MikeR80

Kiter Passes Away Friday on Alameda

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Wow. Anyone have details on how this occured?

I have dabbled in Kiting, definitely want to do a camp and really immerse myself in the sport, but this makes me rethink things a bit...

may the guy that passed away RIP.

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in spite of the big improvements in gear and instruction over the years, fatal kiting accidents are still happening with some regularity.

i think that if you consider the huge number of people participating now, the frequency is probably down compared with years ago.

still, it's pretty unsettling...

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Sports become 'extreme" when the conditions exceed the skills, either of the participant or the observer...

 

 

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Based on what the eyewitness wrote, it seems he was far overpowered for his skill level. Had he been hooked into a 5 meter or even a 7 he probably could have handled the gust even without knowing how to depower. 

I started on a 4 meter traction kite, now I have a 7 meter, and even with that kite I don't feel safe unless the conditions are steady, which is rare at this altitude. The 4 meter feels okay.

I assume that I'm not the only one to have nightmares of happened to that poor guy.

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seems like a combination of factors..

1) lack of skill/experience - did he ever have a full course of lessons from a certified instructor? possibly not...

2) unstable, gusty conditions

3) sketchy launch

4) too big a kite

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Is it really possible to unplug quick enough in a situation like that?  I would think that with both hands on the bar that by the time you know you need to bail, it's too late.  One of the forum threads mentions the possibility of developing gear that allows launching without hooking up first.  Seems like a safer approach.

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you can launch unhooked with current gear - but i think most would say it's not generally a good idea.., as you give up too much control over the kite.

could new gear be developed for which that isn't the case? maybe.., but i think most would say it's not a good solution

for one thing.., the supposed advantage to launching unhooked is that you can quickly get rid of the kite, if something is wrong.

but that loose kite then becomes a problem for anyone downwind - people have been killed by loose kites. say you are a kiter downwind of someone that lets their kite go - the bar on the loose kite can get tangled in your lines.., and now you have two kites attached to you.., only one of which do you have any control over. 

the best solution is to not rig too big.., and to launch in a way that keeps the kite in control

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the problem w launching unhooked is that the chicken loop is always at the bar, meaning full power.

 In gusty conditions i always launch hooked in, full depower on my lines and one hand on or near my quick release.

 lack of Proper QR training and practice was most likely the culprit here.

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I learnt on my own, I had to becuase there is no kite school in the place I live.  I started with a 7mtr which was idea for messing about with in not very strong winds. I learned to self launch and land and eventually got riding...after many many hours of figuring it out. 

I would cover as much 'what if' scenerios as you can.  With kite size I always maintain that if you struggle to walk to the water with the kite in the air then its size for that given wind speed...is too big.

I have had some close calls, one would have seen me killed outright if I had been on land at the time. I got 'lofted' and landed on my head/neck. My ears were ringing after I landed like this....I was very very lucky.  kiting isnt to be taken as some safe sport.  I still kite but am very choosy on the wind and tide state.  There is plenty of good days to kite, dont kite if you arent sure...you need at least two kite sizes, 3 even if you can afford to.

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I'm not sure that the OP's question was fully answered. When you say, un-hook, there are several interpretations. The first it to un-hook the Chicken Loop which does not imply that you can simply let go of the kite. There's a secondary leash which keeps the kite attached to your harness. The second option is a release which detaches the kite completely from the kiter and the harness. I call this the $2,000 option. When u use it, the kite goes free and is likely damaged badly or lost forever. Most don't want to use this option b/c the kites are so expensive. On the other hand, how much would you pay to save ur own life....

There is usually another feature which does not "un-hook" the kite but one which releases l length of sheets such that the kite is completely de-powered. This is much more effective than un-hooking the chicken loop. The downside is the degree of difficulty in re-rigging while floating in deep water.

There's no reason to die kiting. I'm in my mid 50's and have been messing with kites for 12 years. The A Kites (lower aspect, more de power) are much much safer but there has always been the $2K option on all kites I've ever seen.

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Over a decade ago, I was on Kieth Notary's shop. He was building kite boards (and a big cat at the time). I said I was considering learning. He told me a recent story, of going out with a good friend, who hit a piling at speed. Dead.

Soon thereafter, I went to Maui with my son to teach him windsurfing. But of course the many kites led us to head to Robbie Naish's place to explore learning how to kite surf. Robby told me he had temporarily stopped teaching or assisting people in learning due to this accident:

 

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