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Old 05-22-2008, 11:42 PM
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kites4food kites4food is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Miami
Posts: 18
Default Hobie incident....

Ken here. I work with Skybanditz Kiteboarding in Miami.

Lots of hear-say and assumptions about this minor injury. A guy fell off his board in the shallows. His kite did not hit the beach. He did not hit the beach. The water was deep enough that other riders were riding in that area. His fin happened to catch. he fell on his shoulder which popped out of socket. Wasn't even a hard fall. No looping kite. No blood. No broken bones. No one tried to re-set anything. We just called the paramedics who took him to Mercy for an ex-ray. By the time I got to Mercy to check on him, they were almost ready to release him. Within an hour, he was back at Hobie watching the 25 other kiters doing much more dangerous things than him.

So before anyone calls out the lynch-mob, let's get the facts and put things into perspective.

The kiter who got hurt at Hobie was a rider who had taken a few lessons several months back. He was riding self-sufficiently, but not fully upwind yet. He bought his gear at the kite shop, and showed up at Hobie to get back into the swing of things. At first he asked for a few pointers on the spot after he had set up his gear. Once he realized all the dangers of Hobie, he asked for someone to come out and keep an eye on him...give him some intermediate guidance. Without which, he might've gone out on his own at this unregulated, last resort beach that EVERYONE flocks to on the westerly winds. He was very responsible to ask for guidance. There were several riders out there that I wish were taking a few more lessons.

In my opinion, if there is ANY beach in Miami where there should be someone willing to guide the intermediates and beginners who can and will ride at such a beach, it's Hobie.

As for the libelous accusations and attempts to damage our school's business, I hope that cooler heads prevail over the mafia attitude. One student, who left his initial 3 hour course smiling and satisfied two days ago, called back today to ask for a refund. Why? Apparently, someone got ahold of him, told him what a bad school we are, and promptly sold him a Cabrinha kite. Pretty low. This formerly happy customer was ready to buy his gear from us, after which he would have been entitled to two free hours of setup and tuning instruction (standard with every full setup we sell). Now he's got a kite that comes with a free giant warning label. Which is safer?

Listen guys, I'm not out to damage anyone's business here. I would hope that everyone in our small community who smile at each other over a beer will offer each other a little respect. Saying anything that is not completely true against another's livelihood is dirty and illegal.

Big Kite Miami and 12 KITE were at Hobie that day. Christophe and his instructors were teaching a girl at Hobie a few months back. Her kite ended up in the trees and she almost got hurt. Jazz and Christophe and my girlfriend ran to the trees to Help her. No big deal, But we don't hear about incidents like that. And riding at Crandon is business as usual with beach-side antics and kites in trees. Every advanced rider I know has shown off at some point or another and broken the rules to push the envelope. We should do our best to promote safety, but we have to realize that this is the nature of our sport. This isn't synchronized swimming. So Put the noose away... Quit with the threats. Free wetsuits for Narcs enforcing rules that don't exist?! If I had my camera, I could've gotten my next NPX order for free! Kent, I respect you and your business tremendously. But I do not look to you as the dictator of our community. I cannot take orders or threats regarding how I live and work. I will continue to teach in a safe and responsible way. You may not agree with my teaching methods, but live and let live. In the 10 years I've been riding, and the 4 years I've been teaching, this is the first student under my care who has needed so much as a band-aid. So, is Skybanditz really such a threat to the safety of our beaches?

I only started writing on these forums to promote a local get together of area kiters. We get about 40 people together once a month to watch videos, share stories, have a drink, and give away free food and kite stuff. (Funny enough that I never see ANY of you there.) As I got on the forums, I realized all the angry gossip and mudslinging and self congratulatory circle-jerking that goes on here. I really don't want to be a part of that, but since a student from my school got a bump, and the mud's coming my way, I'll just say my peace and leave it at that.
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KEN RUSSELL
Skybanditz Kiteboard Centers
Miami, FL
skybanditz.com
786.218.4177
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