How to avoid getting lofted?
- 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
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!
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.