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  #21  
Old 08-20-2008, 10:40 PM
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Yes, Brad, I truly believe it can be changed. There are so many other activities which started with poor practices and improved over time. Can you imagine that there once was resistance to decompression in diving?! True story, and helmets in football, use of BCs and pressure gages in SCUBA diving, redundant hang straps in hang gliding, reserve chutes in sky diving ... this could go on all night.

We learn and we can adapt. We need to incorporate weather awareness into kiteboarding culture just as the above precautions were blended into the cultures of so many other activities. How do you do that? Glad you asked ... I have lots of ideas including things that have already been launched but it would be good to hear from others on this. So, how do you think it might be done?
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  #22  
Old 08-20-2008, 11:06 PM
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I'm with ya...and the dude last night is alive today because of his airbag...

So how can we incorporate more weather awareness into kiting culture? Quick releases do very little imo...just like parachutes do little in aircraft...

Our sport is defined in part by the conditions...

It gets good when it gets bad...

16m kites in 12 knots is ok...(but really sucks)...everyone likes to be lit on small kites, when it's the most dangerous....so what do we do with that?

and again, who is to blame? everyone out the last few days or just the guys who got hurt?
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  #23  
Old 08-20-2008, 11:35 PM
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I wouldn't feel hopeless. One must first face the fact that you are not going to get through to everyone. There will always be someone like Kevin that has likely been warned 100 times but continues to push the limits. Some survive with that attitude in life, and some don't.

Three things come to mind as an instructor in the Tampa Bay area that will have a direct impact.

1. Focus efforts on your home turf. Promote and create safe riders. Team riders and instructors for a shop should be setting the highest example for safe riding practice. Failure to comply means no more benefit or no more job. Setting the highest example that you can will make an impact on others around you.

2. Increase training beyond the hands on skills. It seems that many schools focus on the water skills with theory as a suppliment. I feel it should be the other way around. Focus on the theory and enhance with water skills. For every 1 hour of on water training, 1 hour should be spent on theory training. So 3-4 hours of private water lessons should accompany 3-4 hours of lecture.

At our shop we spend 3 hours in lecture with our students before any water skills are taught. I am considering adding an addition 2 hours of lecture completely focused on weather planning and assessment.

For those of you that teach out there, I can first hand tell you that my students appreciate this lecture and builds a strong foundation in theory. After teaching this theory based class for over a year now, 3 hours is not nearly enough.

Rick has asked to share my curriculum, and I will do so in the near future. One might ask, what can I talk to my student about for 3-5 hours, and I assure you there is plenty to talk about and plenty of information to share. Not to mention it is a win win for the school and the student financially.

3. Create a voluntary buddy system. Ask seasoned riders to be mentors to new riders. A new rider armed with all this information and some skill always has tons of questions and still needs assistance on their road to self sufficiency. Private lessons are completed but a mentor might help fill that gap in learning. Instructors are mentors already, but maybe that student feels they are troubling them. With a mentor, a new kiter has someone they can always go to for advice until they truly start understanding all the concepts. This mentor would also make efforts to keep an eye on this person for awhile and keep them from harms way. Smart newbies find a mentor naturally, but setting up a system might encourage and connect new riders with seasoned riders. Not to mention, the seasoned rider might learn something from the whole experience. This would make them question there riding practice and look at the sport from a different point of view.

Kent, we both know that incidents like this will continue. But it's sometimes in our darkest hour that we grow.
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  #24  
Old 08-21-2008, 08:09 AM
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It is always hard to get accidents down to 0%, maybe impossible. Doesn't mean it is ineffective. I would guess that if you compare kiting accident percentages over the years they are going down because of the efforts of many, including Rick, to get safe information out there. Unfortunately you never know how many people read the forum warning from Rick and chose not to go out in Fay. I would guess there is a lot of people. Or how many people now check weather more because of it.

I will tell anyone I see to stop doing whatever I think is dangerous, I'd say most listen and stop, but some people just don't care - an accident in their case is simply a matter of time, which sucks...
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  #25  
Old 08-21-2008, 11:16 AM
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Guys, I'm not feeling hopeless...and not expecting to get fatalities down to 0% (although that would be nice)...my intentions are to help prevent this from happening again...

But, where do we draw the line? When is a cloud a squall? Sometimes that cloud passing by is nice and sometimes it can kill you- How gusty is too gusty? How big a wave is too big??????????

And Rick, sending someone into a wildfire is not the same...(I see your point) but we dont play with fire...we do play with wind...and surely nobody should encourage someone to go out in narly conditions if the're not ready...

Many, many, many kiters can't wait for the next tropical system to swing on by and give us some awesome conditions...how do we try to differentiate between good tropical systems and bad ones?




And again I ask, should everyone out that day be to blame? or just the ones who had accidents?
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  #26  
Old 08-21-2008, 11:32 AM
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Everyone out on that day used poor judgement...

There is a big difference between making a judgment call on your abilities versus going out in an unpredictable storm...

Example:

if conditions are steady at 19 knots, it is probably ridable for a 9-16m kite. A beginning may decide based on their ability they should take out a 9, while an advanced rider may choose a 13.

Contrast that to the conditions during the storm, it was unpredictable. Wind could lull or gust to 60 knots. Those that went figured their abilitys were enough to react to any of those possibities; however, a sudden gust at 60 knots at the wrong time will get anyone, regardless of their abilities. You are betting that either that will not happen will you are out, or will occur at a time you can control it, a foolhardy bet....

There is some leeway if the conditions are predictable based on your skill level, but in unpredicatable weather your abilities do not matter...how do you know you have enough skill without knowing what is coming?
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  #27  
Old 08-21-2008, 02:59 PM
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Great program Steve-O, would like to see more like out out in the world. There is so much essential theory that students should have. Some are here to teach, they should do just that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by b-rad View Post
It gets good when it gets bad...
and again, who is to blame? everyone out the last few days or just the guys who got hurt?
For my part in life and business, I really don't care much about blame. I am big on cure though, or learning from mistakes. We do need to lead by example though, even if it hurts, I feel we have that responsibility.

Regarding, "It gets good when it gets bad..." I disagree, IF we're windsurfers, the nastier the better, sans lightning as long as you and your gear can reasonably handle it.

But, were not, we're kitesurfers. If you had ever been badly lofted by an excessive gust, we have more here than many other places in this hemisphere, we wouldn't be talking about this. Like it or not, our gear is not sufficiently safe in excessive squalls winds. From all the dozens of accidents I poured over and the few I've experienced there is NO doubt in my mind about this. Add too much wind and you get lofted and/or dragged or your kite stalls, snags something on you and the unequal lines drag you off at high rate of speed. You have wind more of the year in the Keys than any other place in Florida. How could one session be worth losing your health, mobility or your life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OttoNP View Post
It is always hard to get accidents down to 0%, maybe impossible. Doesn't mean it is ineffective. I would guess that if you compare kiting accident percentages over the years they are going down because of the efforts of many, including Rick, to get safe information out there. Unfortunately you never know how many people read the forum warning from Rick and chose not to go out in Fay. I would guess there is a lot of people. Or how many people now check weather more because of it.

I will tell anyone I see to stop doing whatever I think is dangerous, I'd say most listen and stop, but some people just don't care - an accident in their case is simply a matter of time, which sucks...
I agree, accidents will never go to zero. That isn't the point in my view. It is to reduce readily avoidable accidents through reasonable procedures and judgement. We're still in the early days and there is way too much "operator error" at play in accidents. If we're on our game and go at things right, operator error should diminish somewhat or at least go below 90% of the time. I tell people the same thing and get mixed reactions. You win some and you lose some, still we need to keep trying.
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  #28  
Old 08-21-2008, 11:30 PM
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Hey Brad,

Rick, you do care about blame as much as you do cure...how do you know what to cure without blame?

Maybe it comes down to definitions, I see blame as going after someone or something with an intent to censure ("the rider's an idiot, don't be an idiot" I prefer "look for the following and take these steps to try to avoid it"). You are right, you have to know likely causes to develop a cure, if you are equating blame with cause.


Quote:
If you had ever been badly lofted by an excessive gust, we have more here than many other places in this hemisphere, we wouldn't be talking about this.
My mistake. It's just most of the guys I meet, not all mind you, that have almost been killed or seriously injured requiring rehab/time off the water by these conditions seem to take a real hard look at hazardous weather. It takes on a whole new reality and importance but there are exceptions.



Are you trying to tell me the guys out that day didn't know the dangers? That they didn't know about an approaching storm? Of course they did...thats why they were out!


Yes, in a sense that is what I am saying. Saying a hazard exists is one thing (Storm winds are blowing, we're going), appreciating the nature of the threat and taking reasonable precautions is quite another. Here's an example, a real one. You have a tourist from the other side of the world. He doesn't know about high wind kiting, local conditions, hazards whatever. People warn him for a couple of days, he ignores them. It is blowing like stink, making the hazard apparent even to our tourist. Still, he DOESN'T APPRECIATE the nature or extent of the hazard, he blows it off. That was before he got lofted over a powerline and into the second story of a build then off to the hospital. There is a difference between acknowledging a hazard and appreciating what it can do to you and taking sensible steps to reduce the odds of getting trashed by it. This doesn't necessarily mean not riding for advanced riders but it does mean doing proper risk assessment and monitoring before and throughout the session. Remember a guy was killed just two days before in a seasonal squall not even a significant tropical storm with squalls hammering through all day long.



Look Rick, we both care about everyone's safety...I don't want to see anyone get hurt any more than you do! I just feel the real problem lies deeper within the human nature of risk/reward.


Like a lot of us, I've been doing action sports for a long time. I try to go at these activities in a thoughtful way with reasonable precautions dictated by conditions, training and good judgment. I even succeed at this, sometimes. I think a lot of this comes down to appreciating the hazard and going to the effort to reduce the odds of getting messed up through reasonable precautions. Otherwise it is like taking an ultralight up for a trip to Miami from Islamorada through something like Fay. Could be exciting and memorable but also potentially short.
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Last edited by RickI; 08-22-2008 at 08:23 AM.
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  #29  
Old 08-21-2008, 11:46 PM
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OttoNP makes a great point-

Predictability.

As the weather gets less and less predictable...the danger gets greater.

Is there a "Predictability Factor" in weather forecasting?

Maybe our kite forecasts could read something like: E15-20 with a P5 (good forecast) or something like that to provide even more information about the quality of wind... In FL the forecast is isolated thunderstorms everyday so we don't even read that...
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  #30  
Old 08-22-2008, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b-rad View Post
OttoNP makes a great point-

Predictability.

As the weather gets less and less predictable...the danger gets greater.

Is there a "Predictability Factor" in weather forecasting?

Maybe our kite forecasts could read something like: E15-20 with a P5 (good forecast) or something like that to provide even more information about the quality of wind... In FL the forecast is isolated thunderstorms everyday so we don't even read that...
To some degree, things can vary enormously point to point and from one season to the next as you know. Take a look at some of these articles below, this stuff have been in circulation for many years. They help to focus in on "useable" and "unuseable" wind, the kind you want and the kind to avoid.

I don't see a day in the near term in which kitesurfers won't have to do our own weather interpretation to some degree. You can have a 3 mile diameter squall that will boost winds to 40 to 50 mph in seconds that is a point point on the area radar. Unless there are a bunch of them and even then at times in summer thermal squalls, the wx forecasters may not pick it up. So, a lot of this is up to us. Good news is that it isn't that hard or complex to form some useful impressions.

Please read over:
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=7043
and the top two posts at:
http://fksa.org/forumdisplay.php?f=12

Dangerous weather isn't that hard to avoid if we try.
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