Let us all learn from this story

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Let us all learn from this story

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:34 am

I am posting this because I think it is a lesson to all of us kiteboarders. Please leave all safety rants away. All I want to say is make sure you have the right equipment on you when you go out.........
http://www.kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2372312
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Re: Let us all learn from this story

Postby zulutimer » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:45 pm

What a mess!

This story is so unique it almost sounds made up... though unfortunately it is a real kitemare

Here's a Lesson To Learn that seems to have been overlooked:
An Instructor should never drive his boat over a hooked in rider's kite lines, especially with a powered up spinning kite, as a way of depowering the kite!!

After the instructor did that all hell broke loose. It wasn't until he did that, according to the instructor's own story, that the rider got slammed into the boat, tangled up with lines under the boat, bobbing for air with his face tensioned against the boat, with no access to the lines to untangle the leash from the spreader bar hook. .... and he drowns.

All I could envision was a panicked instructor losing it...and he had done this four times before - so the whole teaching outfit was on notice of his methods!!

As a PI lawyer you all know what I would say........
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Re: Let us all learn from this story

Postby 4w7s » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:24 pm

Yes this was a terrible tragedy. My deepest sympathies go out to Rene's family and friends.

In hindsight it might seem easy for most people to arrive at the logical conclusion that running the boat over the lines would result in drowning. I imagine the instructor acted impulsively using what he felt were the best tools at his immediate disposal, i.e the boat. Unfortunately it sounds like his effort to intercept the kite failed and the lines got under the boat and then the student under the boat. I am sure this was horrifying for the instructor and I suspect he is still in a state of shock over this, and in spite of the lambasting he is getting on-line from other critics I feel badly for him too.

I've had to jump on the lines of a looping kite (another school's student) in deep water and cut them. This was very risky and not something I relished doing. But at the moment I had to do something or watch the girl drown. At the same time I knew that we might both drown if my plan went pear-shaped. Thankfully it worked.

Under the circumstances of the accident in France many people might have done the same thing - try to use the boat to save the situation. I feel that the major flaw here was that there was no "Plan B"...which should have been cutting the lines ASAP. I do not know if a knife was available but it might have been the only thing left to prevent the drowning. It's hard to say for sure without having been there and known and seen everything. I suppose the question to anyone out there is "What would you have done?"

The clearest conclusion (for me) from all of this is that having a knife and knowing how/when to use it is going to give you a pretty good chance at survival. I've never kited without a knife in 10+ years (and not one of those little line cutters...but a real knife)

ride safe, be prepared.
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Re: Let us all learn from this story

Postby West » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:21 pm

Damn what a catastrophe.........so sorry to read about it happening, especially during a lesson. My heart goes out to those who loved and knew him........

Just a reminder that shit happens so damn quickly when it goes wrong............you have to know where your safety releases are, and be ready to use them when the moment dictates, when all else fails, cut the lines......so simple to say, but so damn hard to do when you are being rag-dolled and pulled under the water fighting for breath.....

As sailors, we must be able to assess a dangerous situation and be capable of reacting almost instantly in order to advoid disaster because there is often very little anyone else can do for us........unfortunately in this situation the sailor (a student) had very little knowledge to act upon........

I've heard Roberto regularly advising kiters to understand the necessity of carrying a knife in case of an emergency: this story makes it very easy to understand that principle ..........all we can do now is to learn from the mistakes committed and to help others be aware of the MANY dangers involved in kiting.

Thanks for posting Maurice......
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Re: Let us all learn from this story

Postby IVO » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:13 pm

What a tragic story..my heart goes out to his family and friends!

Almost every human being have a good~great ability to judge after the fact happend,because we have time to see,think,point out mistakes,make conclusion.Its like solving problems when you step back,looking from a different angle,boom solution is right there..
When we add stress,huge amount of pressure,fear of life ect.,these easy solutions what we would be able to come up with clear head are not there and every person behave differently under different amount of pressure.Some fold some rise..


I could clearly point out mistakes after reading this tragedy,but when all hell break loose is another story..


I saw some crazy stuff on Lake Michigan and also similar situation to this as well,almost drown myself too.

What I learned from my experience is,always ride with back-up plan,try to ride with strong riders(friends)in same breath never expect help from anybody.As harsh that my sound,reality is once you launch your kite,you are your own resposibility.

In this case guy was learning and was under supervision of a teacher and was his responsibility,but still I would be slow to judge others mistake.This is gonna hold forever with every person around this tragic story!!!!





-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Roberto Im one of the guy ridding with little line cutters and for a leash this is as good as my teeth.Already end up riding once with my leash twisted around spreader bar hook,blowing close to 50mph,basically end-up soloing in double overhead++,strapless and I had no option to unhook in that situation..110% commitment to kite.

I remember you post about knife some time ago,can you post some info again?Where do you have it,what kind,I assume you could reach it with either hand,case ect..?
Kajun Rule #1-Never try to teach a pig to sing.....It wastes your time and it annoys the pig.
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Re: Let us all learn from this story

Postby 4w7s » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:14 pm

(apologies in advance if this seems like a safety rant. I've cut and pasted a few items I've posted elsewhere over the past few days)

West & Ivo,
You both bring up good points...the most salient of which is when the shit hits the fan it happens fast and drowning or getting injured can happen in a few seconds. And more often than not we are left to our own devices when on the water, even though we might be surrounded by our mates. As an instructor the weight of this responsibility is compounded by a student with little or no experience, and therefore caution and preparedness are paramount. Analyzing the situation and acting quickly is extremely important as well. A few examples when I've seen bad stuff happen was because the victim either was paralyzed by fear, injured/unconscious, in denial and refusing to ditch the kite, or not equipped with a knife a few times.

I've had to cut lines twice in 10 years. Once recently when another kiter crashed his kite over the top of my lines and his lines were all tangled up with my body/harness/bar. I tried for a few moments to untangle myself but the other kite was still powering and cutting my fingers whenever I tried to unwrap things - plus I was being dragged toward shore which was occupied by children and their families on a busy holiday weekend. I quickly decided to cut the other guys lines (sorry). The other occasion was as described above when I had to jump on someones lines while in a death loop...

There would have been a third and fourth occasion in the past 3-4 years/ once when a friend had his line wrapped around his finger, but it (his finger) was lopped off before I could get to him. The other was when another friend caught his lines on a crab pot buoy in high wind and waves and it was dragging him underwater - fortunately he freed himself but I almost watched him drown. Trust me this is a horrifying thing to see.

Another friend was dragged backward by his leash. He thought about his line cutter but realized that it wouldn't cut very well. (A few days later after he got out of the hospital he "bench tested the line cutter on his leash - it took over 10 seconds to cut under totally controlled conditions on dry ground). IMO the attachment point on harnesses should be on the front to minimize the chance of dragging backward. I suppose for guys doing handle-passes this might be inconvenient, but here's an example when you need to make personal choices.

Where to keep the knife and how difficult to actually use it? - I have a scabbard style knife with a combination blade (Gerber River Shorty - around $30usd) that is lashed to my harness on my right side (I am right-handed), but also in a position I can reach it with my left hand. I have a lanyard "daisy-chained") so that it will not get lost if dropped. (Actually during the second episode mentioned above I dropped the knife but was lucky it was tied on and I could still get it into my hand).

As mentioned before I am not a big fan of the "line cutters" they sell with some harnesses. They are better than nothing, BUT they will not cut thru a leash, at least not very easily, and the blades rust out easily. At any rate they should also have a lanyard. Plus they are often located in little pockets on the harness, sometimes on the back of the harness. Try pulling that out sometime when you are body dragging...not easy. There are some better line cutters out there that are probably adequate for the job, but I still like something with a real handle grip (personal taste)

Image

Fumbling with any knife is not easy when the shite hits the fan. If you want to simulate it just go out in the water and start doing some kiteloops as you body drag and see what it might be like. Therefore it's hard to train for this sort of thing, but you should at least give yourself as much chance as possible by equipping yourself with something that will cut FAST and WITHOUT FAIL.

Even though I've only cut lines twice with this knife I am glad I have carried it for a long time. You do need to maintain a knife - I clean, sharpen, and grease mine 2-3 times/year. Any wise diver or parachutist will carry a knife to extricate himself in an emergency - why should a kiter not have one?

Also keep in mind that after a kite has looped more than 5 or 6 times the lines are twisted together like a rope with a lot of tension and the kite could be locked into kite-loop mode. It may not matter what typed of safety system you have at that point and you might be dragged until the kite hits something or a line (or kite) fails. Therefore you need to decide whether to QR from your CL AND from the leash.

The reason for a kite looping can be a number of things - bridle fouled/damaged, line caught on wingtip, line hooked on harness, leash clip fouling lines, etc...Sometimes it is resolved easily, sometimes not so easily.

I don't like to advocate releasing a kite unless absolutely necessary for several reasons, but there are times when it is the right choice. In most cases a released kite becomes fairly docile when it does not have the resistance of a rider dragging behind it. (Please don't misinterpret any of this - I do not want people to start slashing lines and activating their QR's without good reason)


some photo's of my harness/knife as mentioned above.

Dakine harness, actually has a small pocket that fit this sheath nicely. The Harness came with line cutter in a pocket on the opposite side.
Image

Another waist harness with the sheath mounted on the straps.
Image

Note in both photos the (daisy-chained) lanyard. I wrap a loose bit of tape to finish off the daisy chain so it doesn't unravel inadvertently unless you give a little tug. Also have tethered the sheath to the harness so it doesn't get lost, and also taped the belt clip shut.

Some people might not like having a knife lashed to their harness and worry about it poking into their ribs or something - not a problem for me after 1000+ sessions. I have had the knife pop out of the sheath on occasion while riding and it dangles behind me without any issues. I just pull it up and sheath it while riding. No biggy. Seems that some people are afraid of impaling themselves on the knife somehow, but I don't see that happening (not saying it's impossible, but highly unlikely IMO)

Sorry again for the long reply. Kitesurfing is an amazing sport and everything seems beautiful until there is a serious accident - and they happen quickly, seemingly without any warning, and in some cases they could have been mitigated or avoided by having the proper gear/safety eqt.
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Re: Let us all learn from this story

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:43 am

Roberto don't worry about the knife story its good to point it out to many new riders here in the Chicago area. I've seen too many weird things happening with new kiters and even the advanced riders. From not knowing how their safety works till...........

Anyway like you said kiteboarding is an amazing sport but keep it safe people. When I went to Tawas I saw this guy out there spoke to him and asked him if he ever had a lesson. He said he did but looking at his flying skills it was like he had no idea what he was doing.

This is a lesson to all of us be safe out there know your gear, test your gear.
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