Thanks to Lynch

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Thanks to Lynch

Postby Rorke » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:54 am

On our second downwinder yesterday, I ate shit in THE impact zone. Worst place it could happen over the whole 4 miles.

Kite in the water. All messed up.
Board. SEEEE YAAAAA! Gone
25 minutes in the water. The suit was getting flushed every 30 seconds. Freezing and fatiguing.

Thank God I wear a Life Preserver!

Lynch and Farly were staying close and doing the occasional passes. It certainly gave me confidence knowing that they were on standby.

I kept the kite attached. Huge waves would fill it and take me for a ride; an underwater, hold your breath with a hand on my safety, high speed, ride.
It was easy to stay off to the side so I wouldn't roll into my lines. This also minimized the tugging. However, this doesn't put your kite in a great launch position.
No matter, she was all messed up.

I dragged through the outer break. Getting tossed and rolled.
Then I got kind of lucky dragging on in. There are gigantic boulders and rocks at this stretch.

Then I got to another impact zone. Waived my arms so Lynch could find me. Popped my safety, (worked nice under considerable load - LF CPR). Ditched the kite, got f*cking tossed. Didn't hit anything solid. But I did get held down by two waves. Double hold down in a pfd! :shock:

Lynch zoomed in. I reached up, grabbed his harness, and he pulled us to the beach on his 7m. I was calling out the bigger waves so he knew when to power his kite, as we were both body surfing in the bigger waves.

I recovered my kite and board about a mile from one another. Man was it a long walk watching the best waves I had ever seen. Mind you, it went to about 15 degrees offshore when a front hit.

So anyway, to everybody heading out in the sh*t...
-Wear a thick suit. 6/5/4. (A drysuit would not have held up IMHO)
-Wear a Life Preserver! I may have expired without one.
-Nutrify between downwinders. I had a beer. No water or food. I was exhausted.
-Head out with Lynch or equivalent.
-Read that "Wave Day Safety 13/14/15"

Last, some waves are irresistible but must be resisted. The whole thing happened because I dropped in on a head and a half, mountainous, wave face. There was no way the kite could stay in the sky.

What a day. I think I had 4 of the top 10 waves of my life.
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby FSP » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:30 am

well done. being prepared for the worst is the lesson here. i went out on my last wave session with stretched front lines. all sorts of stalls and surprises due to signs of problems and no occasional gear chk that almost ended like yours. all things must be in order to rip it up.

keep the lessons coming cuz it will save someones life.

elaborate:

1. did you feel you could manage to body surf without your kite once released from it without johns help and the flotation you had?
2. comment more on your flotation... would this help others for the swim? too bulky? or better to have a low profile impact vest?
3. would a dropped off surfboard been helpful?

above all: worry and panic will kill you more than anything else. in windsurfing days we would lose our gear on massive days at miller and beverly to swim in for 45 minutes with no flotation to always make it back (in our early 20s and not at all aware which made these things go rather well looking back-ha). However not being prepared, will take all chances away not only for your but someone who needs your help.

props to artem yesterday saving a cocky newb who had no hood or gloves, light wetsuit and lost everthing out past the pier. artem towed his 230lb body in and board at 3pm when it went southwest. he then went and got his kite risking himself up against the north pier to really be off shore past that.
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby snowball » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:05 pm

That newb was not cocky he thanked me and artem very much after that. Hes a very nice guy.

But where did this incident happen?

Glad everyone made it out safely and good to write about.
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby 4w7s » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:39 pm

Rorke,
Good of you to pass on this experience. You are one of the more experienced wave/big wind riders on this forum and your experience clearly shows how the sea or this lake will dish up some humble pie. Most of us have had a few slices I'm sure.

I would be interested to hear a little more about your thought process, particularly with regard to ditching your kite altogether. Since you had flotation would you have been comfortable releasing the kite earlier?

One other thing that might be worth mentioning as general info - when you're getting dragged by your kite (whether because of an OC kiteloop or wave towing) try to go into body surf position. If you fight the pull it just makes it worse - which is fairly typical instictive response. I think it's better to try to go with the flow and skim with your body if possible.

Anyway...big waves surfers train long and hard to deal with long hold downs. Some of them have survived 1 minute hold downs but openly say it was the most desperate feeling they've ever had and felt like another few seconds would have finished them...and questions about the meaning of life, family, etc. encompass their thoughts immediately. These are world class watermen I'm talking about...some people might be able to hold breath for a minute in a warm swimming pool, but it's not easy holding your breath in real kitemare conditions for more than 15 seconds.

Shane Dorian came up with a new idea after his near death experience
http://news.discovery.com/adventure/bil ... 10613.html

Perhaps they will develop a pullover accessory suit - self/auto-inflate PFD's are fairly common for boating. It certainly doesn't hurt to have flotation when things go pear shaped. At the same time these devices should not impair sound judgement if the conditions are beyond your skill set....there's always the risk/reward question...sometimes a bad experience will shine a whole new perspective on how you view this. We cannot protect ourselves from every danger but to be prepared is to put a little more luck on your side.

OT...respects to extreme skier Jamie Pierre - RIP - lost today in an avalanche at Alta/Snowbird (on a mapped trail!! not yet controlled for slides) - trauma, not burial, claimed him. Sadly this could possibly be a case of a master skier over-anxious to make first tracks. Sometimes we all need to slow down and consider conditions more carefully.
Last edited by 4w7s on Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby FSP » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:42 pm

cocky means going out in mid nov in side off with 10-15 knot gust diffs with no gloves or hood and a light suit. henry- i did not have the kite power to bring that guy in and thanks to artem most of the others could not either. cocky means i am tough and can handle it...and might risk your life or day on the water too. lost kite by equip failure is one thing and the ONLY incident we want to deal with... not taking the conditions seriously is cocky, despite being nice, friendly fun loving wind riding happy guy or not.

more ripping..less stupid like me not checking my line lengths last sesh
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby Rorke » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:36 pm

FSP wrote:elaborate:
1. did you feel you could manage to body surf without your kite once released from it without johns help and the flotation you had?
2. comment more on your flotation... would this help others for the swim? too bulky? or better to have a low profile impact vest?
3. would a dropped off surfboard been helpful?
above all: worry and panic will kill you more than anything else.


1. did you feel you could manage to body surf without your kite once released from it without johns help and the flotation you had?
- Unlikely. The current at Point Betsie is side shore at best. This current snatched Farly's surfboard yesterday as well. Just took it down and off shore in a flash.
Bodysurfing can work when you are in the right place on the break. If you are in the swells, then the current has you.

2. comment more on your flotation... would this help others for the swim? too bulky? or better to have a low profile impact vest?
- I have a Promotion Vest. It is awkward, and it rides up. But it's volume is substantial. There is enough room between the shoulders to freely move my head around, even if it rides up. Honestly, I don't even notice it. I am focused on other things while I am riding to concern myself with tiny, "princess and the pea", discomforts.
Does it help when swimming? Not really. It actually sucks. Also, your ability to duck dive is compromised. Screw it though, I wasn't going to make it against the current though. And I was a couple of miles upwind of the Point; not sure I would have lasted that long.
Also, when I was held down, it was in the 15 second range. That is about right. Two huge waves had about 12 seconds between. After exerting myself on that and a few other times, I took the opportunity to just float when I could. Without the pfd, I would not have had that relief.
Also, it is thermal. It made a huge difference from a thermal standpoint.

3. would a dropped off surfboard been helpful?
Initially, yes....
Better relaunch with the surfboards resistance. So maybe I would have gotten lucky.
More flotation. I would have disconnected my spreader bar and bellied up.
Less wetsuit flushing.
Easier for John to tow me.
Highly visible. Yellow.
Maybe a sheild between me and the rocks.
Probably could waited to wrap around point for a swim in.

That being said....
When I was getting tossed, that board would have been a hazard. I am always worried about getting jammed in the eye or the ass by that thing.
Where I was....forget it. Unduckdivable - for me anyway.
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby Rorke » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:07 pm

4w7s wrote:Rorke,
I would be interested to hear a little more about your thought process, particularly with regard to ditching your kite altogether. Since you had flotation would you have been comfortable releasing the kite earlier?


My kite went down.
1. Did I stay off to the side of my kite as not to roll.
2. Can I keep bearing away to max out my line length
3. Do I have any line around me?
4. Do I have any wraps around the bar
5. Can it relaunch immediately?
6. Is it inverted/bowtied?
7. Do I have the board?
8. Can I get it?
9. Is my donkey dick secured?
10. Should I disconnect?
11. Given the kites position, which line is best to "partially" flag to? Meaning, what would let the waves roll through with least resistance, but allow me to recover if possible?
12. What is the best ultimate flag line option (OH Shit)?
13. Does any body see me?
14. Where is my landfall?
15. Where are the biggest waves/boulders?

I guess it went something like that in about 5 seconds.

My hands were going back to my safety periodically, also my leash connector. Just a good habit.

Regarding Step 10 - Should I disconnect? Here was my thinking...
I wasn't caught in my lines. I wasn't in a huge risk of finding myself there, because I was positioned away from that.
That kite was going to be my safety if I rounded the Point. I would have to self rescue, or at least use the kites flotation and high visibility (Yellow).
I have ridden to shore on double wound inverted kites before.
Even a bowtied, spinnning mass can pull you body drag style. Hopefully to shore. But at least up and out of the waves to an extent.

Basically, when Lynch saw me see him see me, we knew what was going to happen.
I blew the leash first. Then I blew my safety. It was simply too dangerous of a hazard for Lynch as a rescuer. Especially, given the conditions.
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby 4w7s » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:21 pm

Rorke,
Great analysis. 5 seconds sounds about right. Glad you made it OK.

This is the kind of fast and smart thinking that it takes to minimize the carnage in dangerous circumstances. Rorke's many years of sailing and kiting is a huge advantage when trouble strikes on the water. Perhaps the more experienced kiters do this instinctively...and the new kiters need to develop these instincts as an important part of becoming an experienced rider. But I guarantee you that even the best watermen lose their sense of reason when the going gets tough.

When I teach I try to get students thinking in a "circular" process rather than a "linear" process because the situation is constantly changing and decisions and contingency plans need to be adapted quickly. The basic course of action and alternative actions should be mapped out mentally before you even hit the water. I'm not trying to complicate this but most experienced watermen will tell you it becomes an automatic process after a while...just don't become complacent about it. That's when even the experts pay the price.

Ride safe and enjoy the remainder of the fall riding season...t'wont be long now before we've snow on the ground.
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby FSP » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:19 pm

say your went down on a "drop in" and so howd that play out exactly?? sounds crazy but on the big days might be cool to take turns with your bud as one on standby letting you go for it then he to really go big. as a twin tip guy i really love my friends on surfboards!!!
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby West » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:01 pm

Glad you made it in Rorke, thanks to John Lynch for the helping hand..........many many lessons for others to take from this as well.....

As the abilities of kiters increase, and the desires to ride bigger waves and do more downwinders goes up as well, the potential for disastrous situations increases too.......nothing will drive that home more than "swimming for your life".......that is the difference between kiters and surfers, when you are surfing you are always getting pummelled, when kiting, not as often......never lose sight of the fact that invariably something WILL happen and you will find yourself in "dire straits"....how you are prepared and your thought process in those split seconds could determine whether or not you step foot on dry ground again....do not underestimate the BIG LAKE!!!!!!!!!

Roberto brought up a very important point about "watermen" training for these occurences.........that is something to be taken very seriously....all watermen are by definition EXCELLENT swimmers, and accustomed to being worked by waves, and holding their breath; this does not mean that they are invincible, it just means that they are better prepared for hazardous conditions!! Keep that in mind as you progress with your kiting skills.....windsurfers and kiters have the advantage of being able to jump waves and to turn in front of them, this inevitably gives them the opportunity to get in over their heads, as Scotty was referring to earlier when he was talking about the "old days" of his windsurfing.....do not deceive yourself on this matter!!!

Kudos to Artem as well, for helping the other kiter out.....however I am totally with Scotty on this one....."cocky" and/or ignorant.....I saw a guy kiting at MC last Thurs, a newb with no gloves or booties by himself in slightly offshore conditions, totally stoked and "addicted" to his new found sport.....he had no clue to the dangers that he was subjecting himself to....he had been kiting for several months..........WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Craig, if you are reading this thread, this should be a reality check for you.........

Each and every one of us must determine our own comfort level, and choose the conditions that we feel we can handle....although it is always good to have kiting buddies, never assume that someone can or will save you.....when you leave the beach, you are on your own.........that being said, learn to assess various situations so that you will be able to lend aid to someone in need, and kite with buddies in conditions that you can handle.

All of this is a reminder to myself as well...as Rorke was dealing with his dilemna, I was in the process of releasing my kite which had what I thought to be a snapped line at the time. I was 18 miles into a 24 mile downwinder from Saugatuck to Port Sheldon just South of the jetty at PS when I turned onto an outside set and my kite came crashing down and spinning on 3 lines.....assessed my situation, and I realized that there was no way I could get to my kite and bodydrag in before the jetty which is a steel pier about 12 to 15 ft high.....Greg and Ivo came over to me and convinced me to release the kite; Greg began to drag it out so it wouldn't get destroyed by the jetty, and Ivo began dragging me into shore with my board. We got worked by some waves in the impact zone, but Ivo kept coming back to pull me in...we made it into shore about 100 yards before the jetty, while Greg was able to "rescue" my 7m and go around the jetty and come in to the beach on the North side with my kite, bar and lines....

I was able to swim across the river between the 2 piers, and get up on the North side. I ran to the beach where Greg was leaving my kite; he informed me that he thought that my bridle had somehow just slipped off the knot on the leading edge....with Ivo and Greg's help we untangled the mess and reattached the bridle and pulley and SHAZAM, off we went to finish up the MAGICAL JOURNEY!!! What a freak thing to happen....never seen it before, my kite must have luffed and detensioned the lines as I turned onto the wave and the lark's head loosened and came off, nothing damaged.........such a fine line between Magic and Mayhem we tread........without their help I would have certainly lost another 7m kite to a jetty, and would have had quite a swim in, just barely making it to shore before I got to the jetty......

You ask, how do I know that I would have made it to shore..........and I say, because I absolutely would have had to......the number 1 rule in any self-rescue situation in my opinion is confidence, knowing that you WILL make it in, you have to make it in.........focus on that reality....be prepared, don't panic, make decisive choices, and swim, swim, swim!! And like always..........dress for the "swim-in" not the "ride-out", cause COLD WATER can be a killer!!
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby Joey » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:15 pm

Great to hear you made it out of that situation safely, both of you! These are the best kind of posts out there where we can look back, analyze what happened and try to be prepared in case/when it happens to "me". Anyways, earlier this year I was given an inflatable PFD pouch from Mustang Survival to try out to see how it works for kiteboarding. I've been wearing it all fall and can say that I haven't noticed it while riding at all, from giant superior waves to big unhooked wipeouts, it sits below my harness and I forget about it. I've used floaty vest harnesses before and they are pretty bulky and restrictive (but do keep in the heat well). Over the weekend, we took video of actually deploying it. Worked great. A little tough to swim with if you're trying to hang on to your board, but that's not going to be the priority if you're using this. Laying on your back kicking is probably the best because you can see and prepare for the waves. It stays tethered around your waist so if you wanted to slip it off and swim without it around your neck for awhile, it wouldn't separate. Also, it has a whistle and a manual inflation valve. Hope one of these will be a consideration for everyone out there! While it's not necessarily going to save you and it should give you a better chance.


West, I had the same thing happen to me yesterday... I was all the way out on a tack when I felt my back line slip (I've never felt something like that before, but I instantly knew something wasn't right). I came back to shore and about 50 yards out it slipped off and just like your did, the kite took a spinning dive... weird stuff. Sam was on the beach and he came down to help me out, and of course, as soon as he reached out to grab it and flip it over it shoots straight up through the power zone and spikes on the beach... Luckily but also unfortunately our waves were only waist high. So getting in to shore was no biggie. Just am glad it didn't chose to come off when I initially felt it.
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby IVO » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:14 pm

Great job Artem!John,glad you stayed with your buddy in need,your name certainly went up and around on Sunday,you were missed!

West,I only speed up the process,Greg was the man of the day!Saved your kite in front of a jetty!!!


btw.If I didnt noticed Greg land his kite after he drop off yours on the beach,I wouldnt got back upwind..if no upwind,that no help with the lines.If no help with the lines,wind would not have time to switch just a hint off shore.If not offshore,waves would not jacked up to those glassy barels..see all was well planed and for reason 8)
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Re: Thanks to Lynch

Postby jensmadwind » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:28 am

good job john and artem!

just as said above, check your ego at the door and DO NOT BE A LIABILITY. The people out there riding are not your personal security net.

In my humble opinion remaining calm and keeping a clear head will greatly assist you in getting out of a shitty situation and by all means if the kite is flying you, ditch and calmly swim to shore.
10 mph?
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