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2041Re: [ksurfschool] Kitesurfing danger in strong wind!

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  • Hung Vu
    Sep 28, 2001
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      Rick,

      The guidelines look good. I will try make a new sub-section "Getting
      Lofted Safety" in the Kitesurfing School web site for the next update.

      Hung.

      kitesrfer@... wrote:
      >
      > Hung,
      >
      > Good points about going with shorter lines. The three local kitesurfer
      > lofting cases that I am familiar with involved kitesurfers being hurled about
      > 100' plus or minus inland. Two of these cases occurred in onshore wind
      > conditions and the third went very suddenly to onshore from sideshore
      > conditions. For relatively new kitesurfers and perhaps even for experienced
      > kitesurfers, avoiding onshore wind conditions makes good sense.
      >
      > Two of the three cases involved kitesurfers with relatively large kites
      > around 15 m plus or minus, however the most serious incident of the three
      > involved a 9.5 m kite. As far as I know, all three were using 30 m line
      > sets.
      >
      > One of them occurred in 15 to 20 mph sideshoe winds that suddenly bumped up
      > into 40 mph plus onshore. I am very familiar with this incident. Another
      > involved unstable winds, gusting generally in the high 20 mph to low 30 mph,
      > but it took about a sudden unexpected 40 mph gust to pop the kitesurfer into
      > shore from off the water, actually into a parked car. The last kitesurfer,
      > whose incident I observed from close up, was picked up by a gust no more than
      > 30 mph and also hit a parked car. The weather forecast in two of the three
      > of these cases indicated the potential of strong gusts and/or squalls. If
      > the kitesurfers checked wind plots and looked for sharp spikes, weather radar
      > for violent storm cells, they would have seen them and would have been wise
      > to have done something other than kitesurfing.
      >
      > In all three of the cases the kitesurfers were in the air in a jump when hit
      > by the gusts. This last point is crucial as I think that it is much easier
      > to redirect or extend the flight of an object once has been accelerated into
      > the air than one that is still on the surface. In other words, kitesurfers
      > that jump in the face of sudden gusts are much more likely to have radically
      > longer flights, into shore if the wind is in that direction. The timing
      > seems to be tricky which is why I suspect these lofting incidents aren't even
      > more common, fortunately.
      >
      > As a general precaution, with onshore winds, I would go immeditely to 300
      > feet or more offshore and stay there until time to come in.
      >
      > It has been mentioned more than once, that if it is possible to keep the kite
      > stationary, do so with it near the edge of the wind window and preferably
      > relatively close to the ground. This wouldn't apply, necessarily while the
      > kitesurfer is underway of course.
      >
      > So to summarize current thoughts on how to avoid being lofted:
      >
      > 1. Pick your weather carefully. If the weather radar, wind plots imply
      > squalls or unduly gusty weather or if obvious storm clouds are moving in, it
      > would be a very good idea not to go kitesurfing.
      >
      > 2. If you are stationary, try to keep your kite at the edge of the wind
      > window and near the ground.
      >
      > 3. If you are near hard objects or if pronounced gusty conditions are
      > developing, stay unhooked and/or use a snapshackle to secure your chicken
      > loop. If you do use a snapshackle, rehearse mentally, frequently, if ...
      > happens, pull the snapshackle release cord.
      >
      > 4. Avoid onshore winds. If you go out in them, kitesurf more than 300 ft.
      > offshore.
      >
      > 5. Try to use shorter line sets if you are expecting stronger winds.
      >
      > 6. Always wear a helmet!
      >
      > 7. Do not come within 100' of substantial vertical surfaces or walls with
      > onshore winds to avoid potentially being lifted.
      >
      > Of course, kitesurfers can break all of the above guidelines and perhaps be
      > perfectly OK for hundreds of hours on the water. Unfortunately, sad
      > experience has shown that given enough time, bad things have a way of
      > catching up with the best of us if we go a little too extreme too often.
      >
      > Be careful out there,
      > Rick
      >
      > << It has been brought to my attention that another kitesurfer died in
      > Spain. My condolence to his friend and family.
      >
      > It seems like the accident happened in strong disturbance of air (spin)
      > in relatively strong wind 18+ knots.
      >
      > The only kitemares or near kitemares I had in kitesurfing was when the
      > wind was 20+ knots.
      >
      > Remember that kite velocity is often 2-3 times wind speed and power is
      > square of kite velocity.
      >
      > Since then, I have started to use shorter lines in stronger wind and
      > have yet encountered any kitemare in strong wind.
      >
      > When the lines are shorter, kite velocity is limited to 1-2 times wind
      > speed (the kite does not have enough wind window to accelerate to 2-3
      > times wind speed).
      >
      > Also, when the lines are shorter, regardless of how disturbed the air
      > is, the wind velocity at the kite should be somewhat similar to the wind
      > feel by the rider and he/she can re-act appropriately sooner before it's
      > too late.
      >
      > It's seem like shorter lines is one of the answer to safe kitesurfing in
      > strong disturbed wind, let's try to use it.
      >
      > P.S., I frequently kiteskiied in disturbed winter storms and felt much
      > safer kiteskiing in 30 - 45 knots with my Wipika Classic 3.5 and 0m
      > lines than with a 1.5 m2 foil with 30m lines.
      >
      > Hung.
      > >>
      >
      >
      >
      >
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