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Kiting's Heart of Darkness; Reveal Your Scariest Moment
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TravisBickleRex

Since 30 Jun 2005
205 Posts

Taxi Driver



PostTue Jul 12, 05 7:39 am    Kiting's Heart of Darkness; Reveal Your Scariest Moment Reply with quote

Kazi asked in another thread, "What has been your scariest moment in kiting so far?" The question is posed below, unedited in it's entirety, as it originally appeared, albeit as part of another thread. ...Let's go up the river together to meet Colonel Kurtz.

What has been your scariest moment in kiting so far?

Crying or Very sad

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tonski

Since 11 Jun 2005
332 Posts
NW Portland
Obsessed



PostTue Jul 12, 05 8:10 am     Reply with quote

That's an easy one for me with multiple lessons learned: Assisted self-land on Lyle last summer when my assistant (stranger) let go of me prior to completion of the self-land, and the kite hot-launched and started looping, launching my 110lb body and dragging me into the scrub at mach speed while on my stomach and trying to grab the quick release or exit from the dongle/ chicken loop - Impossible! Thank god for Jodi and Rollo Tomasi who caught up with me finally and grabbed my feet. Number 1 lesson: If it's too windy to land without assistance, ie you're getting lofted trying to land, and you don't know the assistant - release the kite! #2: Never attempt self-landing in high wind. #3 I am going to save up for a safer system such as Crossbow or Windwing Rapture for 100% depower as it is almost impossible to reach a quick release while being launched or drug at mach speed.

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Wind Slither

Since 04 Mar 2005
2383 Posts
The 503
METAL



PostTue Jul 12, 05 8:31 am     Reply with quote

1. Got dragged high speed through a barbed wire fence and took out a 4X4 fence post with my shoulder, snapped the rusty barbed wire and then dragged through 10ft of thick scrub.

2. LE deflated in the surf, kite started sinking and pulling me offshore in a strong rip.

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bamboo

Since 24 Jun 2005
165 Posts
da 'chung; taiwan
Stoked



PostTue Jul 12, 05 12:31 pm    ghost month Reply with quote

solo in the taiwan strait in 30+ knots and 3.5-4 meter swells. a massive gust rips me off my board, the kite loops multiple times, tea bag several more times, kite drops in surf, waves force it to flip, no one knows where i am, even if they did my chinese sucks, where is my board?, kiting is dragging me hard out towards china, panic sets in. i'm inhaling salt water as the swells crest over me. kite relaunches and loops again. i'm powerless against it.

and all of this during ghost month which is an auspice time to be anywhere near water...let alone in it. it is said that during this time the ghosts will steal your soul and roam the earth free. that means you die in the process. great.

with twisted lines and a serious lack of control i somehow regain my board and make it back in. a lone fisherman greats me on the beach with "fā kuŠng" or "crazy man".

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Portland Pete

Since 08 Mar 2005
145 Posts
HR
Stoked



PostTue Jul 12, 05 12:36 pm     Reply with quote

1. Crashed kite on top of fishermans styrofoam block (buoy for his nets)
at Rufus in springtime with strong current while board leash was wrapped
around neck and attached to heavy glass directional board.
Current quickly held me under water and I was not able to release from
chicken loop because board leash had me hog tied and no QR on chicken back then.
I was able to undo velcro ankle cuff attached to board leash and
popped to the surface when the board let go of me.
Extracting the kite and lines from the styro block took a couple jetskis
and many tries with the scisors.

2. Kiting in small waves and light winds in Florida with a 20M kite and dumped it in
the break and couldnt relaunch and very quickly drifted
into half a dozen surfers with slack lines and a kite that had been rolled
in the waves a few times. Luckily the surfers had not seen kiting before
and were not too upset, just curious. A helicopter stopped to watch for a bit while I tried to swim the whole mess into shore after drifitng down the beach about a half mile. The kite survived without damage and only minor cuts on my fingers from wrestling with the kite leash.

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pkh

Since 27 Feb 2005
6544 Posts
Couve / Hood
Site Lackey



PostTue Jul 12, 05 3:27 pm     Reply with quote

Tried to kite some side-offshore winds on the west side of Maui... didn't realize how offshore and gusty it was until I got out. 20 minute tea bag session trying to get back to the beach... lesson learned!

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kazi

Since 02 May 2005
19 Posts

 



PostTue Jul 12, 05 5:17 pm     Reply with quote

Didnít happen to me but

.....watching from the Washington side as the Sheriffs boat circled slowly around my brothersí kite and the toll bridge supports for about 10 minutes then head in without seeing them pull in a body

...thought he was a goner...he had left the sand bar to practice body dragging, got too far away, ripped his kite on the bridge and then was gone

...after calling the sheriffs office I found out they had picked him up on the other side of a support where I couldn't see him. He was pretty worn out and scared but a bit wiser..

A friend of mine Corey Davis (guy who started Hammersurf) told me he drifted 5 miles off the Oregon Coast. He finally got picked up by a crabbing boat.

Luckily I haven't experienced anything scary for myself.

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KiteKarl

Since 02 Mar 2005
213 Posts
Stockton, California
Stoked



PostTue Jul 12, 05 5:41 pm     Reply with quote

1) Out at Sauvies, couldn't relaunch my old 02 16m fuel and a freighter was coming. Had to ditch the kite and swim to the Washington side to pick it up. Got a hole in the LE so packed it up and started swimming across as it was getting dark. Luckily an older nudist couple in a boat gave me a ride back across. Not so scary really, except for the nude part. Shocked

2) Rooster rock in November. Wind dies and I float for awhile. Wind switches direction and kite comes back at me. Try to swim away from my lines but feet get really caught. Reach back for hook knife and it's gone. Luckily I grab the kite. Swim for 45 minutes and my feet get so bound up they go numb. Fins on board pop hole in LE. Start to sink. Luckily fisherman comes by and plucks my sorry ass out of the water. Regain feeling in feet after 15 minutes or so.

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gabe

Since 16 May 2005
453 Posts

Obsessed



PostTue Jul 12, 05 10:10 pm     Reply with quote

Awesome thread.

Christmas day. Cold and windy 7m. All alone, everyone else in the world sipping hot chocolate at home.

Been out about 3 hrs, so numb and tired. Flying the kite really low for a gust and dropped the wing tip. When I relaunched, the lines caught a crab pot float. Kind of annoying, but I didn’t really know what would happen. It lifted the float up into the lines and then as I raised the kite the float started sliding down to me. When it finally got to me I tried to untangle it, but was wearing gloves, with numb hands, and the float was a huge mess of knots and seaweed and barnacles. The float started pushing the bar down and powering the kite up. In a couple seconds, without realizing what was happening, I started getting pulled underwater. I realized (quickly) that this was because my kite was pulling the crab pot line (anchored to the bottom) downwind, and as this arced the line, it pulled the float lower and lower. An unexpected piece of basic trigonometry. Since I was attached to the float, I was sucked a couple feet under and entered a drowning situation. Underwater with gloves, numbness, fatigue, and pitch black water, I got my chicken loop *and* leash off and escaped.

After rescuing my board, and finally freeing my kite from flying off the buoy (hook knife) I self rescued to shore and washed up near a house where an 85 year old widow drove me back to my car. Merry Christmas to her.

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registered

Since 12 Jul 2005
1319 Posts
tsunami
Sandbagger



PostTue Jul 12, 05 10:40 pm     Reply with quote

1 winter south wind,trip on tip on twelve foot wave. Fall down face, lose bar, saftey catches up on leader seam looping kitedown the line. release leash after some punishment. Swim in forever in rough seas(200 yards?) watch kite still semi powered heading for the south jetty miles away.

2Chasing kite down beach past picnics( broken chicken- leash chain reaction) maybe overpowered?

3Coming out of my harness clip for my spreader while riding waves.

4 Diving home behind drunken atv operaters and thier swaying trailer/homes.

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KiteKarl

Since 02 Mar 2005
213 Posts
Stockton, California
Stoked



PostWed Jul 13, 05 1:50 am     Reply with quote

gabe wrote:
Awesome thread.

Christmas day. Cold and windy 7m. All alone, everyone else in the world sipping hot chocolate at home.

Been out about 3 hrs, so numb and tired. Flying the kite really low for a gust and dropped the wing tip. When I relaunched, the lines caught a crab pot float. Kind of annoying, but I didnít really know what would happen. It lifted the float up into the lines and then as I raised the kite the float started sliding down to me. When it finally got to me I tried to untangle it, but was wearing gloves, with numb hands, and the float was a huge mess of knots and seaweed and barnacles. The float started pushing the bar down and powering the kite up. In a couple seconds, without realizing what was happening, I started getting pulled underwater. I realized (quickly) that this was because my kite was pulling the crab pot line (anchored to the bottom) downwind, and as this arced the line, it pulled the float lower and lower. An unexpected piece of basic trigonometry. Since I was attached to the float, I was sucked a couple feet under and entered a drowning situation. Underwater with gloves, numbness, fatigue, and pitch black water, I got my chicken loop *and* leash off and escaped.

After rescuing my board, and finally freeing my kite from flying off the buoy (hook knife) I self rescued to shore and washed up near a house where an 85 year old widow drove me back to my car. Merry Christmas to her.


Woulda been an awesome headline, "Killed by a flying crabpot on Christmas Day". Laughing

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bambam

Since 15 Mar 2005
760 Posts
Hood River
Photographer



PostWed Jul 13, 05 6:58 am     Reply with quote

Yesterday, when Steve had gusty gust dissolve into nothing, and his kite was falling on me with about 4k of camera gear in my hand. Reports were that few have seen the Bammer move that fast... ever!

Jonny Bammer...

Excellent thread, and unfortunatley I must report that good choices and a level head have kept me pretty much unscathed... Except!

1) Newport, kiting on a 16m and a 7'10" Speed Egg (thanks Corey!!!), wind super light, waves super big on the outside (12-14ft faces...okay big for the Bammer at least)... No leash on either the kite or board (mandatory in macking surf)... Gots tumbled big time almost of 1/4 mile off shore and ditched the kite and board. VERY VERY long swim in all by myself. Discovered that wave on the head can indeed HURT... Arrive on beach 30 minutes later to find kite and board nicely arranged about 50ft for each other. Rerig, and git back after it! Lesson that should have been learned... Don't take dumb chances when your out by yourself... Was it applied? Obviously not since I went BACK OUT! Dumb dumb Bammer...

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4Stringer/KipWinger

Since 27 Apr 2005
540 Posts
Hood River
Addicted



PostMon Aug 04, 08 8:53 am    Blown Out Reply with quote

I decided to let my thoughts settle-a-bit before trying to accurately recount my Blow(n) Out experience this year. Since my wife and I were (are) expecting our first child any day now, this kiter's captain's log may get a bit touchy-feely (cue-up the Coldplay and begin steeping that chamomile tea.) Given the potential for an impending new arrival at Gate V, this years BO experience has shaken-me-up in many ways...some that I can't quite put my finger on.

On Saturday morning, with a green light from the birth committee chair, I joined Ken and Courtney for a drive from Hood River to Stevenson. As we took-in views of the river from Hwy 14, we recalled our various BO experiences from past years; "...Re-Re-member...that-one-year where I finished dead last on a windsurfer (and swam for at least an hour), then got wind and finished with a time of 5 hours and 12 minutes....that was awesome!" "Remember that-one-time where the wind died in Stevenson minutes after the rabbit start, or when you and I were both still-on-land at the start of the race, or when we both crashed our kites repeatedly ...Remember that one time..." The consensus at the end of BO show-and-tell was that despite all preparation, you never know what's in store for you in a Blow Out.

Cut to the middle of the race: Just past the narrows, a significant swarm of signing kites remained ahead of me. Based on past BOs, I knew that once the wind turned-on, I'd have a good chance to make my move on the swarm. As the wind began to ratchet-up, I started to accelerate quickly down wind, and through the swarm. As I'd chased these kites for miles and finally passed them, I was feeling a renewed sense of purpose, although fatigue was setting-in.
In my mind, my strategy was paying-off; using 35 meter lines, 16 meter kite, 14" narrow 140cm twin tip, and full double velcro closure bindings to ensure that I would never come off of the board.

Once past the lead kite herd, acceleration only increased; board speed terminal...screaming downwind, while trying to keep my knees bent to a crouch, and concentrating on keeping my weight on my back foot. ...I knew I was riding on the edge. I tried to take a breather...put the kite out to the side and outrun it briefly to allow my body a momentary reprieve. It didn't help much. It was time to concentrate and gut-it-out. I put the kite downwind 20 feet off of the water and held on.

Somewhere between the two tunnels just west of Swell, it happened... my front board tip stuffed into the backside of a swell at mach. My right foot was ripped free of the binding. The next downwind bounce, the board caught and I was tea bagged. Still at mach, the next time I made contact wit the water, I began lofting; 4 feet up, next bounce 10 feet, next hit I'm 15 feet up, the next tea bag I'm somewhere between 15 to 20 feet up, still hurling downwind with the board dangling from my left foot. I knew I was in trouble and began preparing for kite ejection and reaching for my total release.

I reached down...that's when I heard and felt a monster horn blast seemingly a few feet behind me. I looked over my right shoulder (as I'm still in the air) and saw the large steel mass of the front end of a barge dead-center 50-100 yards away. Fight-or-flight. My adrenaline was already maxed-out. I knew I had to get out of the way of the barge NOW. I swung the kite hard to the left and received the yarding of my life. In a few seconds I was clear of the barge path and slamming-down out of control on my stomach when my left foot ripped free of the binding. My lower back began aching with pain as I continued to get tea bagged boardless downwind...I reached down and released from the kite, which shot downwind like a missile. It was over. I felt safe, relieved, and was likely in a mild state of shock. I was fortunate to have worn a full body wetsuit, as it helped in the long swim to the Washington shore.

Before climbing-up the rip-rap embankment, I sat down on a large boulder at the edge of the water to take-a-rest and perhaps allow some quiet contemplation (cue-up PF's Time/Breathe/reprise, no Yanni please.) Looking out toward Mitchell Point, I spotted Ken's watermelon Waroo static at 11 o'clock in the area where I'd crashed-and-burned. I was concerned that he'd found my board and was looking for me; which added to an already heavy/unsettling feeling. (I learned later that Ken had lost his board in the area and had resolved to omega-tea-bag 3-4 miles in order to cross the finish line.)

As I crested the embankment to the road, heard a siren and was greeted by a sheriff's deputy who'd received a report from a tug captain of a kiter in trouble. After confirming it was me, I caught a ride back to the sandbar with friends Ron & Donna.

The next day, I was prodded by my fellow kiter into a kinder/gentler downwinder from Viento to the sandbar on a 12 meter, short lines, and a surf board. Despite my apprehensions, it felt good to get back on the horse. No boards, bars, kites, or humans were hurt during the downwinder (except Inglis managed to break a line in nearly the exact area of river where Ken and I had met our fate the day prior. He met a couple windsurfing who'd found Ken's board a couple of hours before.) Strange days indeed.

The kite, bar, and lines were recovered somewhere between Swell and the Hatchery. The board was found and brought in by a young kiter named Adam. Huge thanks.

Here's some of the aftermath of the blown-apart Liquid Force M80;


   M80 1.jpg 
   M80 2.jpg 
   M80 3.jpg 

Last edited by 4Stringer/KipWinger on Mon Aug 04, 08 1:24 pm; edited 7 times in total

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pdxmonkeyboy

Since 16 May 2006
6079 Posts
forever labled as the
retired kiter & motorhead Unicorn Master



PostMon Aug 04, 08 9:09 am    Re: Blown Out Reply with quote

4Stringer/KipWinger wrote:


Cut to the middle of the race: Just past the narrows, a significant swarm of signing kites remained ahead of me. Based on past BOs, I knew that once the wind turned-on, I'd have a good chance to make my move on the swarm. As the wind began to ratchet-up, I started to accelerate quickly down wind, and through the swarm. As I'd chased these kites for miles and finally past them, I was feeling a renewed sense of purpose, although fatigue was setting-in.
In my mind, my strategy was paying-off; using 35 meter lines, 16 meter kite, 14" narrow 140cm twin tip, and full double velcro closure bindings to ensure that I wouldnever come off of the board.

Once past the lead kite herd, acceleration only increased; board speed terminal...screaming downwind, while trying to keep my knees bent to a crouch, and concentrating on keeping my weight on my back foot. ...I knew I was riding on the edge. I tried to take a breather...put the kite out to the side and outrun it briefly to allow my body a momentary reprieve. It didn't help much. It was time to concentrate and gut-it-out. I put the kite downwind 20 feet off of the water and held on.

Somewhere between the two tunnels just west of Swell, it happened... my front board tip stuffed into the backside of a swell at mach. My right foot was ripped free of the binding. The next downwind bounce, the board caught and I was tea bagged. Still at mach, the next time I made contact wit the water, I began lofting; 4 feet up, next bounce 10 feet, next hit I'm 15 feet up, the next tea bag I'm somewhere between 15 to 20 feet up, still cruising downwind with the board dangling from my left foot. I knew I was in trouble and began preparing for kite ejection and reaching for my total release.

I reached down...that's when I heard and felt a monster horn blast seemingly a few feet behind me. I looked over my right shoulder (as I'm still in the air) and saw the large steel mass of the front end of a barge 50-100 yards away. Fight-or-flight: check. My adrenaline was already maxed-out. I knew I had to get out of the way of the barge NOW. I swung the kite hard to the left and received the yarding of my life. In a few seconds I was clear of the barge path and skipping out of control on my stomach when my left foot ripped free of the binding. My lower back began aching with pain as I continued to get tea bagged boardless downwind...I reached down and released from the kite, which shot downwind like a missile. It was over. I felt safe, relieved, and was likely in a mild state of shock. I was fortunate to have worn a full body wetsuit, as it helped in the long swim to the Washington shore.

The kite, bar, and lines were recovered somewhere between Swell and the Hatchery. The board was found and brought in by a young kiter named Adam. Huge thanks.

Here's some of the aftermath of the blown-apart Liquid Force M80;


We have a winner folks, that shit sounds aweful.

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pdxmonkeyboy

Since 16 May 2006
6079 Posts
forever labled as the
retired kiter & motorhead Unicorn Master



PostMon Aug 04, 08 9:14 am     Reply with quote

My scariest moment doesn't seem that bad now.

1. 1st real day at coast, 10' plus waves, took one on the head, kite mangled but still inflated, wave grabs kite and gives me underwater yarding of my life (thought my spine was going to snap in half). fought Manzo undertow and sogy kite for what seemed like an hour. Magical kite realunch by hand of god..safety.

2. 2004? Standing on the beach at Rooster with 02 fuel overhead. Gust and instant lofting, pulled release but the little red ball came off in my hand. Another lofting (15+') and straight into the willow. Finally able to pull the bar out of the chicken loop and let it all go. Man that kite hated me, I swear it was possessed.

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Spike

Since 13 May 2007
1414 Posts
Alameda
Spelling Expert



PostMon Aug 04, 08 9:24 am     Reply with quote

I remember seeing that M80 16m in the lineup at Stevenson and thinking damn, that could get interesting...

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tonski

Since 11 Jun 2005
332 Posts
NW Portland
Obsessed



PostMon Aug 04, 08 9:56 am     Reply with quote

Yeah, I still don't know how Onad survived on his 17 Fuel. Scary!

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