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How to avoid getting lofted?

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  • kitesrfer@aol.com
    I received the following incident account from a kitesurfer who was lofted in advance of a squall. He makes a number of good points and suggestions based upon
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 28, 2001
      I received the following incident account from a kitesurfer who was lofted in
      advance of a squall. He makes a number of good points and suggestions based
      upon the experience. His suggestions regarding the use of a snapshackle are
      particularly valuable. I encourage the posting of other lofting accounts and
      lessons learned as it may help others to potentially avoid going through
      similar accidents.

      Fly safe,
      Rick

      I was near the end of a fantastic 3 hour session one Tuesday. The wind was
      being generated by the leading edge of a tropical wave that eventually
      turned into Barry.
      Another kiter on the water whistled and pointed to an incoming squall. We
      could see the increased intensity of the white caps. It looked to be about
      1/2 mile away. For a change, I thought I would do the prudent thing and call
      it a day. We both headed in. I was standing on the waters edge waiting for a
      catch. I had been there only a minute or two when the gusting kicked up and
      I started getting yanked a bit. Figuring I was going to have to release the
      kite any second, I began to position myself so the kite would not hit the
      large bush in front of me.. (I was flying a Wipi 11.8, snap shackle and
      safety leash attached.) I took about three steps to the right and the big
      one hit me. The pull was straight up and fast. I was about 3-4 feet off the
      ground when I pulled the cord on my snapshackle. **** Lesson 1 - always use
      a steel collar or ring to connect the snapshackle to the chicken loop. ****
      Due to the load on the chicken loop, it collapsed and pinched around the
      flared end of the snapshakle. Still climbing, I frantically tried to shake
      it loose for what seemed to be 3-4 seconds and probably 15-25 feet of
      altitude.. *** Lesson 2 - It was difficult enough to shake that loop off the
      end of the shackle. I'm pretty certain that it would have been equally
      difficult to get off a standard loop/hook setup.*** Anyway, I did not
      realize how high I was when I finally got loose and let go. ***Lesson 3 -
      Take a few seconds to look around before dropping like a stone. *** I
      somehow ended up plummeting to earth, head first and about 30 yards inland.
      I tucked my chin and hit shoulder first in the dune. I blacked out briefly,
      came to and after a careful inventory of my body parts managed to walk out
      without any serious injury. *** Lesson 4 - There is a God and a dedicated
      KiteSurfing Angel. (see attached)***

      I'm convinced that the snapshackle, properly rigged, is the safest and
      quickest way to bail out. If I had the steel collar, I would have only
      fallen 3-4 feet maybe less.
      Because of a little luck and my wrist leash, my kite was not damaged and no
      one else was hurt by it.

      Yes, I'm still KiteSurfing and loving it!

      P.S.
      Thanks to my fellow kiters that were there that day and helped me gather my
      gear and made sure I was in one piece. See you on the water.
      :)
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