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Kiting's Heart of Darkness; Reveal Your Scariest Moment
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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Northwest Kiteboarding -> Gorge / Portland / Oregon Coast
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Since 11 Feb 2006
4846 Posts

PostMon Aug 04, 08 10:05 am     Reply with quote

Awesome stories - love those photos - I like how they integrate a killer bong into those M80s
Go Deep!

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Since 09 Jul 2006
440 Posts
Hood River

PostMon Aug 04, 08 7:53 pm     Reply with quote

I was at Lyle kiting and I was sorta a noobie and I didnít know the right of way rules. Heading toward the WA side up wind of the sand bar seeing a kiter heading toward me, I started heading downwind a bit to give way. I was super lit on a 10m (brand new Vegas) anyways the only way I new to slow down besides edging really hard was to bring my kite to 12. Our lines crossed sending me face first into the shallows (face drug across the sand) tried to pull my safety but I was too late. Once I stood up I looked behind me and saw him heading straight for me so I covered my head and ducked. Super shocked I stood up feeling my body wondering if I was hit. Anyways no blood, but I looked at my kite and it was destroyed.. I was sooooooo sad, almost started to cry! His kite was fine though.. He was super shook up about it, but he replaced my kite super stoked!!

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Since 10 Jul 2007
563 Posts


PostMon Aug 04, 08 8:12 pm     Reply with quote

Knock on wood, I haven't had anything super-gnar happen to me while kiting. Guess I'm just blessed like that. All my friends and family that have tried to learn to kite have gotten worked though... maybe I'm bad juju? Evil or Very Mad
Let's go kite.

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Since 12 Jul 2006
384 Posts

PostMon Aug 04, 08 8:45 pm     Reply with quote

TBR, nice work on the board dragger episode. Hats off! Now I will outline my interpretation of a horrid, scary experience.

Rufus-25-32ish NW all day when the devil wind moved in on us and it turned a bit more N instantly.
Then in the middle of a kiteloop of considerable size while trying my best to please the peanut gallery, I hit a huge straight Northerly gust right in my back at 30ft. It was apparent that I was not going to splash in on this one. As I swung back underneith my kite, I completely sheeted out to kill the power and drop as fast as I could to maybe hit waters edge. I was successful but with a loud crowd screaming overheard and groning sigh, I smashed board and ass first right onto the edge of the water that was 6 inches deep. Needles to say, I felt feable and beat down for the rest of the evening and had a nice purple swollen ass cheak to remind me of my stupidity.. Mad The self endulgence began shortly there after.... Lesson learned. Never jump to close to shore and never ever kick your board off. Destroy it first! Twisted Evil

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Since 24 Apr 2006
1722 Posts
Sky Pilot
Unicorn Captain

PostMon Aug 04, 08 10:51 pm     Reply with quote

Kip, excellent--excellent reporting! A harrowing experience!
Gabe, I didn't want to be in your shoes that Christmas day....

I've had a few run- in's with "the man."

The first one. We'll call "A". Sauvies-- a line caught around my boardleash in a re-launch. Possibly a crossbow bridal wrap combined with my boardleash error. Long story short-- I was gonna die. A 2 ft. wall of water overcame me with 25kt winds. My lines, the ones that didn't break were twisted about 100 times. Those who saw knew and feared for my life. Finally with the knife in my hand and getting my head above water, my line chafed through the bolts on the backside of the board-leash. Whew! A swim across the river seemed like heaven.

2nd, Lofting at Manzo too close to the headwall-- blown out ankle for 2 months. Super nuky on and off; 0-50-0.

3rd. kite slowly deflated (same crossbow) 1 mile off the grenada shore in the west indies. Got roasted on the coral making it back in. I was in for a painful scrubdown with a toothbrush an HCL. Ouch! Saw the kite get "pointy". Wondered why?

4th. Soon to come... Twisted Evil

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Since 10 Dec 2006
776 Posts
Salem / LC Oregon

PostTue Aug 05, 08 7:20 am     Reply with quote

It was winter at the Siletz, & we drove through snow over the pass. I was with Spike, and we also happened to meet up w/ Tekko & his buddy there. The squalls were moving through and we were kiting in between them. Blue sky, but snow in the hills around 200 ft that day, water was 42 degrees or so in the bay... crisp, cold and beautiful day.

I'd been a light westerly so we were rigging big. We were kiting a while when the next squall started moving in... I pointed over to spike as I passed him in the channel at low tide on a southern tack - the sky in the west was totally black Very Happy maybe time to come in off my 13m?

Turned around to head back toward Mo's, and about then it hit! Started accelerating quite a bit so I sheeted out and edged... still accelerating. Tried to bring the kite up a bit. That was a real bad idea! I slowed down but started lofting... 5ft, came back down touched the water... 10ft...

The tide was out and I was in the channel, I was only 50 ft off shore when this started! I intentionally crashed on the last loft 5 ft before I hit the land to ditch my board before I started dragging. I thought safety, but I had my leash in suicide position. About that time it started to hail / snow. And I was dragging across the sand trying to hold my kite close to the ground to keep from getting air. Started feeling pretty panicked as snow was blowing past my kite and I just kept sliding out of control!

I dodged a little wood and luckily hit a small ditch that gave me enough resistance to hold out against the kite. Pretty soon it stopped snowing and it was all good.

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Since 12 Aug 2008
252 Posts
Boise, In Dat Ho

PostThu Aug 14, 08 2:58 pm    Sketchy Kitesaster Reply with quote

So first day out alone after lessons on a 14m Airush C-kite at Cascade lake (elev 6,200 ft), southerly flow mellow at mid-teens. I rig and attempt to body drag back and forth for a few....all's good for the first couple tacks and outta nowhere a nuke from the west lofts me 15+ and sends me 75 feet downwind.

Gulped tons of lake water gasping for air when I came up to see the kite lurch in the opposite direction (i inadvertendly kitelooped when underwater) and sailed another 100 feet...2 kiteloops later (rookie inexperience and gusty condish got me) and I'm facing the regatta buoy 25 yards away. Kite is down in the water, inverted but still flapping as boats come racing by feet away...I'm frieking so I pull the chicken and swim toward the kite. Longest self-rescue swim-drag through the reeds ever.....never again!

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Next Element

Since 10 Dec 2007
48 Posts


PostFri Aug 15, 08 6:23 am     Reply with quote

I've had a few scary moments over the years. By far an away the worst was a near drowning in Cornwall in 2006. We get some pretty good swells off the Atlantic down there and they had been predicting this huge swell for ages. There is a spot called Gwithian which gets the biggest waves. We headed down there and the car park was full but no one was out, it was huge. The waves were so big it was breaking almost a mile out to sea and on the inside it was just messy. The wind was super sketchy but I wanted to get out in the waves. I went out with a good friend of mine Jo Wilson and the other kiters headed to a different spot. I'm a good surfer, windsurfer and kiter and have been in some pretty heavy surf before. But beach breaks always add that extra element of danger when it is big as there is no channel to swim for when it goes wrong. Anyway we were out for about an hour, rode some monsters and then the wind shifted and dropped. Jo got in and landed her kite but i was on the outside trying to keep my kite in the air. As i looked to the horizon i saw the biggest set of the day thundering in. I tried to ride out to get beyond it as it looked like it was gonna land on my head. As i got further out the wind died completely and my kite just fell out the sky. Just before the first wave hit i managed to relaunch the kite and body drag through the wave. I made it over the next one but as the wave lifted me into the air the lines lost all tension and the kite dropped again. With the third wave of this monster set heading towards me and my kite in the drink i decided i was better off without the kite as i didn't fancy getting hauled around connected to the lines and kite in this monster wave. With the kite ditched i swam for the bottom and resurfaced with no kite, the board was long gone and i was over a mile out to sea with no one out in some of the heaviest waves i had been in.

I weighed up my options and decided i probably wouldn't have much chance of making it back in through the impact zone. So i decided to wait it out in the ocean and see if anyone came to pick me up. Of course that was a dumb idea as it was winter so the lifeguard station was closed. Plus there was no one else riding at the beach and the wind had gone so no chance of help from another rider. After 20 minutes hanging around I reluctantly i decided to start the swim/body surf back in. I'm a fit guy and totally comfortable in the water but i had been kiting in some heavy conditions for over an hour and had been swimming around out back for 20 minutes and i was getting tired. The swim in was savage, i took quite a few waves on the head, had some nasty hold downs and got beat up pretty bad. I went down twice thinking i wouldn't come up and i really thought that was it. After a while i had all but given up and i went down again. This time though my foot hot the bottom and that spurred me on to think i was nearly in my depth. I gave it one last burst of power and just make it back to dry land.

A photographer took this shot which is one of my favorite kiting photos. Jo is holding my kite, she had been looking for me for nearly an hour having just found my kite and board washed up on the beach. No one in the car park could see me out there as it was so huge. You can see the height of the waves in the background, and that's just the white water on the inside. Imagine swimming for nearly an hour in that. I have had a few near drowning experiences over the years but that was by far and away the closest i have come to meeting God.

I was lucky, being physically fit and a good swimmer kept me alive, plus being comfortable and relaxed in big waves. I never panicked, just sucked it up and dealt with the situation, but i really thought that was gonna be the last day of kiting for me easily my scariest moment kiting...



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Since 28 Apr 2008
830 Posts
Newport, OR

PostFri Aug 15, 08 9:14 am     Reply with quote

Shocked Shocked Shocked

Learned to kite back in the old days (2000/01) with Naish 2 line kites, and fixed harness lines with no depower. I lived in Waldport at the time and Alsea Bay was one of our learning spots. On NW winds the place is just a gusty, holey, and shitty spot contrary to what Kiteboarding Mag said calling it the next great kiting mecca. Their credibility went down the toilet when they wrote that article.

Anyways it was Beachcomers Days in Waldport that summer weekend with tons of people around the bay and boats on the water. I launched my kite off the north side of the bay and headed out into the water. The wind was psycho strong and gusty and with no depower in my kite I attempted to water start. However, I found myself teabaging 6 to 8 ft out of the water even with the kite in neutral. The board was bouncing behind me since leashless kiteboarding had not been invented yet. The wind finally settled down enough for me to get into my straps and I didn't even have to dip the kite to water start, next gust just vertically lifted me out of the water. Off I went almost straight downwind at 30 mph and the kite still in the neutral position and feeling like it was lit in full power. I couldn't even edge the board since it was a 7' long directional, and all I could do was stay barely connected and point downwind with little or no turning capabilities. I was quickly approaching boats and had no choice but to jump out of my straps which ended up as a 50' longjump and throw the kitebar. The force of it all ripped my wrist leash off and now the kite was free, but at least I was no longer attached to the angry overpowered beast.

The kite was now stationary in the center of the bay cartwheeling as the wind would grab the upper wingtip and throw it downwind while the super strong incoming tide current would haul the lower wingtip back upwind. After 15 minutes of this crowd pleasing display of solo kite acrobatics the kite lines would up on the kite enough to kill the thing in the water and I was able to retrieve it by paddling my board to the mess and gathering it all up for the shoreward push. Depower in kites is a must anymore for safety, and I was glad to have lived through the old days of kiting.

Windian Laughing Laughing Laughing

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Since 26 Dec 2005
2006 Posts


PostFri Aug 15, 08 9:26 am     Reply with quote

very funny story ,so typical of the early days
only thing funnier was the foils and the hot launches

but Alsea bay
that's really
BURLY Shocked

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Since 09 Aug 2007
170 Posts


PostFri Aug 15, 08 12:09 pm     Reply with quote

I was doing a small downwinder in when I was learning, Oceanside to Netarts. I was loving it. Then the trailing edge nipped a wave, kite too low, and the 14 waroo bow-tied. Winds were NNW and I could not make ground to the beach, getting dragged under etc. for 30 min. Hanging out in behind me, to make sure everyting would run smoothly, was Chanson. With his broken hand, he grabbed my leading edge and dragged kite and myself to the beach, landed his kite, got my shit togther and then got me back out. Word up to bros for keeping an eye out.

Not much of a story, it shook me up though and I learned kite management and KEEP your buds close.

get bolognied

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Since 30 Jun 2005
205 Posts

Taxi Driver

PostWed Sep 02, 20 10:22 am    bump - see a Bam Bam story - halfway down first page Reply with quote

bump - see a Bam Bam story - halfway down the first page

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Since 19 Jul 2014
21 Posts

PostThu Sep 03, 20 9:02 am     Reply with quote

Me reading through some of these comments...Shocked

I don't have anything near as bad as a lot of you, but these two stand out:

1. A few years back I was cruising the flat water near the rails at the sandbar in HR. I was on a starboard reach when out of nowhere somebody's kite slammed HARD right on top of me (beginner in a lesson upwind of me). I'd estimate that the LEI missed my head/neck by a few feet. Judging by the velocity at which it hit the ground, I'm guessing it would have done some serious damage.

2. This one was brought on by my own youthful overconfidence. My first year of kiting, 2014, I decided to try some Rooster easterlies. I went out there alone on my day off and was the first on the beach. It was probably averaging 35-40 mph and I decided to self launch (for the first time ever mind you) my 10m, which was the smallest kite I had at the time. Nothing bad happened, I just think back to how stupid it was being a newbie, self launching a kite that was way to big, alone, in extremely strong east winds.

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Since 11 Jan 2009
50 Posts
Hood River, OR

PostThu Sep 03, 20 11:40 am    more Bam Bam stories Reply with quote

Another good bam bam story... About 5 or 6 years ago (maybe longer) we were at Rufus sitting on the shore drinking beers after a great day of riding strong winds. John notices that some female kiter (probably attractive) was down with a barge closing in on her. John says that she has only got 5 mins before the barge runs her over (the rest of us guessed 15mins), then John launches a kite (not even sure it was his kite) in board shorts from the shore and goes out to rescue her. We timed it and he was right, the barge was only five minute away! John barely escapes the barge towing the woman behind as her kite gets taken out by the barge. He returned to the beach to cheers, beer and the admiration of lesser men (including me). Hero for the day!

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