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Old 02-13-2008, 02:09 PM
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Default Stormy Weather Hits Kiter

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanplay
So there are three of us having a blast in the waves doing a down winder, we started in pompano and are going to Deerfield. Just as we are getting to opal towers the rain starts coming in strong, the waves smooth out some, I get a big grin and keep riding, now this would have been the time to get out of the water but the kite buzz took over and on we went, now at trespass, itís the worst spot on the whole down winder other than the pier to have shit go wrong but nice waves to be had. I see my other two kite bros in the danger zone having some tasty waves. Just then I turn my head and see it. It is one nasty squall of death a white out! I jib the board and head off shore, the whole time I think my bros are dead in the worst place at the worst time! All the time Iím hooked up and trying to get as far from the rocks and sea wall as I can before it hits me. Then it hit, Bag Iím going mark one and blown off my board from the wind and rain, F#$%H I said to my self keep your head, keep your head, Iím thinking pull the safety pull the safety, F&*^king bow kite if I do my leash is on the chicken safety then I have to ditch the whole rig! So every thing now is in slow motion, Iím thinking get the leash to the oh shit handle, all the time the kite is depowered all the way and bar out and me being violently dragged around. I get it to the oh shit handle, I have the kite just off the water and in control with me heading to sea, so I hold on and am going for the ride! Itís a total white out and I just keep telling myself, keep control, keep control, itís going to be over, it will be over.
Just then when things can't get much worse other than death it happens, the kite starts going from the NE to the E to the SE, then I think wholly shit itís flying out of the wind window and will be blown right at me, with my hand on the release the whole time or most of any way, the kite keeps blowing around the window with the wind doing a clock wise rotation, three times I went around that I known of, could have been more. I was scared shitless and had all my thoughts and energy focused on keeping that kite low and in control, and me in the water. In the long run all things went well and am lucky to be alive.
The other two kiters had 5th lines and went to them, and all made it safe.

So I ask what the hell was that, was it a waterspout, some kind of vortex/micro burst they had a tornado warning out?

Anyone have this happen to them?

Oh yea donít be a dumb ass like me, donít kite with squalls and tornado warnings!!!

reposted from: kiteforum.com
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickI
What time did this happen at? I didn't quite follow what happened to the wind, could you break it down for me again.

There was a mega-nasty squall line that moved through that area in late afternoon today. Bright red, fat and looking like severe trouble on radar. A version of the radar image appears below, after it had moved over your area. This stuff was moving north very fast. Planes wouldn't take off in it, not even jumbo jets, of course having something like a parachute up the size of a car in it is ok? I was wondering if it would clear in time for me to go out after work off Palm Beach County. It did fortunately. If you kited through that you may wish to hang on a bit harder to your remaining "lives" in the future.

I'm guessing it may have happened around 4 pm, if this was the same system you guys dealt with. It spiked winds up to around 38 mph in Dania around 3:30 pm and the same (38 kts.) in Delray at around 4:30 pm moving from the south. Both were fairly mild as our squalls go, as they can easily double that wind speed, or more. You never know before you are in them after all. I was waiting for this stuff to pass north in Delray. Bet is looked like your own personal cloud from hell, dark and nasty. Liked your concluding point, the voice of truth taken from hard experience in a fairly light squall by local standards.


Just found the marine forecast for the area from yesterday, Feb. 12, 2008. Tornados and gusts to gale force in severe storms, good kiting weather? "Suicide is contagious?" Hope not.

SYNOPSIS FOR JUPITER INLET TO OCEAN REEF OUT TO 60 NM AND FOR EAST
CAPE SABLE TO BONITA BEACH OUT TO 60 NM-
342 PM EST TUE FEB 12 2008

.SYNOPSIS...
A WARM FRONT WILL MOVE ACROSS THE AREA THIS THIS EVENING. A COLD
FRONT WILL MOVE ACROSS THE REGION ON WEDNESDAY WITH HIGH PRESSURE
ONCE AGAIN BUILDING NORTH OF THE AREA ON THURSDAY. STRONG TO
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS COULD IMPACT THE LOCAL WATERS THIS EVENING THROUGH
WEDNESDAY.

COASTAL WATERS FROM JUPITER INLET TO DEERFIELD BEACH, FL OUT 20 NM-
342 PM EST TUE FEB 12 2008

...TORNADO WATCH 53 IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM EST THIS EVENING...
...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING...

.TONIGHT...SOUTH WINDS 20 TO 25 KNOTS WITH GUSTS TO NEAR GALE FORCE.
NEAR SHORE...SEAS 6 TO 8 FEET SUBSIDING TO 4 TO 6 FEET AFTER
MIDNIGHT. WELL OFFSHORE...SEAS 6 TO 8 FEET. INTRACOASTAL WATERS A
MODERATE CHOP. WINDS HIGHER AND SEAS ROUGHER IN SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS.

Looking South across Lake Worth Inlet in West Palm Beach towards what may be the northern exposure of the squall line that shows up on the radar image below.


The gust spike hitting Delray at around 4:30 pm


The gust spike in Dania at around 3:30 pm


Note the strong red squall line working up the coast shown near the north end of Palm Beach County in this radar image
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:24 PM
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Noel reported similar conditions down in Islamorada a few hours earlier:

Quote:
Originally Posted by noel
Down here in the keys it blew @ 25-35 mph all day. What a great day. Between 1:00 and 2:00pm, a squall came in. We could see it coming and everyone but 1 person got off the water. As the storm approached, the wind got stronger until the 1 person on a 7m Best Bularoo got tea-bagged and forced in. @ 5 minutes after landing his kite the wind spiked upwards of 50 mph. Everyone was on top of there kites trying to hold them down. Glad we were not on the water.
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:26 PM
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Hey Noel,

Could have been related to the squall line that moved through here a few hours later on. Although it looked a bit less threatening in the radar image from around 1 pm shown below. Pays to avoid these like the plague. Glad you guys weren't caught out in it.



X marks the spot

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Old 02-13-2008, 02:27 PM
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More input from Oceanplay

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickI
Oceanplay called and filled in some more details. We owe him special thanks for posting his experiences on here. Nothing like a real life example to sharpen the critical importance of something in people's minds.

The incident happened between 3:30 and 4 pm. He was on a 10 m flat kite. The wind had risen, flattened out the waves somewhat has they rode north on the downwinder in strong SSE winds. Suddenly he saw a white wall rushing towards him from the south and it was on him before he knew it. Visibility plummeted to where he could barely see his kite 25 yards away, the wind roared like a freight train and his kite spun crazily with explosive changes in wind direction. He was holding the bar out and panic at bay, thinking mechanically about what he needed to do. He wasn't lofted but was expecting to be as he was dragged around. He guessed the squall was on him for about five minutes but it could have been less you lose sense of time in such cases.


From: http://www.weathermichigan.com

I think he saw the approaching gust front of a supercell storm cloud. It was blasting ocean spray (almost like oceanplay, funny?) up into a wall before the rapidly advancing squall. He mentioned the radical wind direction changes.

Such changes could shower a kiter with falling line, allow the kite to relaunch and get cheese sliced, dragged/lofted into whatever without anyway to depower or simply be drowned as has sadly happened in the recent past in tragic fatal accidents in Spain, Hungary and the Ukraine. You can't know in advance what will happen in a squall.

In looking at real time wind graphs these direction changes are a give away of squall activity such as shown below:



You look for these conditions upweather and work hard to AVOID THEM.


Pretend all that dust is actually water. Do you really want to try to ride through one of these with a kite up?
From: http://skydiary.com/gallery/chase2001/chase2001f.html

Lastly, squalls occur WORLDWIDE. Kiters have been killed and injured in squalls/storms in many sections of the USA, Europe, Asia, Oceania, etc.. This is far from a Florida problem. Weather planning and monitoring make good sense. More about this in the first several posts at: http://www.kiteforum.com/viewforum.php?f=131 , in particular http://www.kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=131&t=2323430

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Old 02-13-2008, 02:28 PM
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Still more insights ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanplay
Well it hit around 4:00 and if anything the wind was stronger than the meters, just the sound, it was like a train.

I did a lot of things wrong, and right because I am here, but if I had lost my composer or control at any time it would have been over.

If it was someone new, or if not totally comfortable in the water, they would be dead, hell I should be!

It was a eye opener, never would I had thought I could be dragged 360 degrees around 3 times, the wind was over 40 and I donít now how strong but it sounded like a freight train.

The kite was a 10 bularo and handled like a champ, but was fully powered, depowered!

Ryan, it was ED, Nick and I, the later is from the west cost you would know him by face.

We all have tons of experience kiting and a lifetime of water sports, that helps allot.

I'M DONE ROLLING DICE IN WEATHER LIKE THAT, I hope.
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:29 PM
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Here's a real important question. Informed input particularly from guys in the industry would be very welcome ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickI
Quote:
Originally Posted by tautologies
Good to hear you were okay. Squalls like that can be very scary for sure. We have spots that has pretty crazy. wind...Wind changing direction, going off shore, sometimes being super squally so I am not entirely unfamiliar with what you are talking about although your situation sounds pretty extreme...I think the it is scary when you jump, and the wind changes direction on you while in the air...especially since there about a foot of water then reef.

Anyhow, I noted you saying that the other riders were on 5 line kites and therefore just released their kite and therefore were safe.
I have three points here that I am thinking of.
1. makes me think about what would happen only a few years ago when kites had a way smaller wind range. C-kites were crazy in winds like that...but you could still release them.
2. Flat kites bow / SLE should be releasable like that too. I've ready about kites doing crazy loops upon release. I don't think that is acceptable.
3. If not released flat(ter) kites has bigger wind range, but needs a little technique riding in winds like that. I found two ways to ride out nuclear squalls. One is to put the kite in the water on its side, which I don't really like..the second is to ride it like you did, but always remember to keep some tension on the backlines. Of course different kites does react different to different conditions and I have my latest experience on the shockwaves and helix which seem to handle it quite well.

I also basically think that in many case looking at wind charts in squalls will many times only ba a weak indication as small local circumstances are wildly different in terms of strength and behavior, and most charts are averages over a time period. Maybe you were caught in something that was a lot lighter only a few hundred feet away..even in the same squall. There is no way to know though. :-)
I posted a post a few weeks ago about how to ride through crazy squalls, (where the squall hit so hard it ripped the bar out of my hands)...and think there were some good suggestions there. :-) I really think that we absolutely have to think through what we are going to do in a situation like that BEFORE it happens. What about if you had not been as experienced as you are? It probably could have gone way worse than it actually did.

Anyhow good to hear it went well...
A.
What happens if you release your flat kite to the leash in high winds? Say on the o'shit handle vs. one of the leading lines? Does it spin but very little power, spin with power, risk tangling and redeveloping power? What should you do? Manufacturer input on this would be very welcome.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:56 AM
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We had a day like that here (Clearwater) yesterday also. 6 or 7 of us off south end of Honeymoon Island riding on 12s and 14s. Big black death band appeared from the west. We all scrambled to the beach and put the kites down. Then made the "uncool" but very smart move to deflate the leading edges and roll them up just as we got them rolled up and to the otherside of the dune it nuked. Waited 20 min and pumped em back up and rode again for the rest of the day.

It was a good feeling to do the right thing and play it safe. It did not go unnoticed by the Rangers in the park that we got off the water as a group, and acted responseably.


When you see anything that resembles a change in the sky that is the time to move your leash connection point not when your hanging from the bar.

Most were struggling to stay up wind prior to the cell coming in, on big kites and big boards, but even with the wind at 10 to 12 on a glide I took the time to slow down sink out and move my lease from the chicken loop line to the union of the front two lines just incase I did'nt make it to the beach before the squall hit.

I don't know how to post the ikite wind picture for yesterday at Dunedin Causeway but if you look you can see this event at 2:30 it goes from 12mph to 30+.

Be safe, don't get lulled into thinking that just because it has not happend to you, it can't. It will, it is important to learn from the mistakes of others with out having to experience the mistakes yourself.

I was very proud of all the guys I was riding with yesterday to follow the lead and get off the water instead of staying out for a few more tacks and showing how high they could jump to the guys on the beach who had set their kites down first. It's ok to be the first one to go in when you see the potential for pain. It's the best thing you can do for your buddies.

I was guilty of going in and getting a smaller board to go back out for a few more runs in good wind and nice waves, but as I headed back out into the water, I looked at the sky and managed to stop myself and say "no I'm smarter than this" and turned around and landed.
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:16 AM
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Rick, Like you said every kite is different. I know that on a SB3 if you put your leash on the triangle shaped ring that connects the front two lines to the chicken loop main line and depower straps, when let onto the leash the kite will act like it does in Jon Modica's video of self landing a swithblade III. Much better alternitive to the back line ring the factory provides on the outside of the bar. Letting the kite go onto that point results in a big mess of spaghetti and a kite that you can not relaunch.

Last edited by Whitey; 02-14-2008 at 08:16 AM. Reason: can't spell
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for your input Whitey. When it comes to squalls, earlier is far better than later. So many guys just waited too long and then their options vanish. It is a good thing to well secure on the beach before things hit too. Runaway kites can easily mess themselves up and occasionally folks downwind.

Here is the ikitesurf image you mentioned for Dunedin for 2.13.08. The first spike looks like a squall with the confused wind direction changes. Note the violent direction changes happened after the spike. There is no telling what a squall will do, mega-spike the winds, kill them, change direction or do little. You only know once it is on you. The second from the direction and spike change looks like the passage of a frontal boundary and squall line.

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