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Accidents & Responsibility

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Northwest Kiteboarding -> Gorge / Portland / Oregon Coast
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Since 15 Jun 2005
209 Posts
The Gorge

PostMon Aug 08, 05 4:01 pm    Accidents & Responsibility Reply with quote

This post is for ANYONE who kiteboards in the Gorge.

This past weekend I managed to get around to more kiting spots than I normally do in one weekend, including Stevenson, Lyle, the Secret Spot, Rufus, and the Sandbar. Conditions varied at each spot, from friendly light winds at Rufus to unusual strong and gusty winds at Stevenson and everything in between.

One common thread at all five spots was the number of uninformed kiteboarders and the potentially very hazardous situations that they put themselves and other people in. I witnessed 9 different accidents in 2 days at these spots. Unless you were there, you probably won't hear about the details. Each accident was minor, but could've had very different outcomes because of the number of bystanders in kite's way. Luck played a major part in things not going terribly wrong. Each incident could've been avoided. The majority of the incidents involved beginners who were launching and/or learning by themselves. It is unnecessary for me to go into details about the incidents, but I feel obligated to stress responsibility here. These are only a few of many safety tips that could be listed here, but these answer to the breach of safety I witnessed over the weekend.

Let's keep our beaches safe and open.

1. Experienced Kiters, offer positive assistance: If you see someone about to launch with their bar upside down, don't stand there and wait for them to flail just to make a point. Kindly ask if they've flown a kite before, let them know what they're doing wrong, and may you "suggest a lesson".

2. Know your lines, not just your colors: Too many beginners rely on the colors on the bar and lines to get the gear straight. Watch out: Gray, over time, turns to white. Slingshot bars used to NOT be nautical standard (red on right, white on left). Different manufacturers use different colors. It's a better idea to check your bar and lines before launching.

3. Exaggerate Launch & Land Signals: Who cares what you look like. A big thumbs up with an extended arm and a smile for LAUNCHING. Pat your head as if you're a mile away for LANDING. Don't leave any room for misinterpretation either way.

4. Ask ?s if at an Unfamiliar Spot: If you are not familiar with a kiting location, ask a local for launch/riding/land tips. Rufus and Stevenson both require detailed launching instructions. A spot like Lyle is very unforgiving to visitors who have no idea what is beneath the surface. If you're a local, offer friendly tips.

5. Be Aware of your Surroundings: Look both ways before you cross the road! Whether you are on the water or on land, always be aware of other kiters and bystanders. Keep an eye upwind for gusts, boats & barges, look the other way before making transitions, watch your downwind space on jumps. Experienced kiters take note!

6. TAKE A LESSON: This is not the sport to teach yourself or your significant other. Certified instructors are trained with tips for progression, safety, all while making it fun to learn. Learning on your own takes more time and can be a lot more expensive. A trip to the emergency room is a lot more expensive than a lesson. And a lesson is a lot cheaper than ruining your gear.

Feel free to add to the list.

Tonia Farman
Women's Kiteboarding Association
{athleticism : finesse : responsibility}

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Since 02 Mar 2005
213 Posts
Stockton, California

PostMon Aug 08, 05 4:11 pm     Reply with quote

Damn straight Tonia, tell it like it is. Wink

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Since 14 Jul 2005
507 Posts

PostThu Aug 11, 05 10:19 am     Reply with quote

I second that. I was at Stevenson on Saturday and rescued a guy that had all 4 lines cut buy another out of control kiter. I think the high (ultra gusty) winds contributed to this but people should know there limits.


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