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Kiter Killed
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gerritt



Joined: 06 May 1998
Posts: 401
Location: Redwood City, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:02 am    Post subject: Kiter Killed Reply with quote

Every time I think I want to try kiting, I read about someone putting themselves in the hospital or the morgue. I just read an article about a recent graduate of Los Alto HS putting himself onto a cliff somewhere in Santa Cruz (Scott's?) who is now dead. Last year I didn't hear about any major injuries. However, the two consecutive years prior, I heard about major head injuries at Third. Thats three major incidents in four years for only our local area. I'm sticking to windsurfing.

My sympathies to this kid's family. He had his whole life ahead of him.
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flynbri



Joined: 08 May 2004
Posts: 111
Location: Southern Cal

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any sport that cherishes severe weather conditions can be potentially deadly. I've been a windsurfer for 27 years and a kiter for 9. The main difference is the gust factor. In windsurfing you can sail comfortably up to about 50+mph with the right gear. In kitesurfing it's more like 35 mph and if it is gusty the possibility of being lifted and hurled a great distance into something solid is a reality. I have experienced injury and deaths in both sports while I was on the water.

I guess it boils down to experience and judgement. I will never kite if it's gusting 30+, that's where windsurfing really comes into it's own. The worst thing that can happen is getting slammed real hard into your gear. Both sports are awesome in there own right. Kiting makes it possible to sail, jump and wave ride in marginal winds. Windsurfing is more stable, fast and capable of extreme conditions.

True watermen like Naish, Cabrina, Hamilton etc. do it all based on the conditions and how they feel. That's the way I roll, if there is a board and a sport I ride. Don't limit yourself to one thing and always evaluate the conditions and your ability before you head out.

Sea Ya out there!,
Fly'n Brian



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geohaye



Joined: 03 Apr 2000
Posts: 1261

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is sad. The kid in Santa Cruz was not yet in the water, but working with his kite on land. As we've all noticed, many of the kiting deaths have occurred when guys have been on land or too near to it. Obviously, if you're violently thrown 20' in the water it's not usually as much or an issue, as when that happens when you're near cliffs (like this kid was near Santa Cruz).

I think of Jay Runge often when I'm around Third Avenue. (Died last year in the kiting accident at Third Avenue.) He was a true community pillar for much more than a decade in the SF Bay Area -- helped the local group of windsurfers establish the current Third Avenue launch area, always watched out for people in trouble on the water, etc.

I am not certain what's supposed to happen when we die, but I wonder if Jay and this kid from Los Altos are sitting around in a bar in heaven right now just talking about what went wrong with their kites. I can just hear Jay saying "F*CK, I really enjoyed living..."

Yeah, as flynbri said, I try to do as many activities as I can as well, it's just more fun that way. But I don't have time to do everything.
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gerritt



Joined: 06 May 1998
Posts: 401
Location: Redwood City, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did I forget about Jay! Make that 4 major incidents in 4 years.

I ski, bike, and windsurf. That's enough for me. I'm just too chicken to kite. I agree kiting looks like a lot of fun in marginal conditions, but conditions change and the weather doesn't always cooperate just because someone set up a particular rig. I know there have been fatalities windsurfing, but most of those have to do with a series of bad choices compounding on each other, leading to death by hypothermia/drowning. Kiting doesn't forgive rider error lightly. One mistake can lead to death. Until I see a rig developed that instantly de-powers upon release, I'm staying well clear. I respect those who do it as long as they do it responsibly.

Some of them make me nervous. I suspect they are the ones without windsurfing experience as they seem oblivous of obstructions, downwind riders (both kite and windsurf), and casual beach goers. The guys who know what they are doing are cool to watch and sail with. At Waddel, most give up right of way on the wave to windsurfers depending on who owns the wave. Also, most understand right of way and raise their kites depending on who's got starboard tack on flat water. Airtime, forget about it. Kites are now the kings of the air. Wave riding, I still give to windsurfers unless there is no wind, in which case surfers own it.

I was out with Dr. Steve last fall on a very light wind up and down day at Waddel last fall. Logo high and breaking hard on the sand bar. We were able to get out on big boards (me 94 liters and he 116 liters). I was on a 6.3 and I think Steve on a 6.9. No planing, except on the wave. A kiter tried, but couldn't launch. His kite kept dropping out of the sky on lulls. Even kiting isn't always best in light wind. About 15 surfers were out on short boards killing it. Sometimes Steve and I made it past the break. Sometimes we got crushed. Neither got hurt and the rides we caught were very nice. I even heard a few of the surfers in the line up exclaiming nice ride, alright, etc. I like the cross over of respect between all water sports and would like to see it promoted.

I've been windsurfing for 23 years and would like to go at least 23 more. If I take up kiting, I fear both sports might be cut horribly short. Its a personal choice, but for now I'm stickin' to it.
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jerryde



Joined: 18 Mar 1999
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 2:05 pm    Post subject: Kiter killed Reply with quote

For the (unnoficial) record, I heard from a Canadian shop owner in baja this last season (sounds pretty reliable) that there many (about 100) kite related fatalities worldwide anually. so yeah, use good judgement.
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gerritt



Joined: 06 May 1998
Posts: 401
Location: Redwood City, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a PI lawyer's wet dream.
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jrg



Joined: 02 Apr 1995
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to Rick Iossi (who keeps records), there have been around 65 kiter deaths worldwide since 2000.

Jay was trying to retrive his kite when he died - I have not heard the cause of death.

Personally, I have broken 3 ribs and put 12 stitches in my head windsurfing, but have not been hurt badly kiting (knock on wood).

-J.R.
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alextarg



Joined: 14 Apr 1994
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:21 pm    Post subject: Windsurfing/Kite Fatality Database for SF Bay Reply with quote

I looked in my SFBA archives and found the following SF Bay Area windsurfing/Kite fatalities (If you can add to this database please post):

Age/date/Name/Locale/Vehicle
18/June 2007/Abraham, Derek/Santa Cruz/Kite
53/June 2006/Runge, Jay/3rd Ave/Kite
??/Sept 2003/Graham, Tyrone/3rd Ave/Windsurf
35/May 1996/Woodhall, Barnes/Oyster Point/Windsurf

Considering how few regulars of there are out on the bay, and that there are far more serious injuries than deaths, this is a sobering list. I remember them when I put on my PFD before each launch.
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coyotewindsurf



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Posts: 1257
Location: SF Bay

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jrg wrote:
Jay was trying to retrive his kite when he died - I have not heard the cause of death.


Jay was both a kiter and windsurfer. Like JRG said, most of us haven't heard the cause of his death but we know he wasn't doing either sport at the time of his accident. To categorize it as a kiting statistic is a stretch. Don't think he would appreciate it.


mo
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kurtmagness



Joined: 08 Jul 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah kiting is dangerous. It's an extreme sport. So is windsurfing too, and surfing doulble overhead indo waves, hucking yourself off a cliff skiing, hangliding, paragliding, motorcross, etc. The good guys make it look so easy. Most young kids think their invincible. Some old farts are not up to the challenge. I used to do stupid things when I was younger and fortunately I had the luck or karma to get back to the beach alive. Now I have 2 little girls so I think a little bit more before I leap into a extreme situation. But I am not going to give up kiteboarding for checkers. Kites have gotton way safer over the years but it still takes good judgement to bring e'm back alive. Life or disability insurance is good too.
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