Overpowered on skates
- First time under kite power. Generally did OK, but when the wind was
strong, could not get the kite to move away from the powerzone to the edge
of the window. Maybe I was outrunning it, maybe the virtual wind was
increasing, but the power was too much for skates. I think I remember
someone describing this on water and the advice was to edge hard and "force"
the kite to the edge.
- Just a little word from someone who is very lucky to be alive today to tell people about this.
I was flying two Hawaiian Team Kites Stacked. I was on my skates following a friend at the time on his skateboard, wind was about 45MPH to 50MPH according to the wind meter we had, and the weather station at the beach we flew.
We each had the same set up of two stacked Hawaiians, and we had done this up and down with the wind to our back. We decided to try to make a run all the way around the grass field we flew at and take just the paved foot paths around the area. I had done this before with a single Hawaiian and thought what fun to do with two.
We started great and gained speed rapidly. We took the first turn with no problem now the wind was coming from our right shoulder, we gained more speed as we did figure eights to keep the speed going. About 300 yards later with 100 to go a turn that took a more than 90 degree change of direction. We had no pads or safety gear of any sort and had our shorts and t-shirts on. My friend yells back we need to abort but how do we slow down fast enough.
The corner had a young tree still supported by stakes and rope to prevent wind from knocking it over about ten feet behind that a huge electrical connection box, about five feet behind this was a restroom area. Behind that a sunken cement picnic area with concrete picnic tables. All of this was now the path we had been heading at on those skates and skateboard.
Mind you we had plenty of time with the kites and we loved using them to pull us on skates or skateboards many time before and had flown in hugh winds many times. Just not like this.
Hit takes the tree about 9 or ten feet tall right out of the ground and for this his shoulder is relocated and he is in massive pain. I about 30 yards behind feel it is way to fast to bail into the grass and hope to not hit my friend or the electrical box or the building. I was able to get the kites in an upward motion I jumped trying to go around the building and maybe land in the picnic area. Will up I went, I must had hit a strong up draft from the building and over it I went. I landing in the picnic area inches from slamming into one of those massive concrete tables. I only had a few road rashes on my legs and walked over to my friend to find out he had to get to the hospital.
All I know is we both had been very lucky to live. The next day, yes I was back out flying again a person walked up and asked if I saw what happened yesterday. I told him yes, I was the one going over the restroom building. He told me he was attracted to the kites and was heading in for the day when he stopped and saw the entire thing so he clocked us on his radar gun. Cops have these nice toys, and he asked if I had any idea of the speed we reached. I told him maybe 30 mph. He laughed at me and said you both hit speeds of about 50mph and if that turn wasn't in the way I think you could had hit 55 you reached 53 when you hit the turn.
Well it was safe to say since that I have worn safety gear and warn those who want to play with wind in over powered ways, please play safe. I was just lucky that day back in the mid 1980's. Lucky to have been able to live to tell you this today.
Do something. Go fly a kite.
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