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  #1  
Old 08-03-2006, 02:51 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Default *** Hurricane Riding, the Real Deal ***

I keep reading about quite a bit of hurricane riding anticipation. I hope that people that consider going out in these tropical systems appreciate what they are risking and what conditions to look for and avoid.

Squalls associated with tropical systems can routinely vomit gusts in the 40 to 50 to 60 kt.+ range in seconds. Guess what the average reported windspeed has been in kiteboarding fatalities, 28 kts., ranging from 12 kts. to over 50 kts.

Experience will win out? Not necessarily, 65% of these riders had 2 to 4 plus years experience. The reality is the experienced guys are the ones MOST at risk, by far (almost FOUR times more likely to lose it than newbies). Question , why do you think this is the case? Your answers could be important not only to yourself but to others, well experienced riders.

This weather isn't always that obvious to the naked eye either, it can all look gray. Even if it is obvious, you have to notice it before it arrives which hasn't always happened.

Color radar can help but it isn't perfect and unless you have someone shoreside who can reliably communicate with you and is closely monitoring it (i.e. laptop with an aircard, a very good idea) things can change.

Flat kites are great in managing gusty weather within operating specs usually, as long as nothing goes wrong. What if it inverts because you are sheeting out too much at the upper wind range or something breaks? Your major depowering and control ability can vanish in seconds leaving your overpowered and perhaps being dragged out of control. This has happened. Flat kites are a great advance but they aren't magic.

Typical C kites in tropical systems carry even greater risks as the ability to depower is always limited whether things work properly or not. There are other articles on this site with ideas on weather planning for sufficiently experienced riders at this time of year, some links appear below. Finding a large enough, clear hole with stable weather is key in this. Often there WON'T be such conditions in many areas experiencing higher winds with tropical systems. The squalls are simply too numerous. This is a fact and fairly common.

http://fksa.org/viewtopic.php?t=808

It comes down to individual education, evaluation and choice in picking riding weather. Still, it is important to truly understand what you are getting into. Sometimes blowing it off to ride in more stable conditions is the way to go. I believe there was a guy in Okinawa who would back me up on this, if he could. A feederband squall from a distant typhoon jerked him off the water and lofted him 50 m horizontally into a concrete wall. The result wasn't pretty and he didn't make it. Rest in peace, I hope others learn from your experience.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2006, 06:53 PM
bayflite bayflite is offline
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point taken rick.
it's a fact of *kiting* life in florida
right in the middle of dry season we get these tropicals and many can't resist.

you nailed it breh.
get out between the squalls.

internet access@ the launch is a good thing....T-mobile rocks
i-kite comes in full view...so duz animated babenewz9 doppler
wake me up when september ends
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Old 08-03-2006, 08:57 PM
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Right you are, look for the holes. Those that are big enough may allow some leeway to ride. This is a repost of something from last year from the above link that deals with conditions around Hurricane Dennis worth taking a look at:

"So, I went to Delray checked out things. The sky was partially cloudy but lacked any obviously threatening clouds. I asked some of the guys what size they had been riding and was told 10 m kites. Well as it happened I had a new 10 m with me that I wanted to try out. I was a little underpowered at times but eventually the wind filled in a bit and I reasonably powered most of the time. It was a fairly technical session particularly with the waves and uneven wind.

I came in about 8 pm and put my gear away. I had noticed some slightly darker clouds moving in and thought it would be good to call it a day. Driving south about 8.30 pm the wind boosted to about 50 mph, viz dropped with driving rain. I think I caught this squall on radar, see below.


It is that fairly small lump of red, yellow, green passing out from the "95" symbol. I have seen violent, dangerous squalls that show up even smaller than that on the radar. Scale is relative which is worth remembering.

Tomorrow is another day and with luck the storm may not strengthen. As it moves north the squalls in the feeder bands will continue to rake over the peninsula of Florida. Lots of microburst and tornado opportunities in this system. A big part of this part of the state is under a tornado watch for most of the coming night. There may not be anything close to a clear corridor like what developed off of Delray this evening. So, it may not be rideable, at least not in my book.

Do your homework and think carefully about whether to ride or not. I believe some guys were probably out in Miami complete with squalls. Life and kiteboarding can be a numbers game. Make an informed "wager" based upon readily available information and pick your own venue/terms or bet like a fool? Players choice, choose well and as Toby says, live to kite another day.

Good luck to the people impacted by this hurricane.

"
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Old 08-03-2006, 09:03 PM
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So, even with as large a hole as opened over Delray a small squall, probably only five miles across slipped in and could have kicked my butt had I still been out.

Looking at the larger scale image at the bottom of the post above this one. Guys in Tampa Bay may have had a large enough hole for a while at least until the mass came closer as in the latter part of the loop. You would need to look at the radar under higher resolution, realtime winds, outside and make your own call on whether to ride or not. There could have been enough storm fragments at higher res. to make going out a poor risk.

For guys coming out of Naples in the record shown above, I would say no way. At least not for guys without a death wish. Every squall won't kick your butt just like every drunk drive won't see you mashed up. Just enough of the time to make either proposition a bad one.

Important stuff to think about while you are analyzing weather during tropical wx season. Hurry up fall!
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:10 AM
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If you decide to ride, be sure to scope out radar/sat. images, marine forecasts, real time winds, etc.. to see if there is even a large enough hole between squall lines to be worth going out.

It is quite possible that there won't be large enough holes at times, i.e. keep your kite in the bag.

Just because the eye is no where near you doesn't mean the hazards are past. There is a case well worth reading over at the link below. It involves 50 to 60 mph squall winds kicking in about 200 miles south and over 100 miles east of the center of the tropical depression.

The rider never saw the squall cloud that boosted the winds 50 to 60 mph when the wind was 15 to 20 mph. That particular feeder band and many others like it can be many hundreds of miles long and contain ugly powerful squalls.

http://fksa.org/viewtopic.php?t=210

Any other guys want to volunteer to ride in 15 to 60 mph winds with a 10 m kite like that guy did? In choosing to ride in tropical systems that is exactly the sort of thing you are potentially exposing yourself to.

Squalls can come before, during and after hurricanes and other tropical systems. Stay aware and take care of yourselves.
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Old 08-16-2008, 11:06 PM
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Here's something from a couple of years ago. Worth reading and thinking over. There have been quite a few flat kite and new 5th line high depower kite incidents since this post went up. Guys getting flight lines caught on their harness hooks, legs when the kite hits the water temporarily, even on the line itself through strumming, wrapped wing tips, seized and broken pulleys, broken bridle lines. The kites go into powered spinning and sometimes stay that way ripping the kiter along at high speed on and under the water sometimes until the kite rips apart. Things happen. Pick your conditions well and don't bet too much on a system working perfectly in weather extremes.
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:45 AM
greg meintjes greg meintjes is offline
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Default hurricane riding,the real deal

You got to be real careful, even a 5 mph gust can can cause problems if you have no buffer zone, my biggest worry tomorrow is if we get some newbies on the water and and we also get some strong onshore gusts,Ijust read a kiter got killed in Brasil while riding when a squall came through , I will not be taking any chances if the weather is squally, and hope some of the other riders will help set an example for the benefit of some of the newbies.

Greg
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:58 AM
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i have raced boats through tropical storm and huricanes, don't be stupid and get your kites down, with big pressure changes the wind directions that veer dramatically. a bunch of years ago i was doing a race up the east coast off of southern tip of NJ and a tropical storm chase us down, saw a 60' race boat gets its rig ripped off the deck by a veering gust 25 to 50+ in a instant, could'nt imagine having a kite up when that stuff hits. always live to fight another day
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:00 AM
Skyway Scott Skyway Scott is offline
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Our forecast is for 40 to 70 on Tuesday.
Think I will pass. I had a ss bar (a real one) get snapped in two a few years ago in sixty.
I am not real interested in seeing what a real kite would do in 70
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:27 AM
greg meintjes greg meintjes is offline
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Default hurricane riding,the real deal

Remember ,you dont always have to have dark ugly clouds to get a squall, The worst squall I have been in in the Keys was from a greyish looking cloud, the winds went from 16mph to 35-40 mph in a few minutes. The only indication of it,s approach was a hazy look just above the water and the wind shadow from the wind on the water.The point I am making is always be aware ,and keep a lookout behind and upwind of you for changing conditions even if the clouds aren,t dark and scary looking.

Greg
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