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Kiteboarding accident in Alameda
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Since 15 Aug 2007
172 Posts

PostMon May 15, 17 11:26 am    Kiteboarding accident in Alameda Reply with quote

Some SF Bay kiters posted on FB about a fatal kite accident in Alameda.

This is a sobering account of a beginner launch gone bad probably involving many factors. It can happen to any of us, so let's be safe out there and help the beginners and give them easier time and more space.

Let me know if it is ok to post on these topics of safety here in the forum or maybe moderator create a tab for posts on 'Safety' topics.

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Wind Slither

Since 04 Mar 2005
2282 Posts
The 503

PostMon May 15, 17 11:59 am     Reply with quote

Very sad. These tragic warnings should stay front and center. Someone in the thread wrote:

if a launch goes bad you can usually take care of the situation by simply letting go of the bar

This is not true. I had a very similar experience when I was learning on my first 2 line. I got distracted negotiating over a rocky berm when a gust hit, my kite went into a loop and next thing I knew I had busted through a fence and was lying in the bushes. Unlike Bret, there was no big solid objects down wind of me or I wouldn't be here.

Keep it low and go. Fly the kite first.

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Since 21 Apr 2007
1647 Posts
Doin' The Dalles

PostMon May 15, 17 1:33 pm     Reply with quote

So many red flags in the BAK thread. Problems arise so quickly and getting that power under control is like trying to wrestle an invisible bull so before you give the thumbs up always contemplate where are you going to end up if your launch goes awry (because they will) and listen to your gut because if you're not feeling it flip that kite back over and wait it out.

The kiter hit 2 downwind objects and grazed a photographer while people yelled "sheet out" as soon as his kite went in the air. His death is tragic and senseless as he leaves 2 kids and a wife behind.

Last edited by Sella on Tue May 16, 17 9:48 am; edited 1 time in total

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Since 09 Mar 2005
1595 Posts

PostMon May 15, 17 2:20 pm     Reply with quote

Google Map address:

308 Westline Drive
Alameda, CA

for a view of the launch and the downwind obstacles this poor kiter hit; if you're interested. It doesn't take much to take someone out. . .

My condolences to his family. RIP!


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Since 28 Apr 2008
742 Posts
Newport, OR

PostMon May 15, 17 4:32 pm     Reply with quote

Sad to hear about this incident and loss of a member of the kiting tribe. A real wake up call to everyone to especially help out beginners with launching and landing kites.


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Since 24 Oct 2014
100 Posts


PostTue May 16, 17 4:54 am    Fatal accident Reply with quote

I just read the account - very sad.

I don't know if it would have helped here - but as experienced kiters, we need to have a good attitude toward helping and educating the newbies - particularly in the launch and land zones.

I know that sometimes giving advice will not be appreciated - so what. If you are helping to launch a kite - always look to see the lines are clear, the kite is not soft, etc.

My condolences to his family

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Matt V

Since 26 Oct 2014
302 Posts
Summer- OR Coast, Winter - My van near good snow
Explosive Diarrhea

PostTue May 16, 17 6:06 am     Reply with quote

I will give up a day of kiting to keep a newbie safe. If someone new shows up at our one of our "challenging launch" local spots, I give them extra scrutiny. When they ask me something like "how do I connect the lines" or make some procedural mistake, I offer them a free kite lesson.

This usually works, but I make sure we go someplace safer, like a soccer field. And I always start out with the trainer. If they have never flown one, then I know I just saved their life.

Given that most kite lessons focus primarily on the riding aspect and not the launching/landing/safety aspects, it is our duty as fellow kiters to pitch in and fill this gap. Don't think of it as cutting into your kite time. Think of it as saving a life AND saving your spot from having kiting banned.

Make the effort, be courteous, and be encouraging. The kiter you save may save your life one day.

MSN has temporarily removed commenting on our websites while we explore better ways for you to engage in discussion on the issues you care about.

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Since 26 Aug 2011
364 Posts


PostTue May 16, 17 7:35 am     Reply with quote

slightly off topic, what about the chaos at the event site, when you have dozens of people launching and families sitting in the water, eihter playing in the water or sun bathing.

I am amazed at this, they are just waiting to be hammered by some loose kite, or person getting dragged.

I know this is a public beach, but it is just so dangerous to have people sitting on the shore sunbathing.

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Since 08 Apr 2014
291 Posts
SE Portland

CGKA Member

PostTue May 16, 17 8:00 am     Reply with quote

Hopefully we'll get the sandbar back before the summer crowds hit Event Site - otherwise it will get really dangerous, I'm actually surprised we didn't have a kitemare story of someone hitting the rocks downwind from the grass yet (hopefully it will never happen).
My pictures of the beautiful PNW

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Since 13 Jun 2012
194 Posts


PostTue May 16, 17 9:19 am     Reply with quote

So sad to hear.

That launch looks really wide open too. After reading that thread I was expecting the "shack" and "antenna" to be much more in the way. A good reminder that a immovable object of any size can kill you in a bad launch.

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Since 11 Feb 2006
4713 Posts

PostTue May 16, 17 10:37 am     Reply with quote

Very sad

we do live in an exceptional place with loads of wind and sketchy launches - definitely look out for the newbies and dont be shy to get involved and offer up some stern advice if warranted (most folks are appreciative, receptive if you point shit out calmly - occasionally you might run up against an aggro dude who might call you an "Ass shaver" - sorry Slither - but better to make your voice heard then regret you didn't)

Go Deep!

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Since 13 Mar 2012
324 Posts


PostTue May 16, 17 8:54 pm     Reply with quote

Terribly sad story.

These types of accidents don't have to happen.

If you are a beginner (and we all were at one time) be sure to practice in shallow water with plenty of room (preferably a football field's length of space) from any objects down wind of you.

If the launch has dangers down wind, have your instructor launch your kite and walk you out to a safe location.

The problem is that it looks easy (and it is once you learn). Most of the kiters out there have been kiting for years (and many for decades).

When learning how to kite you WILL get yanked. It's not a question of if, rather WHEN and how many times!!!

It takes time and practice to learn how to handle a kite through gusts and lulls. Please practice in a safe location.

If anything good can come from this terrible accident perhaps it can be a reminder to other beginners out there to play it smart and safe.

mowing the river like Jack Nicklaus was comin to town.

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Since 13 May 2007
1413 Posts
Spelling Expert

PostTue May 16, 17 10:31 pm     Reply with quote

I live in Alameda now, this is my local spot (albeit a relatively terrible one). The wind is quite gusty and holey, strong downwind (wind-blown) current along the beach, and hundreds of beachgoers that freely mingle with the kite circus, and a bike path and road a mere stone's throw from the water - think Sauvie island but with kiters sharing the space with the beachgoers, stronger gustier wind, and Bay Area urban traffic instead of a grassy bluff.

Unfortunately, thanks to the 2-mile long cross-onshore beach, this place is touted as the best beginner spot in the bay area (there's also a kite school here that teaches without jet skis right in the middle of it all), and it shows too. Every decent kiteable day there are at minimum several incidents almost unilaterally involving beginners; everything from kites in trees, kites crashing on the bike path and into cars parked along the road, to people getting dragged across the ground and tomahawking beachgoers, a regular kook fest every time, and as a non-beginner you're almost guaranteed to have the opportunity to intervene in an unfolding disaster at some point during your day at the beach.

What happened on Friday is truly sad; it was just a matter of time before statistics caught up. This incident could just as easily been a beginner learning his lesson the hard way, and it could also have equally happened to any of the countless other beginners that come to this narrow, overcrowded, gusty beach and go home with no clue as to how close they came to severe tragedy.

In summary, a terrible tragedy that was bound to happen some day. I'm not sure there is anything we can do about this but hope beginners inform themselves better.

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Since 25 Sep 2008
85 Posts


PostWed May 17, 17 5:29 am    brett-powell-fund Reply with quote
His wife Carla is the sole benefactor of this gofundme campaign.

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Since 30 Jun 2006
1149 Posts
Puget Sound & Wa. Coast
XTreme Poster

PostWed May 17, 17 6:31 am     Reply with quote

Question: Is Alameda supposedly where the SF version of KB4C 2017 was scheduled?
CGKA Member
Kip Wylie

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Since 26 Mar 2011
50 Posts


PostWed May 17, 17 7:33 am     Reply with quote

KB4C was scheduled for 3rd Ave. This launch is on the other side of the bay, in Foster City. It gets much more consistent winds. However, the launch is a lot smaller, and dangerous for different reasons.

Alameda is by far the best launch in the Bay Area for beginners. That being said, all launches should be considered dangerous to beginners and even seasoned kiters. I don't care if it's a wide sandy beach for miles, if you launch a 10m kite as a beginner when it's gusting in the 30s, and you happen to hit one and either power up or go into a loop, you're going to get hurt. You don't have time to eject. As stated in the recount of the accident, it all happened in 2-3 seconds.

Alameda gets the lightest winds of the bay, so most beginners who kite there only have one kite... and it's typically a bigger one. What happened last weekend could have happened at any of the Bay Area launches... 3rd Ave (rocks) Sherman (wooden gazebo, cars), Coast (driftwood, Hwy 1), or any launch in the PNW or world for that matter.

As pointed out, it can be a bit of a shi% show with the crowds at Alameda, but overall the kiters and instructors who frequent there have done a great job of policing and keeping things relatively safe given the circumstances.

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Since 21 Jan 2006
1893 Posts
not really an
XTreme Poster

PostWed May 17, 17 7:49 am     Reply with quote

Sasquatch wrote:
Google Map address:

308 Westline Drive
Alameda, CA

for a view of the launch and the downwind obstacles this poor kiter hit; if you're interested. It doesn't take much to take someone out. . .

My condolences to his family. RIP!

sounds awful.
if you zoom all the way in on this address, a kiter appears in the water.

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