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Old 12-07-2006, 08:45 AM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Some points for emphasis come to mind. These things have been ignored or discounted by some kiters of all ages at times over the years. Some have been lost, others severely injured, while others suffered minor injury or perhaps none at all. Life and kiting are numbers games. Consistently approaching both on an informed prudent basis should result in more enjoyment and fewer problems along the way.

1. Avoid onshore winds particularly with strong gusts and large surf.
A disproportionate quantity of kiting accidents are associated with onshore winds. Newer riders should strictly avoid such conditions.

2. Do proper weather planning (reviewing forecasts, warnings, realtime winds, radar, etc..) and monitoring. This should be second nature for ALL kiters. We crave wind, why would we choose to ignore what brings good winds as well as the bad kind that can trash us and our gear? Squalls often bring excessively gusty winds and have been been responsible for many serious injuries and deaths worldwide among kiters. Kiteboarders should avoid squalls. Many activities demand proper weather planning and monitoring, kiting is no different.

3. Select a kite size appropriate for the lower to mid range of actual wind conditions. DO NOT go out rigged with too large a kite, ESPECIALLY if you are a new kiter. Combining this with onshore, excessively gusty winds, big waves and lack of extensive experience the odds of getting well offshore to ride become quite remote and the odds of an accident or incident go way up.

4. Physically and mentally rehearse activating your kite's quick release. Kiters should understand how their quick release or emergency kite depowering mechanism work. They should properly maintain it for effective performance and should regularly activate it with a reasonable downwind buffer to verify function and to become used to activating it without excessive delay in emergencies. Failure to do this simple step is akin to driving a high performance car and having no proper idea how to apply the brakes.

5. Always use a good, serviceable kite leash on kites. By not using a kite leash with a C kite, the rider either has to hang on to the kite like grim death and hope things work out. Or, to release the kite and send it flying off downwind out of control perhaps to damage the kite or harm bystanders. This may have explained the kiters reluctance to depower the kite in this accident. We often have bare seconds to react, chaining yourself to something that can fling you hundreds of feet with no ready means of killing the power short of releasing and perhaps trashing the kite is ill advised in the extreme.

6. Maintain an adequate downwind buffer. Less than 10 ft. horizontally to a 6 ft. vertical sand cliff in strong onshore gusty winds allows NO room for error whatsoever. You will be slammed into the cliff and/or lofted over it in no time. Try to maintain a 100 ft. clear downwind buffer and more if feasible.

7. Take adequate, high quality professional kiteboarding instruction. Steering an airplane is easy, almost anyone can do it. Thing thing that will keep you alive will not be your ability to steer the plane but your knowledge and experience with procedures, landing, taking off, weather, IFR rules, etc.. Kiting can be like that, it can be SO easy to learn to steer or operate the kite. Knowledge about what makes a good launch area, emergency depowering, weather planning, kite system maintenance, etc. is vital and can make all the difference. Good instruction is an excellent use of time and money.

8. Wear a good helmet and impact vest for kiting whenever you ride. Accidents will happen despite the best planning and preparation. Absent such preparation the odds go sustantially higher of misadventure. Safety gear can make a critical difference in whether injury happens at all or in the degree of severity along with the term of recovery. A helmet may not save your life in some impacts but not using one assures that your scalp and fairly thin skull will bear the full burden of impact, piercing and abrasion.
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transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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