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> Inspect your gear before every session/Tawas Incident
Tim Blanchard
post Aug 2 2005, 08:57 AM
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This weekend while in Tawas I had one of the most disturbing incidents of my kiteboarding career occur.

While on my 16m Very Powered in winds around 20 (maybe higher in gusts) having a blast, all of a sudden my kite dives to the right and crashes into the water. I was so powered up at the time that I had the kite only maybe 10 feet off the water when it happened so thought maybe I just steered it too hard by mistake and put it in the water.

With the kite in the water less than 5 seconds and me a bit confused as to what is going on it relaunches and begins to loop very tight circles sending me out of control downwind. It looped 3 or 4 times than crashed again. Realizing now that I had a line that snapped or something with the kite was malfunctioning I reached for my safety which I had attached to the bar in the elastic line winder. As I am about to undue the elastic and pull on the safety I look to the trim strap and see the the safety is not running up thru the steel ring but is just dangling in the water. As I finally realize what is going on the kite relaunches and goes straight into tight loops straight downwind. The weird part is that the kite is normally a pain to water launch yet now it is launching with no problems on its own.

I am being dragged out of control straight towards the beach and there are people on the beach right where I am heading. At this point I am about 200 meters offshore and the kite is looping so tight that it clearly is not going to crash into the water before I get dragged into the beach.

By now I am way downwind of where we setup and our group of kiters in:
my options are:
1) let go of the kite and hopefully it crashes and doesn't get to the beach before I or another kiter can get to it
2) hold on and warn everyone on the beach to get the hell out of the way then let go of the kite once on the beach with no people downwind of me.

At no time was I concerned for myself, I was panicked over the fact that I had a kite that was incredibly powered up in which I had no means to kill safely. I debated the entire time what to as I was being dragged towards the beach. The kite was flying high enough in the sky that it would not hit anyone so I came to the conclusion that it was better to hold on and go for the ride till there where no people in the path of the kite than to release the kite and have it roll in the water and wash up on the beach with the potential to power up if the bar snagged up on anything or one.

SO: Now I am rapidly getting to shore and am yelling at the top of my lungs to get out of the way and people are starting to clear out in a hurry. This was the scariest experience of my life as the kite is about to get to shore with people running out of the way.

The moment that I made it to shore it a bit of a blurr but somehow the kite after looping I estimate about 10 times in the exact same postion in the window (right in the powerzone down to about 15 ft from the ground) crashes just as I am about to hit the beach, in the position that you store your kites. I think a line caught on a beach chair to cause this to happend but I am not sure as things were happening so quickly. A beachgoer who must have know something about kites ran to the kite and secured the leading edge down.

I have not had a line break in years but this goes to show that is does happen and to be very aware of the condition of your gear. Always remove knots from you lines as they reduce there strength my 1/2. Check you gear after every session.

It turns out the the stiches in the sleeving let go causing the line to pull thru and come undone.

Otherwise a great weekend with a great group of kiters at Tawas.

Tim Blanchard
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Steve Martin
post Aug 2 2005, 10:07 AM
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Wow! Glad your incident ended well.
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