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Old 01-24-2005, 09:07 PM
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Default FOUR CLOBBERED BY A COLD FRONT!

A powerful cold front was predicted to move into Southern Florida bringing strong winds 30 to 35 mph out of the Northwest yesterday, (Sunday, Jan. 23, 2005).



Lots of riders had been following the forecast for several days in advance. An experienced rider had just arrived at the beach at about 9:00 am. The launch was on the west coast of Florida. He noticed a line of black clouds moving in from the NW. He assumed that this was the leading edge of the long awaited cold front. He noticed four young guys out on the water ranging approximately 15 to 18 years old, on 12 to 15 m kites with a max. weight of about 150 lbs. They guys were out in approximate 12 mph winds, in sunny conditions and were somewhat underpowered.

The experienced rider walked up to another guy on the beach who apparently knew the riders on the water. He pointed out the black menacing cloud line moving in and suggested that he call his friends into shore to land/secure their kites. The guy blew off the warning, saying “they’re good riders, they can handle it.”



All wind graphs are from http://www.ikitesurf.com/. The station shown is north of the launch area.

The leading edge of the cold front arrived at about 9:30 am, it rained for less than a minute and the wind spiked to 27 to 30 mph +. It changed direction from west to northwest from observations at the beach. All four guys were almost instantly lofted while riding in the shallow waters of the sound inside the sand bar. Some tried to keep their kites low to the water and succeeded in body dragging across the water at about 25 mph out of control. Other guys were popped to about 20 ft. off the water and falling back into a couple of feet of water.

NONE of the guys were seen to be attempting to depower their kites. Everyone of them was hanging on and riding it out, totally out of control. One guy had his kite hit the water, so he stood up and proceeded to try to hot launch the kite. He was launching too large a kite in overpowered conditions. He hanked too hard on one side of the bar, accidentally looped his kite and was lofted approximately 90 ft horizontally to land at the edge of the beach. His kite slammed into the trees. The kite was removed in a couple of dozen separate pieces from the trees. None of the riders were reportedly injured amazingly enough.
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Old 01-24-2005, 09:39 PM
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There is a LOT more to kiteboarding than just rigging, riding and throwing some tricks.

Decorating trees, houses, walls etc. with lofted riders isn't going to help our access or the guys that got slammed for that matter. A man was partially paralyzed recently when he was lofted in FAR less powerful conditions a short distance on to shore.

PLEASE learn about kiteboarding before JUST DOING IT.


KNOW about your local weather, read the forecasts, know the signs of changing weather, rig for anticipated conditions. Monitor weather conditions continuously and a lot more.


IF excessively gusty winds hit, DESPITE all your best efforts to avoid it, DEPOWER IMMEDIATELY, WHILE YOU HAVE THE OPTION.


Once you are lofted and flying through the air or being ripped across the water at speed, you may not be able to pull off depowering the kite. It can be mere seconds from lofting/dragging to impact with NO time to react. What do you do if you drive off of a cliff ... Not much, it's too late.


Looking cool is important, right? Best to thoroughly know what is going on to avoid looking stupid AND risking trashing your kite. How will you look to your friends if your actions get everyone kicked out of the launch?


More ideas about these and related subjects appear at:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2300704

Some information about weather planning appears at:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2300711


While you are checking the weather forecast, check the Sat. images and realtime winds at ikitesurf and nws.noaa.gov .

You can often see the leading edge of the cold front in the sat. images and perhaps also the leading edge squalls with some wet cold fronts. ALSO, look up coast to see if the front has triggered wind spikes. Look at the wind speeds and times in the following plots for stations further to the north. Some cold fronts have violent embedded squalls at their leading edge. Realtime winds with frequent direction changes and rapidly varying gusts can be a give away of such unstable potentially hazardous conditions.


The front hit at about 5:30 am here and stayed up for a while.


Further south, it hit at around 6:30 am and stayed up for a while


At the site, further south still, it went off at 9 am and stayed up for a while.
SURPRISE, SURPRISE, who could have possibly predicted this would happen?


Anyone.


So, risk being clueless cannon fodder OR learn your game, please. This isn't rocket scicence. Learn about YOUR local conditions. Why risk looking like a loser because of ignorance?



Have a care out there.
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:45 PM
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As a footnote, the very experienced rider that related this account, rigged up a 7 m kite, grabbed a 124 cm board and proceeded to be overpowered for his session at 180 lbs.

This other guys weighed substantially less and had kites OVER TWICE AS LARGE (FOUR TIMES THE POWER), and they were INTENTIONALLY going out in these forecast high wind conditions. They also ignored signs of a significant change in weather. One guy even hot relaunched after almost getting bashed just before.

Knowledge can set you free and it may help you to avoid looking really stupid or really injured some unlucky day.

This isn't a major attack on young guys, more of a heads up. Older guys have made similar serious errors in judgment but with far more permanent, negative consequences in the past.
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Old 01-25-2005, 12:09 PM
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Default Where is that spot

Where is that spot?
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Old 01-25-2005, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: Where is that spot

Quote:
Originally Posted by 500EPILOT
Where is that spot?
It is Tigertail Beach, a favorite launch for many South Florida riders in westerly winds on the SW coast. The thing that brought all of this out was a question that I posed about threats to access there. The guy that I was talking to said that there weren't any obvious ones except if someone was seriously injured in an avoidable accident like ALMOST happened on Sunday.

We really need to look out for access and to try to help folks to avoid mauling themselves through lack of awareness or appreciation for avoidable hazards out there.

So, do your best at your local launch, your access may be riding on how well you do someday.
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