: France
Date: December 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

A new kiteboarder was out with a 14.3 m Takoon Scoup kite. He could stay upwind but was still working on basic kiteboarding skills. When he initially setup the wind was quite light and side shore in direction. Squall or storm clouds were in the area and some other kiteboarders warned him that it might not be safe to go out on the water and that he should be careful. He kiteboarded for about 1/2 hour and then returned to the beach as the wind had grown up to 25 kts. with approaching black squall clouds. There had been about ten other kiteboarders out but they had landed their kites prior to this time. The kiteboarder had come ashore some distance away from the other kiteboarders and too far away for someone to catch his kite. He was seen to be lowering his kite to near the ground when a 40 kt. gust hit. He was lofted to 6 m off the ground and flown inland. He hit ground and was then dragged. He eventually hit a wall after traveling an approximate 200 m horizontal distance. It is unknown whether or not he tried to activate his quick release. He was not wearing a helmet. The rider died from injuries suffered upon impact.

Lessons learned

1. Don't ride with unstable or squally weather in the area.
2. Regularly mentally and physically rehearse anti-lofting techniques and other emergency procedures. This will allow you to frequent test your safety gear and to potentially reduce your reaction time in managing an emergency.
3. If there is ANY doubt about being able to land your kite BEFORE weather conditions seriously deteriorate, depower your kite while still offshore and away from hard objects. Be prepared to swim in towing your kite.
4. Unhook or disconnect your chicken loop and hold your bar if you may be potentially hit by an excessively strong gust so that your kite leash will be readily activated.
5. DO NOT RELY exclusively on others to help you land your kite and better ready at all times to release your bar. This requires the routine maintanance of an adequate buffer area downwind.
5. Always wear appropriate safety gear including a good, well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves, whistle, hook knife, etc..
6. Always listen and carefully consider the advice of other riders. If in doubt, don't go kiteboarding.
7. Consider launching and landing "unhooked" or not connected to your control bar.

Commentary

This was yet another sad avoidable accident if the rider both knew and appreciated the hazard of riding near squalls. Unfortunately, though obvious upon careful reflection too few kiteboarders either know or more critically appreciate this hazard, today.
This situation is improving but it is likely that there will be more accidents and incidents before the threat is more universally anticipated and appreciated. Ignoring the advice of other riders has contributed to at least two fatalities and many lesser accidents. It is important that the mechanical attachment to the chicken loop be regularly maintained and tested to improve the chance for proper performance during an emergency. Active kite beaches should institute and squall warning signal, say three fast blasts on an air horn and perhaps a red flag. Riders should be aware of the meaning of these signals. Anytime squalls are in the area riders are at a higher level of risk and such conditions should be avoided. If you see a hazard moving in, prepare in ADVANCE to manage the situation, while you still can. Releasing the potential power of the kite while still well away from hard objects is KEY. This rider was dragged about 200 m or roughly 650 ft. How close do you want to be to shore before reacting given the distance that you can RAPIDLY cover in a strong gust.
Fatality, Warned, Squall, Lofted, Failed to Release, Limited Experience, No Helmet, Solo, Nearshore


71. Incident # "Overconfidence Injures Rider " Location: Wellington Point, Brisbane, Australia
Date: Dec. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3


Summary

A tourist with little kiteboarding experience visiting from another country, chose to ignore the advice of local riders and launched in excessively gusty conditions well beyond the operating wind range for his kite. He had ignored similar advice on the previous day about similar extreme wind conditions. Winds were offshore 10 to 35 kts and extremely gusty as it passed over a number of hills upwind. The rider was going to go out on a Slingshot 12 Torque. The rider was lofted inland from the beach, went over two power lines and hit the second story of a building. His kite lines knocked out the power to the area. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The story was picked up by the international media.

Lessons learned

1. Always ride in conditions suitable for both your ability and for your equipment.
2. ALL new riders should secure adequate professional kiteboarding lessons.
3. Always check the windspeed and see what other riders have been using in terms of gear before selecting and launching your kite.
4. Avoid excessively gusty winds.
5. Listen to the advice of more experienced riders.
6. If you have an unsafe rider confront him with several of your friends in an attempt to keep him from injuring himself, possibly others and putting your access at risk. It isn't convenient but neither are riding bans.
7. Lots of other conclusions can be reached regarding this incident but the most obvious cause is that the rider had NO IDEA what he was launching in and stupidly chose to ignore the advice of more experienced local riders.

Commentary

This foolish rider could have easily killed himself in the highly avoidable accident. Needlessly knocking out power to many residents only brings undesired negative attention to the sport. Retailers should insist on seeing proof of training or link training to new gear purchases. There should be little opportunity for such a poorly trained and unaware individual to blunder into such an accident. If you are selling used gear privately you have a similar responsibility to screen the potential purchaser for appropriate experience. If you ignore this responsibility you may well be working to lose access and potentially contribute to the injury of the buyer.

Additional information:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/australia...dec2002-14.htm
Serious Injury, Warned, Squall, Lofted, Failed to Release, Limited Experience, No Helmet, Overconfidence, Excessive Conditions For Gear and Experience, Nearshore


70. Incident # "Jumping Close to Shore, Fractures Leg" Location: Sunset Beach, California, USA Date: December 8, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

Winds were onshore 15 to 20 mph and gusty. A rider of unspecified experience was seen to come nearshore and to launch a jump off of the crest of a wave. This was observed by two experienced kiteboarders who were surprised at how close to shore this rider had elected to launch a jump. A gust came along and boosted the kiteboarder up another ten feet to approximately 30 ft. off the water. The rider drifted rapidly over the land in the onshore wind. He kicked off his board just before attempting to land on his feet. The rider had dropped his kite downwind into the center of the power zone significantly powering up the kite again. The rider fell on his side and was dragged over the beach an unspecified distance. One of the experienced riders ran over to see if the kiteboarder was ok. The other experienced kiteboarder, who still had his own kite in the air ran down to try to catch the riders kite. The kiteboarder that had been dragged was not using a kite leash. The one observer managed to secure the dragged kiteboarder's kite. The injured kiteboarder has suffered a computated fracture in one leg. That is the bone was sticking out through his leg and was bleeding. Soon there were many people present attempting to help the injured kiteboarder.

Lessons learned

1. Don't jump within two kite line lengths of shore and preferably further from shore. In strong onshore winds keeping a even larger buffer zone would be advisable.

2. Always use a properly configured, maintained and tested kite leash.

3. Ride with friends and keep an eye on each other.

4. Wear safety equipment including a good, well fitted helmet, impact vest, gloves, knife(s) and kite leash.

5. Consider avoiding onshore winds or if you have adequate experience, ride with extra caution.

6. Be polite and considerate to bystanders and other kiteboarders routinely. You attitude may avoid problems and even encourage help when you might need it.

Commentary

This rider suffered a readily avoidable accident through pure carelessness. Anytime a rider is airborne his jump may be extended by a gust. Jumping nearshore should be avoided otherwise someday the odds are that things may go wrong. There weren't many bystanders on the beach on this cold afternoon. If there had been a bystander injury may have occurred. Kiteboarders need to be aware and responsible.

Serious Injury, Onshore Gusty Winds, No Buffer Zone, No Leash, Failed to Release, Overconfidence, Solo, Nearshore


69. Incident # "Poor Preflighting Drags Rider" Location: Puerto Rico
Date: November 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

A kiteboarder had just launched his kite and was violently dragged inland, lofted through a tree and then into a car parking lot. Apparently he had attached his lines incorrectly and didn't adequately preflight his gear. He had multiple quick release systems but was unsuccessful in releasing the kite. Winds were gusty and onshore. It is not known what degree of injury the rider suffered.

Lessons learned

1. All kiteboarders need to carefully preflight their gear. In stronger wind preflighting several times wouldn't be a bad idea.
2. Use a properly rigged, tested and maintained kite leash.
3. Wear safety equipment including a good, well fitted helmet, impact vest, gloves, knife(s) and kite leash.
4. Be particularly cautious in onshore winds especially higher winds.
5. Consider rigging "polar line attachments" or those that can be attached in only one way ideally.

Commentary

The observer that reported this incident thought he was watching someone get killed. The speed and violence of an out of control powered up kite is astonishing. These types of accidents are normally avoidable. The outcome once a kiteboarder has been dragged into such an occurrence is often uncertain. Quick releases and kite depowering leashes are not fully reliable at this time. The only sensible course is to use good procedures and judgment to avoid being placed into the emergency in the first place.

Poor Preflighting, Crossed Lines, Onshore Gusty Winds, Failed to Release, Lofted, Nearshore


68. Incident # "Italian Kiteboarding Fatality" Location: Ostia/Rome, Italy Date: November 24, 2002 Participant account included:No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

An experienced kiteboarder had just launched an Airblast 6.3 m kite. The wind was 15 to 20 kts. gusting to 30 kts. The observer was about 100 m away but dealing with the same strong gust and was looking in another direction at the time of the accident. The rider was lofted and dragged into a pole inland from the beach. The rider was hooked in and it is unknown whether he tried to unhook or not but he did release his kite after impact. The rider suffered a fractured leg, arm, pelvis, ribs, lung perforation and severe concussion. The rider was talking just after the accident but soon entered into a coma. He died approximately two hours later in hospital.

The observer was also lofted by the same gust but in the direction of the water. He ended up breaking a harness line. This same rider had fractured ribs in an unrelated accident early this year during the summer in similar gusty wind conditions.

Lessons learned

1. Avoid, unstable excessively gusty weather.
2. RELEASE YOUR BAR AND DEPOWER YOUR KITE SOONER THAN LATER IN A POTENTIAL OR ACTUAL EMERGENCY SITUATION, EVEN IF YOU ARE STILL OFFSHORE. This ESSENTIAL skill should be practiced to cut down reaction time should a need arise to use it.
3. Utilize anti-lofting techniques routinely.
4. Use a properly rigged, tested and maintained kite leash.
5. Wear safety equipment including a good, well fitted helmet, impact vest, gloves, knife(s) and kite leash.
6. Avoid onshore wind conditions particularly stronger and gusty wind conditions.
7. Do not launch within two kite line lengths of downwind hard objects.
8. Consider launching and landing "unhooked" or not connected to your control bar.

Commentary

Launching in excessively gusty, onshore winds can be hazardous. Many riders ignore some of the precautions listed in the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and common sense. Often luck carries the day without incident. When things go wrong the safe latitude allowed by good practice can make the difference in a close brush or a serious accident. Care is needed to avoid such accidents as skill and safety devices may not be up to keeping the rider safe if things go wrong. If a squall is approaching and you aren't CERTAIN that you can make it to shore well in advance, depower your kite while you are still offshore AWAY FROM AHRD OBJECTS! DO NOT wait until someone can catch your kite as it may well be too late to avoid a serious lofting or dragging. Just because a kite is small, say an 9 m kite, don't assume that it can be very powerful and can cause injury.

Fatality, Gusty Onshore Winds, Unstable Weather, Lofted, Failed to Release, No Helmet, Solo, Nearshore


67. Incident # "Severe Board Leash Injury" Location: Swan River, Australia
Date: November 2002 Participant account included: 1 Number of independent accounts: 0


Summary

An experienced rider was out in gusty conditions with a board leash. At one point he was dragged at speed and the board slingshotted into his face. The fin lacerated the riders throat. Also he had several teeth broken and was bleeding profusely. He was rushed to the hospital by bystanders. He was in poor condition due to blood loss and related trauma at the emergency room. He was treated and is in the process of healing.

Lessons learned

1. The use of fixed kite leashes can be hazardous.
2. The majority of riders should develop strong proficiency in body dragging which is normally quite easy in conveying the rider back to his board.
3. There is no assurance that a rebounding board will hit a helmet or even be stopped by one.

Commentary

Use of kite leashes have caused many serious head injuries including several that resulted even though a helmet had been worn. Board leashes may have contributed to one and perhaps even two kiteboarder fatalities. Static leashes have a high injury potential based upon the accident experience. Reel leashes may have a lesser tendency to rebound but injuries even utilizing reel leashes have been reported. All riders should master body dragging early on. In practice it is normally quite easy and effective. If concerns exist about runaway boards striking bathers in the surf zone, it would make sense to find another riding area. Temporary use of a reel leash is practiced by some riders when body dragging or when both hands are needed. The leash is disconnected before resuming normal riding.

Serious Injury, Board Leash, Gusty Winds


66. Incident # 11 02 3 "Belgium Kiteboarding Fatality " Location: Zeebruges, Belgium
Date: November 11, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 5


Summary

A new kiteboarder but long time windsurfer was out in an new area in side shore winds shifting between 14-22 knots much of the day but at the time of the accident it was only 12-16 knots late in the afternoon. Apparently the rider had been advised to take lessons but as there was a waiting list he decided to try to learn on his own. The water temperature was quite cold at 9-12 degrees Celsius. There were about 20 kiteboarders out in the area at this time. There is a large harbor wall bordering the launch that was paralleled by a strong current on this day. The rider was using an Aero 10 or 12 without a shackle or Quick Release but was wearing a helmet, impact vest, gloves, knife and whistle. He was using a Wipika 175 cm board with a board leash. The actual details of the accident are unknown at this time. His kite was seen to be on the water then flying then back on the water in a relatively short interval. He was later dragged ashore by his kite near the harbor wall and found unconscious and without a pulse. Other kiteboarders responded immediately with first aid. He was in a deep coma but some evidence of brain activity was present for several days. He eventually passed away in hospital. He was found to have a bruise around his right ankle the attachment point of the board leash and a small cerebral hematoma under the occuput (a small blood clot in the brain at the back of the head, above the neck).
The kiteboarder was a physician as is a friend of his who also kiteboards. The other physician proposed the following sequence of events. The kiteboarder lost his board, dragged underwater and recoiled striking the rider at the back of the neck and beneath his helmet. The hematoma and the bruising in the area of the kite leash support this conclusion. The rider was knocked unconscious and was apparently lying face down in the water and drowned. It was estimated that the rider was in apnea (the absence of spontaneous breathing) for at least one half hour. If not for the cold water temperature, is highly unlikely that a drowning victim could be reanimated after one half hour of not breathing. Other such cases of cold water drowning and reanimation exist. His injuries were substantial enough as to block recovery unfortunately.

Lessons learned

The following conclusions are based upon the information described above. As in the case of many KSI accounts, all the facts of an accident may never be known. The circumstances described above are plausible and could have happened. In the absence of supplemental or contrary information, that is the story upon which the analysis is made.

1. Kiteboard leashes based on the many injuries listed in the KSI and elsewhere pose far greater risk than benefit to riders and ideally should not be used.
2. All kiteboarders should seek adequate professional lessons.
3. Serious accidents can happen even in lighter winds.
4. Always kiteboard with one or more friends and keep an eye on one another.
5. Helmets should not be worn to protect against recoiling board impact as they may not. They should be worn to protect against lofting or dragging impact against hard objects.
6. If this rider didn't have appropriate safety gear on, specifically his impact vest he may not have made it to shore in time to be rescued.
7. All kiteboarders should use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.

Commentary

Other new kiteboarders have been injured and even killed during early experimentation while trying to learn kiteboarding on their own. Some of their stories appear in the KSI. Kiteboarding can appear to be deceptively easy but in fact can be quite complex and demanding in ways that are not directly obvious to new and even some experienced kiteboarders. Training and careful development of experience are key to safe kiteboarding in the long term. Always kiteboard with others and ride within your abilities even if it is not particularly convenient. Misfortune can arise all too easily on occasion and may not be successfully overcome.

The abundance of kiteboard leash injuries build a strong case against the use of leashes. A reel leash could be worn and used on a TEMPORARY basis as needed. While the leash is in use particular caution should be employed. Body dragging to recovery your board is relatively easy to do. I feel that kiteboarding instructors should work on developing this skill after regular body dragging and even before board water starting instruction. You may lose board if you don't use a leash however it is far less likely that your board will hit you hard enough to do serious harm, although of course it is still possible in waves. Helmets should be worn by all kiteboarders to protect against dragging or lofting impacts. Wearing them as a counter for board leash impact is not well advised as the board may hit an area not protected by the helmet as may have happened in this sad accident.

Fatal, Board Leash, Limited Experience, Solo,


65. Incident # 11 02 2 "Brazilian Kiteboarder Fatality " Location: Conceicao Lake, Florianopolis, Brazil
Date: November 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

A kiteboarder was hit and killed by a motor boat. The operator of the boat may have been intoxicated. It is not known if the kiteboarder was underway or in the water at the time of the collision. No other details are available at this time.

Lessons learned

It is difficult to describe lessons learned in the absence of additional information. Accordingly, some general precautions involving kiteboarding in and around motor boats follow.

1. Don't kiteboard in areas with abundant powerboat traffic. Making a speeding powerboat aware of your presence if they don't notice you on your own may not be feasible and collision likely as a consequence.
2. Always carry a whistle and try to signal boats well before they come into your area if you are in the water. Given engine noise this may not be feasible but it should be attempted all the same.
3. If your kite is on the water and you think a boat might run over your lines, consider detaching completely from your control bar and holding your kite leash attachment. Release the kite leash just before the boat passes over your lines and swim well clear of your lines.
4. Avoid being attached to your kite or potentially tangle by your lines if a boat runs over your lines at ALL COSTS.

Commentary

It is requested that any additional information regarding this accident be forwarded by email.

Fatal, Boat Collision, Solo


64. 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


Summary

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.

Commentary

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 Peterís case. In many other cases these aids have already spared or reduced injury and may continue to do so in the future for those that choose to use them.

There is reason to believe that if the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines had been adhered to that many of the serious accidents evaluated to date in the KSI may have been avoided or minimized. The Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines have been derived from accidents such as Peterís 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:

http://www.caller.com/ccct/local_new..._1524954,00.ht
ml

http://cfapps.caller.com/obits/obitt...Name=Peter&MNa
me=&LastName=Nordby

Fatal, Very Experienced, Gusty Onshore Winds, Solo, No QR, No Helmet, Nearshore


63. Incident # 10 02 3 "Rigging Error Launches Rider" Location: Conneticut, USA
Date:October 25, 2002 Participant account included:No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

An experienced rider insisted on having an assisted launch in .overpowered conditions with a North 9 m kite in 30+ kt. winds. The assistant was reluctant to release the kite as "it didn't feel right." The assistant continued to hold the tip of the kite despite demands to launch from the kiteboarder and two bystanders. The assistant sent someone over to hold the kiteboarder's harness. The kite was then released and shot straight up and over into the powerzone. The tremendous force yanked the shackled bar out of the riders hands and pulled the trim strap through the bar and actually broke the bar. The kite then flew free from the rider who was uninjued. A bystander caught the whole thing on video. The kiteboarder had reversed the attachment of the lines to the left side of the kite.

Lessons learned

1. If riders launch in substantially overpowered conditions they should do so accepting that they could be more readily injured or even killed than under more normal conditions.
2. All kiteboarders should carefully preflight their gear. Riders going out in winds 20 mph or greater would be well served to do 2 or 3 careful preflight checks.
3. It is fortunate that this rider chose to have an assisted launch.

Commentary

Once again, a story about a rider in denial about the true risks and being excessively careless. The sad thing is that many riders can successfully follow highly marginal practices and get away with it much of the time, perhaps. These successes can build false confidence that may fail a rider someday. In theory the rider's kitebar should not have broken under the load of this incident. If it had not it is likely that the rider could have been seriously injured or even killed. Even the person holding the riders harness could have sustained an injury. Good judgment is the best, most effective safety provision that we have. If we choose not to use it the consequences in the long term will often be serious and regrettable.

Gusty Winds, Warned, Overconfidence, Hooked In, Excessive Conditions For Gear, Nearshore


62. Incident # 10 02 2 "Squall Injures Rider, Again II " Location: Atlantic Beach, FL, USA
Date: 10/13/02 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

It was late in the day and a light squall had just passed over ten minutes early. There were squall clouds visible inland of the launch area. An experienced kiteboarder was out with an approximate 16 m Wipika four line inflatable kite in overpowered conditions. Another rider didn't launch because of the questionable conditions. While the rider was out the wind shifted suddenly to onshore. The rider kicked off his board but remained hooked in. The rider lost control of his kite and sent it over into the power window and was either lofted or dragged into the sand dunes.
Kiteboarding physician and EMT were present onshore and rendered first aid. The kiteboarder was airlifted out to the hospital by helicopter. The rider reportedly suffered head injuries, stayed in the hospital for two days then was released.

Lessons learned

1. Kiteboarders must avoid squalls at all costs.
2. Kiteboarders should always practice anti-lofting technique.
3. Always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.
4. Rehearse dealing with emergency situations both mentally and physically to reduce reaction and response time. An early high priority should be to activate your tested kite leash.
5. Depower your kite sooner than later even if it is less convenient. Later, you may not have time.

Commentary

Kiteboarders need to avoid squalls and until they do there will be more avoidable accidents. Late reactions can be as costly as choosing to expose yourself to unstable weather conditions in the first place.

Serious Injury, Gusty Onshore Winds, Squall, Lofted, Failed to Release, No Helmet, Nearshore


61. Incident # 10 02 1 " Nambian Kiteboarder Fatality " Location: Walvis Bay, Nambia
Date: 10-12-02 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3


Summary

A kiteboarder was out in 18 kt. gusting to 25 kts. with a 12 m North Rhino four line inflatable kite. He was overpowered at time of launch but managed to control it. As he entered the water he lost his board. He was subsequently dragged downwind towards a wall. His girlfriend was waiting downwind of the rider with the intent of catching his kite.
He was standing a couple of meters upwind of the wall when a gust lifted him and slammed him against the wall. He was subsequently dragged over the road and a distance of 60 m. By a newpaper account he was stated to have tried to disconnect from the chicken loop but could not.
The rider was rushed to the hospital and after a short time he was declared as deceased from head injuries. The rider was hooked in and was not using a helmet.

Lessons learned

1. Pick your kite size carefully for both actual and predicted conditions. If wind starts to build it may be better to land it early as opposed to waiting for a more convenient location.
2. Always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.
3. Practice anti-lofting techniques at all times. (see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...%20REFERENCES/
(under 4. LOFTING AND HOW TO TRY TO AVOID IT)
4. Never place yourself upwind within 20 to preferably 60 m or more upwind of hard objects. Avoid placing yourself into such situations even if you must land your kite on the water.

Commentary

Better hazard awareness and safety technique would have likely avoided this fatality. Kites are so very powerful and things can deteriorate into a severe situation very rapidly. The best response is often an early one, well before things can continue to deteriorate. Wearing basic safety gear can compensate for some errors in judgment sometimes. Being upwind of a hard object in conditions like this is setting the table for a grim outcome with little recourse if things go wrong.

Further Information
http://allafrica.com/stories/200210180037.html

Fatality, Gusty Onshore Winds, Lofted, Failed to Release, No Helmet, Nearshore


60. Incident # 9 02 7 "Squall Injures Rider, Again" Location: Pompano, FL, USA
Date:9/29/02 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3


Summary

A new kiteboarder was out with an approximate Naish 23 m four line inflatable kite. He was flying over one half mile south of a group of other kiteboarders to the north. Squalls were in the area but many of the riders were ignoring them. One rider had to be grabbed while onshore as he was being lofted as one more squall moved into shore. The single rider to the south had been out trying to get some of the increased wind from the squall as it moved closer to shore. He succeeded in getting more and to the point of being overpowered. He worked into shore and then was lofted several times in succession, being "teabagged" across the beach until he went out of sight behind a building. The riders to the north later learned that there had been a serious accident.

From various reports it was concluded that the rider was lofted up into a tree where he hit and then fell from a substantial height, hitting his head on impact with the pavement. The rider was taken to the hospital. He was not wearing a helmet, impact vest or QR. It is presumed that the rider attempted to unhook but could not. The rider entered into a coma and is rumored to have come out of it after several weeks. This is still being attempted to be confirmed.

Lessons learned

1. Kiteboarders must avoid squalls at all costs.
2. Kiteboarders should always practice anti-lofting technique.
3. Always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.
4. Rehearse dealing with emergency situations both mentally and physically to reduce reaction and response time. An early high priority should be to activate your tested kite leash.
5. Depower your kite sooner than later even if it is less convenient. Later, you may not have time.
6. Take adequate lessons to improve the odds of avoiding serious injury
7. Kiteboard with others. Talk about weather issues and how to deal with them. Some popular launches have even come up with a Squall Warning. The warning is something like several repetitions of three fast blasts on an airhorn and in some cases the hosting of a pair of square red flags as well. Riders should never be out with squalls nearby as they can strike too quickly for proper reaction. Until time and hard experience cement this conclusion in the kiteboarding community, a warning system is better than none at all.

Commentary

Riders seem to routinely ignore squalls and the danger and violent power that can come with them. Accidents including particularly spectacular ones have occurred over the last couple of years but apparently the word is still not getting out. Kiteboarders love wind and particularly when wind is light much of the time as was the case in this accident, kiteboarders intentionally put themselves at risk of injury. Many riders are not aware of this hazard while still others don't take it seriously enough. People trying to learn on their own are only more vulnerable. The term "cannon fodder" comes to mind in describing riders that expose themselves to such conditions out of ignorance. Please talk about weather issues with your friends and at local launches. Weather planning and awareness are key aspects of safe kiteboarding and too many riders are not aware of this yet or do not take the risk seriously yet. With time, there should be enough serious injury stories out among riders to overcome this ignorance and indifference. Until then there will be more such avoidable accidents until a critical mass of accounts and stories are in circulation.


59. Incident # 9 02 6 "New Kiter Lofted By Gusts " Location: Lake Grapevine, Texas, USA
Date: Sept. 18, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

A new kiteboarder rigged up with an unidentified kite in a very gusty onshore wind day. He had an assisted launch but reportedly too far off the wind into the power zone. As a consequence he was lofted about 6 ft. high and 20 ft. horizontally to impact into a parking lot railing. He suffered a broken femur on one leg and a broken ankle on the other. Neither the kiter or his helper had kiteboarding lessons and had previously only been out in light winds.

Lessons learned

1. Take adequate, professional kiteboarding lessons.
2. Avoid onshore winds and particularly if you are a new kiteboarder.
3. Always launch your kite at the correct position off the wind relative to the wind speed and kite size. That is if you are in the center of the power range for a given kite size launch at 90 degrees off the wind. If you are underpowered launch at bit further off the wind perhaps at 100 to 110 degrees. If you are near the upper limit of the power range for a kite, select a smaller kite or launch a bit less than 90 degrees off the wind.
4. Always wear suitable safety equipment.
5. Never launch upwind and close to (within a hundred feet and preferably further) hard objects.
6. Always be ready to deal with the unexpected, particularly in higher winds.

Commentary

The violent power of kiteboarding kites should not be underestimated.
The potential to injure and even kill particularly in the hands of poorly trained kiteboarders should not be ignored. If you see riders that appear to need some good advice please offer it in the most tactful, effective way that you can manage.


58. Incident #9 02 5 "Serious Dragging In Moderate Wind " Location: Cornwall, England, UK Date: September 13, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

A moderately experienced kiteboarder was out in 15 mph winds gusting to 19 mph with a 14 m Flexifoil Storm kite. He was wearing a flotation vest. The rider lost control of his kite and was dragged onshore due to a relatively low speed gust a distance of about 100 m. He was dragged into a major highway and was avoided by a speeding motorist. The motorist observed the rider dragged into an impact with a steel barrier, was then lofted 20 ft. into the air before landing in a shallow lagoon on the other side of the barrier. Bystanders were able to pin the rider down at this point and release his kite which was on the ground at this point. An ambulance and the police were called to deal with the accident. It is not known what injuries the rider sustained.

Lessons learned

1. Always practice anti-lofting techniques including keeping your kite low and to seaward when near shore. Get away from the shore without delay. Land your kite if coming into shore without delay.
2. Always wear safety gear including at a minimum a good, well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves, hook knife, whistle, etc.
3. Mentally and physically rehearse depowering your kite in emergencies.
4. Carefully test and maintain your chicken loop release mechanism on a regular basis.
5. When near shore consider staying unhooked from your chicken loop to aid ease and reliability of kite release and depowering.
6. Avoid launches near roadways and other obstructions.

Commentary

The exact cause of this accident isn't known. The winds were not particularly extreme however adequate to cause a serious accident potentially involving bystanders. Good technique near shore and hard objects is critical. Also proper technique to avoid lofting, dragging and rapid defusing of the situation if it occurs is vital. Kiteboarding can be much more complicated than it first may appear.


57. Incident # 9 02 4 "Serious Finger Injury " Location: Islip, NY, USA
Date: Sept. 13, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1


Summary

A rider of intermediate skill of two years experience was out in 22 to 25 mph onshore winds reportedly with an Naish ARX 11 m four line kite. The accident was not observed by has been pieced together from various reports. The rider dropped his bar to depower the kite and somehow caught his finger in the line. At the same time the kite powered up, dragged the rider across the beach and tore some of the flesh and bone from his finger. He returned to the beach and was observed from a distance to be stowing his gear. An ambulance arrived and took him away. His little finger was amputated as a consequence of the extensive tissue damage.

Lessons learned

1. Test and properly maintain your kite leashes.
2. Wear gloves while kiteboarding.
3. If you release your bar to activate your depowering system make sure you do so cleanly and well away from your body.

Commentary

It is not clear how exactly this rider tangled his fingers in his lines. It could have impaired the complete depowering of the kite leaving his finger to carry the full load of the kite. Unusual accidents will sometimes happen. It is important to be methodical and careful while kiteboarding to try to reduce the chances of injury.


56. Incident # 9 02 3 "Squall Injures Kiteboarder " Location: IJmuiden, Netherlands Date: September 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

Several experienced riders were out when a squall started to move into the area. Violent squall related wind warnings had been previously sent out with the weather forecast. Dark squall clouds had been visible much of the day but further out to sea. Prior to the arrival of the squall, the wind was about 5 Bft. (17 to 21 kts.). A couple of riders saw the squall moving in and secured their kites on the beach rapidly. Another rider had lowered his 6 m X2 kite for an assisted landing and almost had it in the assistants hands. The wind suddenly gusted violently to approximately 9 bft. (41 to 47 kt.). The rider was lofted up to about 10 m (33 ft. ) off the beach and blew him at speed approximately 30 to 50 m (95 to 170 ft.). The kiteboarder hit the beach at this point but was lofted to about 5 m (18 ft.). The rider hit the beach again and the kite detached and flew away . A rider was seen flying over the beach with a 6 m X2 kite about 5 m (16 ft.), above the beach. Lifeguards responded immediately and rendered first aid. The rider was airlifted out by helicopter and his current condition is unknown. Within about ten minutes of the squall winds returned to normal.

Lessons learned

1. Kiteboarders must avoid squalls at all costs.
2. Kiteboarders should always practice anti-lofting technique.
3. Always use minimum safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, quick release (QR) chicken loop attachment, a tested kite leash, hook knife(s), gloves and a whistle.
4. Rehearse dealing with emergency situations both mentally and physically to reduce reaction and response time. An early high priority should be to activate your tested kite leash.
5. Depower your kite sooner than later even if it is less convenient. Later, you may not have time.

Commentary

Many kiteboarders have been lofted in violent winds associated with squalls or storms around the world. The only effective way to manage gust lofting is avoidance as if you wait to the last minute or if the gust hit with little warning by the time you analyze the situation it may be too late to react to avoid injury. All kiteboarders should evaluate weather forecasts and real time winds and weather radar to evaluate for the presence of storms. If storms are in or are moving towards your area, don't go kiteboarding. More information on this may be found in the Kiteboarding Safety Resources (KSR).


55. Incident # 9 02 2 "Launch Miscommunication Injuries Rider" Location: Rhosneigr, North Wales
Date: September 7, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2


Summary

A very experienced rider had been kiteboarding earlier in the day well powered in relatively steady Force 5 (17 to 21 kts.), onshore winds. It was high tide so the normally very wide beach was relatively narrow at about 12 m (40 ft.) ending at a seawall. He was going to have an assisted launch of his Airush 9.4 m four line LEI kite. He had chosen to launch rapidly, near the seawall area as opposed to further down the beach away from these downwind hard objects. During the assisted launch the rider yelled "NO" but the assistant thought he said "GO" and released the kite.

What the assistant could not see but the rider had was that the lines on one side of the kite in strumming in the wind had tangled. The kite flew up at high speed and arced over into the center of the power zone out of control. The rider was dragged into the approximate 1.5 m (5 ft.), high seawall. At that point his was lofted and flown over the seawall, slamming into the top of a 4 inch diameter fiberglass flag pole at a height of about 5 m (16 ft.) and broke the pole with his body. He was then flown over some cars and into the side of a panel truck, badly denting the side of the vehicle. There was a six foot high brick wall immediately beyond the truck which the rider would have hit if not for the panel truck. The rider was connected to or hooked into his quick release chicken loop but didn't have time to detach prior to the first impact. He was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd. The overall horizontal distance of travel was estimated to be about 40 m (130 ft.).

The rider was in severe pain, placed on oxygen and rushed to the hospital by ambulance. His injuries included a fractured pelvis and femur, rib and nicked cheek. Amazingly he did not suffer serious head injury. It has been reported that he should heal fully in time.

Lessons learned

1. Always communicate clearly with trained kiteboarding assistants. Using a signal dialog such as described in:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...ing%20Signals/
could potentially avoid further launch related accidents caused through miscommunication. There other cases in the KSI of problems caused by misunderstandings during this critical phase of kiteboarding.
2. Always be methodical and as slow as necessary in setup, preflighting and launching. Refer to the steps described in the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and other appropriate practices to try to improve your kiteboarding safety.
3. Always walk a bit further away if a more appropriate launch area is present. One that lacks downwind hard objects, bystanders, vertical surfaces that may cause uplift and other potential hazards. "Distance is your friend" in kiteboarding. Downwind hard objects are reportedly not a serious issue as a rule for most locations at this launch.
4. If you decide to hook or snap shackle into your chicken loop or harness line, even with a quick release function, you should assume that someday you will be injured by this practice. I safer course of action is never to hook in or connect to your control bar during launch.
5. Always wear safety gear including at a minimum a good helmet appropriate for kiteboarding, an impact pfd, hook knives, whistle and gloves.
6. Be particularly cautious in onshore winds. Choosing not to launch in such winds may save you injury someday, regardless of your level of skill. This rider was reported the most experienced kiteboarder at this launch.

Commentary

This was another unfortunate, avoidable accident. If fortune had not be with this rider he could have very easily been killed, at several points in this accident. Probability dictates that we will have only so many narrow escapes along with other less fortunate accident outcomes. We really need to take the power and potential hazards of this sport in all seriousness. Review and follow the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and other appropriate practices. In many of these accidents it isn't one serious error in judgment that causes things to come to harm but several. Things like rushing to launch, launching upwind of hard objects, flying in onshore winds, launching hooked in, not wearing a helmet or impact pfd, not preflighting, not using agreed launch signal dialog, etc. We really need to approach this sport with more care otherwise every once in a while a rider will be injured.

Copyright FKA, Inc. 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
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Rick Iossi
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54. Incident # 9 02 1 "Kiteboarder Fatality in Spain" Location: Valencia, Spain
Date: September 2, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 4
Summary
A new kiteboarder of about two months experience was preparing to launch his approximate 16 m, four line Naish kite. A storm was approaching and other kiteboarders had told him not to launch his kite in the imminent storm conditions. The new kiteboarder said he could handle things, ignored this advice and went back to setting up his kite. It was indicated that this new kiteboarder had shown over-confidence in his abilities in the past and was not receptive to advice. It was indicated that the kiteboarder was still working on getting up on his board. He was flying his kite while hooked into the chicken loop on the beach for about 5 to 6 minutes, apparently with the intent of body dragging in the water. Suddenly a storm gust hit, lofted the kiteboarder inland over an unspecified distance towards some town home dwellings along the shoreline. Following impact the man got up, apparently uninjured while still hooked in and walked towards the kite carrying his control bar. A second gust hit, estimated to be on the order of 35 to 40 kts. and carried the rider a short distance into a privacy wall around a town home. The kiteboarder was not wearing a helmet and died as a result of the impact. The over all horizontal distance of travel was estimated to be 10 m (33 ft.).
Lessons learned
1. Always take adequate kiteboarding lessons. The price of learning on your own may be too high.
2. Always avoid unstable squally weather. Check weather predictions, real-time wind reports and color radar out in advance of your kiteboarding session. If excessive gusty or stormy weather is in the area or moving towards your area, don't go kiteboarding. While out kiteboarding always be aware of weather conditions and come in well in advance of serious wind speed, direction or temperature changes related to storms. If in doubt, come in.
3. Never approach your kite while attached to your control bar unless an assistant is firmly holding your kite. If you must walk up to your kite under these conditions, grasp one line only and carefully walk towards the kite while maintaining tension on this one line only.
4. Gloves are a good idea if this technique is used. It would be safest for the kiteboarder however not necessarily for bystanders to remove your kite leash after tensioning the one line but before walking towards the kite.
5. Don't launch hooked in or attached to your bar, particularly if you are new to kiteboarding. Rehearse letting go of your bar to activate your leash. Test your leash in advance of trouble to improve the chances of it working properly (see link listed below).
6. Never fly your kite onshore for extended periods. Launch it with the kite near the water, raise it high enough to clear obstacles (20 to 30 degrees of the land) and go offshore immediately.
7. Always wear appropriate safety gear including at a minimum a well fitting, good quality helmet, an impact pfd, a hook knife(s), a whistle and gloves.
8. Never allow over-confidence to put you into a critically vulnerable position. This will take some self-awareness and honesty, but the price of self-deception may be more than you wish to pay.
9. Review the documents listed under Kiteboarding Resources for ideas on how to potentially kiteboard more safely. The documents and ideas have been prepared from analysis of actual kiteboarding incidents and accidents. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...%20REFERENCES/



Commentary
This accident and fatality could easily have been avoided. It is important to note that this could happen to ANYONE under similar circumstances. Kites are extremely powerful under violent wind gust loading. It was readily predictable, trouble had been anticipated by other riders and good advice given to the new kiteboarder, which was ignored. The kiteboarder apparently trivialized the hazard or didn't bother to consider the logical consequences of his actions. Of course it is unlikely the other kiteboarders would have predicted this severe of an outcome. Kiteboarders that fly near storms should eventually expect violent, sudden winds and potentially serious consequences. Many kiteboarders have been injured to date and some have been killed by the effects of storms or squalls. The only reasonable solution is to use good judgment and knowledge to avoid circumstances such as these. New riders while still learning need to be particularly cautious. Experienced riders need to understand what is at risk and be prepared to be injured if they choose to kiteboard near such conditions. We really need to effectively spread the word about the hazards of unstable stormy weather. Too many riders do not view it as having any real significance. Perhaps cattle in the field show the same lack of concern to a pending lightening storm. We need to learn from these experiences and spread the lessons effectively to our fellow riders. This puts particular burdens on kiteboarding retailers, instructors, associations and the media. If we wish to avoid, avoidable accidents and occasional fatalities this communication needs to effectively occur. Additional information on storms and kiteboarding appears in the General References at the Internet location listed above.
Additional information appears at:
A newspaper account:
http://www.elpais.es/articulo.html?d...chor=elpepinac
And information from an Internet forum:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpBB/viewt...2072&forum=1&7


52. Incident # 02 1 "Over-powered Launch Injures Rider" Location: 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA, USA
Date:August 14, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
A kiteboarder of unspecified experience had requested an assisted launch of his Cabrinha CO2 9.4 m four line LEI in steady 18-22 MPH onshore winds. He had apparently been out recently with a CO2 7.2 m and was underpowered. He did not want to make that mistake on this day. The rider was launching in the chicken loop with his kite fully powered up. The launch layout compelled the assisted launch to occur with the kite more downwind or closer to the center of the wind window than at the side of the wind window, i.e. the rider is launched "hot." The assistant is uneasy about the launch circumstances but rationalized that if the rider depowered his kite fully and he should be able to run to grab the rider if he is dragged.
The kite is released , the rider stumbles through two steps, falls and is immediately dragged across the ground fast, bouncing on his hips, legs and shoulders. The rider gets pulled thru muddy pond with his head underwater, then is slammed into rock embankment with sickening force. At this point, the kite stopped flying, which was unexpected under the circumstances but very fortunate. The assisting kiteboarder ran over, unbuckled his harness, discerned that he didn't have anything life threatening happening, and had a golfer call 911. Paramedics, fire truck and ambulance arrived quickly and rapidly transported the injured rider to the hospital. Reportedly the rider had been told by his instructor that the 9.4 m kite was too large for the conditions. The rider was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd. The kiteboarder was diagnosed with chipped bones in his ankle and knee, fractured wrist, and will required emergency hand surgery.
Miraculously the rider had no head or spinal cord injuries.
Lessons learned
1. Launch in conditions and at a location within your ability and experience, with suitable equipment, in a safe manner.
2. If you underestimate the power of your kite, gusting winds, or launch selection it can be easy to be injured.
2. Refer to the steps described in the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and other appropriate practices to try to improve your kiteboarding safety.
3. Always try to launch your kite from a portion of the wind window appropriate for the wind speed evident. That is if you are at the higher end of the wind range for a given kite, launch with the kite at about 70 to 80 degrees off the wind, if you are in the middle of the wind range, launch at around 90 degrees and if you are at the bottom end of the wind range for the kite consider launching at 90 to 120 degrees off the wind as appropriate. Your kite upon release should gradually rise under control and not pull the rider with undue pressure.
4. One approach that is generally safer is to launch with your kite closer to the water than the rider. If you are dragged you should be dragged into the water as opposed to upland. Bring your kite up only about 15 to 25 degrees from the ground and immediately go offshore. DO NOT BRING YOUR KITE TO THE VERTICAL OR ZENITH WHILE ONSHORE OR NEAR HARD OBJECTS.
5. If you decide to hook or snap shackle into your chicken loop or harness line, even with a quick release function, you should assume that someday you will be injured by this practice. I safer course of action is never to hook in or connect to your control bar during launch.
6. Always wear safety gear including at a minimum a good helmet appropriate for kiteboarding, an impact pfd, hook knives, whistle and gloves.
7. Be particularly cautious in onshore winds. Choosing not to launch in such winds may save you injury someday, regardless of your level of skill.
Commentary
This was another unfortunate, avoidable accident. If fortune had not been with this rider he could have very easily been killed, at several points in this accident. Probability dictates that we will have only so many narrow escapes along with other less fortunate accident outcomes. We really need to take the power and potential hazards of this sport in all seriousness. Review and follow the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and other appropriate practices. This type of accident has been repeated in the KSI. We really need to approach this sport with more care otherwise every once in a while a rider will be injured, sometimes severely. People often trivialize the risks of this sport or worse never even stop to consider them or to take adequate professional instruction.

51. Incident # 7 02 4 "Surprise Injures Kiteboarder" Location: El Yaque, Isla Margarita,Venezuela
Date: July 14, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An experienced rider was kiteboarding from Playa el Yaque to Coche Island over a distance of about 5 to 6 miles. He was flying a Rhino 12 m LEI kite in 19 to 24 kt. conditions. He had almost reached the shore of Coche Island and was trying to pass at full power between a local native fishing boat and the shore. He was riding through a 200 m (660 ft.) gap and felt he had plenty of room. Suddenly a long narrow net rope, called a "mecate" rose up out of the water to the riders neck level when he was only a few yards away. He steered away from the line and tried to jump the fishing boat. It was too late and the rider crashed his head into the boat.
He was knocked unconscious for about 3 minutes while for part of that time the kite was pulling him with his head beneath the water. The rider was senseless until he was brought to the beach. A jet ski rider came up and pulled his quick release loop setting the kite free. Some other people helped him ashore. Until the jet ski rider pulled the quick release the kite was still powered up and attached as the bystanders didn't know how to release the snap shackle.
After a few hours he was transported to the hospital by the "Defensa Civil de Venezuela" and Hotel El Yaque Paradise staff. He was in the hospital for 3 days with head injury and while connected to a pump for emptying fluid from his lungs and stomach.
Lessons Learned
1. In kiteboarding "distance is your friend." Gusts, water craft, windsurfers, kiteboarders, anchor and tow lines, hard objects can suddenly come too close. Kiteboarders often just can't react quickly enough to avoid impact. As in the case of following distances while driving, allow yourself adequate reaction time, if not someday you may have your own accident. If in doubt about coming too close to something, stay away!
2. Always wear safety gear including at a minimum a good helmet appropriate for kiteboarding, an impact pfd, hook knives, whistle and gloves. A good helmet would have probably helped and possibly a impact pfd to minimize this rider's injuries.
Commentary
This rider was having a great time, well powered and shredding along. He came close to a boat and things changed rapidly, too rapidly. Most riders would not think that the boat might raise a line at anytime. If the kiteboarder had hit a taught line at speed serious injury could have resulted from that as well. In some sense this accident might be deemed unavoidable, except for using caution near and in general avoiding hard objects. Another remote possible reaction would have been for the rider to perform a sudden transition. If he was too close however this would not work. When you are traveling at speed awareness, analysis and reaction can devour critical time for action. Such steps are inevitable and necessary. The only alternative is to try to use distance to permit you adequate time to safely react.

50. Incident # 7 02 2 "Tied Up In Kite Line & Violently Dragged" Location: Newport, OR, USA
Date: July 1, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An advanced rider with 3 yrs kiteboarding and 25 yrs. windsurfing experience was out in the open ocean with a Wipika Freeair 6.5 m kite in 26 to 28 mph, side offshore conditions and 6 ft. or higher waves. He was riding downwind of a jetty that is perpendicular to shore. He was in the company of three other kiteboarders and they were all wave riding. The advanced rider turned and allowed a wide breadth of about 100 ft. from the nearest kiteboarder. That kiteboarder launched a jump, possibly one of his first jumps, to a height of about 10 ft. but extended the jump a substantial distance and landed immediately downwind of the advanced rider. Just before the incoming rider lands, the experienced rider tried to turn moving his kite down from the vertical but tried to move too late. The newly arrived kiteboarder turns his kite in the wrong direction and wraps the lines of the advanced rider. Both kites suddenly dive towards the water at high speed. The newly arrived kiteboarder drops his bar and was apparently not using a depowering leash. The advanced rider was showered in line resulting in getting tied up with wraps around his neck, board, arms and legs. He furiously clawed at getting the lines off of his neck and succeeded just before the kites relaunched. He was then lofted/dragged about 20 to 30 ft. The rider had let go of his bar but it was tied to him by kite line so the depower function did not work.
He had one hand free and repeated tried to grab his hook knife from the back of his harness but was being lofted up and flung down about five or six times. He was about to lose consciousness by the impacts. He was wearing a helmet but no gloves. He estimated that he coverage about 1000 yds. in this fashion. His kite had a panel blown out at this point and was spiraling at high speed. The spiraling resulted in his being even more tightly tied up against his board. He was also being dragged offshore to the west and into higher seas. The runaway kite was strangely stable, flying off the water and out to sea at this point. One of his friends rode up to try to help but couldn't figure out anything to do that would help. He then went into shore to try to get a windsurfer to come out with a knife to help cut the rider free. He came to a reckoning that either his gear went or he would not last much longer. He reached down and worked his board leash free, which allowed his ankles to become untied. He then worked to loosen the lines enough to free his other arm. He then was able to the two kites free of him. The rider then worked into shore through some pretty heavy surf while a friend swam out to help him in. All the gear eventually washed up on the beach. A line had cut into his board and his kite was torn and tattered. The runaway kite, ironically was undamaged.
Lessons learned
1. It would be a good idea to carry more than one knife, in different locations. Cave divers sometimes carry up to five knives and they have only one line and relatively low forces to deal with as a rule.
2. When you are riding near other kiteboarders, within 300 ft., consider never having your kite near the vertical or zenith.
Commentary
Mention is frequently made in the KSI about avoiding, avoidable accidents. This is one of the rare accidents that might be considered to be unavoidable to some degree. After all the other rider was about 100 ft. away and next he was close and within tangling range. If the other rider was also advanced he might have avoided wrapping lines but then again perhaps not. About the only thing that might have helped would have been to have had other knives in locations that the rider might have been able to reach. Having an impact pfd could help as could a helmet. This rider was very fortunate to have come through this extreme accident intact. This accident underscores how kiteboarding may always be considered an "extreme sport." The higher the wind, the higher the stakes when things go wrong.

49. Incident # 7 02 2 "Severe Board Leash Impact" Location: Brouwersdam, Holland
Date: July 7, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
A kiteboarder was out in variable side offshore winds estimated at 14-15 knot with
gusts to 17-18 knots and lulls to 11 knots in relatively calm water and at low tide. The rider was out with an unidentified kite about 15-18m2. The rider made a jump near the shore but fell upon landing. The leash hurled the board against the rider's head, who then immediately lost consciousness. Fortunately two other riders saw the incident and rescued the injured person. He regained consciousness at the beach and was flown by rescue helicopter to the hospital in Rotterdam. The rider was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd.

The rider was originally reported to have died as a result of an automatic internet translation error. It is understood that not only did the rider survive, he is also recovering.
Lessons learned
1. New riders should develop competent body dragging and kite control skills before trying to learn to beach or water start on a board.
2. Leash use should be discouraged. Temporary reel leash use on an as needed basis may reduce the risk to the rider posed by the leash.
3. Kiteboarders should wear good helmet and impact pfds along with other basic safety gear.
4. Gage weather conditions carefully and if in doubt about your ability to safely fly in the conditions, don't go kiteboarding.
Commentary
There have been a great number of board leash induced head injuries worldwide. Only a few of them have been discussed in the KSI. With proper body dragging skills, which are relatively easily acquired, the hazard posed by board leashes far outweigh potential benefits. Serious injuries have also been experienced with reel leashes so they are not proof against problems either. Some conventional wind has it that if you use a leash you should wear a helmet. All kiteboarders should routinely wear helmets regardless of board leash considerations. Several riders have been injured THROUGH helmets by board impacts propelled by leashes. Also there is no assurance that a leash propelled board will cooperate and impact your helmet. It could easily hit your face or neck. Working to avoid using or preferably, never start using a board leash is the safer course of action.

48. Incident # 7 02 1 "Major Dragging Accident" Location: Gurnsey, Channel Islands, UK
Date: July, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
A rider was out in 17 to 27 kt. winds with an Airblast 4.9 m inflatable kite with rigged for the first time with at S-2 Lock in Bar. Upon launching the kite at the edge of the water on the beach, the rider noticed a twist in the lines that he thought he could cure by rotating the bar once the kite was airborne. Upon rotating the bar the shackle swivel locked resulting in the strap twisting in the fairlead or channel on the side of the bar. He then rotated the bar back into the original position with the lines still twisted. While all this was going on the rider was being dragged at high speed estimated to be around 30 mph. He pulled the chicken loop quick release snap shackle when he came within 50 m (170 ft.) of a seawall and some boulders. The QR snap shackle failed to open. The rider positioned his feet in front of him and hit the boulder at high speed on his backside. The QR opened upon impact with the boulder freeing his kite. The rider's screaming brought assistance and he was taken to the hospital for treatment. The kiteboarder estimates that he was dragged 150 m across the water. His injuries included a crush vertebra, fractured pelvis and a very sore, stitched rear. He was released from the hospital but confined to bed rest. He expects to resume kiteboarding after an approximate 3 month recuperation period.
He was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd. The rider felt that there was no irregularity in how the lines were attached to the kite.
Lessons learned
1. Always carefully preflight your gear before launching. In higher winds doing 2 to 3 preflights would not be excessive.
2. Never try out new gear, kites, bars or boards, in anything stronger than light to moderate winds. Small mistakes are often severely punished in well powered conditions.
3. Always wear a good helmet, impact pfd and knife(s).
Commentary
The exact cause of this accident is unknown. Normally if the lines are attached to the correct locations on the kite and aren't tangled with each other or with foreign objects, proper kite control should be maintained. Normal, careful preflighting should catch such irregularities before you launch and are trying to deal with an out of control, very powerful kite and a potential very hard impact. Wearing basic safety gear may have made a difference in terms of the injuries suffered. Also an effective knife may have allowed the rider to cut himself free although being towed at high speed may have unduly complicated this effort. The KSI has more than one accident in which the first time use of new equipment in well powered conditions figured. Always try out new gear in light to moderate conditions. Also, always very carefully preflight your gear before going out and particularly in well powered conditions. Review the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines for preflighting tips.

47. Incident # 6 02 6 "Lines Drag Rider" Location: Germany
Date: June 29, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An intermediate rider with about one years experience was out with a Naish 12 m X2 inflatable kite in strong sideshore winds about 17 to 27 kts. There were .5 to 1 m waves (1 to 3 ft.).
The rider had dropped his kite and was assisted by the witness to relaunch. The witness noticed the guys kite back on the water a short time later. The witness rode up to him and was told that one of his leading edge or chickenloop lines had broken. The witness told the rider to retrieve his kite and took the rider's board to shore for him about 200 m (660 ft. away). When the witness returned he noticed that the rider's kite was drifting away free from him. The witness went to the kite and brought it to shore for the rider.
The rider related what had happened to him. The rider had tried to swim to the bar and wrap up only one line to retrieve the kite. He had just grabbed the bar when the kite powered up and one of the lines tangled around his foot. The rider was dragged presumably at speed and with some force considering the wind speed foot first. The rider was dragged underwater for extended period to where he became very short of breath. He managed to grab his the hook knife from the pocket on his Dakine harness reach up and cut the line that had tangled his foot.

Lessons learned
1. Carry a hook knife and preferably a spare.
2. Practice kite recovery techniques while in the water. Be prepared to cut your lines if things go wrong in this process.
3. Always kiteboard with and keep track of others.
4. Wearing a flotation jacket and gloves may have helped in this situation.
5. Always be ready to deal with the unexpected, particularly in higher winds.
Commentary
Going offshore in waves with 400 ft. or 133 m of line makes tangling a serious reality. Considering the very substantial kite forces, the possibility of drowning or being dragged into a hard collision, carrying effective, easy to find cutting tools is an obvious precaution. Having additional safety gear such as a good helmet, flotation vest, whistle and gloves may make an important difference in how an emergency situation works out. Leave all this stuff at home or worse, in the store, and you may have deliberately stacked the deck against yourself when things go wrong. When things go wrong you need all the factors that you can assemble in your favor. Skill alone is often not enough or even a significant factor when something bad happens.

46. Incident # 6 02 5 "Rider Fatality in Puerto Rico" Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Date: June 23, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
1. The accident occurred off Ocean Park, last Sunday, after 5 pm, June 23, 2002. This day is a holiday, San Jaun Baptista (sp). It is a day when people attempt to go into the water at least 12 times during before midnight. It is a very popular day for the beach and water activities.
2. The rider, an apparently healthy 23 year old man weighing about 155 lbs. had been kiteboarding for about one year and was proficient on the water. He could jump and do transitions. He had been windsurfing for many years prior to that time.
3. It was reported to be a beautiful day with about 15 kiteboarders and 30 windsurfers out with steady easterly, onshore winds around 12 to 15 kts. The area is reported to be free of rocks and other hard objects offshore with a water depth of about 10 ft.
4. The rider was out on a twintip board without a board leash, with a 12 m North kite with a modified leash system. It was stated that the leash was converted from a wrist attachment to a harness spreader bar attachment. The fixed leash attachment was reported to have been transferred from the back line to the chicken loop (front or leading edge), lines. It appears as though the modified leash system did not fully depower the kite as described below. I should receive wingspan and leash length measurements and will post that information when I have it.
5. The rider had been seen making jumps. At one point he was seen body dragging and in control. Within about 15 minutes later he was seen being dragged along with his kite relaunching, flying down into the water and subsequently relaunching. The kite would spiral in this fashion as the rider was dragged towards the beach. So even though the leash was activated, the kite was not fully depowered. The rider was stated not to be tangled in any of his lines but had let go of his bar.
6. Police on jet skies intercepted the rider. The rider was unconscious and being dragged by the kite. The officers were having trouble dealing with the kite and so they cut the lines. Another kiteboarder grabbed the powered up kite and deflated the leading edge. The victim showed no vital signs and the beach and did not respond to CPR. A nearby ambulance took the victim to the hospital where he was pronounced as deceased.
7. It has been stated that the autopsy ruled that death occurred due to drowning. Further confirmation of this may be given shortly. No evidence of impact trauma or obvious cause of drowning was reported from the autopsy or noted when the victim was brought to the beach. An apprent line burn was noted on one of the victims ankles. It is not known when this burn occurred, before, during or after the accident.
In summary, this kiteboarder died due to drowning apparently induced by unknown causes. It is not known if the improperly rigged kite leash contributed to his death or not. There was no evidence currently of impact that would have caused him to lose consciousness. It is not known if there was a preexisting medical condition that contributed to the drowning. It does not appear that there was sufficient wind power with that sized kite to drag a conscious rider under long enough to drown him under normal conditions. It has been estimated that the rider's accident occurred close to shore at perhaps around 300 ft. The victim was not wearing a helmet or impact/flotation vest.
Lessons learned
1. Wearing a flotation jacket may have helped in this situation.
2. Always kiteboard with and keep track of others.
3. Carry a hook knife and preferably a spare.
4. Make sure that your kite depowering leash is in good repair and has been physically tested for proper performance with the kite you are flying.
Commentary
The cause of this drowning is unknown. Some speculation follows on possible causes. Drowning may have been caused by the rider losing consciousness due to an unrelated medical condition. Without a flotation jacket the rider may have rolled over on his face and while being dragged and drown. Another possible explanation would be that the rider was tangled by the ankle and pulled under to where he couldn't breathe. With an ineffective depowering leash such a scenario would be feasible in stronger winds but is uncertain under the reported wind conditions. The winds were marginal for such an occurrence but in an emergency many things can happen. Going offshore in waves with 400 ft. or 133 m of line makes tangling a serious reality. Carrying effective, easy to find cutting tools is an important precaution. Having additional safety gear such as a good helmet, flotation vest, whistle and gloves may make a critical difference in how an emergency situation works out. An incident that may relate similar circumstances is described in 43. Incident # 6 02 3.
Even though it is not known if the kite leash figured as a cause for this accident or not, it is still critical that all riders verify proper, reliable leash function. Please do the practical leash test and other appropriate evaluation of your system. The test is described at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...20Information/


45. Incident # 6 02 4 "Bridle Tangle Drags Rider" Location: Yaverland, Isle of Wight, UK
Date: June 22, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An advanced kiteboarder with 3 years experience was trying to relaunch his Airblast 11.8 m kite in 13 to 15 kt. sideshore winds. He had pulled in on the lines and was swimming towards the kite to initiate a normal relaunch. He tangled his right leg in his right back line and was suddenly pulled leg first at about 3 to 4 kts. pulling his head underwater. He tried to free himself but could not. He pulled the hook knife that came with his Dakine harness and cut both the kite line and leader line on either side of his leg. His friends saw that he was in trouble and came out to help him and to recover his kite. He had changed his leader lines out with some spectra core rope that sink and felt that this contributed to his becoming tangled.
Lessons learned
1. Always carry an easily reachable, sharp knife and/or hook knife.
2. Make important decisions earlier than later while you still have energy to manage things.
3. Never kiteboard alone.
4. Use floating leader lines.
Commentary
Although no injury resulted, one could have. We are all at risk of tangling in our lines. Carrying good, accessible knives makes good sense.
This sport has a way of giving lessons that aren't real easy to anticipate sometimes i.e. don't use heavier than water leader lines. It takes a lot of other things to be in place, i.e. safety gear, friends, early reactions, to come out of things smoothly.





44. Incident #6 02 4 "Rider Fatality in Germany" Location: Zingst, Germany
Date: June 7, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3
Summary
Silke Gorldt, a pro rider was competing in the Kitesurf-Event FD-Tour in the Baltic Sea. Winds were slightly onshore 17 to 27 kts. Silke was flying an 8 to 9 m four line inflatable kite. She had come in within about 25 m (85 ft.), of shore and was tacking to reverse her direction of travel. Silke's kite became tangled with a male competitor's kite who was also riding in the area. The other rider unhooked in an attempt to have better kite control. Silke did not unhook at this time. The two kites did not separate but apparently powered up in a gust or through displacement of the kites into the power zone. The overwhelming force ripped the control bar out of the male riders hands. The released kite control bar slide up along Silke's lines and caught leaving the second kite anchored above her kite. The pair of kites began to spiral rapidly in the center of the power zone developing tremendous force. Silke was pulled horizontally across two wooden groins or erosion control structures and into a fence on the beach. She was observed to be trying to unhook in the first few seconds after she was being dragged horizontally. Her overall distance of travel was approximately 150 m (500 ft.).
First aid was rendered immediately and she was transported to the hospital by emergency helicopter. She died on the way to the hospital. The exact cause of death is not known. She was not wearing a helmet or impact vest.
Lessons learned
1. Kiteboarders should always aware of their kites position and particularly the proximity of objects and other riders that might catch their kite lines.
2. Kiteboarders should always ride 60 m (200 ft.) or more upwind of hard objects. If they ride closer than that distance of hard objects, ideally they should not be hooked in.
3. All kiteboarders should carefully consider using quick release loops. Silke reportedly was observed to try to unhook. As such she may have had time to activate such a quick release.
4. Snap shackle chicken loop attachments pose different hazards but if one had been in use it is possible that she may have had time to activate such a release.
5. If you are in an emergency situation you should be ready to very rapidly release your kite and activate your depowering leash. Hesitation may commit you to a serious accident.
Commentary
Proper awareness of the surroundings particularly of other riders would have avoided this outcome. Most competitors at the time of Silke's accident didn't use basic safety equipment such as kite depowering leashes, quick release loops, helmets, flotation/impact vests or gloves. As of the time of this writing most still don't use these simple aids in recent major competitions.
The use of a safety leashes and quick release loops by both riders may have averted this sad accident. The dynamics of tangled kites in overpowered conditions make absolute conclusions about the proper functioning of kite leashes uncertain. It is certainly possible that a kite leash may have averted the outcome of this accident. The use of quick release loops or even properly rigged and maintained snap shackles may have stopped this accident from occurring.
Traditional leash designs would likely interfere with many common tricks and potentially threaten the safety of riders and others if used. Traditional leash designs interfere with spinning control bars and may cause tangling. Some new leash designs in existence and in development at the time of this accident are supposedly are more conducive to most of the tricks and riding habits of such kiteboarders. Evaluation reports are still coming in on these new systems.
It is clear from this accident and many others that skill is by no means a reasonable substitute for use of minimum safety gear. The wide popularity of this belief is unfortunate and will likely lead to avoidable accidents and injuries in the future. This fundamental belief about skill being sufficient is very strongly seated in the kiteboarding community among not only competitors but also many experienced riders. As such it appears that more accidents and incidents will have to occur to compel competition organizers, competitors and competitor sponsors to bring about reasonable safety improvements.
When things go wrong, basic safety gear may be all that saves a rider from serious injury or worse. It is reasonable that riders pushing the extreme limits of this sport in terms of power, speed and height would need such protections more than more routine riders, particularly when go wrong. From the circumstances described is does not appear that there would have been adequate time to cut the leaders with a knife. A knife should still be routinely carried by all kiteboarders for those times when there is sufficient time to cut your way free of a serious accident.

43. Incident # 6 02 3 "Grab Leashes Sometimes ... Don't" Location: San Francisco Bay, Ca, USA
Date: June 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary

An advanced intermediate rider was out on a North Rhino 12 m kite in 18 to 20 mph winds side offshore with high gusts to 25 mph and substantial lulls to 5 mph. The rider had come into the beach to land. He waited for about two minutes signaling for an assisted landing to the kiteboarders onshore. None responded to his request for aid in landing his kite. The rider was hit by a lull and then a strong gust. He was worried about being lofted on to the rocks that were just downwind. He popped his snap shackle release and reached for his grab leash while his lines were slack in the lull. He missed reaching the grab leash before the gust hit. He flew the kite away from shore and was hit by another gust that yanked the bar out of his hands.
Once the rider lost his grip, the kite was turned into a fast moving runaway heading towards a bridge that is about a mile away downwind. Two observers noted the runaway kite and one started running full speed along a bike path in an attempt to intercept it. He was concerned about potential harm the kite might cause to bystanders, access to this launch and the kite itself.
During the chase the observer was concerned about the kite launching up into the roadway on the bridge or into an adjoining roadway, in either case potentially causing an accident.
The observer ran into the water near the bridge to intercept the kite. He was then hailed by the rider that lost the kite.
The rider hitched a ride by car to the area of the bridge from another kiteboarder and had just arrived. Between the two of them they managed to depower, secure the kite and bring it ashore.

**NOTE: A grab leash is a loop or handle that is intended to manually held on to depower the kite. It hangs from one end of the bar and is connected through a hole to one bridle line. Alternatively, the grab loop or handle may attached to a fixed leash as opposed to a slide through design leash.

Conventional leashes are attached to the kiteboarder and intended to activate automatically when the bar is released. Grab handles rely upon the kiteboarder keeping a grip on the kite throughout the bar release and until the kite is depowered.
Lessons learned
1. Grab leashes or any other leash that isn't attached to the rider is dangerously unreliable.
2. Grab leashes are not an acceptably safe alternative to a properly secured leash system.
3. ALL kiteboarders need to give other riders assistance at all times. Access to this and other launches could be sacrificed, people injured and gear damaged through indifference to this essential courtesy. Helping other riders needs to be second nature and without delay. Many incidents have happened in the period of waiting when the rider is close to hard objects.
Commentary
Grab leashes have come into favor by some experienced riders and even some pro's as alternative to going out without any leash whatsoever. If everything goes well grab leashes should work acceptably. Then again, if everything goes well, particularly for an experienced rider or pro they may never actually use a leash. The point is that things don't always go well. The KSI is full of stories where things have gone wrong in varying degrees of severity with a variety of unexpected injuries coming out of it.
All riders need to wear reliable, well maintained and tested leashes. Past secured leash designs may interfere with some riders technique and tricks. Given new leash designs hopefully these excuses are no longer valid or soon will be. Lack of kite leash use is putting public safety and kiteboarder access at risk. If you injure someone or their property and aren't using a leash you may be in at a serious legal disadvantage legally and may take a major hit in terms of liability. There is NO ACCEPTABLE EXCUSE to ride without a proper leash in populated areas. Lack of leash use may have contributed to a recent pro rider fatality. In summary, grab leashes are insufficiently reliable and are not an acceptable alternative to a proper kite leash system. The rider indicated that three pro riders have released runaway kites at this launch in the last month under similar circumstances. Apparently structures upwind on shore create a zone of dirty, gust air over this riding area routinely.
We really need to pull together more as a community in kiteboarding. If you are the only one standing on a dock and a boat pulls up with one person onboard, most of us would offer to help with the lines without thought. The difference in kiteboarding is that people can be hurt while waiting or attempting a solo landing.
So, if you see someone coming in to land, imagine them getting lofted into rocks or trees unless you hurry up pronto to help out. Hopefully you will be given the same treatment. If not, those images may sometimes become reality and it would be a shame for your indifference to have contributed to the accident.




42. Incident # 6 02 2 "Serious Uplift Lofting" Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Date: June 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
This incident occurred in a part of New Zealand with abundant narrow beaches often bordered by dangerous obstacles (roads, power lines, buildings) and the wind is nearly always gusty due to the proximity of several mountain ranges in the area. The wind coming off the mountains forms rotor or turbulent cascading wind that creates highly gusty wind conditions. Kiteboarding, as with any type of flying in rotor conditions, can be very challenging and potentially dangerous.

A well experienced kiteboarder was out with a Cabrinha 15.5 m inflatable kite in 10 kt. onshore winds and was riding into shore to change to a larger board as the wind was dropping and he was going on and off plane. As he was walking in across the beach with his kite at a 45 degree angle above the ground, he was hit by a 16 to 20 kt. gust, possibly up to 25 kts over the dunes. No squalls were evident and such gusty conditions are relatively common in the area. He was dragged about 30 m (100 ft.), inland into the area where other riders were rigging up. Two people grabbed him and tried to anchor him in place. Although he tried, he couldn't unhook from the chicken loop. The rider was consciously keeping the kite low to the ground to avoid being lofted.
He was wrenched free of the people that were trying to hold him in place by another gust. One bystander though he was going to be slammed at speed into the dune but the rider continued to gain altitude, cleared the 4 m (15 ft.) high sand dunes and disappeared behind them. He subsequently flew over the car park and was fully expecting to clear the house and road behind the dunes. Bystanders estimated that he was lofted to a height of about 9 m (30 ft.) and his overall horizontal distance of travel was about 60 m (200 ft.), through the air. He managed to control the kite and land just in front of a house, unhook from the chicken loop and let go of the bar to depower the kite. At this point the kite leash ripped off of his wrist. After flying another 50 m (170 ft.), the kite dived violently and landed leading edge down missing a moving car by 2-3 ft. A split second laterthe bar crashed into the power pylon sending sparks everywhere and the leaving the kite fully powered leading edge down in the road. Luckily it blew to the side of the road and didn't move to much after that. The rider about traveled about 60-80 m (200 to 270 ft.). The kite flew about 150 m (500 ft) overall.
They ended up with 3 police cars and a guy from the electricity company to unhook the bar from the power lines, while the kite lay fully inflated and potentially powered up by the side of the road. The rider injured his knee and expects to have a month of rehab before he can kiteboard again.
Lessons learned
1. The rider concluded that he should have released the kite while he was being dragged down the beach while it was still possible.
2. It is good that this rider practiced anti-lofting techniques by keeping his kite low. However in the face of overpowering gusts as in the case of 32. Incident# 3 3 02 or uplift from vertical surfaces such as the dunes, this technique may not help. Please see "How to try to avoid lofting" at the same location as this resource for more information on these techniques.
3. Riders in Wellington are faced with kiteboarding in frequent gusty, rotor wind conditions but there is a limit for safe kiteboarding. A change in wind direction was predicted that would cause the wind to pass over an offshore island contributing to rotor conditions.
Local knowledge is a must in such areas and given the challenging wind conditions decisions on whether to fly or come in should be conservatively made by persons with adequate experience. These conditions are definitely not suitable for new kiteboarders.
4. NEVER fly your kite upwind and near vertical surfaces that can cause uplift lofting such as hills, walls, buildings, dense trees, etc.
5. Don't wait until you are close to danger, release your control bar earlier than later. Many accounts are described in the KSI where riders couldn't unhook from the chicken loop. Use of a quick release loop seems to be indicated and/or using a snap shackle. It is important to release the chicken loop sooner than later as there may not be sufficient time after the gust hits to react.
6. Always use a kite good, well-maintained kite-depowering leash. This rider indicated the he is going to stop using wrist cuff leashes and go to one that is attached to his harness by a snap shackle. He had a wrist cuff pull off his hand once before. There is growing evidence that some leashes will fail if hit by the load of a well powered kite. This may be intended by the manufacturers to avoid breaking bones or dragging the rider. In theory, if the leash fully depowers the kite, quickly, the load that is imparted on the rider should be of short duration and hopefully manageable. The alternative of sending an out of control runaway kite downwind is unacceptable in many areas. The alternatives include not riding in such powered or potentially powered conditions or modifying the leash to be more resilient to loading.
7. Always wear good safety gear including a helmet, impact vest, gloves and a whistle at a minimum.
8. This rider was wearing an impact vest and a harness with a handle. The impact vest covered up the handle blocking access to it by the two riders that tried to assist. An exposed handle may have allowed them to maintain a hold on the rider. It would be good for manufacturers to produce an impact vest for kiteboarding that also permitted full use of a variety of purpose built harnesses.
Commentary
This was a significant lofting incident and could have resulted in serious injuries. A month off of the water is nothing to take lightly however. Riders should avoid gusty onshore conditions particularly when upwind of vertical surfaces. If riders have little choice in riding in such conditions it would be best to be very conservative in terms skill, techniques and safety gear. Local knowledge is critical before kiteboarding in such conditions and then only if you are properly equipped and conditions are well within your experience. When things go wrong, having a few of these factors on your side can make all the difference if luck isn't on your side. Several lessons have been repeated through several of the incidents in the KSI including using a quick release loop and/or snap shackle, have a good, well maintained leash that has been physically tested with the size kite you are flying under controlled conditions.
(see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...%2C%202002.htm)
Rehearse reacting to emergency scenarios frequently, test your gear to improve the odds of a rapid, correct response. Finally, wearing suitable safety gear such as a good helmet, impact vest, cut resistant gloves, hook knife, whistle and boots can reduce or eliminate injuries.

41. Incident # 6 02 1 "Pro Rider Uplift Lofted" Location: Jockey's Ridge, Cape Hatteras, NC, USA
Date: June 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
Dimitri Maramentides, a pro rider, was rigged with a 10 m Cabrinha CO2 kite in 32 to 35 mph winds that had shifted onshore. He was getting some riding in before leaving town for the competition in Waddell Creek, Ca. He was carving a turn about 200 ft. offshore and was overpowered. He raised his kite to near the zenith to reduce speed and power. This resulted in his skipping over the water. At one point approximately 40 ft. off the beach he was lofted from the water. There were some trees about 15 ft. away from the water's edge that likely created uplift with the strong onshore winds. His kite was just over the trees when he was lofted. He flew inland into the first tree that was about 15 ft. from the water's edge. He hung on to the tree for as long as he could with his kite fully powered up and was eventually ripped free. He was slingshotted about 20 ft. straight up from this tree and was spinning in 360 degree rotations but was still in control. He tried to keep the kite straight over head to reduce his horizontal speed and distance of travel.
At about this point he concluded, as did some bystanders, that "he was going to die." He decided to focus on staying calm, working through things a best as he could and pretend that he was over water doing a routine move. He flew another 25 ft. into a second tree that broke on impact. He flew into a third tree and hung on. There were no more trees downwind of this point but a parking lot. While he was hanging on he fully depowered his kite with the trimming strap. He didn't want to unhook and release his kite as there were powerlines downwind and he felt responsible for his kite. He said he didn't want to put others at risk with the consequences of a runaway kite, it was his problem to deal with. As he was hanging on to the third tree he shifted his kite back towards the beach and let go. He flew back towards the water and managed to hit on his side on the beach and managed to get things under control. He suffered scratches but no serious injury from this incident.
Lessons learned
1. Dimitri said that if he had to do it over again he would stay further offshore and/or rig a smaller kite.
2. If you have sufficient skill, pretending that you are airborne in a typical jump or trick has potential survival value in a lofting incident. In this case and in 37. Incident # 5 02 3m, advanced rider skill during in-flight maneuvering reduced potential severe impact and injury. So remember to "fly the kite" at all times and if you can shift your direction of travel back towards water while lofted and away from hard objects it may be worth a try.
3. Dimitri is a very experienced pro rider who typically rigs big and overpowered by inclination, after all "it is his job." For most of the rest of us, several other lessons apply including:
a. Never rig too a large kite to where you are excessively overpowered.
b. Avoid onshore winds and if you must go out in them, stay 300 ft. or further from hard objects at all costs.
c. Never be too close to shore, in onshore overpowered conditions. Your margin for error will be unacceptably small if things go wrong.
d. Always rig a functioning, tested depowering leash. If things start to go wrong, use it.
e. Always were safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest and gloves at a minimum.
f. NEVER allow your kite to come near or into uplift associated with the windward face of a vertical surface. Such vertical surfaces include trees, walls, buildings, ridges, cliffs, dikes. Uplift along a dike resulted in a kiteboarding fatality as described in 7. Incident # 5 01 1.
Commentary
Expert riders enjoy a great level of control and skill than many of the rest of us. As a consequence of having such skill and being able to perform certain tricks such riders often abandon use of kite leashes, helmets, impact vests and other safety gear. Normally, skill will preserve health and safety for the rider and hopefully bystanders. However the reality is that all riders of all skills have bad days and lose control. Hopefully use of safety gear will grow in the ranks of pro riders in the future. For the rest of us, safety gear may be all that saves us from severe injury or worse if things go wrong. Hanglider pilots in the area speculated that thermal lofting may have played a role in this accident. Jockey's Ridge is a popular ridge soaring and thermaling area. If thermal lofting occurred this would be the second time after incident 8. # 6 01 1 that happened in Oahu last year. In any case avoid flying your kite over thermal generating terrain.

40. Incident # 6 02 1 "Fishing for Kiteboarders" Location: Ft. Pierce, FL, USA
Date: June 9, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
A very experienced kiteboarder was riding 100 yds. from the beach in onshore wind conditions and just south of an inlet jetty. There was a shark fisherman casting off a projection that extends south 100 yds. south of the main jetty. As the rider was heading offshore he was hailed by the shark fisherman and asked to come closer. The fisherman then cast a line with a lure with three large bare treble hooks at the rider. The hooks just missed the rider's head and caught on his trimming strap. The fisherman then tried to reel in the rider while screaming obscenities. The rider powered up his kite to leave the area and broke the fisherman's line. The fisherman was joined by his wife in trying to hit the rider with large 5 oz. sinkers. The fisherman was later arrested for assault.
Lessons learned
1. Avoid coming within casting distance of fishermen no matter how friendly they may seem to be.
2. Carry a hook knife.
3. Always kiteboard with others. The rider's friend called the police while the rider was still dealing with the fisherman.

Commentary
Several other incidents from various parts of the world were reported online relating similar experiences with vindictive fisherman trying to snag riders. In most cases the line contacted the riders but fortunately the hooks missed digging into skin. Apparently such incidents are not so uncommon as one would think.
It is funny to hear about these stories however serious injury including potentially blindness could result from such an incident. One fisherman even threatened a rider with a knife unless he miraculously expelled all the kiteboarders from the area. Giving fishermen and all bystanders a wide breadth while riding as a matter of course makes good sense. Kiteboarders sometimes generate irrational hostilities in others, so be careful out there.
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Old 09-10-2004, 08:49 PM
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54. Incident # 9 02 1 "Kiteboarder Fatality in Spain" Location: Valencia, Spain
Date: September 2, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 4
Summary
A new kiteboarder of about two months experience was preparing to launch his approximate 16 m, four line Naish kite. A storm was approaching and other kiteboarders had told him not to launch his kite in the imminent storm conditions. The new kiteboarder said he could handle things, ignored this advice and went back to setting up his kite. It was indicated that this new kiteboarder had shown over-confidence in his abilities in the past and was not receptive to advice. It was indicated that the kiteboarder was still working on getting up on his board. He was flying his kite while hooked into the chicken loop on the beach for about 5 to 6 minutes, apparently with the intent of body dragging in the water. Suddenly a storm gust hit, lofted the kiteboarder inland over an unspecified distance towards some town home dwellings along the shoreline. Following impact the man got up, apparently uninjured while still hooked in and walked towards the kite carrying his control bar. A second gust hit, estimated to be on the order of 35 to 40 kts. and carried the rider a short distance into a privacy wall around a town home. The kiteboarder was not wearing a helmet and died as a result of the impact. The over all horizontal distance of travel was estimated to be 10 m (33 ft.).
Lessons learned
1. Always take adequate kiteboarding lessons. The price of learning on your own may be too high.
2. Always avoid unstable squally weather. Check weather predictions, real-time wind reports and color radar out in advance of your kiteboarding session. If excessive gusty or stormy weather is in the area or moving towards your area, don't go kiteboarding. While out kiteboarding always be aware of weather conditions and come in well in advance of serious wind speed, direction or temperature changes related to storms. If in doubt, come in.
3. Never approach your kite while attached to your control bar unless an assistant is firmly holding your kite. If you must walk up to your kite under these conditions, grasp one line only and carefully walk towards the kite while maintaining tension on this one line only.
4. Gloves are a good idea if this technique is used. It would be safest for the kiteboarder however not necessarily for bystanders to remove your kite leash after tensioning the one line but before walking towards the kite.
5. Don't launch hooked in or attached to your bar, particularly if you are new to kiteboarding. Rehearse letting go of your bar to activate your leash. Test your leash in advance of trouble to improve the chances of it working properly (see link listed below).
6. Never fly your kite onshore for extended periods. Launch it with the kite near the water, raise it high enough to clear obstacles (20 to 30 degrees of the land) and go offshore immediately.
7. Always wear appropriate safety gear including at a minimum a well fitting, good quality helmet, an impact pfd, a hook knife(s), a whistle and gloves.
8. Never allow over-confidence to put you into a critically vulnerable position. This will take some self-awareness and honesty, but the price of self-deception may be more than you wish to pay.
9. Review the documents listed under Kiteboarding Resources for ideas on how to potentially kiteboard more safely. The documents and ideas have been prepared from analysis of actual kiteboarding incidents and accidents. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...%20REFERENCES/



Commentary
This accident and fatality could easily have been avoided. It is important to note that this could happen to ANYONE under similar circumstances. Kites are extremely powerful under violent wind gust loading. It was readily predictable, trouble had been anticipated by other riders and good advice given to the new kiteboarder, which was ignored. The kiteboarder apparently trivialized the hazard or didn't bother to consider the logical consequences of his actions. Of course it is unlikely the other kiteboarders would have predicted this severe of an outcome. Kiteboarders that fly near storms should eventually expect violent, sudden winds and potentially serious consequences. Many kiteboarders have been injured to date and some have been killed by the effects of storms or squalls. The only reasonable solution is to use good judgment and knowledge to avoid circumstances such as these. New riders while still learning need to be particularly cautious. Experienced riders need to understand what is at risk and be prepared to be injured if they choose to kiteboard near such conditions. We really need to effectively spread the word about the hazards of unstable stormy weather. Too many riders do not view it as having any real significance. Perhaps cattle in the field show the same lack of concern to a pending lightening storm. We need to learn from these experiences and spread the lessons effectively to our fellow riders. This puts particular burdens on kiteboarding retailers, instructors, associations and the media. If we wish to avoid, avoidable accidents and occasional fatalities this communication needs to effectively occur. Additional information on storms and kiteboarding appears in the General References at the Internet location listed above.
Additional information appears at:
A newspaper account:
http://www.elpais.es/articulo.html?d...chor=elpepinac
And information from an Internet forum:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpBB/viewt...2072&forum=1&7


52. Incident # 02 1 "Over-powered Launch Injures Rider" Location: 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA, USA
Date:August 14, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
A kiteboarder of unspecified experience had requested an assisted launch of his Cabrinha CO2 9.4 m four line LEI in steady 18-22 MPH onshore winds. He had apparently been out recently with a CO2 7.2 m and was underpowered. He did not want to make that mistake on this day. The rider was launching in the chicken loop with his kite fully powered up. The launch layout compelled the assisted launch to occur with the kite more downwind or closer to the center of the wind window than at the side of the wind window, i.e. the rider is launched "hot." The assistant is uneasy about the launch circumstances but rationalized that if the rider depowered his kite fully and he should be able to run to grab the rider if he is dragged.
The kite is released , the rider stumbles through two steps, falls and is immediately dragged across the ground fast, bouncing on his hips, legs and shoulders. The rider gets pulled thru muddy pond with his head underwater, then is slammed into rock embankment with sickening force. At this point, the kite stopped flying, which was unexpected under the circumstances but very fortunate. The assisting kiteboarder ran over, unbuckled his harness, discerned that he didn't have anything life threatening happening, and had a golfer call 911. Paramedics, fire truck and ambulance arrived quickly and rapidly transported the injured rider to the hospital. Reportedly the rider had been told by his instructor that the 9.4 m kite was too large for the conditions. The rider was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd. The kiteboarder was diagnosed with chipped bones in his ankle and knee, fractured wrist, and will required emergency hand surgery.
Miraculously the rider had no head or spinal cord injuries.
Lessons learned
1. Launch in conditions and at a location within your ability and experience, with suitable equipment, in a safe manner.
2. If you underestimate the power of your kite, gusting winds, or launch selection it can be easy to be injured.
2. Refer to the steps described in the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and other appropriate practices to try to improve your kiteboarding safety.
3. Always try to launch your kite from a portion of the wind window appropriate for the wind speed evident. That is if you are at the higher end of the wind range for a given kite, launch with the kite at about 70 to 80 degrees off the wind, if you are in the middle of the wind range, launch at around 90 degrees and if you are at the bottom end of the wind range for the kite consider launching at 90 to 120 degrees off the wind as appropriate. Your kite upon release should gradually rise under control and not pull the rider with undue pressure.
4. One approach that is generally safer is to launch with your kite closer to the water than the rider. If you are dragged you should be dragged into the water as opposed to upland. Bring your kite up only about 15 to 25 degrees from the ground and immediately go offshore. DO NOT BRING YOUR KITE TO THE VERTICAL OR ZENITH WHILE ONSHORE OR NEAR HARD OBJECTS.
5. If you decide to hook or snap shackle into your chicken loop or harness line, even with a quick release function, you should assume that someday you will be injured by this practice. I safer course of action is never to hook in or connect to your control bar during launch.
6. Always wear safety gear including at a minimum a good helmet appropriate for kiteboarding, an impact pfd, hook knives, whistle and gloves.
7. Be particularly cautious in onshore winds. Choosing not to launch in such winds may save you injury someday, regardless of your level of skill.
Commentary
This was another unfortunate, avoidable accident. If fortune had not been with this rider he could have very easily been killed, at several points in this accident. Probability dictates that we will have only so many narrow escapes along with other less fortunate accident outcomes. We really need to take the power and potential hazards of this sport in all seriousness. Review and follow the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines and other appropriate practices. This type of accident has been repeated in the KSI. We really need to approach this sport with more care otherwise every once in a while a rider will be injured, sometimes severely. People often trivialize the risks of this sport or worse never even stop to consider them or to take adequate professional instruction.

51. Incident # 7 02 4 "Surprise Injures Kiteboarder" Location: El Yaque, Isla Margarita,Venezuela
Date: July 14, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An experienced rider was kiteboarding from Playa el Yaque to Coche Island over a distance of about 5 to 6 miles. He was flying a Rhino 12 m LEI kite in 19 to 24 kt. conditions. He had almost reached the shore of Coche Island and was trying to pass at full power between a local native fishing boat and the shore. He was riding through a 200 m (660 ft.) gap and felt he had plenty of room. Suddenly a long narrow net rope, called a "mecate" rose up out of the water to the riders neck level when he was only a few yards away. He steered away from the line and tried to jump the fishing boat. It was too late and the rider crashed his head into the boat.
He was knocked unconscious for about 3 minutes while for part of that time the kite was pulling him with his head beneath the water. The rider was senseless until he was brought to the beach. A jet ski rider came up and pulled his quick release loop setting the kite free. Some other people helped him ashore. Until the jet ski rider pulled the quick release the kite was still powered up and attached as the bystanders didn't know how to release the snap shackle.
After a few hours he was transported to the hospital by the "Defensa Civil de Venezuela" and Hotel El Yaque Paradise staff. He was in the hospital for 3 days with head injury and while connected to a pump for emptying fluid from his lungs and stomach.
Lessons Learned
1. In kiteboarding "distance is your friend." Gusts, water craft, windsurfers, kiteboarders, anchor and tow lines, hard objects can suddenly come too close. Kiteboarders often just can't react quickly enough to avoid impact. As in the case of following distances while driving, allow yourself adequate reaction time, if not someday you may have your own accident. If in doubt about coming too close to something, stay away!
2. Always wear safety gear including at a minimum a good helmet appropriate for kiteboarding, an impact pfd, hook knives, whistle and gloves. A good helmet would have probably helped and possibly a impact pfd to minimize this rider's injuries.
Commentary
This rider was having a great time, well powered and shredding along. He came close to a boat and things changed rapidly, too rapidly. Most riders would not think that the boat might raise a line at anytime. If the kiteboarder had hit a taught line at speed serious injury could have resulted from that as well. In some sense this accident might be deemed unavoidable, except for using caution near and in general avoiding hard objects. Another remote possible reaction would have been for the rider to perform a sudden transition. If he was too close however this would not work. When you are traveling at speed awareness, analysis and reaction can devour critical time for action. Such steps are inevitable and necessary. The only alternative is to try to use distance to permit you adequate time to safely react.

50. Incident # 7 02 2 "Tied Up In Kite Line & Violently Dragged" Location: Newport, OR, USA
Date: July 1, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An advanced rider with 3 yrs kiteboarding and 25 yrs. windsurfing experience was out in the open ocean with a Wipika Freeair 6.5 m kite in 26 to 28 mph, side offshore conditions and 6 ft. or higher waves. He was riding downwind of a jetty that is perpendicular to shore. He was in the company of three other kiteboarders and they were all wave riding. The advanced rider turned and allowed a wide breadth of about 100 ft. from the nearest kiteboarder. That kiteboarder launched a jump, possibly one of his first jumps, to a height of about 10 ft. but extended the jump a substantial distance and landed immediately downwind of the advanced rider. Just before the incoming rider lands, the experienced rider tried to turn moving his kite down from the vertical but tried to move too late. The newly arrived kiteboarder turns his kite in the wrong direction and wraps the lines of the advanced rider. Both kites suddenly dive towards the water at high speed. The newly arrived kiteboarder drops his bar and was apparently not using a depowering leash. The advanced rider was showered in line resulting in getting tied up with wraps around his neck, board, arms and legs. He furiously clawed at getting the lines off of his neck and succeeded just before the kites relaunched. He was then lofted/dragged about 20 to 30 ft. The rider had let go of his bar but it was tied to him by kite line so the depower function did not work.
He had one hand free and repeated tried to grab his hook knife from the back of his harness but was being lofted up and flung down about five or six times. He was about to lose consciousness by the impacts. He was wearing a helmet but no gloves. He estimated that he coverage about 1000 yds. in this fashion. His kite had a panel blown out at this point and was spiraling at high speed. The spiraling resulted in his being even more tightly tied up against his board. He was also being dragged offshore to the west and into higher seas. The runaway kite was strangely stable, flying off the water and out to sea at this point. One of his friends rode up to try to help but couldn't figure out anything to do that would help. He then went into shore to try to get a windsurfer to come out with a knife to help cut the rider free. He came to a reckoning that either his gear went or he would not last much longer. He reached down and worked his board leash free, which allowed his ankles to become untied. He then worked to loosen the lines enough to free his other arm. He then was able to the two kites free of him. The rider then worked into shore through some pretty heavy surf while a friend swam out to help him in. All the gear eventually washed up on the beach. A line had cut into his board and his kite was torn and tattered. The runaway kite, ironically was undamaged.
Lessons learned
1. It would be a good idea to carry more than one knife, in different locations. Cave divers sometimes carry up to five knives and they have only one line and relatively low forces to deal with as a rule.
2. When you are riding near other kiteboarders, within 300 ft., consider never having your kite near the vertical or zenith.
Commentary
Mention is frequently made in the KSI about avoiding, avoidable accidents. This is one of the rare accidents that might be considered to be unavoidable to some degree. After all the other rider was about 100 ft. away and next he was close and within tangling range. If the other rider was also advanced he might have avoided wrapping lines but then again perhaps not. About the only thing that might have helped would have been to have had other knives in locations that the rider might have been able to reach. Having an impact pfd could help as could a helmet. This rider was very fortunate to have come through this extreme accident intact. This accident underscores how kiteboarding may always be considered an "extreme sport." The higher the wind, the higher the stakes when things go wrong.

49. Incident # 7 02 2 "Severe Board Leash Impact" Location: Brouwersdam, Holland
Date: July 7, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
A kiteboarder was out in variable side offshore winds estimated at 14-15 knot with
gusts to 17-18 knots and lulls to 11 knots in relatively calm water and at low tide. The rider was out with an unidentified kite about 15-18m2. The rider made a jump near the shore but fell upon landing. The leash hurled the board against the rider's head, who then immediately lost consciousness. Fortunately two other riders saw the incident and rescued the injured person. He regained consciousness at the beach and was flown by rescue helicopter to the hospital in Rotterdam. The rider was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd.

The rider was originally reported to have died as a result of an automatic internet translation error. It is understood that not only did the rider survive, he is also recovering.
Lessons learned
1. New riders should develop competent body dragging and kite control skills before trying to learn to beach or water start on a board.
2. Leash use should be discouraged. Temporary reel leash use on an as needed basis may reduce the risk to the rider posed by the leash.
3. Kiteboarders should wear good helmet and impact pfds along with other basic safety gear.
4. Gage weather conditions carefully and if in doubt about your ability to safely fly in the conditions, don't go kiteboarding.
Commentary
There have been a great number of board leash induced head injuries worldwide. Only a few of them have been discussed in the KSI. With proper body dragging skills, which are relatively easily acquired, the hazard posed by board leashes far outweigh potential benefits. Serious injuries have also been experienced with reel leashes so they are not proof against problems either. Some conventional wind has it that if you use a leash you should wear a helmet. All kiteboarders should routinely wear helmets regardless of board leash considerations. Several riders have been injured THROUGH helmets by board impacts propelled by leashes. Also there is no assurance that a leash propelled board will cooperate and impact your helmet. It could easily hit your face or neck. Working to avoid using or preferably, never start using a board leash is the safer course of action.

48. Incident # 7 02 1 "Major Dragging Accident" Location: Gurnsey, Channel Islands, UK
Date: July, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
A rider was out in 17 to 27 kt. winds with an Airblast 4.9 m inflatable kite with rigged for the first time with at S-2 Lock in Bar. Upon launching the kite at the edge of the water on the beach, the rider noticed a twist in the lines that he thought he could cure by rotating the bar once the kite was airborne. Upon rotating the bar the shackle swivel locked resulting in the strap twisting in the fairlead or channel on the side of the bar. He then rotated the bar back into the original position with the lines still twisted. While all this was going on the rider was being dragged at high speed estimated to be around 30 mph. He pulled the chicken loop quick release snap shackle when he came within 50 m (170 ft.) of a seawall and some boulders. The QR snap shackle failed to open. The rider positioned his feet in front of him and hit the boulder at high speed on his backside. The QR opened upon impact with the boulder freeing his kite. The rider's screaming brought assistance and he was taken to the hospital for treatment. The kiteboarder estimates that he was dragged 150 m across the water. His injuries included a crush vertebra, fractured pelvis and a very sore, stitched rear. He was released from the hospital but confined to bed rest. He expects to resume kiteboarding after an approximate 3 month recuperation period.
He was not wearing a helmet or impact pfd. The rider felt that there was no irregularity in how the lines were attached to the kite.
Lessons learned
1. Always carefully preflight your gear before launching. In higher winds doing 2 to 3 preflights would not be excessive.
2. Never try out new gear, kites, bars or boards, in anything stronger than light to moderate winds. Small mistakes are often severely punished in well powered conditions.
3. Always wear a good helmet, impact pfd and knife(s).
Commentary
The exact cause of this accident is unknown. Normally if the lines are attached to the correct locations on the kite and aren't tangled with each other or with foreign objects, proper kite control should be maintained. Normal, careful preflighting should catch such irregularities before you launch and are trying to deal with an out of control, very powerful kite and a potential very hard impact. Wearing basic safety gear may have made a difference in terms of the injuries suffered. Also an effective knife may have allowed the rider to cut himself free although being towed at high speed may have unduly complicated this effort. The KSI has more than one accident in which the first time use of new equipment in well powered conditions figured. Always try out new gear in light to moderate conditions. Also, always very carefully preflight your gear before going out and particularly in well powered conditions. Review the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines for preflighting tips.

47. Incident # 6 02 6 "Lines Drag Rider" Location: Germany
Date: June 29, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An intermediate rider with about one years experience was out with a Naish 12 m X2 inflatable kite in strong sideshore winds about 17 to 27 kts. There were .5 to 1 m waves (1 to 3 ft.).
The rider had dropped his kite and was assisted by the witness to relaunch. The witness noticed the guys kite back on the water a short time later. The witness rode up to him and was told that one of his leading edge or chickenloop lines had broken. The witness told the rider to retrieve his kite and took the rider's board to shore for him about 200 m (660 ft. away). When the witness returned he noticed that the rider's kite was drifting away free from him. The witness went to the kite and brought it to shore for the rider.
The rider related what had happened to him. The rider had tried to swim to the bar and wrap up only one line to retrieve the kite. He had just grabbed the bar when the kite powered up and one of the lines tangled around his foot. The rider was dragged presumably at speed and with some force considering the wind speed foot first. The rider was dragged underwater for extended period to where he became very short of breath. He managed to grab his the hook knife from the pocket on his Dakine harness reach up and cut the line that had tangled his foot.

Lessons learned
1. Carry a hook knife and preferably a spare.
2. Practice kite recovery techniques while in the water. Be prepared to cut your lines if things go wrong in this process.
3. Always kiteboard with and keep track of others.
4. Wearing a flotation jacket and gloves may have helped in this situation.
5. Always be ready to deal with the unexpected, particularly in higher winds.
Commentary
Going offshore in waves with 400 ft. or 133 m of line makes tangling a serious reality. Considering the very substantial kite forces, the possibility of drowning or being dragged into a hard collision, carrying effective, easy to find cutting tools is an obvious precaution. Having additional safety gear such as a good helmet, flotation vest, whistle and gloves may make an important difference in how an emergency situation works out. Leave all this stuff at home or worse, in the store, and you may have deliberately stacked the deck against yourself when things go wrong. When things go wrong you need all the factors that you can assemble in your favor. Skill alone is often not enough or even a significant factor when something bad happens.

46. Incident # 6 02 5 "Rider Fatality in Puerto Rico" Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Date: June 23, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
1. The accident occurred off Ocean Park, last Sunday, after 5 pm, June 23, 2002. This day is a holiday, San Jaun Baptista (sp). It is a day when people attempt to go into the water at least 12 times during before midnight. It is a very popular day for the beach and water activities.
2. The rider, an apparently healthy 23 year old man weighing about 155 lbs. had been kiteboarding for about one year and was proficient on the water. He could jump and do transitions. He had been windsurfing for many years prior to that time.
3. It was reported to be a beautiful day with about 15 kiteboarders and 30 windsurfers out with steady easterly, onshore winds around 12 to 15 kts. The area is reported to be free of rocks and other hard objects offshore with a water depth of about 10 ft.
4. The rider was out on a twintip board without a board leash, with a 12 m North kite with a modified leash system. It was stated that the leash was converted from a wrist attachment to a harness spreader bar attachment. The fixed leash attachment was reported to have been transferred from the back line to the chicken loop (front or leading edge), lines. It appears as though the modified leash system did not fully depower the kite as described below. I should receive wingspan and leash length measurements and will post that information when I have it.
5. The rider had been seen making jumps. At one point he was seen body dragging and in control. Within about 15 minutes later he was seen being dragged along with his kite relaunching, flying down into the water and subsequently relaunching. The kite would spiral in this fashion as the rider was dragged towards the beach. So even though the leash was activated, the kite was not fully depowered. The rider was stated not to be tangled in any of his lines but had let go of his bar.
6. Police on jet skies intercepted the rider. The rider was unconscious and being dragged by the kite. The officers were having trouble dealing with the kite and so they cut the lines. Another kiteboarder grabbed the powered up kite and deflated the leading edge. The victim showed no vital signs and the beach and did not respond to CPR. A nearby ambulance took the victim to the hospital where he was pronounced as deceased.
7. It has been stated that the autopsy ruled that death occurred due to drowning. Further confirmation of this may be given shortly. No evidence of impact trauma or obvious cause of drowning was reported from the autopsy or noted when the victim was brought to the beach. An apprent line burn was noted on one of the victims ankles. It is not known when this burn occurred, before, during or after the accident.
In summary, this kiteboarder died due to drowning apparently induced by unknown causes. It is not known if the improperly rigged kite leash contributed to his death or not. There was no evidence currently of impact that would have caused him to lose consciousness. It is not known if there was a preexisting medical condition that contributed to the drowning. It does not appear that there was sufficient wind power with that sized kite to drag a conscious rider under long enough to drown him under normal conditions. It has been estimated that the rider's accident occurred close to shore at perhaps around 300 ft. The victim was not wearing a helmet or impact/flotation vest.
Lessons learned
1. Wearing a flotation jacket may have helped in this situation.
2. Always kiteboard with and keep track of others.
3. Carry a hook knife and preferably a spare.
4. Make sure that your kite depowering leash is in good repair and has been physically tested for proper performance with the kite you are flying.
Commentary
The cause of this drowning is unknown. Some speculation follows on possible causes. Drowning may have been caused by the rider losing consciousness due to an unrelated medical condition. Without a flotation jacket the rider may have rolled over on his face and while being dragged and drown. Another possible explanation would be that the rider was tangled by the ankle and pulled under to where he couldn't breathe. With an ineffective depowering leash such a scenario would be feasible in stronger winds but is uncertain under the reported wind conditions. The winds were marginal for such an occurrence but in an emergency many things can happen. Going offshore in waves with 400 ft. or 133 m of line makes tangling a serious reality. Carrying effective, easy to find cutting tools is an important precaution. Having additional safety gear such as a good helmet, flotation vest, whistle and gloves may make a critical difference in how an emergency situation works out. An incident that may relate similar circumstances is described in 43. Incident # 6 02 3.
Even though it is not known if the kite leash figured as a cause for this accident or not, it is still critical that all riders verify proper, reliable leash function. Please do the practical leash test and other appropriate evaluation of your system. The test is described at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...20Information/


45. Incident # 6 02 4 "Bridle Tangle Drags Rider" Location: Yaverland, Isle of Wight, UK
Date: June 22, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An advanced kiteboarder with 3 years experience was trying to relaunch his Airblast 11.8 m kite in 13 to 15 kt. sideshore winds. He had pulled in on the lines and was swimming towards the kite to initiate a normal relaunch. He tangled his right leg in his right back line and was suddenly pulled leg first at about 3 to 4 kts. pulling his head underwater. He tried to free himself but could not. He pulled the hook knife that came with his Dakine harness and cut both the kite line and leader line on either side of his leg. His friends saw that he was in trouble and came out to help him and to recover his kite. He had changed his leader lines out with some spectra core rope that sink and felt that this contributed to his becoming tangled.
Lessons learned
1. Always carry an easily reachable, sharp knife and/or hook knife.
2. Make important decisions earlier than later while you still have energy to manage things.
3. Never kiteboard alone.
4. Use floating leader lines.
Commentary
Although no injury resulted, one could have. We are all at risk of tangling in our lines. Carrying good, accessible knives makes good sense.
This sport has a way of giving lessons that aren't real easy to anticipate sometimes i.e. don't use heavier than water leader lines. It takes a lot of other things to be in place, i.e. safety gear, friends, early reactions, to come out of things smoothly.





44. Incident #6 02 4 "Rider Fatality in Germany" Location: Zingst, Germany
Date: June 7, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3
Summary
Silke Gorldt, a pro rider was competing in the Kitesurf-Event FD-Tour in the Baltic Sea. Winds were slightly onshore 17 to 27 kts. Silke was flying an 8 to 9 m four line inflatable kite. She had come in within about 25 m (85 ft.), of shore and was tacking to reverse her direction of travel. Silke's kite became tangled with a male competitor's kite who was also riding in the area. The other rider unhooked in an attempt to have better kite control. Silke did not unhook at this time. The two kites did not separate but apparently powered up in a gust or through displacement of the kites into the power zone. The overwhelming force ripped the control bar out of the male riders hands. The released kite control bar slide up along Silke's lines and caught leaving the second kite anchored above her kite. The pair of kites began to spiral rapidly in the center of the power zone developing tremendous force. Silke was pulled horizontally across two wooden groins or erosion control structures and into a fence on the beach. She was observed to be trying to unhook in the first few seconds after she was being dragged horizontally. Her overall distance of travel was approximately 150 m (500 ft.).
First aid was rendered immediately and she was transported to the hospital by emergency helicopter. She died on the way to the hospital. The exact cause of death is not known. She was not wearing a helmet or impact vest.
Lessons learned
1. Kiteboarders should always aware of their kites position and particularly the proximity of objects and other riders that might catch their kite lines.
2. Kiteboarders should always ride 60 m (200 ft.) or more upwind of hard objects. If they ride closer than that distance of hard objects, ideally they should not be hooked in.
3. All kiteboarders should carefully consider using quick release loops. Silke reportedly was observed to try to unhook. As such she may have had time to activate such a quick release.
4. Snap shackle chicken loop attachments pose different hazards but if one had been in use it is possible that she may have had time to activate such a release.
5. If you are in an emergency situation you should be ready to very rapidly release your kite and activate your depowering leash. Hesitation may commit you to a serious accident.
Commentary
Proper awareness of the surroundings particularly of other riders would have avoided this outcome. Most competitors at the time of Silke's accident didn't use basic safety equipment such as kite depowering leashes, quick release loops, helmets, flotation/impact vests or gloves. As of the time of this writing most still don't use these simple aids in recent major competitions.
The use of a safety leashes and quick release loops by both riders may have averted this sad accident. The dynamics of tangled kites in overpowered conditions make absolute conclusions about the proper functioning of kite leashes uncertain. It is certainly possible that a kite leash may have averted the outcome of this accident. The use of quick release loops or even properly rigged and maintained snap shackles may have stopped this accident from occurring.
Traditional leash designs would likely interfere with many common tricks and potentially threaten the safety of riders and others if used. Traditional leash designs interfere with spinning control bars and may cause tangling. Some new leash designs in existence and in development at the time of this accident are supposedly are more conducive to most of the tricks and riding habits of such kiteboarders. Evaluation reports are still coming in on these new systems.
It is clear from this accident and many others that skill is by no means a reasonable substitute for use of minimum safety gear. The wide popularity of this belief is unfortunate and will likely lead to avoidable accidents and injuries in the future. This fundamental belief about skill being sufficient is very strongly seated in the kiteboarding community among not only competitors but also many experienced riders. As such it appears that more accidents and incidents will have to occur to compel competition organizers, competitors and competitor sponsors to bring about reasonable safety improvements.
When things go wrong, basic safety gear may be all that saves a rider from serious injury or worse. It is reasonable that riders pushing the extreme limits of this sport in terms of power, speed and height would need such protections more than more routine riders, particularly when go wrong. From the circumstances described is does not appear that there would have been adequate time to cut the leaders with a knife. A knife should still be routinely carried by all kiteboarders for those times when there is sufficient time to cut your way free of a serious accident.

43. Incident # 6 02 3 "Grab Leashes Sometimes ... Don't" Location: San Francisco Bay, Ca, USA
Date: June 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary

An advanced intermediate rider was out on a North Rhino 12 m kite in 18 to 20 mph winds side offshore with high gusts to 25 mph and substantial lulls to 5 mph. The rider had come into the beach to land. He waited for about two minutes signaling for an assisted landing to the kiteboarders onshore. None responded to his request for aid in landing his kite. The rider was hit by a lull and then a strong gust. He was worried about being lofted on to the rocks that were just downwind. He popped his snap shackle release and reached for his grab leash while his lines were slack in the lull. He missed reaching the grab leash before the gust hit. He flew the kite away from shore and was hit by another gust that yanked the bar out of his hands.
Once the rider lost his grip, the kite was turned into a fast moving runaway heading towards a bridge that is about a mile away downwind. Two observers noted the runaway kite and one started running full speed along a bike path in an attempt to intercept it. He was concerned about potential harm the kite might cause to bystanders, access to this launch and the kite itself.
During the chase the observer was concerned about the kite launching up into the roadway on the bridge or into an adjoining roadway, in either case potentially causing an accident.
The observer ran into the water near the bridge to intercept the kite. He was then hailed by the rider that lost the kite.
The rider hitched a ride by car to the area of the bridge from another kiteboarder and had just arrived. Between the two of them they managed to depower, secure the kite and bring it ashore.

**NOTE: A grab leash is a loop or handle that is intended to manually held on to depower the kite. It hangs from one end of the bar and is connected through a hole to one bridle line. Alternatively, the grab loop or handle may attached to a fixed leash as opposed to a slide through design leash.

Conventional leashes are attached to the kiteboarder and intended to activate automatically when the bar is released. Grab handles rely upon the kiteboarder keeping a grip on the kite throughout the bar release and until the kite is depowered.
Lessons learned
1. Grab leashes or any other leash that isn't attached to the rider is dangerously unreliable.
2. Grab leashes are not an acceptably safe alternative to a properly secured leash system.
3. ALL kiteboarders need to give other riders assistance at all times. Access to this and other launches could be sacrificed, people injured and gear damaged through indifference to this essential courtesy. Helping other riders needs to be second nature and without delay. Many incidents have happened in the period of waiting when the rider is close to hard objects.
Commentary
Grab leashes have come into favor by some experienced riders and even some pro's as alternative to going out without any leash whatsoever. If everything goes well grab leashes should work acceptably. Then again, if everything goes well, particularly for an experienced rider or pro they may never actually use a leash. The point is that things don't always go well. The KSI is full of stories where things have gone wrong in varying degrees of severity with a variety of unexpected injuries coming out of it.
All riders need to wear reliable, well maintained and tested leashes. Past secured leash designs may interfere with some riders technique and tricks. Given new leash designs hopefully these excuses are no longer valid or soon will be. Lack of kite leash use is putting public safety and kiteboarder access at risk. If you injure someone or their property and aren't using a leash you may be in at a serious legal disadvantage legally and may take a major hit in terms of liability. There is NO ACCEPTABLE EXCUSE to ride without a proper leash in populated areas. Lack of leash use may have contributed to a recent pro rider fatality. In summary, grab leashes are insufficiently reliable and are not an acceptable alternative to a proper kite leash system. The rider indicated that three pro riders have released runaway kites at this launch in the last month under similar circumstances. Apparently structures upwind on shore create a zone of dirty, gust air over this riding area routinely.
We really need to pull together more as a community in kiteboarding. If you are the only one standing on a dock and a boat pulls up with one person onboard, most of us would offer to help with the lines without thought. The difference in kiteboarding is that people can be hurt while waiting or attempting a solo landing.
So, if you see someone coming in to land, imagine them getting lofted into rocks or trees unless you hurry up pronto to help out. Hopefully you will be given the same treatment. If not, those images may sometimes become reality and it would be a shame for your indifference to have contributed to the accident.




42. Incident # 6 02 2 "Serious Uplift Lofting" Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Date: June 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
This incident occurred in a part of New Zealand with abundant narrow beaches often bordered by dangerous obstacles (roads, power lines, buildings) and the wind is nearly always gusty due to the proximity of several mountain ranges in the area. The wind coming off the mountains forms rotor or turbulent cascading wind that creates highly gusty wind conditions. Kiteboarding, as with any type of flying in rotor conditions, can be very challenging and potentially dangerous.

A well experienced kiteboarder was out with a Cabrinha 15.5 m inflatable kite in 10 kt. onshore winds and was riding into shore to change to a larger board as the wind was dropping and he was going on and off plane. As he was walking in across the beach with his kite at a 45 degree angle above the ground, he was hit by a 16 to 20 kt. gust, possibly up to 25 kts over the dunes. No squalls were evident and such gusty conditions are relatively common in the area. He was dragged about 30 m (100 ft.), inland into the area where other riders were rigging up. Two people grabbed him and tried to anchor him in place. Although he tried, he couldn't unhook from the chicken loop. The rider was consciously keeping the kite low to the ground to avoid being lofted.
He was wrenched free of the people that were trying to hold him in place by another gust. One bystander though he was going to be slammed at speed into the dune but the rider continued to gain altitude, cleared the 4 m (15 ft.) high sand dunes and disappeared behind them. He subsequently flew over the car park and was fully expecting to clear the house and road behind the dunes. Bystanders estimated that he was lofted to a height of about 9 m (30 ft.) and his overall horizontal distance of travel was about 60 m (200 ft.), through the air. He managed to control the kite and land just in front of a house, unhook from the chicken loop and let go of the bar to depower the kite. At this point the kite leash ripped off of his wrist. After flying another 50 m (170 ft.), the kite dived violently and landed leading edge down missing a moving car by 2-3 ft. A split second laterthe bar crashed into the power pylon sending sparks everywhere and the leaving the kite fully powered leading edge down in the road. Luckily it blew to the side of the road and didn't move to much after that. The rider about traveled about 60-80 m (200 to 270 ft.). The kite flew about 150 m (500 ft) overall.
They ended up with 3 police cars and a guy from the electricity company to unhook the bar from the power lines, while the kite lay fully inflated and potentially powered up by the side of the road. The rider injured his knee and expects to have a month of rehab before he can kiteboard again.
Lessons learned
1. The rider concluded that he should have released the kite while he was being dragged down the beach while it was still possible.
2. It is good that this rider practiced anti-lofting techniques by keeping his kite low. However in the face of overpowering gusts as in the case of 32. Incident# 3 3 02 or uplift from vertical surfaces such as the dunes, this technique may not help. Please see "How to try to avoid lofting" at the same location as this resource for more information on these techniques.
3. Riders in Wellington are faced with kiteboarding in frequent gusty, rotor wind conditions but there is a limit for safe kiteboarding. A change in wind direction was predicted that would cause the wind to pass over an offshore island contributing to rotor conditions.
Local knowledge is a must in such areas and given the challenging wind conditions decisions on whether to fly or come in should be conservatively made by persons with adequate experience. These conditions are definitely not suitable for new kiteboarders.
4. NEVER fly your kite upwind and near vertical surfaces that can cause uplift lofting such as hills, walls, buildings, dense trees, etc.
5. Don't wait until you are close to danger, release your control bar earlier than later. Many accounts are described in the KSI where riders couldn't unhook from the chicken loop. Use of a quick release loop seems to be indicated and/or using a snap shackle. It is important to release the chicken loop sooner than later as there may not be sufficient time after the gust hits to react.
6. Always use a kite good, well-maintained kite-depowering leash. This rider indicated the he is going to stop using wrist cuff leashes and go to one that is attached to his harness by a snap shackle. He had a wrist cuff pull off his hand once before. There is growing evidence that some leashes will fail if hit by the load of a well powered kite. This may be intended by the manufacturers to avoid breaking bones or dragging the rider. In theory, if the leash fully depowers the kite, quickly, the load that is imparted on the rider should be of short duration and hopefully manageable. The alternative of sending an out of control runaway kite downwind is unacceptable in many areas. The alternatives include not riding in such powered or potentially powered conditions or modifying the leash to be more resilient to loading.
7. Always wear good safety gear including a helmet, impact vest, gloves and a whistle at a minimum.
8. This rider was wearing an impact vest and a harness with a handle. The impact vest covered up the handle blocking access to it by the two riders that tried to assist. An exposed handle may have allowed them to maintain a hold on the rider. It would be good for manufacturers to produce an impact vest for kiteboarding that also permitted full use of a variety of purpose built harnesses.
Commentary
This was a significant lofting incident and could have resulted in serious injuries. A month off of the water is nothing to take lightly however. Riders should avoid gusty onshore conditions particularly when upwind of vertical surfaces. If riders have little choice in riding in such conditions it would be best to be very conservative in terms skill, techniques and safety gear. Local knowledge is critical before kiteboarding in such conditions and then only if you are properly equipped and conditions are well within your experience. When things go wrong, having a few of these factors on your side can make all the difference if luck isn't on your side. Several lessons have been repeated through several of the incidents in the KSI including using a quick release loop and/or snap shackle, have a good, well maintained leash that has been physically tested with the size kite you are flying under controlled conditions.
(see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...%2C%202002.htm)
Rehearse reacting to emergency scenarios frequently, test your gear to improve the odds of a rapid, correct response. Finally, wearing suitable safety gear such as a good helmet, impact vest, cut resistant gloves, hook knife, whistle and boots can reduce or eliminate injuries.

41. Incident # 6 02 1 "Pro Rider Uplift Lofted" Location: Jockey's Ridge, Cape Hatteras, NC, USA
Date: June 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
Dimitri Maramentides, a pro rider, was rigged with a 10 m Cabrinha CO2 kite in 32 to 35 mph winds that had shifted onshore. He was getting some riding in before leaving town for the competition in Waddell Creek, Ca. He was carving a turn about 200 ft. offshore and was overpowered. He raised his kite to near the zenith to reduce speed and power. This resulted in his skipping over the water. At one point approximately 40 ft. off the beach he was lofted from the water. There were some trees about 15 ft. away from the water's edge that likely created uplift with the strong onshore winds. His kite was just over the trees when he was lofted. He flew inland into the first tree that was about 15 ft. from the water's edge. He hung on to the tree for as long as he could with his kite fully powered up and was eventually ripped free. He was slingshotted about 20 ft. straight up from this tree and was spinning in 360 degree rotations but was still in control. He tried to keep the kite straight over head to reduce his horizontal speed and distance of travel.
At about this point he concluded, as did some bystanders, that "he was going to die." He decided to focus on staying calm, working through things a best as he could and pretend that he was over water doing a routine move. He flew another 25 ft. into a second tree that broke on impact. He flew into a third tree and hung on. There were no more trees downwind of this point but a parking lot. While he was hanging on he fully depowered his kite with the trimming strap. He didn't want to unhook and release his kite as there were powerlines downwind and he felt responsible for his kite. He said he didn't want to put others at risk with the consequences of a runaway kite, it was his problem to deal with. As he was hanging on to the third tree he shifted his kite back towards the beach and let go. He flew back towards the water and managed to hit on his side on the beach and managed to get things under control. He suffered scratches but no serious injury from this incident.
Lessons learned
1. Dimitri said that if he had to do it over again he would stay further offshore and/or rig a smaller kite.
2. If you have sufficient skill, pretending that you are airborne in a typical jump or trick has potential survival value in a lofting incident. In this case and in 37. Incident # 5 02 3m, advanced rider skill during in-flight maneuvering reduced potential severe impact and injury. So remember to "fly the kite" at all times and if you can shift your direction of travel back towards water while lofted and away from hard objects it may be worth a try.
3. Dimitri is a very experienced pro rider who typically rigs big and overpowered by inclination, after all "it is his job." For most of the rest of us, several other lessons apply including:
a. Never rig too a large kite to where you are excessively overpowered.
b. Avoid onshore winds and if you must go out in them, stay 300 ft. or further from hard objects at all costs.
c. Never be too close to shore, in onshore overpowered conditions. Your margin for error will be unacceptably small if things go wrong.
d. Always rig a functioning, tested depowering leash. If things start to go wrong, use it.
e. Always were safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest and gloves at a minimum.
f. NEVER allow your kite to come near or into uplift associated with the windward face of a vertical surface. Such vertical surfaces include trees, walls, buildings, ridges, cliffs, dikes. Uplift along a dike resulted in a kiteboarding fatality as described in 7. Incident # 5 01 1.
Commentary
Expert riders enjoy a great level of control and skill than many of the rest of us. As a consequence of having such skill and being able to perform certain tricks such riders often abandon use of kite leashes, helmets, impact vests and other safety gear. Normally, skill will preserve health and safety for the rider and hopefully bystanders. However the reality is that all riders of all skills have bad days and lose control. Hopefully use of safety gear will grow in the ranks of pro riders in the future. For the rest of us, safety gear may be all that saves us from severe injury or worse if things go wrong. Hanglider pilots in the area speculated that thermal lofting may have played a role in this accident. Jockey's Ridge is a popular ridge soaring and thermaling area. If thermal lofting occurred this would be the second time after incident 8. # 6 01 1 that happened in Oahu last year. In any case avoid flying your kite over thermal generating terrain.

40. Incident # 6 02 1 "Fishing for Kiteboarders" Location: Ft. Pierce, FL, USA
Date: June 9, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
A very experienced kiteboarder was riding 100 yds. from the beach in onshore wind conditions and just south of an inlet jetty. There was a shark fisherman casting off a projection that extends south 100 yds. south of the main jetty. As the rider was heading offshore he was hailed by the shark fisherman and asked to come closer. The fisherman then cast a line with a lure with three large bare treble hooks at the rider. The hooks just missed the rider's head and caught on his trimming strap. The fisherman then tried to reel in the rider while screaming obscenities. The rider powered up his kite to leave the area and broke the fisherman's line. The fisherman was joined by his wife in trying to hit the rider with large 5 oz. sinkers. The fisherman was later arrested for assault.
Lessons learned
1. Avoid coming within casting distance of fishermen no matter how friendly they may seem to be.
2. Carry a hook knife.
3. Always kiteboard with others. The rider's friend called the police while the rider was still dealing with the fisherman.

Commentary
Several other incidents from various parts of the world were reported online relating similar experiences with vindictive fisherman trying to snag riders. In most cases the line contacted the riders but fortunately the hooks missed digging into skin. Apparently such incidents are not so uncommon as one would think.
It is funny to hear about these stories however serious injury including potentially blindness could result from such an incident. One fisherman even threatened a rider with a knife unless he miraculously expelled all the kiteboarders from the area. Giving fishermen and all bystanders a wide breadth while riding as a matter of course makes good sense. Kiteboarders sometimes generate irrational hostilities in others, so be careful out there.
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39a. Incident # 5 01 2 "Newbie hot Launch Into Condominium Unit" Location: East Florida
Date: May 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts:2 Added 10_23_04


Summary

A new kiteboarder was trying to figure out how to fly his 19 m flat area Naish four line kite in onshore winds averaging around 15 to 18 mph. He had not used a trainer kite or had lessons prior to this session. He had poor kite control and was overpowered. A few experienced kiters came up and tried to talk the guy into obtaining lessons and said that what he was doing was dangerous. The newbie ignored this sensible advice and continued to try to fly this kite. He crashed his kite into some trees directly in front of a two story condominium bordering the beach. A friend climbed up and released his kite and hand launched him directly downwind into the center of the wind window in overpowered conditions. The rider was lofted over the trees over 20 ft. high and was hurled into some sliding glass doors of a second story unit . The rider burst through the glass doors with substantial force and as a result a window on the far side of the condo was smashed outward. The condo occupants were having dinner and were fortunately out of the way of the rider and flying glass reportedly. The new kiter was taken the hospital but remarkably wasnít seriously injured.

Lessons learned

1. It is not hard to find new kiters with full sized traction kites spending extended periods of time on land. Often these people are not receptive to well intended advice. Still, we need to speak with them as tactfully and effectively as we can.

2. Once new kiters are ready to move on from a training kite to a full size traction kite they should start body dragging in the water in side to side onshore winds in the lower rated range for their kite.

2. Avoid onshore winds.

3. Don't perform "hot" launches.

4. Avoid overpowered conditions particularly if you are new.

5. Where a good helmet, impact vest and other safety gear as appropriate.

Commentary

Kites can be deceptively powerful. People seem to be prone to ignore good advice in some cases. This has lulled many into easily avoided injuries, some severe over the years. This rider was very fortunate not to have been killed or suffered a head injury which easily could have been fatal. Onshore winds create substantial barriers to learning for new kiters and should be strictly avoided with land launch with a full sized traction kite. We all have a stake in NOT sending new kiters out without strong recommendations for adequate instruction, including retailers and riders selling used gear. Lost access, sales and possible liability suits are both possible and ideally avoidable with reasonable care. Our numbers are growing too great to allow for some much experimentation, easily avoided injury and negative public attention.



39. Incident # 5 02 5 "Use Experienced Kite Assistants" Location: Long Island, NY, USA
Date: May 28, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
A new kiteboarder was just going to launch a Naish AR5 9.5 m inflatable four line kite in 15 to 20 mph winds. His girlfriend offered to give him an assisted launch.
The rider went over the correct way to hold and launch the kite. The girlfriend apparently misunderstood the proper procedure as she proceeded to walk downwind towards the center of the wind window. The rider yelled at her to just put the kite down. A gust came up and started to launch the kite from her hands. The rider then released his bar to activate his depower leash. The girlfriend suffered line burns on her arm and leg.
Lessons learned
1. Never have inexperienced people assist you with launching or landing kites.
Commentary
Fortunately, no serious injury came about in this incident only a lesson. There are many stories of miscommunication, premature kite launch and the like that have resulted in accidents. It is best to have few, very clear signals for holding, launching and landing kites with trained assistants. I recently had an experience when my girlfriend went to catch my kite. She has been helping me land kites for over two years.
She apparently didn't look like she knew what she was doing to two bystanders who jumped in and promptly managed to relaunch my kite. One of the bystanders actually was hanging on to all four lines. So, make sure your assistant is prepared to tell bystanders in no uncertain terms loudly if necessary to please stay away, they might lose fingers if they try to help.

38. Incident # 5 02 4 "Serious Tampa Dragging" Location: Tampa, FL, USA
Date: May 15, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
A new kiteboarder was practicing downwind runs in 15 to 28 mph winds with a Slingshot inflatable four line kite of undesignated size. He would walk back upwind through the shallows between downwinders. He had some kiteboarding training but was still working on basic techniques. He was suddenly dragged by a strong gust, closer to some mangrove trees located downwind. He then released his control bar in an attempt to depower the kite. The kite didn't depower but dragged him at speed into the mangrove trees breaking several ribs and collapsing a lung. A kiteboarding instructor was in the area and saw the injured rider (not his student), secured the kite and took the rider to the hospital.
Lessons learned
1. Don't walk or stand with your kite aloft for extended periods of time. It is better to land the kite and carry it while you are walking.
2. If you are upwind of hard objects practice anti-lofting kiteboarding techniques. Please see "How to Try to Avoid Lofting" included with this resource for more information on these techniques.
3. Don't wait until you are close to an impact or obstacle, release your control bar earlier than later while you still have time and space.
4. Always use a kite good, well maintained kite depowering leash. Don't rely excessively on your depowering leash as it may not work under certain circumstances.
5. Always wear good safety gear including a helmet, impact vest, gloves and a whistle at a minimum.

Commentary
The kite and depowering leash were thoroughly checked out by the kiteboarding instructor that helped out. He found it all to appear to be functioning properly. It is theorized that when the bar was released the rider was close enough to the trees to where a line caught on a branch and prevented proper depowering resulting in the accident. All riders should regularly checkout all their kite gear and particularly the kite depowering leash. The leash should be strong and not likely to break or tangle.
Always practice anti-lofting kite techniques, regardless of weather conditions, even if the wind appears to be stable. Wearing a helmet and impact vest could have significantly reduced this riders injuries.
Jeff Weiss of Kitemare.com suggested the following simple leash test that ALL KITEBOARDERS SHOULD PERFORM: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...%2C%202002.htm



37. Incident # 5 02 3 "Serious Lofting in Oz" Location: Melbourne, Australia
Date: May 15, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 2

Summary
Two very experienced riders were out kiteboarding in 20 kt winds when a 35 to 40 kt. squall blew in with minimal warning. The riders were behind a breakwater and couldn't see the approach of the squall and didn't observe a change in the visible clouds before it was upon them. One rider was 70 m, (230 ft.), upwind of a house on shore and riding when he was suddenly lofted 6m, (20 ft.) off the water without his board. He was hurled 50 m, (165 ft.), towards the house before he hit the water again. The rider flew the kite away from the direction of travel and the house as if performing a transition. He felt this reduced the overall distance of travel during the lofting. He was pulled at speed barely missing a wooden groin or structure in the shallows. He then let go of his kite control bar to avoid slamming into a brick wall. He had managed to unhook from his chicken loop while still airborne making releasing the control bar possible. This very experienced rider was using a kite depowering leash. The other very experienced rider was having great difficulty in unhooking from his chicken loop and was rigged with a Naish ARX 11.5 m kite. He managed to unhook and release his bar also avoiding slamming into a brick wall. He was also using a kite depowering leash. Both kites landed in the backyard of a nearby house almost hitting a man gardening there.
The rider related another lofting incident that happened to another rider the same day but during an earlier squall. The rider in this earlier incident was on a wide beach and some other riders managed to grab him and hold on after two 50 ft. long loftings over the beach.
Lessons learned
1. Kiteboarders need to avoid squally, unstable weather.
2. Always use a kite depowering leash.
3. Consider using a properly rigged, well maintained snap shackle to possibly aid the release of the chicken loop in an emergency.
4. Rehearse in detail how you will manage various accident scenarios in your head frequently.
Commentary
Many of the more serious accidents in this resource came about in unstable squally weather. Many of the accidents and incidents occurred to experienced to very experienced kiteboarders. Skill doesn't seem to make a lot of difference in avoiding storm induced lofting. The obvious solution is to avoid being put into these circumstances in the first place.
Squalls may come up fast with little visible warning as in this case. The solution is to carefully evaluate the weather in advance of riding through color radar and wind recordings, if available for your area. If such aids aren't available in your area seek local knowledge on normal weather patterns and become thoroughly versed in what to look for and expect. If you are in such an area, it would be advisable to be even more cautious. If it looks like strong storm cells and gusty storm winds are in your area or coming your way, DON'T GO KITEBOARDING.
The earlier lofting of another rider established that this was not a great day for kiteboarding with a reasonable expectation of safety. Of course riders can go out in such conditions frequently and possibly get away with it for a while. Given past experience, simple physics and current safety limitations in kite gear, it is probably that things will get seriously out of control one day during such conditions. The enjoyment of a session in squally unstable weather can be eclipsed by a long recovery time from a serious injury. By keeping his head and continuing to fly his kite, even while lofted, it sounds like this rider was able to reduce the severity of this serious incident. So, his skill paid off, but only after he was flying at high speed towards a possible bad impact.



36. Incident # 5 02 2 "Stuck!" Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA
Date: May 6, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An experienced rider was going to go kiteboarding offshore in steady 15 mph onshore winds. He had launched his Arc 1120 kite and walked out into the tidal pool about 20 ft, sinking about 6 inches into soft silt with each step. He mounted his board and started to ride offshore, edging hard in very shallow water a few inches deep. He struck bottom and one foot came out of the bindings. The resulting torsion caused a compound fracture and dislocated leg and ankle. He will likely need reconstructive surgery and has been advised that he will probably not be up to kiteboarding for about three months. Another kiteboarder at the launch landed this rider's kite and took him to the hospital.
Lessons learned
1. Don't ride in shallow water, particularly with a soft bottom. If you have to walk out a distance or ride in very shallow water over a soft bottom with your kite aloft, consider riding somewhere else.
2. Always ride with someone nearby, preferably another kiteboarder or someone that understands the sport.
3. Carry a whistle to signal for help if things go wrong.
Commentary
Strange things can and do happen in this sport. This rider was wise to have another rider in the area to help. Carefully analyzing conditions and evaluating scenarios before things get out of control is a good idea. The power of a kite to cause harm if things go wrong should never be underestimated.


35. Incident # 5 02 1 "Ignoring Instructions = Serious Lofting" Location: Cabarete, DR
Date: May 3, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
Two riders of unidentified skill level had rented some kiteboarding gear and attempted to set it up. They attempted to rig a 10 m Wipika Freeair in 10 to 20 kts. gusting to 25 kts. sideshore. They rigged the kite incorrectly and sought out some assistance.
One of the beach attendants of the kiteboarding business rerigged one side of the kite but was then called away to take a board to a student. He asked the two riders to wait until his return before rerigging the kite further. The two riders ignored this request and launched the kite. The kite rapidly looped twice in the power zone and lofted the rider through two shade structures, a surfboard sign and into some concrete stairs and a rock wall. The rider was wearing an impact vest and helmet. His helmet left green paint on both the stairs and the rock wall.
He was hospitalized for two days, had multiple stitches and some memory loss. Immediately after the accident the rider had no idea that he was in the Dominican Republic or that he had been setting up for kiteboarding.

Lessons learned

1. Never ride in conditions or with equipment beyond your level of skill or experience.
2. If you are not totally sure that you have rigged your kite correctly and have thoroughly checked by someone who knows your system very well.
3. Always carefully preflight your gear. Refer to the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines in the section that contains this document for one preflighting procedure.
4. Always wear a good helmet and impact vest.

Commentary

This was a serious, avoidable accident. If logical preflighting procedures or the instructions of the attendant were followed this accident never would have happened. It is very fortunate that the rider was wearing safety equipment. The outcome could have been far more serious if he had not been properly equipped. Safety gear such as helmets are worn in many activities routinely such as motorcycle and bicycle riding, and hang gliding. Helmets are not worn because they are needed routinely in these activities, far from it. Many people in these activities never actually need a helmet during an accident through their entire lifetime. They wear helmets to deal with sudden, rare accidents in an attempt to reduce injury or to aid in survival. The rider in this account was very lucky to have been wearing a helmet. It is unfortunate that he is in the vast minority of riders in choosing to take this simple precaution, at this time.

34a. Incident # 4 02 4 "Leash Problems - #3" Location: Foster City CA, USA
Date: April 1,2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An experienced rider was out in 10 to 15 mph side offshore winds with a 12m North kite. He was underpowered and hooked into the static loop. A gust suddenly hit the rider causing him to be slammed on his face and to be dragged. He estimates the gusts to have been 30 to 35 mph. He got back on his board and started to be hit by a gust again. He tried to unhook from the static loop and hook into the chicken loop. As he was doing this the bar was yanked out of his hands by a gust. The leash line had wrapped around his leg and in the gust he was being pulled leg first through the water. He couldn't activate the depowering leash because of this tangle. He disconnected the leash from his harness but it was tightly wrapped around his leg and didn't fly free of him. He was rapidly being pulled offshore and underwater for extended periods through this. He grabbed his board to act as a plane to try to keep his head above water so that he could breath. Eventually there was a lull and the kite crashed to the water. He reached down
and pulled the leash from his leg. He pulled in one entire leader line to manually depower the kite. He then pulled in the kite with one line and detached all lines except for one to take things back into shore. The rider suffered a bruised leg.
Lessons learned
1. Don't go kiteboarding in offshore wind conditions.
2. Don't go kiteboarding in excessively gusty or unstable weather.
3. Don't rely excessively on your kite leash as it may not work. Rehearse various scenarios in your head so that you may react quickly and properly in such situations.
4. More kite leash development and improvements are needed.

Commentary
This account supports the conclusion that sometimes things go wrong and working through things as best as you can is all that you can really do. Luck plays into it as does skill and safety gear. Ultimately, resisting the urge to go out in less than safe conditions should govern.
Carrying a knife is essential should it become necessary to cut yourself free of your gear. This rider used a very good manual depowering and kite disabling technique to help assure that there would be no more surprises on the way to shore.

34. Incident # 4 02 3 "Line Interference Drags Rider" Location: Point Judith, RI, USA
Date: April 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
Winds were SW 15 to 20 kts. As a rider self-launched his Naish 21 m ARX kite he realized that one of his flight lines had been made significantly shorter by a tangled stick. The kite rapidly flew up into the center of the power zone dragging the rider at high speed over several hundred feet. The rider barely missed two metal sign poles, a truck and finally was dragged into a wooden fence. The old and weakened fence yielded on impact. The rider forced his kite down by crashing it into a parking lot on top of windsurfers and beach goers. The rider walked away without reported injury.
Lessons learned
1. Assisted launching is always preferred and particularly when flying in overpowered conditions.
2. It is much easier to look down your lines for problems with assisted launches than with solo launches.
3. If you must solo launch, carefully walk down your lines, several times during preflighting in higher winds.
4. A snap shackle or safety harness line might have made getting free of the kite easier or feasible.
5. A helmet and impact vest may have reduced injuries if the rider connected with hard objects over the several hundred feet distance of the dragging.
Commentary
Careful preflighting would have avoided this accident. When rigging for overpowered conditions become even more careful and methodical than normal. In such conditions the rider must accept a higher likelihood of things going wrong with possible injuries resulting. If you attach yourself to the kite near hard objects you must accept the possibility of being dragged into them if things go wrong.

33. Incident # 4 02 2 "Poor Assisted Launch" Location: Point Judith, RI, USA
Date: April 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
Winds were S 10 kts. A rider was about to do an assisted launch of his Wipika 11.5 m kite. The helper had just attached the lines to the rider's kite. This was a test flight to check out a new control bar system. The helper picked up the kite and walked out until the kite loaded up with wind. He then released the kite without any signal from or to the kiteboarder. The rider quickly realized that his lines had been attached to the kite incorrectly. He was then dragged for 10 to 15 ft at which point he was able to depower the kite. No injuries or kite damage were reported.
Lessons learned
1. Always attach your kite lines yourself. If for some reason you don't do this personally take the time to carefully preflight the lines and other gear yourself.
2. Never have inexperienced people do assisted launches or landings for you.
3. Agree on simple hand and/or verbal signals to coordinate launch and landings. Make sure your assistant is very clear on these signals and under no circumstances will release the kite until properly signaled.
Commentary
Make a set preflight procedure and stick to it, always, just like pilots do. Talk carefully with your assistant about procedures before launching or landing. This was a minor incident but in powered conditions the outcome could have been much more serious.


32. Incident# 3 3 02 "Record Lofting" Location: Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Date of Incident March 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 4
For more information see: http://216.92.244.20/pictures/patoKi...eAir/index.htm
Summary
A 155 lb. (70 kg) kiteboarding instructor of about 2 1/2 years experience on a four-month holiday in Cabarete was rigged with an RRD 11.9 m kite. The wind had been consistently side shore 10 to 15 kts. He noticed a black line of clouds or squall moving in to shore. He came into shore at the west section of Cabarete Bay at Bozo Beach. He lowered his kite to within 3 to 5 m (10 to 16 ft.), off the ground for an assisted landing. He was then hit by a violent wind gust, that he described as an ďexplosion.Ē Wind records from nearby wind meters reported that average winds were 35 kts. with gusts up to 51 kts.
The winds had shifted suddenly from side shore to dead onshore. By the time the rider understood what happened he was flying inland over a building under construction with exposed rebar at an altitude of approximately 20 m (65 ft.). He didnít feel it was safe to pop his snap shackle release at this point. He continued to rise in the gust and at one point estimated his altitude to be 30 m (98 ft.) or higher.
Looking forward he saw no clear area to land but was rapidly flying towards high tension lines and trees. He noticed a pine tree and headed in that direction.
He described the kite handling to be stable but very ďtwitchyĒ with attempted control inputs. He had a few previous experiences hang gliding and paragliding and felt this time at least helped him manage the shock of the flight in part. He was traveling at approximately wind speed or roughly 40 to 45 kts. over ground. He then hit the pine tree, breaking a limb and then rebounded into the trunk.
He then fell down through the tree breaking limbs until he hit the ground. His kite then started to power-up again. At this point he released the snap shackle and his kite flew off to windward where it was heavily damaged. The rider was admitted to the hospital for observation for possible signs of internal organ injury and brain hemorrhaging. He was released two days later and returned to kiteboarding two days after that. He was not wearing a helmet but was wearing an impact vest. The overall horizontal distance traveled was reported to be 250 m (822 ft.).
Lessons Learned
1. If a storm, black clouds or squall line is moving in, get off the water well in advance of the storm and while conditions are still stable and unchanged. Always be aware of weather conditions while you are kiteboarding and be prepared to act quickly if conditions change for the worse. Your kite should be down on the beach and thoroughly anchored well before any change in wind speed or direction or air temperature occurs. At a minimum it would also be a good idea to remove both lines from one side of the kite in case it is swept up in gusts.
2. If you suspect storms may be in the area, check out color weather radar if available in your area. If strong storm cells are moving towards your area, donít go kiteboarding.
3. Donít assume that the current wind direction and speed will persist if a storm hits as it may change both direction and speed violently several times.
4. Another approach that may have helped to avoid this event would have been to:
a) fully pulling in on a long trim strap almost totally depowering the kite while still offshore
b) unsnapped the shackle at that time
c) to have held the control bar while near the shore and landing. When the gust hit, the bar would have been ripped out of his hands.
This approach is different than what most riders currently do. It has recently been suggested as a potentially safer means of managing the kite while near hard object during launch and landings while on or near shore.
5. Always wear safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, gloves and hook knife at a minimum.
Commentary
This rider was incredibly lucky to have come through a flight about 100 ft. in height, over a horizontal distance of over 800 ft. moving at a speed over ground estimated to be on the order of 50 mph, alive and largely uninjured.
The boost in wind speed from 15 kts. to over 50 kts. equates to over ten times the lifting kite power. So if 15 kts. could easily lift this 70 kg. rider, the reality of what 50 kts. could do is astonishing. This rider was lofted by another squall in Europe almost two years ago into a rough landing on the beach.
Another rider at Kitebeach in Cabarete reportedly was lofted into a palm tree and was left hanging on to the tree when he lost his kite. Three other kiteboarders lost their kites, which ended up hanging in two trees and one power line. I was told that no white caps or other surface disturbance signs were noted in advance of the storm cloud. Those that were looking for changing sea conditions and thought "no strong wind was coming", were sadly proved to be very wrong in this case.
Finally, on a very serious note, two girls were admitted to the hospital at the same time as this rider. They had been out parasailing off Puerto Plata about 15 miles to the west when the squall hit. One girl was killed and the other paralyzed. Violent squall winds are a serious hazard to more than just kiteboarders.
The conventional wisdom on how to avoid lofting is to keep your kite low while near hard objects. Apparently in this case either the very high wind speed and/or perhaps inadvertent control bar inputs sent the kite flying up from the ground fully into the power zone. Normally it is expected that violent dragging would occur. Not in this case. Dragging could have easily caused serious injury or death considering the wind speed and associated kite force. Logic dictates that the only proper, reasonably safe way to deal with this situation would be to never be in it in the first place. If squalls are coming, land your kite very soon. Squalls of this level of violence are reportedly rare in Cabarete. They do occur with some regularity in Florida, particularly during the warmer months. They may also be reasonably common in many other parts of the world. If you see a squall coming in, you have no idea whether the wind will die, reverse, boost 5 kts. or 50 kts. or all of the above.
I am reminded of a story about Luftwaffe glider pilots trying to learn about conditions inside cumulonimbus storm clouds just prior to WWII.
Of the original group of 35 pilots I recall that two survived interacting with the incredible violence inside these clouds. Some things are best left alone. Other kiteboarders have been injured by squall winds in several other accounts in this section. Black incoming storm clouds and squalls should be avoided by kiteboarders at all costs.





31. Incident 3 02 02 "Board Leash Injures" Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA
Date: March 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
A new kiteboarder was on a downwind run with a 12 m F one Mach I kite and an F One TT board with a leash. He was moving along quickly in 11 to 12 kt. wind when he wiped out. He fell forward and the board slingshotted into his calf at high speed. The board lacerated his leg causing a 4 to 5 inch gash in his calf. The rider managed to cut his leash with his hook knife and body dragged into shore with his leg bleeding heavily. He was not wearing a helmet. He was then taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment.
A second kiteboarder landed a jump at a launch a week or so earlier at a launch nine miles to the north. He wiped out in the waves, had his board slingshot into his eyebrow badly cutting it. This rider was wearing a helmet. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Lessons Learned
Many riders have suffered board impact injuries because of board leash use. It may be better if riders work on body dragging techniques early on as opposed to transitioning from leash to no-leash use.
Commentary
The steadily rising number of board leash induced injuries makes a strong case for going without board leashes. There doesnít appear to be an easy, reliable option to leash use at this time other than to work on body dragging and to dispense with leash use entirely.
Even if the odd rider loses a board this appears to be more desirable than dealing with some of these serious board injuries. Some riders have had better luck with reel leashes but I understand that they normally have no more than 10 ft. of leash. This may not adequately protect against slingshotting boards. An option that may work in areas with contrary currents is to wear a reel leash but leave it unconnected during routine riding.

30. Incident # 3 02 1 "I Can Handle It" Location: East Coast of Florida, USA
Date: March 1, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary: A kiteboarding instructor and professional kiteboarding competitor with very extensive experience had just completed giving a lesson. He rigged up an Airblast 11.8 m with the steering lines 6 inches shorter than the backlines. The wind was side offshore at 20 mph reportedly.
The kite flew backwards at speed into the power zone as a consequence. Instead of running towards the kite or letting go of the control bar he attempted to fly the kite out of the situation. He was violently pulled into a parked truck nearby in the downwind direction. He broke his femur on impact with the truck. He was pulled on to the hood, over the windshield and roof, and off the back of the truck. Someone tried to hold on to him at this point but was unable due to the major kite loading. He then was dragged into the water without hitting anything else. At that point he was able to crash the kite and pull it in, defusing the situation. He was taken to the hospital for treatment and was released.

Lessons learned
Many lessons are carried by this account; some of the critical ones follow:

1. Always carefully preflight your gear. On high wind days, two or three checks wouldn't be too cautious. In preflighting make certain that your lines are of equal length. Refer to and use the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines (see: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kiteboard/files/)
2. If you have new gear try very hard not to try it out in powered conditions, save the experimentation for a lighter wind day. If you must use new gear check it out very carefully.
3. Never launch upwind within one or preferably more line lengths of anything that you wouldn't want to slam into. All riders lose control sometimes, even a rider of this superior level of skill.
5. Here is another case where a helmet and impact vest could have made an important difference in degree of injury or even actual survival.
6. Use your knowledge to make good, responsible judgments.
Commentary
You can have more experience and skill than virtually any other rider but all that may not save you from bad judgment. This rider had more experience than most kiteboarders but still was unable to safely defuse the situation due to a couple of bad decisions. Excessive over confidence is quite common among many far less experienced riders in Florida (many with less than one year of experience), and no doubt elsewhere. Also, denial that anything bad will come from irresponsible kiteboarding habits is also pretty commonplace.

29b. Incident # 2 02 9 "Leash Accident" Location: Cape Hatteras, NC, USA
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An experienced kiteboarder had just landed a 3 m Liquid Force two line inflatable in 10 to 15 mph in advance of a squall. She used her depowering leash to land the kite. She was still in the water and winding up her leash line on to her bar when the squall hit. Winds rose to approximately 35 mph. Her kite powered up and the full load was transferred to her wrist leash. The leash was suddenly pulled off of her wrist while still in a closed, she was wearing a wetsuit. Her kite ended up caught in some reeds. She had immediate wrist swelling and pain. She went to the hospital and was diagnosed as having a permanent hairline fracture in the area of a previous break.
Lessons learned
1. Always land well in advance of squalls before any temperature, wind velocity or direction change. If conditions are squally it would be wise not to go kiteboarding.
2. This rider will no longer secure her wrist leash over her wetsuit but will slide her wetsuit to permit direct attachment of the leash.
3. Consider rigging your leash to your harness or spreader bar and eliminate the use of a wrist cuff.
Commentary
Squalls sometimes create conditions that are best avoided with no easy solutions. Avoid flying in or around sqaualls. NEVER disable your depowering leash until your kite is secured. An alternative approach would have been to wind up a length of ONE KITE LINE (not the one connected to the depowering leash), equal to or exceeding the wingspan. This should permanently depower the kite. After this has been done then you should be able to detach your leash attachment and wind up both lines at the same time. Grab your kite by the center of the leading edge or wingtip as soon as possible.

29a. Incident 3 02 02 "Runaway Kite Chaos" Location: Durban, South Africa
Date: March 31, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2 For more information see: http://www.kitesurf.co.za/index.cfm?pageid=483&id=38 and http://www.mediacity2000.com/biz/bks...=59&Topic=3545
Summary
The wind was 15 kts. rising to 20 then gusting to 30 kts side onshore. A rider was setting up a Cabrinha 9.4 m Blacktip kite for solo launch. No one reported seeing what exactly happened, but reportedly some one or something kicked a kite flight line, launching the kite on its own.
The kite rose rapidly and flew fully powered into the power zone. Both the rider and a nearby kiteboarder grabbed the flight lines without gloves on but only suffered minor lacerations. The kite flew higher over about a 100 m horizontal distance. The kite then flew into another kite that was well anchored to the sand, ripped it and cut both of the flight lines of this other kite. The runaway kite then flew into lines that a kiteboarder was winding up, cutting both of those lines. The kite then hit a teenager who was looking the other way. The line wrapped around his neck and arm. He received a line burn to the neck and deep lacerations to his arm and hand as he tried to get the line off of him. The kite then flew on, landed on the road and was run over by two cars. The beach is 50 m at this location. The beach is paralleled by both a road and highway.
Lessons Learned
1. Self launching should be avoided at most times and particularly in higher winds. If you kiteboard with other riders there should be an experienced person around to help you launch.
2. If you must solo launch, place the kite into launch position at the last minute and launch without delay. Never leave your kite in solo launch position.
Make sure your kite is very well anchored with sand. If the wind is strong and gusty it may be difficult to judge the appropriate quantity of sand to use. Therefore do an assisted launch.
3. Designation and marking of kiteboarding launch and landing zones with signs could help to avoid bystanders becoming involved with incidents and accidents.
4. Use of a kite depowering leash, attached it to your body as soon as possible will also help to better manage such situations should they occur.
Commentary
This was a potentially severe incident that could have caused serious injury to both the teenager, other bystanders or even to people driving on the road or highway. Small errors, particularly in higher winds can lead to serious consequences. This accident could have potentially happened almost anywhere given the relatively common circumstances. It is important that riders take their time and suitable care in setup and launching. Assisted launches should be the norm in higher winds. Designation of kiteboarding launch and landing areas in populated areas should be negotiated with the authorities in an effort to preserve safety and access.

29. Incident # 2 02 9 "Inadequate Preflighting LeadsTo Broken Back" Location: Cape Hatteras, NC, USA
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 4
Summary
An experienced kiteboarder of roughly four years had just rigged his North Rhino 7.5 m in 15 to 20 kt., rising to 25 to 30 kt. winds. He strapped on his wakeboard and launched the kite. The kite went up very quickly and started spiraling in rapid 360 degree rotations. The rider was dragged at speed through this and tumbled five times with his wakeboard attached to his feet. He let go of the control bar but he may have been hooked in or the otherwise connected to the control bar. His kite was seen in the distance violently spiraling in the powerzone. Eventually, the kite settled to earth and stopped dragging the rider. The rider was reported to have stopped about 10 ft. from a car. The kiter was diagnosed with a fractured vertebrae, i.e. "his back was broken". He had a serious operation the next day from which reportedly 9 out of 10 people never walk again. This rider, I am told, will walk again, which is a very good thing. He is very lucky. No other details are available at this time about the accident.
Lessons learned
1. Always preflight your gear and do so in a focused and methodical fashion, every time. On high wind days, two or three checks wouldn't be too cautious. In pre-flighting make certain that your lines are of equal length. Pick up your bar and look down the lines to make sure they are clear. Pickup your bar and shake the lines to verify that the both front lines are connected to the leading edge of the kite.
2. This is another case where a helmet and impact vest could have made an important difference in degree of injury or even actual survival if things had been more severe. In this case it is uncertain whether a helmet would have helped or not. An impact vest might have, so why gamble? Routinely wearing both a good helmet and impact vest takes out some of the guesswork.
3. Good judgment is the most essential kiteboarding resource that we have. If you don't exercise good, responsible judgment, all the skill and experience in the world may not help or save you. Good judgment is the product of thorough training, careful experience and choosing to use it. If you trivialize safety, this sport can have a way of putting you in line in the most violent and damaging means possible.

Commentary
This rider had extensive experience. Add to that most of his experience was in Cape Hatteras, which has frequent high winds.
There is no more demanding riding environment than high wind kiteboarding. In reality, I suspect that many of us have made or have come close to making the same simple mistake that this rider did. It is merely human to make the odd minor mistake. In major wind, a minor mistake could be lethal or severely damaging. It is likely with the speed at which this happened no manual safety release could have but utilized in time. These lofting incidents can happen at blinding, numbing speed or they can be extended for a while depending on circumstances. Once you start to launch an out of control kite there is very little that you can do but ride it out and hope for the best. The key is avoiding having it happen in the first place.
Hang gliders used to die all too often by forgetting to attach the hang strap from their harness to their glider. They still do, but at a much lower rate. They learned from all the incidents and accidents. They would foot launch off a cliff and find themselves hanging off their base tube. It is infeasible to fly the glider in the position and rapidly loosing control and crashing at high speed is pretty inevitable. It is a very simple step, hooking into a hang strap but people are human and they forget.
High wind kiteboarding is similar in that, small mistakes are costly. Like hang gliders, we need a fixed preflight list to reduce the chance of such mistakes. These accidents and others in high wind reveal that riders should carefully consider their level of experience and precautions before going out in winds over 20 to 25 mph. Many of us have done it for years, but mistakes are proving to be devastating. Some of the best and brightest kiteboarders have been careless, injured or even died in accidents. It is human nature to become complacent with the familiar. Complacency in high wind kiteboarding, like flying an airplane or hang glider is unacceptable. Many accidents in those activities proved that. I hope we don't need many to convince kiteboarders to take this more seriously and prepare carefully before kiteboarding.
Riders should carefully consider what is at risk before going out in higher winds and ,perhaps, choose to wait for more reasonable conditions.

28. Incident # 2 02 8 "Kiteboarder Lofted Over Windsurfer" Location: California
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An experienced rider launched either an AR5 9.5 or 13.5 m kite. He attached a standard Dakine board leash prior to launching, as high, gusty winds at this launch donít permit easy one-handed bar control. His kite was near neutral or the zenith when a gust hit. The gust may have been preceded by a lull that dropped his kite lower into the power window and at a high angle of attack.
He was violently lofted up high enough to where the board, hanging below him by the leash went over and cleared a windsurfer who was standing by his rig downwind. The kiteboarder landed on sand away from rocks and other bystanders and was able to get his kite under control. No one suffered injuries.

Lessons learned
To avoid having the same thing happen to local riders, they have already learned to keep their kite low. Many riders have experienced 6 to 12 ft. loftings even in light winds (like after quitting due to lack of wind!). No one needed a 25 ft. lofting to convince them to change the way they manage their kite while near shore and hard objects.
Commentary
To reduce the chance of lofting, immediately after launch raise your kite only minimally above the horizon. Do not bring it up to neutral or the zenith. If you need to reverse the placement of the kite, do it quickly but not so quickly as to build apparent wind speed. Also, if you have a depowering strap, depower the kite as much as possible and still maintain stable flight for the available winds while near hard objects.

27. Incident # 2 02 7 "Wave Wraps Rider In Line, Kite Flies On" Location: Sydney, Australia
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An experienced kiteboarder was out in major swells on an unspecified kite in unspecified winds. As he rode out through a wide breaker zone and passed through a breaking wave, he was knocked off his board. The next wave broke over, slammed, and violently tumbled him toward shore. His kite continued to drag shoreward, and was sufficiently near neutral to lose forward flight speed, causing it to stall or luff. The luffed kite provided slack in the bridle and flight lines. Waves rolled the kiteboarder tightly up in the loose leaders and flight lines. He came up for air as the wave passed and his kite lines wrapped around his neck. Meanwhile, his board leash was tied nicely around both legs. The great and terrible thing about traction kites is that they often will not stay stalled for long; generally only long enough to fall closer to the center of the wind power window, where they will power up and apply major tension to the flight lines.
The rider was trussed up and largely immobile with a heavily repowered up kite pulling hard on the mess around his neck and his board dragging him in another direction. He didnít detail how he got out of all this, but ,fortunately, he did, apparently without serious injury.
Lessons learned
Be ready for heavy waves when they come. This is not the time to figure out that you are not ready for heavy white water. If out in heavy seas, time the sets and select your tack to blast out before getting slammed by breaking waves. Keep your kite below neutral and to seaward or to the far side of the waves. If you fall, work hard to move your kite to the seaward or behind the on coming waves. You donít want to drop your kite too low in major swells as you are the wishbone between the tremendous force of the wave charging shoreward while your kite is wanting to hurl in the opposite direction.
You want your kite low enough to reliably apply force to drag you through the waves and not to get pulled into a stall by having the kite too close to the zenith or the vertical. It calls for tricky judgment, so donít find yourself in this predicament too soon in your kiteboarding career.

If you do fall in the breaker zone, concentrate on body dragging at speed out through the breakers or into shore. Which ever direction you go, be sure to keep your kite flying and avoid being dragged into an involuntary kite stall at all costs.
If you have time, try to water start and blast out of the breaker zone. In selecting this last approach to be certain you have enough time to get up and out before getting hit by the next wave.
Commentary
Breaking waves add a new set of factors and destabilizing conditions to kiteboarding. If the rider is rolled, the outcome may be similar to what the rider went through or worse. In incident # 12 01 1, a female team rider had her kite steered into the power zone by a breaking wave which launched her at high speed into a beach for impact.
She was putting her board on with a small, very fast high aspect ratio kite. It is a tough judgment call as to where it is best to put on your board. It needs to be made on the basis of experience with the conditions at your specific launch. If you are flying a fast kite on a small bar, be very careful to maintain complete control at all costs particularly while near hard objects. Be very conscious of maintaining kite control when traveling through breaker zones. Always carry a hook knife and wear gloves to help deal with line conflicts. It is questionable whether a rider could cut out of a situation like this in reality. It is nice to have options. though. Given the potential for lofting, it is recommended that all kiteboarders should routinely wear good helmets.

26. Incident # 2 02 6 "Board Leash Causes Serious Head Injury" Location: Australia
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
The launch had waves breaking in about 2 - 3 foot of water on a sand bank. A kiter was in the car park setting up. After talking to the person that related this account for some time about gear etc, he said he had been hit on the head by his board. I asked if he was using a leash. He said he had a reel leash that wasn't supposed to fire the board back at him. If your boards attached to you thereís always a chance of it coming back to hit you. I explained the technique to body drag upwind. It would seem that whilst the board didn't slingshot back at him, he lost the board and because it was attached to him it got caught up in a wave and it hit his head. He said he was going straight to the hospital. He couldn't see it, it was right on the back of his head. I was thinking it was probably just a scratch.
On the back of his head he had a gash about 8-10cm long, 2 cm wide and about 1 cm deep. It turned my stomach. He was very lucky not to be knocked out in the water. He seemed very coherent to me. I am so glad I got rid of my leash. I suggested that he practice body dragging upwind and gets rid of the leash asap.


Lessons learned
Use good technique in board to avoid getting hit by your board. If things are too hard to get out safely, donít go. Soon you may be able to handle it. Leashes, even reel leashes, have the capacity to cause a serious board impact injury.
Wear a helmet and use good, safe technique.
Commentary
Leashes can cause a board to rebound back to you, with serious injury as a result. Even reel leashes have had their share of problems. Helmets can be very important in reducing/eliminating injuries particularly if you use a board leash. Riders should work on skills to eliminate leash use.

25. Incident # 2 02 5 "Serious Auckland Lofting" Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
A rider of undisclosed skill, with unspecified gear and wind was apparently violently lofted, reportedly 100 ft. into a violent impact on land where he left a visible mark.
His board rebounded into his head, possibly fracturing it. His jaw and eye socket area were both fractured. He was not wearing a helmet.
Lessons learned
Very few actual facts are known about this accident. All that seems to be evident is that the rider was violently lofted and wasnít wearing a helmet. All the normal awareness and careful precautions to avoid lofting must be observed to cut down of avoidable lofting incidents.
The rider may have been injured less by wearing a helmet to protect him from both board impact and possibly impact with the ground.
Commentary
It is possible that the vast majority of loftings may be avoidable with proper education and practice. The injuries may have been less if the rider wasnít using a leash or was using a reel leash. A helmet may have made a significant difference in the injuries sustained. An impact vest may have also provided useful protection.




24. Incident # 2 02 4 "Board Leash Causes Serious Head Injury, Again" Location: UK
Date: Feb. 25, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
Rider was out in gusty conditions and was violently flung forward by a strong gust. His board was hurled at high speed towards him by his 9 ft. long, end mounted board leash. It hit the back of his canoe helmet, split the helmet and left a 2 inch gash in his head. He had the gash repaired with six staples. Other similar injuries have been reported by other riders.
Lessons learned
Leashes can be dangerous. If you can reliably recover your board by body dragging or from running down the beach to pick it up failing all else, it is a good idea to stop using a board leash. Many riders have successfully gone without board leashes for a long time but area conditions can reduce the effectiveness of body dragging. Heavy waves, too high or low wind, unfavorable sideshore wind and contrary currents can complicate or eliminate the effectiveness of body dragging or beach board recovery. In those instances, use of a reliable reel leash may help. Whether you use a leash or not, you should use a good helmet.
Commentary
Here is another case where a helmet appears to have made a major contribution to a positive outcome to a potentially serious accident. If you wear a good helmet, your potential survivorship and/or ability to react immediately after impact may be much improved. If you arenít wearing a helmet, the degree of injury may be worse.

23. Incident # 2 02 3 "Small Kite ... Too Large" Location: Argentina
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
A kiteboarder launched a two line Wipika 5 m kite in 25 kts. gusty winds at a launch with nearby rocks. He tried to control the kite but could not and was apparently dragged 15 to 20 ft. into the rocks. He suffered a computated fracture of his forearm, i.e. with exposed bone fragments sticking out of his arm.
Lessons learned
Know both your limits, kite control ability and the safe useable wind range of your kite. Experimenting with rocks and other hard objects for backdrops may well result in serious injury. This rider could have easily struck his head from the sounds of the accident circumstances. It is not known if he was wearing a helmet or impact vest.
Commentary
The author was once dragged 80 ft. or more over a beach by a Wipika 5 m at high speed by a sudden 45 mph gust. Fortunately there was nothing hard along the way to slam into.
A small kite in high wind or gusts can be powerful enough to do serious harm to the rider and/or bystanders. Always chose your gear and launch area very carefully. Consider local conditions and your level of experience. If you arenít certain, don't fly. Get lessons and carefully talk with well experienced local riders.

22. Incident # 2 02 2 "Bad Technique Seriously Injures Rider" Location: Argentina
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An intermediate rider was out with a Naish 13.5 m kite in 20 + kt winds. He had just solo landed his kite, apparently without depowering it. It does not appear that he had a kite depowering leash. He ran up to the kite holding his bar with his center loop snapshackle still attached to his harness. The kite relaunched unexpectedly before he could reach the kite. He was violently dragged into serious impact(s) into hard objects. He had four displaced vertebrae and canít feel one of his arms. Other serious injuries may be present, it is not known at this time.
Lessons learned
Never approach an unsecured kite while you are still secured to your kite control bar. If strong gusty winds are present the resulting dragging could cause very serious injuries both to the kiter but also to bystanders. Ideally always have assisted landings with your assistant thoroughly securing your kite immediately. If you must solo land do not approach your kite until you are no longer connected to your control bar. Move quickly toward your kite by carefully, pulling towards it along one line only. Wearing gloves routinely while kiteboarding for this purpose is an excellent idea. If you land your kite by using your depowering kite leash, pull the kite carefully toward you using one line only until you can safely grab one kite tip and properly anchor the kite. If in doubt take adequate lessons from a competent kite instructor.
Commentary
The practice of solo landing and going to your kite while still snapshackled to it is easy to, but the price if things go seriously wrong is too high. Make sure that if your kite relaunches, it will not pull you anywhere (i.e. open any snapshackle connection, first before ever approaching the kite). If the kite relaunches your kite leash should save you from being dragged. All riders need to use kite leashes for this and many other important reasons, including the protection of bystanders. It is important not to solo launch upwind of bystanders. This avoids them having to deal with kite lines if things go wrong. Kites can apply tremendous force.
Too many riders continue to lose sight of that, get careless and injured. Finally it is not known if an impact vest would have reduced the injuries in this case.
Wearing an impact vest, good helmet and gloves may make a difference in avoiding an accident or coming through one with fewer injuries.



21. Incident # 2 02 1 "Over Confidence & Ignorance Gore Rider" Location: Arubinha a.k.a. Ponta da Acaira, Praia Seca, Brazil
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
A new kiteboarder was out for the first time with a four line kite in unspecified but presumably higher wind conditions at this very popular launch in Brazil.
He lost control of his kite and was dragged over the beach or possibly through the shallows near the sandbar launch and onto a sharp root. The root impaled his leg, reportedly badly lacerating it, causing major tissue damage and substantial bleeding.
Lessons learned
This rider should have gone through adequate lessons. He chose not to and was badly injured as a result. Apparently he was out in conditions, at a technical launch with a kite that were all well beyond his abilities to safely body drag.
Commentary
Riders that go to launches in conditions with gear beyond their abilities to safely learn are stacking the deck against themselves for serious accidents and against access for kiteboarders in general. This appears to have been a readily avoidable accident. Apparently he had been warned about reckless behavior with kites in the past. He should have had a trainer kite at the most under these conditions. Instead he was equipped with a kite large enough to do some serious damage.

20. Incident # 1 02 2 "Lofting Into Cars ... For a Third Time" Location: Miami, Florida
Date: Feb. 25, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 6
Photos of the accident appeared on page 74 of "Kiteboarding" magazine, May 2002
Summary
An intermediate female rider just had an assisted launch of her Airblast 8.4 m kite about 30 ft. off the beach at Hobie Beach, Miami, Florida. The wind was onshore and gusting with intermittent squalls. Following the launch in the shallows, with her kite in neutral, she was dragged shoreward to the edge of the beach. At this point things become unclear. Either her kite stalled, fell lower into the power zone, or she lowered one end of her control bar, thereby steering the kite lower into the power zone.
She was violently flung downwind or inland into a hard impact against parked cars and cutoff timber poles. She was screaming and bleeding from multiple cuts following the impact. Other riders caught and stabilized her kite and rendered first aid pending arrival of the ambulance. She was later diagnosed as having a skull fracture and a torn liver. She was not wearing a helmet or impact vest. She is recovering and interested in kiteboarding, soon.
Lessons learned
Given the squalls and gusty onshore winds present that day, deciding not to kiteboard would have been a prudent decision. Wearing a helmet and impact vest may have also reduced the degree of injury . Even deciding to kiteboard under the questionable conditions she could have gone further from shore to launch. Riders can walk offshore about 100 ft. or more from the beach at this launch thereby creating a buffer zone.
Commentary
Three riders have been flung or lofted into parked cars at this launch within the last 7 months. Two have gone to the hospital. The one who was able to walk away, did about $1000. USD damage to a car body with his board. The beach here is very congested and narrow with a normal backstop of cars parked about 15 ft. away from the water. A high speed four lane highway is located a short distance beyond the parked cars.
In each of these cases if a no fly zone within 100 ft. of the beach had been observed, it is highly unlikely that any of these accidents would have occurred. It is obvious that the winds making this launch useable from the SW are off the land, gusty and unstable. Three known accidents have occurred and at least three runaway kites have been flown into the highway. Two hung on traffic lights. One stopped traffic on the SAME DAY as this sad accident.
This launch is reportedly to be closed to kiteboarding in the near future. Kiteboarding inside the swim area and the incidents noted will largely be responsible for this kiteboarding ban. Once the ban is in place it is unlikely that it will be reversed. Riders have been asked on multiple occasions to stay outside the buoys and told that failure to comply will result in a kiteboarding ban.

19. Incident # 1 02 1 "Unstable Weather Causes Serious Lofting" Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Date: Jan. 5, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An experienced rider was just self launching his Slingshot Fuel 10 (2002) while hooked into the center loop when he was hit by a 40 kt. gust. Conditions up to that point were 20 kts. and gusty. His friend and many other riders were slammed when this gust hit. His kite was in at the zenith or vertical when the gust hit.
He was lofted and taken down the beach towards the trees and park. In hindsight he said he should have done whatever it took to unhook and ditch his kite. Instead he tried to recover it and 3-4 seconds later hit a tree. On hitting the tree the kite went from the zenith or vertical straight down in the power zone. He was dragged up and through the tree. The top of tree was about 20 feet high. He landed 60 feet from the tree, having flown at least 20 feet up.
He thought that if he had a snapshackle setup rather than traditional hook and had practiced an emergency release he would have had a better chance of releasing. As it was, the line tension was pulling so he would have had to lift himself up to release.
He might have been able to release it in time but would have had to do it the instant the pressure came on. The problem is you think it can be recovered and by the time it goes really bad you have lost the opportune moment.
He was wearing a helmet and sun glasses which he believed saved him from head trauma both in the tree and on impact. He ended up with a large cut just under his chin and several on his legs.
He firmly believed that if he hadn't had head and face protection he would have been a lot worse off. He still ended up suffered a fractured wrist, puncture wounds and a torn knee ligament.
Lessons learned
1. Be aware of the risks and mentally and physically practice what you need to do when something goes wrong. Sometimes you don't have time to think about what to do.
2. Riders with only one or two kites sometimes tend to push / extend the higher end of the range. Until they get a quiver they should be a lot more conservative in riding if the wind is at the top end. If is often better let your brain over rule your adrenalin.
3. Find other places to kite. The site of this accident has a tree lined park right on the waters edge. If something goes wrong in on shore conditions you only have one place to go! Onshore wind conditions should be avoided.
4. Where possible launch unhooked and keep the kite low (as opposed to 12 o'clock.) If something goes wrong let it go or at worst get pulled sideways.
5. A kite is infinitely more repairable than a human. If you ditch the kite you can back out on the water once it is repaired or replaced. This rider has been out of the water for a substantial period of time and missed the summer riding season while recuperating. He will soon have his cast removed, but will need many weeks of rehab before he can consider kiting again. Not to mention the impact it has had on my non-kiting life.
Commentary
This rider said that he has been watching people launch since then with a critical eye and most seem to get slightly pulled or lofted. Most people think it will never happen to them or are just not aware of the risk. He said the nurse at the hospital told him that he was the fifth injured kiteboarder to be brought into the hospital recently. He concluded that his injuries could have been much worse without a helmet and eye protection
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39a. Incident # 5 01 2 "Newbie hot Launch Into Condominium Unit" Location: East Florida
Date: May 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts:2 Added 10_23_04


Summary

A new kiteboarder was trying to figure out how to fly his 19 m flat area Naish four line kite in onshore winds averaging around 15 to 18 mph. He had not used a trainer kite or had lessons prior to this session. He had poor kite control and was overpowered. A few experienced kiters came up and tried to talk the guy into obtaining lessons and said that what he was doing was dangerous. The newbie ignored this sensible advice and continued to try to fly this kite. He crashed his kite into some trees directly in front of a two story condominium bordering the beach. A friend climbed up and released his kite and hand launched him directly downwind into the center of the wind window in overpowered conditions. The rider was lofted over the trees over 20 ft. high and was hurled into some sliding glass doors of a second story unit . The rider burst through the glass doors with substantial force and as a result a window on the far side of the condo was smashed outward. The condo occupants were having dinner and were fortunately out of the way of the rider and flying glass reportedly. The new kiter was taken the hospital but remarkably wasnít seriously injured.

Lessons learned

1. It is not hard to find new kiters with full sized traction kites spending extended periods of time on land. Often these people are not receptive to well intended advice. Still, we need to speak with them as tactfully and effectively as we can.

2. Once new kiters are ready to move on from a training kite to a full size traction kite they should start body dragging in the water in side to side onshore winds in the lower rated range for their kite.

2. Avoid onshore winds.

3. Don't perform "hot" launches.

4. Avoid overpowered conditions particularly if you are new.

5. Where a good helmet, impact vest and other safety gear as appropriate.

Commentary

Kites can be deceptively powerful. People seem to be prone to ignore good advice in some cases. This has lulled many into easily avoided injuries, some severe over the years. This rider was very fortunate not to have been killed or suffered a head injury which easily could have been fatal. Onshore winds create substantial barriers to learning for new kiters and should be strictly avoided with land launch with a full sized traction kite. We all have a stake in NOT sending new kiters out without strong recommendations for adequate instruction, including retailers and riders selling used gear. Lost access, sales and possible liability suits are both possible and ideally avoidable with reasonable care. Our numbers are growing too great to allow for some much experimentation, easily avoided injury and negative public attention.



39. Incident # 5 02 5 "Use Experienced Kite Assistants" Location: Long Island, NY, USA
Date: May 28, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
A new kiteboarder was just going to launch a Naish AR5 9.5 m inflatable four line kite in 15 to 20 mph winds. His girlfriend offered to give him an assisted launch.
The rider went over the correct way to hold and launch the kite. The girlfriend apparently misunderstood the proper procedure as she proceeded to walk downwind towards the center of the wind window. The rider yelled at her to just put the kite down. A gust came up and started to launch the kite from her hands. The rider then released his bar to activate his depower leash. The girlfriend suffered line burns on her arm and leg.
Lessons learned
1. Never have inexperienced people assist you with launching or landing kites.
Commentary
Fortunately, no serious injury came about in this incident only a lesson. There are many stories of miscommunication, premature kite launch and the like that have resulted in accidents. It is best to have few, very clear signals for holding, launching and landing kites with trained assistants. I recently had an experience when my girlfriend went to catch my kite. She has been helping me land kites for over two years.
She apparently didn't look like she knew what she was doing to two bystanders who jumped in and promptly managed to relaunch my kite. One of the bystanders actually was hanging on to all four lines. So, make sure your assistant is prepared to tell bystanders in no uncertain terms loudly if necessary to please stay away, they might lose fingers if they try to help.

38. Incident # 5 02 4 "Serious Tampa Dragging" Location: Tampa, FL, USA
Date: May 15, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
A new kiteboarder was practicing downwind runs in 15 to 28 mph winds with a Slingshot inflatable four line kite of undesignated size. He would walk back upwind through the shallows between downwinders. He had some kiteboarding training but was still working on basic techniques. He was suddenly dragged by a strong gust, closer to some mangrove trees located downwind. He then released his control bar in an attempt to depower the kite. The kite didn't depower but dragged him at speed into the mangrove trees breaking several ribs and collapsing a lung. A kiteboarding instructor was in the area and saw the injured rider (not his student), secured the kite and took the rider to the hospital.
Lessons learned
1. Don't walk or stand with your kite aloft for extended periods of time. It is better to land the kite and carry it while you are walking.
2. If you are upwind of hard objects practice anti-lofting kiteboarding techniques. Please see "How to Try to Avoid Lofting" included with this resource for more information on these techniques.
3. Don't wait until you are close to an impact or obstacle, release your control bar earlier than later while you still have time and space.
4. Always use a kite good, well maintained kite depowering leash. Don't rely excessively on your depowering leash as it may not work under certain circumstances.
5. Always wear good safety gear including a helmet, impact vest, gloves and a whistle at a minimum.

Commentary
The kite and depowering leash were thoroughly checked out by the kiteboarding instructor that helped out. He found it all to appear to be functioning properly. It is theorized that when the bar was released the rider was close enough to the trees to where a line caught on a branch and prevented proper depowering resulting in the accident. All riders should regularly checkout all their kite gear and particularly the kite depowering leash. The leash should be strong and not likely to break or tangle.
Always practice anti-lofting kite techniques, regardless of weather conditions, even if the wind appears to be stable. Wearing a helmet and impact vest could have significantly reduced this riders injuries.
Jeff Weiss of Kitemare.com suggested the following simple leash test that ALL KITEBOARDERS SHOULD PERFORM: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesu...%2C%202002.htm



37. Incident # 5 02 3 "Serious Lofting in Oz" Location: Melbourne, Australia
Date: May 15, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 2

Summary
Two very experienced riders were out kiteboarding in 20 kt winds when a 35 to 40 kt. squall blew in with minimal warning. The riders were behind a breakwater and couldn't see the approach of the squall and didn't observe a change in the visible clouds before it was upon them. One rider was 70 m, (230 ft.), upwind of a house on shore and riding when he was suddenly lofted 6m, (20 ft.) off the water without his board. He was hurled 50 m, (165 ft.), towards the house before he hit the water again. The rider flew the kite away from the direction of travel and the house as if performing a transition. He felt this reduced the overall distance of travel during the lofting. He was pulled at speed barely missing a wooden groin or structure in the shallows. He then let go of his kite control bar to avoid slamming into a brick wall. He had managed to unhook from his chicken loop while still airborne making releasing the control bar possible. This very experienced rider was using a kite depowering leash. The other very experienced rider was having great difficulty in unhooking from his chicken loop and was rigged with a Naish ARX 11.5 m kite. He managed to unhook and release his bar also avoiding slamming into a brick wall. He was also using a kite depowering leash. Both kites landed in the backyard of a nearby house almost hitting a man gardening there.
The rider related another lofting incident that happened to another rider the same day but during an earlier squall. The rider in this earlier incident was on a wide beach and some other riders managed to grab him and hold on after two 50 ft. long loftings over the beach.
Lessons learned
1. Kiteboarders need to avoid squally, unstable weather.
2. Always use a kite depowering leash.
3. Consider using a properly rigged, well maintained snap shackle to possibly aid the release of the chicken loop in an emergency.
4. Rehearse in detail how you will manage various accident scenarios in your head frequently.
Commentary
Many of the more serious accidents in this resource came about in unstable squally weather. Many of the accidents and incidents occurred to experienced to very experienced kiteboarders. Skill doesn't seem to make a lot of difference in avoiding storm induced lofting. The obvious solution is to avoid being put into these circumstances in the first place.
Squalls may come up fast with little visible warning as in this case. The solution is to carefully evaluate the weather in advance of riding through color radar and wind recordings, if available for your area. If such aids aren't available in your area seek local knowledge on normal weather patterns and become thoroughly versed in what to look for and expect. If you are in such an area, it would be advisable to be even more cautious. If it looks like strong storm cells and gusty storm winds are in your area or coming your way, DON'T GO KITEBOARDING.
The earlier lofting of another rider established that this was not a great day for kiteboarding with a reasonable expectation of safety. Of course riders can go out in such conditions frequently and possibly get away with it for a while. Given past experience, simple physics and current safety limitations in kite gear, it is probably that things will get seriously out of control one day during such conditions. The enjoyment of a session in squally unstable weather can be eclipsed by a long recovery time from a serious injury. By keeping his head and continuing to fly his kite, even while lofted, it sounds like this rider was able to reduce the severity of this serious incident. So, his skill paid off, but only after he was flying at high speed towards a possible bad impact.



36. Incident # 5 02 2 "Stuck!" Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA
Date: May 6, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An experienced rider was going to go kiteboarding offshore in steady 15 mph onshore winds. He had launched his Arc 1120 kite and walked out into the tidal pool about 20 ft, sinking about 6 inches into soft silt with each step. He mounted his board and started to ride offshore, edging hard in very shallow water a few inches deep. He struck bottom and one foot came out of the bindings. The resulting torsion caused a compound fracture and dislocated leg and ankle. He will likely need reconstructive surgery and has been advised that he will probably not be up to kiteboarding for about three months. Another kiteboarder at the launch landed this rider's kite and took him to the hospital.
Lessons learned
1. Don't ride in shallow water, particularly with a soft bottom. If you have to walk out a distance or ride in very shallow water over a soft bottom with your kite aloft, consider riding somewhere else.
2. Always ride with someone nearby, preferably another kiteboarder or someone that understands the sport.
3. Carry a whistle to signal for help if things go wrong.
Commentary
Strange things can and do happen in this sport. This rider was wise to have another rider in the area to help. Carefully analyzing conditions and evaluating scenarios before things get out of control is a good idea. The power of a kite to cause harm if things go wrong should never be underestimated.


35. Incident # 5 02 1 "Ignoring Instructions = Serious Lofting" Location: Cabarete, DR
Date: May 3, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
Two riders of unidentified skill level had rented some kiteboarding gear and attempted to set it up. They attempted to rig a 10 m Wipika Freeair in 10 to 20 kts. gusting to 25 kts. sideshore. They rigged the kite incorrectly and sought out some assistance.
One of the beach attendants of the kiteboarding business rerigged one side of the kite but was then called away to take a board to a student. He asked the two riders to wait until his return before rerigging the kite further. The two riders ignored this request and launched the kite. The kite rapidly looped twice in the power zone and lofted the rider through two shade structures, a surfboard sign and into some concrete stairs and a rock wall. The rider was wearing an impact vest and helmet. His helmet left green paint on both the stairs and the rock wall.
He was hospitalized for two days, had multiple stitches and some memory loss. Immediately after the accident the rider had no idea that he was in the Dominican Republic or that he had been setting up for kiteboarding.

Lessons learned

1. Never ride in conditions or with equipment beyond your level of skill or experience.
2. If you are not totally sure that you have rigged your kite correctly and have thoroughly checked by someone who knows your system very well.
3. Always carefully preflight your gear. Refer to the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines in the section that contains this document for one preflighting procedure.
4. Always wear a good helmet and impact vest.

Commentary

This was a serious, avoidable accident. If logical preflighting procedures or the instructions of the attendant were followed this accident never would have happened. It is very fortunate that the rider was wearing safety equipment. The outcome could have been far more serious if he had not been properly equipped. Safety gear such as helmets are worn in many activities routinely such as motorcycle and bicycle riding, and hang gliding. Helmets are not worn because they are needed routinely in these activities, far from it. Many people in these activities never actually need a helmet during an accident through their entire lifetime. They wear helmets to deal with sudden, rare accidents in an attempt to reduce injury or to aid in survival. The rider in this account was very lucky to have been wearing a helmet. It is unfortunate that he is in the vast minority of riders in choosing to take this simple precaution, at this time.

34a. Incident # 4 02 4 "Leash Problems - #3" Location: Foster City CA, USA
Date: April 1,2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An experienced rider was out in 10 to 15 mph side offshore winds with a 12m North kite. He was underpowered and hooked into the static loop. A gust suddenly hit the rider causing him to be slammed on his face and to be dragged. He estimates the gusts to have been 30 to 35 mph. He got back on his board and started to be hit by a gust again. He tried to unhook from the static loop and hook into the chicken loop. As he was doing this the bar was yanked out of his hands by a gust. The leash line had wrapped around his leg and in the gust he was being pulled leg first through the water. He couldn't activate the depowering leash because of this tangle. He disconnected the leash from his harness but it was tightly wrapped around his leg and didn't fly free of him. He was rapidly being pulled offshore and underwater for extended periods through this. He grabbed his board to act as a plane to try to keep his head above water so that he could breath. Eventually there was a lull and the kite crashed to the water. He reached down
and pulled the leash from his leg. He pulled in one entire leader line to manually depower the kite. He then pulled in the kite with one line and detached all lines except for one to take things back into shore. The rider suffered a bruised leg.
Lessons learned
1. Don't go kiteboarding in offshore wind conditions.
2. Don't go kiteboarding in excessively gusty or unstable weather.
3. Don't rely excessively on your kite leash as it may not work. Rehearse various scenarios in your head so that you may react quickly and properly in such situations.
4. More kite leash development and improvements are needed.

Commentary
This account supports the conclusion that sometimes things go wrong and working through things as best as you can is all that you can really do. Luck plays into it as does skill and safety gear. Ultimately, resisting the urge to go out in less than safe conditions should govern.
Carrying a knife is essential should it become necessary to cut yourself free of your gear. This rider used a very good manual depowering and kite disabling technique to help assure that there would be no more surprises on the way to shore.

34. Incident # 4 02 3 "Line Interference Drags Rider" Location: Point Judith, RI, USA
Date: April 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
Winds were SW 15 to 20 kts. As a rider self-launched his Naish 21 m ARX kite he realized that one of his flight lines had been made significantly shorter by a tangled stick. The kite rapidly flew up into the center of the power zone dragging the rider at high speed over several hundred feet. The rider barely missed two metal sign poles, a truck and finally was dragged into a wooden fence. The old and weakened fence yielded on impact. The rider forced his kite down by crashing it into a parking lot on top of windsurfers and beach goers. The rider walked away without reported injury.
Lessons learned
1. Assisted launching is always preferred and particularly when flying in overpowered conditions.
2. It is much easier to look down your lines for problems with assisted launches than with solo launches.
3. If you must solo launch, carefully walk down your lines, several times during preflighting in higher winds.
4. A snap shackle or safety harness line might have made getting free of the kite easier or feasible.
5. A helmet and impact vest may have reduced injuries if the rider connected with hard objects over the several hundred feet distance of the dragging.
Commentary
Careful preflighting would have avoided this accident. When rigging for overpowered conditions become even more careful and methodical than normal. In such conditions the rider must accept a higher likelihood of things going wrong with possible injuries resulting. If you attach yourself to the kite near hard objects you must accept the possibility of being dragged into them if things go wrong.

33. Incident # 4 02 2 "Poor Assisted Launch" Location: Point Judith, RI, USA
Date: April 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
Winds were S 10 kts. A rider was about to do an assisted launch of his Wipika 11.5 m kite. The helper had just attached the lines to the rider's kite. This was a test flight to check out a new control bar system. The helper picked up the kite and walked out until the kite loaded up with wind. He then released the kite without any signal from or to the kiteboarder. The rider quickly realized that his lines had been attached to the kite incorrectly. He was then dragged for 10 to 15 ft at which point he was able to depower the kite. No injuries or kite damage were reported.
Lessons learned
1. Always attach your kite lines yourself. If for some reason you don't do this personally take the time to carefully preflight the lines and other gear yourself.
2. Never have inexperienced people do assisted launches or landings for you.
3. Agree on simple hand and/or verbal signals to coordinate launch and landings. Make sure your assistant is very clear on these signals and under no circumstances will release the kite until properly signaled.
Commentary
Make a set preflight procedure and stick to it, always, just like pilots do. Talk carefully with your assistant about procedures before launching or landing. This was a minor incident but in powered conditions the outcome could have been much more serious.


32. Incident# 3 3 02 "Record Lofting" Location: Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Date of Incident March 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 4
For more information see: http://216.92.244.20/pictures/patoKi...eAir/index.htm
Summary
A 155 lb. (70 kg) kiteboarding instructor of about 2 1/2 years experience on a four-month holiday in Cabarete was rigged with an RRD 11.9 m kite. The wind had been consistently side shore 10 to 15 kts. He noticed a black line of clouds or squall moving in to shore. He came into shore at the west section of Cabarete Bay at Bozo Beach. He lowered his kite to within 3 to 5 m (10 to 16 ft.), off the ground for an assisted landing. He was then hit by a violent wind gust, that he described as an ďexplosion.Ē Wind records from nearby wind meters reported that average winds were 35 kts. with gusts up to 51 kts.
The winds had shifted suddenly from side shore to dead onshore. By the time the rider understood what happened he was flying inland over a building under construction with exposed rebar at an altitude of approximately 20 m (65 ft.). He didnít feel it was safe to pop his snap shackle release at this point. He continued to rise in the gust and at one point estimated his altitude to be 30 m (98 ft.) or higher.
Looking forward he saw no clear area to land but was rapidly flying towards high tension lines and trees. He noticed a pine tree and headed in that direction.
He described the kite handling to be stable but very ďtwitchyĒ with attempted control inputs. He had a few previous experiences hang gliding and paragliding and felt this time at least helped him manage the shock of the flight in part. He was traveling at approximately wind speed or roughly 40 to 45 kts. over ground. He then hit the pine tree, breaking a limb and then rebounded into the trunk.
He then fell down through the tree breaking limbs until he hit the ground. His kite then started to power-up again. At this point he released the snap shackle and his kite flew off to windward where it was heavily damaged. The rider was admitted to the hospital for observation for possible signs of internal organ injury and brain hemorrhaging. He was released two days later and returned to kiteboarding two days after that. He was not wearing a helmet but was wearing an impact vest. The overall horizontal distance traveled was reported to be 250 m (822 ft.).
Lessons Learned
1. If a storm, black clouds or squall line is moving in, get off the water well in advance of the storm and while conditions are still stable and unchanged. Always be aware of weather conditions while you are kiteboarding and be prepared to act quickly if conditions change for the worse. Your kite should be down on the beach and thoroughly anchored well before any change in wind speed or direction or air temperature occurs. At a minimum it would also be a good idea to remove both lines from one side of the kite in case it is swept up in gusts.
2. If you suspect storms may be in the area, check out color weather radar if available in your area. If strong storm cells are moving towards your area, donít go kiteboarding.
3. Donít assume that the current wind direction and speed will persist if a storm hits as it may change both direction and speed violently several times.
4. Another approach that may have helped to avoid this event would have been to:
a) fully pulling in on a long trim strap almost totally depowering the kite while still offshore
b) unsnapped the shackle at that time
c) to have held the control bar while near the shore and landing. When the gust hit, the bar would have been ripped out of his hands.
This approach is different than what most riders currently do. It has recently been suggested as a potentially safer means of managing the kite while near hard object during launch and landings while on or near shore.
5. Always wear safety gear including a good helmet, impact vest, gloves and hook knife at a minimum.
Commentary
This rider was incredibly lucky to have come through a flight about 100 ft. in height, over a horizontal distance of over 800 ft. moving at a speed over ground estimated to be on the order of 50 mph, alive and largely uninjured.
The boost in wind speed from 15 kts. to over 50 kts. equates to over ten times the lifting kite power. So if 15 kts. could easily lift this 70 kg. rider, the reality of what 50 kts. could do is astonishing. This rider was lofted by another squall in Europe almost two years ago into a rough landing on the beach.
Another rider at Kitebeach in Cabarete reportedly was lofted into a palm tree and was left hanging on to the tree when he lost his kite. Three other kiteboarders lost their kites, which ended up hanging in two trees and one power line. I was told that no white caps or other surface disturbance signs were noted in advance of the storm cloud. Those that were looking for changing sea conditions and thought "no strong wind was coming", were sadly proved to be very wrong in this case.
Finally, on a very serious note, two girls were admitted to the hospital at the same time as this rider. They had been out parasailing off Puerto Plata about 15 miles to the west when the squall hit. One girl was killed and the other paralyzed. Violent squall winds are a serious hazard to more than just kiteboarders.
The conventional wisdom on how to avoid lofting is to keep your kite low while near hard objects. Apparently in this case either the very high wind speed and/or perhaps inadvertent control bar inputs sent the kite flying up from the ground fully into the power zone. Normally it is expected that violent dragging would occur. Not in this case. Dragging could have easily caused serious injury or death considering the wind speed and associated kite force. Logic dictates that the only proper, reasonably safe way to deal with this situation would be to never be in it in the first place. If squalls are coming, land your kite very soon. Squalls of this level of violence are reportedly rare in Cabarete. They do occur with some regularity in Florida, particularly during the warmer months. They may also be reasonably common in many other parts of the world. If you see a squall coming in, you have no idea whether the wind will die, reverse, boost 5 kts. or 50 kts. or all of the above.
I am reminded of a story about Luftwaffe glider pilots trying to learn about conditions inside cumulonimbus storm clouds just prior to WWII.
Of the original group of 35 pilots I recall that two survived interacting with the incredible violence inside these clouds. Some things are best left alone. Other kiteboarders have been injured by squall winds in several other accounts in this section. Black incoming storm clouds and squalls should be avoided by kiteboarders at all costs.





31. Incident 3 02 02 "Board Leash Injures" Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA
Date: March 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2
Summary
A new kiteboarder was on a downwind run with a 12 m F one Mach I kite and an F One TT board with a leash. He was moving along quickly in 11 to 12 kt. wind when he wiped out. He fell forward and the board slingshotted into his calf at high speed. The board lacerated his leg causing a 4 to 5 inch gash in his calf. The rider managed to cut his leash with his hook knife and body dragged into shore with his leg bleeding heavily. He was not wearing a helmet. He was then taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment.
A second kiteboarder landed a jump at a launch a week or so earlier at a launch nine miles to the north. He wiped out in the waves, had his board slingshot into his eyebrow badly cutting it. This rider was wearing a helmet. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Lessons Learned
Many riders have suffered board impact injuries because of board leash use. It may be better if riders work on body dragging techniques early on as opposed to transitioning from leash to no-leash use.
Commentary
The steadily rising number of board leash induced injuries makes a strong case for going without board leashes. There doesnít appear to be an easy, reliable option to leash use at this time other than to work on body dragging and to dispense with leash use entirely.
Even if the odd rider loses a board this appears to be more desirable than dealing with some of these serious board injuries. Some riders have had better luck with reel leashes but I understand that they normally have no more than 10 ft. of leash. This may not adequately protect against slingshotting boards. An option that may work in areas with contrary currents is to wear a reel leash but leave it unconnected during routine riding.

30. Incident # 3 02 1 "I Can Handle It" Location: East Coast of Florida, USA
Date: March 1, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary: A kiteboarding instructor and professional kiteboarding competitor with very extensive experience had just completed giving a lesson. He rigged up an Airblast 11.8 m with the steering lines 6 inches shorter than the backlines. The wind was side offshore at 20 mph reportedly.
The kite flew backwards at speed into the power zone as a consequence. Instead of running towards the kite or letting go of the control bar he attempted to fly the kite out of the situation. He was violently pulled into a parked truck nearby in the downwind direction. He broke his femur on impact with the truck. He was pulled on to the hood, over the windshield and roof, and off the back of the truck. Someone tried to hold on to him at this point but was unable due to the major kite loading. He then was dragged into the water without hitting anything else. At that point he was able to crash the kite and pull it in, defusing the situation. He was taken to the hospital for treatment and was released.

Lessons learned
Many lessons are carried by this account; some of the critical ones follow:

1. Always carefully preflight your gear. On high wind days, two or three checks wouldn't be too cautious. In preflighting make certain that your lines are of equal length. Refer to and use the Safe Kiteboarding Guidelines (see: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kiteboard/files/)
2. If you have new gear try very hard not to try it out in powered conditions, save the experimentation for a lighter wind day. If you must use new gear check it out very carefully.
3. Never launch upwind within one or preferably more line lengths of anything that you wouldn't want to slam into. All riders lose control sometimes, even a rider of this superior level of skill.
5. Here is another case where a helmet and impact vest could have made an important difference in degree of injury or even actual survival.
6. Use your knowledge to make good, responsible judgments.
Commentary
You can have more experience and skill than virtually any other rider but all that may not save you from bad judgment. This rider had more experience than most kiteboarders but still was unable to safely defuse the situation due to a couple of bad decisions. Excessive over confidence is quite common among many far less experienced riders in Florida (many with less than one year of experience), and no doubt elsewhere. Also, denial that anything bad will come from irresponsible kiteboarding habits is also pretty commonplace.

29b. Incident # 2 02 9 "Leash Accident" Location: Cape Hatteras, NC, USA
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
An experienced kiteboarder had just landed a 3 m Liquid Force two line inflatable in 10 to 15 mph in advance of a squall. She used her depowering leash to land the kite. She was still in the water and winding up her leash line on to her bar when the squall hit. Winds rose to approximately 35 mph. Her kite powered up and the full load was transferred to her wrist leash. The leash was suddenly pulled off of her wrist while still in a closed, she was wearing a wetsuit. Her kite ended up caught in some reeds. She had immediate wrist swelling and pain. She went to the hospital and was diagnosed as having a permanent hairline fracture in the area of a previous break.
Lessons learned
1. Always land well in advance of squalls before any temperature, wind velocity or direction change. If conditions are squally it would be wise not to go kiteboarding.
2. This rider will no longer secure her wrist leash over her wetsuit but will slide her wetsuit to permit direct attachment of the leash.
3. Consider rigging your leash to your harness or spreader bar and eliminate the use of a wrist cuff.
Commentary
Squalls sometimes create conditions that are best avoided with no easy solutions. Avoid flying in or around sqaualls. NEVER disable your depowering leash until your kite is secured. An alternative approach would have been to wind up a length of ONE KITE LINE (not the one connected to the depowering leash), equal to or exceeding the wingspan. This should permanently depower the kite. After this has been done then you should be able to detach your leash attachment and wind up both lines at the same time. Grab your kite by the center of the leading edge or wingtip as soon as possible.

29a. Incident 3 02 02 "Runaway Kite Chaos" Location: Durban, South Africa
Date: March 31, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 2 For more information see: http://www.kitesurf.co.za/index.cfm?pageid=483&id=38 and http://www.mediacity2000.com/biz/bks...=59&Topic=3545
Summary
The wind was 15 kts. rising to 20 then gusting to 30 kts side onshore. A rider was setting up a Cabrinha 9.4 m Blacktip kite for solo launch. No one reported seeing what exactly happened, but reportedly some one or something kicked a kite flight line, launching the kite on its own.
The kite rose rapidly and flew fully powered into the power zone. Both the rider and a nearby kiteboarder grabbed the flight lines without gloves on but only suffered minor lacerations. The kite flew higher over about a 100 m horizontal distance. The kite then flew into another kite that was well anchored to the sand, ripped it and cut both of the flight lines of this other kite. The runaway kite then flew into lines that a kiteboarder was winding up, cutting both of those lines. The kite then hit a teenager who was looking the other way. The line wrapped around his neck and arm. He received a line burn to the neck and deep lacerations to his arm and hand as he tried to get the line off of him. The kite then flew on, landed on the road and was run over by two cars. The beach is 50 m at this location. The beach is paralleled by both a road and highway.
Lessons Learned
1. Self launching should be avoided at most times and particularly in higher winds. If you kiteboard with other riders there should be an experienced person around to help you launch.
2. If you must solo launch, place the kite into launch position at the last minute and launch without delay. Never leave your kite in solo launch position.
Make sure your kite is very well anchored with sand. If the wind is strong and gusty it may be difficult to judge the appropriate quantity of sand to use. Therefore do an assisted launch.
3. Designation and marking of kiteboarding launch and landing zones with signs could help to avoid bystanders becoming involved with incidents and accidents.
4. Use of a kite depowering leash, attached it to your body as soon as possible will also help to better manage such situations should they occur.
Commentary
This was a potentially severe incident that could have caused serious injury to both the teenager, other bystanders or even to people driving on the road or highway. Small errors, particularly in higher winds can lead to serious consequences. This accident could have potentially happened almost anywhere given the relatively common circumstances. It is important that riders take their time and suitable care in setup and launching. Assisted launches should be the norm in higher winds. Designation of kiteboarding launch and landing areas in populated areas should be negotiated with the authorities in an effort to preserve safety and access.

29. Incident # 2 02 9 "Inadequate Preflighting LeadsTo Broken Back" Location: Cape Hatteras, NC, USA
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 4
Summary
An experienced kiteboarder of roughly four years had just rigged his North Rhino 7.5 m in 15 to 20 kt., rising to 25 to 30 kt. winds. He strapped on his wakeboard and launched the kite. The kite went up very quickly and started spiraling in rapid 360 degree rotations. The rider was dragged at speed through this and tumbled five times with his wakeboard attached to his feet. He let go of the control bar but he may have been hooked in or the otherwise connected to the control bar. His kite was seen in the distance violently spiraling in the powerzone. Eventually, the kite settled to earth and stopped dragging the rider. The rider was reported to have stopped about 10 ft. from a car. The kiter was diagnosed with a fractured vertebrae, i.e. "his back was broken". He had a serious operation the next day from which reportedly 9 out of 10 people never walk again. This rider, I am told, will walk again, which is a very good thing. He is very lucky. No other details are available at this time about the accident.
Lessons learned
1. Always preflight your gear and do so in a focused and methodical fashion, every time. On high wind days, two or three checks wouldn't be too cautious. In pre-flighting make certain that your lines are of equal length. Pick up your bar and look down the lines to make sure they are clear. Pickup your bar and shake the lines to verify that the both front lines are connected to the leading edge of the kite.
2. This is another case where a helmet and impact vest could have made an important difference in degree of injury or even actual survival if things had been more severe. In this case it is uncertain whether a helmet would have helped or not. An impact vest might have, so why gamble? Routinely wearing both a good helmet and impact vest takes out some of the guesswork.
3. Good judgment is the most essential kiteboarding resource that we have. If you don't exercise good, responsible judgment, all the skill and experience in the world may not help or save you. Good judgment is the product of thorough training, careful experience and choosing to use it. If you trivialize safety, this sport can have a way of putting you in line in the most violent and damaging means possible.

Commentary
This rider had extensive experience. Add to that most of his experience was in Cape Hatteras, which has frequent high winds.
There is no more demanding riding environment than high wind kiteboarding. In reality, I suspect that many of us have made or have come close to making the same simple mistake that this rider did. It is merely human to make the odd minor mistake. In major wind, a minor mistake could be lethal or severely damaging. It is likely with the speed at which this happened no manual safety release could have but utilized in time. These lofting incidents can happen at blinding, numbing speed or they can be extended for a while depending on circumstances. Once you start to launch an out of control kite there is very little that you can do but ride it out and hope for the best. The key is avoiding having it happen in the first place.
Hang gliders used to die all too often by forgetting to attach the hang strap from their harness to their glider. They still do, but at a much lower rate. They learned from all the incidents and accidents. They would foot launch off a cliff and find themselves hanging off their base tube. It is infeasible to fly the glider in the position and rapidly loosing control and crashing at high speed is pretty inevitable. It is a very simple step, hooking into a hang strap but people are human and they forget.
High wind kiteboarding is similar in that, small mistakes are costly. Like hang gliders, we need a fixed preflight list to reduce the chance of such mistakes. These accidents and others in high wind reveal that riders should carefully consider their level of experience and precautions before going out in winds over 20 to 25 mph. Many of us have done it for years, but mistakes are proving to be devastating. Some of the best and brightest kiteboarders have been careless, injured or even died in accidents. It is human nature to become complacent with the familiar. Complacency in high wind kiteboarding, like flying an airplane or hang glider is unacceptable. Many accidents in those activities proved that. I hope we don't need many to convince kiteboarders to take this more seriously and prepare carefully before kiteboarding.
Riders should carefully consider what is at risk before going out in higher winds and ,perhaps, choose to wait for more reasonable conditions.

28. Incident # 2 02 8 "Kiteboarder Lofted Over Windsurfer" Location: California
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An experienced rider launched either an AR5 9.5 or 13.5 m kite. He attached a standard Dakine board leash prior to launching, as high, gusty winds at this launch donít permit easy one-handed bar control. His kite was near neutral or the zenith when a gust hit. The gust may have been preceded by a lull that dropped his kite lower into the power window and at a high angle of attack.
He was violently lofted up high enough to where the board, hanging below him by the leash went over and cleared a windsurfer who was standing by his rig downwind. The kiteboarder landed on sand away from rocks and other bystanders and was able to get his kite under control. No one suffered injuries.

Lessons learned
To avoid having the same thing happen to local riders, they have already learned to keep their kite low. Many riders have experienced 6 to 12 ft. loftings even in light winds (like after quitting due to lack of wind!). No one needed a 25 ft. lofting to convince them to change the way they manage their kite while near shore and hard objects.
Commentary
To reduce the chance of lofting, immediately after launch raise your kite only minimally above the horizon. Do not bring it up to neutral or the zenith. If you need to reverse the placement of the kite, do it quickly but not so quickly as to build apparent wind speed. Also, if you have a depowering strap, depower the kite as much as possible and still maintain stable flight for the available winds while near hard objects.

27. Incident # 2 02 7 "Wave Wraps Rider In Line, Kite Flies On" Location: Sydney, Australia
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An experienced kiteboarder was out in major swells on an unspecified kite in unspecified winds. As he rode out through a wide breaker zone and passed through a breaking wave, he was knocked off his board. The next wave broke over, slammed, and violently tumbled him toward shore. His kite continued to drag shoreward, and was sufficiently near neutral to lose forward flight speed, causing it to stall or luff. The luffed kite provided slack in the bridle and flight lines. Waves rolled the kiteboarder tightly up in the loose leaders and flight lines. He came up for air as the wave passed and his kite lines wrapped around his neck. Meanwhile, his board leash was tied nicely around both legs. The great and terrible thing about traction kites is that they often will not stay stalled for long; generally only long enough to fall closer to the center of the wind power window, where they will power up and apply major tension to the flight lines.
The rider was trussed up and largely immobile with a heavily repowered up kite pulling hard on the mess around his neck and his board dragging him in another direction. He didnít detail how he got out of all this, but ,fortunately, he did, apparently without serious injury.
Lessons learned
Be ready for heavy waves when they come. This is not the time to figure out that you are not ready for heavy white water. If out in heavy seas, time the sets and select your tack to blast out before getting slammed by breaking waves. Keep your kite below neutral and to seaward or to the far side of the waves. If you fall, work hard to move your kite to the seaward or behind the on coming waves. You donít want to drop your kite too low in major swells as you are the wishbone between the tremendous force of the wave charging shoreward while your kite is wanting to hurl in the opposite direction.
You want your kite low enough to reliably apply force to drag you through the waves and not to get pulled into a stall by having the kite too close to the zenith or the vertical. It calls for tricky judgment, so donít find yourself in this predicament too soon in your kiteboarding career.

If you do fall in the breaker zone, concentrate on body dragging at speed out through the breakers or into shore. Which ever direction you go, be sure to keep your kite flying and avoid being dragged into an involuntary kite stall at all costs.
If you have time, try to water start and blast out of the breaker zone. In selecting this last approach to be certain you have enough time to get up and out before getting hit by the next wave.
Commentary
Breaking waves add a new set of factors and destabilizing conditions to kiteboarding. If the rider is rolled, the outcome may be similar to what the rider went through or worse. In incident # 12 01 1, a female team rider had her kite steered into the power zone by a breaking wave which launched her at high speed into a beach for impact.
She was putting her board on with a small, very fast high aspect ratio kite. It is a tough judgment call as to where it is best to put on your board. It needs to be made on the basis of experience with the conditions at your specific launch. If you are flying a fast kite on a small bar, be very careful to maintain complete control at all costs particularly while near hard objects. Be very conscious of maintaining kite control when traveling through breaker zones. Always carry a hook knife and wear gloves to help deal with line conflicts. It is questionable whether a rider could cut out of a situation like this in reality. It is nice to have options. though. Given the potential for lofting, it is recommended that all kiteboarders should routinely wear good helmets.

26. Incident # 2 02 6 "Board Leash Causes Serious Head Injury" Location: Australia
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
The launch had waves breaking in about 2 - 3 foot of water on a sand bank. A kiter was in the car park setting up. After talking to the person that related this account for some time about gear etc, he said he had been hit on the head by his board. I asked if he was using a leash. He said he had a reel leash that wasn't supposed to fire the board back at him. If your boards attached to you thereís always a chance of it coming back to hit you. I explained the technique to body drag upwind. It would seem that whilst the board didn't slingshot back at him, he lost the board and because it was attached to him it got caught up in a wave and it hit his head. He said he was going straight to the hospital. He couldn't see it, it was right on the back of his head. I was thinking it was probably just a scratch.
On the back of his head he had a gash about 8-10cm long, 2 cm wide and about 1 cm deep. It turned my stomach. He was very lucky not to be knocked out in the water. He seemed very coherent to me. I am so glad I got rid of my leash. I suggested that he practice body dragging upwind and gets rid of the leash asap.


Lessons learned
Use good technique in board to avoid getting hit by your board. If things are too hard to get out safely, donít go. Soon you may be able to handle it. Leashes, even reel leashes, have the capacity to cause a serious board impact injury.
Wear a helmet and use good, safe technique.
Commentary
Leashes can cause a board to rebound back to you, with serious injury as a result. Even reel leashes have had their share of problems. Helmets can be very important in reducing/eliminating injuries particularly if you use a board leash. Riders should work on skills to eliminate leash use.

25. Incident # 2 02 5 "Serious Auckland Lofting" Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
A rider of undisclosed skill, with unspecified gear and wind was apparently violently lofted, reportedly 100 ft. into a violent impact on land where he left a visible mark.
His board rebounded into his head, possibly fracturing it. His jaw and eye socket area were both fractured. He was not wearing a helmet.
Lessons learned
Very few actual facts are known about this accident. All that seems to be evident is that the rider was violently lofted and wasnít wearing a helmet. All the normal awareness and careful precautions to avoid lofting must be observed to cut down of avoidable lofting incidents.
The rider may have been injured less by wearing a helmet to protect him from both board impact and possibly impact with the ground.
Commentary
It is possible that the vast majority of loftings may be avoidable with proper education and practice. The injuries may have been less if the rider wasnít using a leash or was using a reel leash. A helmet may have made a significant difference in the injuries sustained. An impact vest may have also provided useful protection.




24. Incident # 2 02 4 "Board Leash Causes Serious Head Injury, Again" Location: UK
Date: Feb. 25, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 0
Summary
Rider was out in gusty conditions and was violently flung forward by a strong gust. His board was hurled at high speed towards him by his 9 ft. long, end mounted board leash. It hit the back of his canoe helmet, split the helmet and left a 2 inch gash in his head. He had the gash repaired with six staples. Other similar injuries have been reported by other riders.
Lessons learned
Leashes can be dangerous. If you can reliably recover your board by body dragging or from running down the beach to pick it up failing all else, it is a good idea to stop using a board leash. Many riders have successfully gone without board leashes for a long time but area conditions can reduce the effectiveness of body dragging. Heavy waves, too high or low wind, unfavorable sideshore wind and contrary currents can complicate or eliminate the effectiveness of body dragging or beach board recovery. In those instances, use of a reliable reel leash may help. Whether you use a leash or not, you should use a good helmet.
Commentary
Here is another case where a helmet appears to have made a major contribution to a positive outcome to a potentially serious accident. If you wear a good helmet, your potential survivorship and/or ability to react immediately after impact may be much improved. If you arenít wearing a helmet, the degree of injury may be worse.

23. Incident # 2 02 3 "Small Kite ... Too Large" Location: Argentina
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
A kiteboarder launched a two line Wipika 5 m kite in 25 kts. gusty winds at a launch with nearby rocks. He tried to control the kite but could not and was apparently dragged 15 to 20 ft. into the rocks. He suffered a computated fracture of his forearm, i.e. with exposed bone fragments sticking out of his arm.
Lessons learned
Know both your limits, kite control ability and the safe useable wind range of your kite. Experimenting with rocks and other hard objects for backdrops may well result in serious injury. This rider could have easily struck his head from the sounds of the accident circumstances. It is not known if he was wearing a helmet or impact vest.
Commentary
The author was once dragged 80 ft. or more over a beach by a Wipika 5 m at high speed by a sudden 45 mph gust. Fortunately there was nothing hard along the way to slam into.
A small kite in high wind or gusts can be powerful enough to do serious harm to the rider and/or bystanders. Always chose your gear and launch area very carefully. Consider local conditions and your level of experience. If you arenít certain, don't fly. Get lessons and carefully talk with well experienced local riders.

22. Incident # 2 02 2 "Bad Technique Seriously Injures Rider" Location: Argentina
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An intermediate rider was out with a Naish 13.5 m kite in 20 + kt winds. He had just solo landed his kite, apparently without depowering it. It does not appear that he had a kite depowering leash. He ran up to the kite holding his bar with his center loop snapshackle still attached to his harness. The kite relaunched unexpectedly before he could reach the kite. He was violently dragged into serious impact(s) into hard objects. He had four displaced vertebrae and canít feel one of his arms. Other serious injuries may be present, it is not known at this time.
Lessons learned
Never approach an unsecured kite while you are still secured to your kite control bar. If strong gusty winds are present the resulting dragging could cause very serious injuries both to the kiter but also to bystanders. Ideally always have assisted landings with your assistant thoroughly securing your kite immediately. If you must solo land do not approach your kite until you are no longer connected to your control bar. Move quickly toward your kite by carefully, pulling towards it along one line only. Wearing gloves routinely while kiteboarding for this purpose is an excellent idea. If you land your kite by using your depowering kite leash, pull the kite carefully toward you using one line only until you can safely grab one kite tip and properly anchor the kite. If in doubt take adequate lessons from a competent kite instructor.
Commentary
The practice of solo landing and going to your kite while still snapshackled to it is easy to, but the price if things go seriously wrong is too high. Make sure that if your kite relaunches, it will not pull you anywhere (i.e. open any snapshackle connection, first before ever approaching the kite). If the kite relaunches your kite leash should save you from being dragged. All riders need to use kite leashes for this and many other important reasons, including the protection of bystanders. It is important not to solo launch upwind of bystanders. This avoids them having to deal with kite lines if things go wrong. Kites can apply tremendous force.
Too many riders continue to lose sight of that, get careless and injured. Finally it is not known if an impact vest would have reduced the injuries in this case.
Wearing an impact vest, good helmet and gloves may make a difference in avoiding an accident or coming through one with fewer injuries.



21. Incident # 2 02 1 "Over Confidence & Ignorance Gore Rider" Location: Arubinha a.k.a. Ponta da Acaira, Praia Seca, Brazil
Date: Feb. 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
A new kiteboarder was out for the first time with a four line kite in unspecified but presumably higher wind conditions at this very popular launch in Brazil.
He lost control of his kite and was dragged over the beach or possibly through the shallows near the sandbar launch and onto a sharp root. The root impaled his leg, reportedly badly lacerating it, causing major tissue damage and substantial bleeding.
Lessons learned
This rider should have gone through adequate lessons. He chose not to and was badly injured as a result. Apparently he was out in conditions, at a technical launch with a kite that were all well beyond his abilities to safely body drag.
Commentary
Riders that go to launches in conditions with gear beyond their abilities to safely learn are stacking the deck against themselves for serious accidents and against access for kiteboarders in general. This appears to have been a readily avoidable accident. Apparently he had been warned about reckless behavior with kites in the past. He should have had a trainer kite at the most under these conditions. Instead he was equipped with a kite large enough to do some serious damage.

20. Incident # 1 02 2 "Lofting Into Cars ... For a Third Time" Location: Miami, Florida
Date: Feb. 25, 2002 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 6
Photos of the accident appeared on page 74 of "Kiteboarding" magazine, May 2002
Summary
An intermediate female rider just had an assisted launch of her Airblast 8.4 m kite about 30 ft. off the beach at Hobie Beach, Miami, Florida. The wind was onshore and gusting with intermittent squalls. Following the launch in the shallows, with her kite in neutral, she was dragged shoreward to the edge of the beach. At this point things become unclear. Either her kite stalled, fell lower into the power zone, or she lowered one end of her control bar, thereby steering the kite lower into the power zone.
She was violently flung downwind or inland into a hard impact against parked cars and cutoff timber poles. She was screaming and bleeding from multiple cuts following the impact. Other riders caught and stabilized her kite and rendered first aid pending arrival of the ambulance. She was later diagnosed as having a skull fracture and a torn liver. She was not wearing a helmet or impact vest. She is recovering and interested in kiteboarding, soon.
Lessons learned
Given the squalls and gusty onshore winds present that day, deciding not to kiteboard would have been a prudent decision. Wearing a helmet and impact vest may have also reduced the degree of injury . Even deciding to kiteboard under the questionable conditions she could have gone further from shore to launch. Riders can walk offshore about 100 ft. or more from the beach at this launch thereby creating a buffer zone.
Commentary
Three riders have been flung or lofted into parked cars at this launch within the last 7 months. Two have gone to the hospital. The one who was able to walk away, did about $1000. USD damage to a car body with his board. The beach here is very congested and narrow with a normal backstop of cars parked about 15 ft. away from the water. A high speed four lane highway is located a short distance beyond the parked cars.
In each of these cases if a no fly zone within 100 ft. of the beach had been observed, it is highly unlikely that any of these accidents would have occurred. It is obvious that the winds making this launch useable from the SW are off the land, gusty and unstable. Three known accidents have occurred and at least three runaway kites have been flown into the highway. Two hung on traffic lights. One stopped traffic on the SAME DAY as this sad accident.
This launch is reportedly to be closed to kiteboarding in the near future. Kiteboarding inside the swim area and the incidents noted will largely be responsible for this kiteboarding ban. Once the ban is in place it is unlikely that it will be reversed. Riders have been asked on multiple occasions to stay outside the buoys and told that failure to comply will result in a kiteboarding ban.

19. Incident # 1 02 1 "Unstable Weather Causes Serious Lofting" Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Date: Jan. 5, 2002 Participant account included: Yes Number of independent accounts: 1
Summary
An experienced rider was just self launching his Slingshot Fuel 10 (2002) while hooked into the center loop when he was hit by a 40 kt. gust. Conditions up to that point were 20 kts. and gusty. His friend and many other riders were slammed when this gust hit. His kite was in at the zenith or vertical when the gust hit.
He was lofted and taken down the beach towards the trees and park. In hindsight he said he should have done whatever it took to unhook and ditch his kite. Instead he tried to recover it and 3-4 seconds later hit a tree. On hitting the tree the kite went from the zenith or vertical straight down in the power zone. He was dragged up and through the tree. The top of tree was about 20 feet high. He landed 60 feet from the tree, having flown at least 20 feet up.
He thought that if he had a snapshackle setup rather than traditional hook and had practiced an emergency release he would have had a better chance of releasing. As it was, the line tension was pulling so he would have had to lift himself up to release.
He might have been able to release it in time but would have had to do it the instant the pressure came on. The problem is you think it can be recovered and by the time it goes really bad you have lost the opportune moment.
He was wearing a helmet and sun glasses which he believed saved him from head trauma both in the tree and on impact. He ended up with a large cut just under his chin and several on his legs.
He firmly believed that if he hadn't had head and face protection he would have been a lot worse off. He still ended up suffered a fractured wrist, puncture wounds and a torn knee ligament.
Lessons learned
1. Be aware of the risks and mentally and physically practice what you need to do when something goes wrong. Sometimes you don't have time to think about what to do.
2. Riders with only one or two kites sometimes tend to push / extend the higher end of the range. Until they get a quiver they should be a lot more conservative in riding if the wind is at the top end. If is often better let your brain over rule your adrenalin.
3. Find other places to kite. The site of this accident has a tree lined park right on the waters edge. If something goes wrong in on shore conditions you only have one place to go! Onshore wind conditions should be avoided.
4. Where possible launch unhooked and keep the kite low (as opposed to 12 o'clock.) If something goes wrong let it go or at worst get pulled sideways.
5. A kite is infinitely more repairable than a human. If you ditch the kite you can back out on the water once it is repaired or replaced. This rider has been out of the water for a substantial period of time and missed the summer riding season while recuperating. He will soon have his cast removed, but will need many weeks of rehab before he can consider kiting again. Not to mention the impact it has had on my non-kiting life.
Commentary
This rider said that he has been watching people launch since then with a critical eye and most seem to get slightly pulled or lofted. Most people think it will never happen to them or are just not aware of the risk. He said the nurse at the hospital told him that he was the fifth injured kiteboarder to be brought into the hospital recently. He concluded that his injuries could have been much worse without a helmet and eye protection
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FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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