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Old 11-19-2011, 09:18 PM
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By odd coincidence, I traveled to the Stuart area for a funeral today. My friend was a dynamic, well respected and successful business and family man. Hearing all the stories of his life and times made you think. It is good to leave a positive impression on those around you by your values and actions through life.

I brought some kite gear along and had planned on going off Ft. Pierce Inlet after the ceremony. It didn't work out that way, given limited time and location, I went to the public beach at the south end of Hutchinsen Island where Steve had his accident, two years ago this coming February. My normal riding area is 70 miles south, so I don't make it up here very often. The last time for kiting was probably ten years back.

It was a sunny day with people on the beach and about a dozen surfers in the water. I couldn't see any kiters along the coast but the wind had ebbed, down to around 14 mph or so. Waves were about head high and under. I confirmed things with the lifeguards before going out, stay beyond 100 yards off the guarded beach with a kite up. This is pretty much universal throughout southeast Florida. If we are to preserve access we need to do this simple thing and motivate other kiters to do the same.

I assumed shark activity had been light and this was confirmed by the lifeguard. There is no shortage in these waters and many others frequented by kiters, still the spring migration is still a few months off at this point. So, I went out for a while, tacked upwind down to the House of Refuge and ran back downwind to just outside the lifeguarded area.

We're on this earth for a short time, we never know how short either. The friend whose funeral I attended made it to his mid 70's. Steve Schafer to 38 years. Neither had likely anticipated the timing of their deaths, the cancer in my friend's case nor the fatal shark bite in Steve's tragic accident.

Judging from the comments of friends in each man's case you have to conclude that each lived a productive life, enriching the lives of those around them by their acts and really being type of people they were. So, live life well, enjoy your times and help those around you by example and in actions. These two guys did, the world is a poorer place for their passing but richer for deeds during their lives.
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Old 04-27-2016, 12:20 PM
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A summary of what happened to the best of our knowledge in this sad accident:

Steve Schafer was kiting by himself about a 1/4 mile off the public beach in Stuart, FL in Feb. 2010. It was during the black tip shark migration where hundreds may swim by you while kiting in an hour. "Usually" they seem to ignore kiters although some have been bitten and in this area when in the water in years past. They actually may chase kiters when they transition it turns out. In this case we don't know what happened for sure but it looks like a larger, more aggressive bull shark hit Steve, likely when he was off his board for whatever reason. Larger bulls, tigers and hammerhead sharks following the smaller blacktip shark migration and feed upon it which has escaped notice by kiters in the past. Sharks often hit the motor centers in the legs to stop flight. This often results in cutting the femoral artery and exsanguination in a short period of time. Steve was seen by a lifeguard from an adjoining guarded beach. He went out to recover Steve and bring him to shore. He expired shortly after arriving at the beach due to blood loss.
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