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Old 03-29-2005, 05:51 PM
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Default Kitesurfing Safety Information Year 2005 - Vers. 3_29_05

Under preparation

Kitesurfing Safety Information Year 2005


TERMS OF USE: Access to and use of this information is restricted. This
resource is intended for the reading and private use by KITEBOARDERS
ONLY to improve safety. Use by other parties for any other purpose or
reproduction of portions or the entirety of this copyrighted document by
ANY PARTY, is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is
given by the owner. In proceeding below to review this document, the user
fully agrees to comply with these restrictions.


This collection of reported but largely unconfirmed kiteboarding accidents and incidents has been prepared with the goal of improving kiteboarding safety. It is intended to spread the lessons learned from these accounts. The accuracy of most of these accounts is not verified and as such they should not be considered so. Ideally, the reader should view these accounts as describing potential credible scenarios that could lead to injury. The rider should gather ideas and perspective on how to avoid similar accidents and incidents. Kiteboarding is a new and rapidly growing sport. Safety concepts and knowledge are still being learned and spread. It is a goal of this resource to aid that process where possible.

It is important to put the frequency of these reported accident and incident accounts in perspective. These few dozen reported incidents generally represent the extremes in this sport. They do not represent the perceived normal rider experience. All accounts over a three year period. Estimates vary, but in that three years roughly ten million or more hours may have been spent by riders kiteboarding worldwide. Surveys are in progress but for now this is a rough estimate. The vast majority of these hours are perceived as having been free from serious incidents or injury. These scenarios represent incidents that reportedly happened to a minority of riders and should not be taken as "normal" by any means. Similar statistics for verified bicycle, aircraft or automobile accidents would be vastly more shocking in terms of the high numbers of victims per year and dramatic injuries worldwide. This resource has been prepared to raise the state of awareness and to avoid accidents. The point is that these reported accidents and incidents could potentially occur to any rider in conditions similar to those described. As such, kiteboarding should be viewed as a potentially dangerous, extreme sport that deserves careful training, practice, preparation and judgment to be safely enjoyed. With the expansion of knowledge, use of appropriate caution and adoption of better safety and riding procedures these risks should be reduced substantially. We are all still learning about this sport and the hazards that may be out there.

Often the difference between a safe kiteboarding session or an injurious one is prior knowledge, appropriate safety gear, practice of procedures to avoid problems and careful, informed judgment. This resource is intended for the downloading, reading and private use of kiteboarders only. Use by other parties for any other purpose is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is given. This document is protected by copyright and reproduction of this document or portions thereof is prohibited without prior written approval of the owner.

Kiteboarding when undertaken in a responsible, informed fashion with proper professional training and preparation may be safer than other popular sports such as hang gliding, off-piste skiing, mixed gas scuba diving and many other pursuits. The preparation of this collection of stories is to improve common knowledge, awareness of threats to safety and questionable riding practices. The following examples will hopefully illustrate the potential costs of poor practices and judgment.

I want to express sincere thanks to Brett Gibson, founder of the Mid-Atlantic Kitesurfing Association, for proof reading and helping to revise this document. Also, I want to thank all the riders that have provided input that resulted in the creation of this resource. Constructive comments, suggestions, alternative views, credible eyewitness and particularly participant account information are always welcome and should be emailed to


The accounts are divided into four sections, including:

General Information

This section provides an account number, date of the account, reported date of incident and location information. When possible, other reports of the account were sought and/or received from others. The number of these other reports is listed in this section. If information was received directly from the participant, it is noted in this section as well. Finally, if the information is described by a published internet account, the URL will be provided if it is known.


This section provides details that have been related without embellishment or comment. Despite attempts to verify the accounts, they should not be assumed to be verified. However, they may represent realistic but potentially hypothetical object lessons or scenarios for kiteboarders. Remembered and second party accounts may have errors and as such should not be assumed to be verified or necessarily to depict actual occurrences.

Lessons Learned

This section provides opinion regarding potential improved safety practices for kiteboarding derived from the experience related in the account. These “Lessons” may alter with time as new knowledge is gained and distributed in the sport. When new credible practices become known, they may be incorporated in updated versions of the accounts.


This section provides opinions and specific observations based on the reported account. These comments are intended to discuss relationship to other incidents, trends, general precautions or other relevant topics.


The account summaries listed in this resource may not be 100% accurate. Although accuracy is intended, it is not guaranteed in any fashion. No responsibility is assumed whatsoever for any errors, omissions, conclusions or consequences thereof. Attempts have been made in some cases to verify the accounts, but none of the account details should be considered to be confirmed or fully accurate by the information contained herein. Kiteboarding may potentially be practiced with reasonable safety with thorough training, current good practices, safety gear and by employing good judgment. This sport can be very dangerous if it is not approached with the level of care described. The same conclusion could apply to operating a car, bicycle or boat if the same lack of care as described was employed in these activities. These reports represent reported information and related opinions and are not intended to represent positions or opinions held by any organization or group. Other valid conclusions and procedures may be drawn from the information contained in this resource and will likely be drawn in the future as kiteboarding knowledge and safety technique is better understood. Participants are generally not identified by name, unless this identity is common knowledge or release is given. The goal of this resource is to impart lessons learned from the reported experiences of these individuals or likely scenarios and not to unduly embarrass or criticize the kiterboarders.

It is regretted that they have reportedly gone through these experiences. Sincere thanks are extended to them for helping to improve the safety of this sport with their accounts.
This resource is intended for the downloading, reading and private use of kiteboarders only. Use by other parties for any other purpose is strictly prohibited unless prior written release to do so is given. This document is protected by copyright and reproduction of this document or portions thereof is prohibited without prior written approval.

Kiteboarding Account Summaries Year 2005

#. Incident # "German Kiteboarding Fatality" Location: Ruegen Island, Germany
Date: March 17, 2005 Participant account included: No Number of independent accounts: 3


An experienced 50 year old kiter was found dead on a long, narrow sand spit located to the west of Gohren. The evening before by one report ( and the same day by another report) a women called the local rescue service about a kiteboarder in trouble about 3km (1.8 miles) away from shore. A ship and helicopter search was launched but was unsuccessful in finding the man until the next day. Winds very gusting up to 76 km/h (40 knots). When found, he was still attached to his kite (it is not known if the quick release was activated or if the kite was impaired/damaged). The water and air temperature were about 1°C and 10 °C respectively. The kiteboarder had been out alone on a 9 m kite in reported 17 to 21 kt. side to side onshore winds. He was wearing winter exposure clothing (wetsuit or drysuit). The riders board was found on the shore near the launching area.

Lessons learned

1. Ride with friends particularly in more hazardous cold water conditions.

2. Stay in shallow, side onshore conditions in colder weather.

3. Know the weather forecast and conditions in your riding area. Is an adverse wind shift forecast? If a shift happens while you are on the water, what will you do?

4. Kiters may benefit from carrying signalling gear in areas where it is possible to be swept away from shore (flares, whistle, cell phone, flashlight, etc.).

5. Adequate exposure clothing for an extended period in the water, a flotation aid make sense.


What exactly happened in this sad accident may never be known. It is possible that the rider became disabled, couldn't relaunch his kite or ride back to shore and secumbed to hypothermia overtime. Evaluate the existing and forecast conditions and your riding area. Ask yourself before riding, what possible contingencies could occur and how would you react? In more extreme hypothermic conditions and in higher gusty winds, it is best to err on the side of caution in your decisions including having friends nearby and carefully selecting the conditions to ride in.

#. Incident # "" Location:
Date: Participant account included: Number of independent accounts:


Lessons learned


Copyright FKA, Inc. 2005
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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