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Old 10-14-2014, 10:58 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Default Drinking and Kiting

I just came across something on Facebook that is worth reposting here. The kiter suffered serious injury in moderate winds resulting in a serious TBI, major medical expense and long recovery period. What follows is an early incident shortly after he was able to return to kiting.

"Sharing something I find profound about drinking and kiting:

THEN:

On September 15, 2013 I tried to go night kiting in the Keys after drinking. The wind was maybe 16g19 MPH. Back then I would consider myself a “semi-professional” drinker with a high tolerance…. a little buzz, no problemo. While on land, I wasn’t paying attention to the kite when it drifted into the power window. Realizing what was about to happen, I chose to “send the kite” back to 12 o’clock and roll over onto my back to recover. I ended up slamming my head into the beach and got two skull fractures, 6 nights in the ICU, almost 15 brain scans, lost hearing in one ear, and literally almost died. (Oh, and spent over $100k out-of-pocket in healthcare, plus what insurance paid.)

NOW:

I was able to kite again for the first time about two months ago. I did my first night session at the country club on Sunday, wearing a new seat harness, in similar winds as my Keys injury (<19 MPH). While in the middle of a tack my harness bar suddenly came unhooked. I did not put the safety clip on the bar - i never have - and for the first time it came unhooked. The play-by-play sequence of reactions was as follows:

[0:01] Steered the kite fully powered (my first unhooked session!)
[0:02] Once controlled, I looked for the eject bulb
[0:02] Remembered to “let go” of the bar
[0:03] Instead landed the kite in the water to address the harness
[0:05] Surveyed the shore to see if there were trees where I could safely ditch the kite
[0:06] Told myself to “stand up,” which i did
[0:20] I loosened the straps on the seat harness so I could get the harness bar back into the cleat
[1:00] I connected and tightened the harness bar, and put the safety clip on this time

The first three reactions were almost instantaneous - the reaction was something between cognitive thought and “muscle memory.”

It didn’t occur to me until texting with a friend tonight how eerily similar the situations were. A little (or a lot) to drink and I make dumb, instantaneous decisions in light winds that almost cost me my life. In the same conditions, with a sober mind, my reaction was much more pragmatic and controlled. So much so that I didn’t even think anything of it - just a flat tire, not an accident that totaled my car.

My point?...

Kitesurfing is risky - take controlled risks and control the risks you can.

Kite with familiar equipment

Kite in familiar spots

Don’t kite in sketchy conditions (storms, lightning)

Kite in onshore spots

Kite sober with sober friends that have your back
Kite sober with sober friends that have your back
Kite sober with sober friends that have your back

Chances are, nothing is going to happen to you. But you can’t plan for the unplanned. If you do roll snake eyes in a kiting situation, you better be sober and on your game, or your over (or under) reaction may make matters worse. A mistake that seems small can cost you your life.

Kite season is nearly upon us. Time to start changing the culture on the beach. Time to kite sober."
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transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2014, 02:18 PM
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Steve-O Steve-O is offline
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The first thing to go while drinking is judgement.

If there is one thing you need to navigate the sport of kiteboarding, it is judgement.
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