Tasmanian Fatality Summary

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Tasmanian Fatality Summary

Post  David Furchtgott on Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:32 am

My sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of this man and to all riders Downunder in this sad time. The Australian Kitesurfing Association (AKSA), has provided information from their investigation of the tragic fatal kiteboarding accident in Tasmania that happened on December 1, 2003. A summary of that information follows:

The accident involved a kiteboarder of just under three years experience who had come into the sport from windsurfing and possessed a true love for the sport. The rider was in a hurry to launch and get some riding in after work in the area of Hobart along the southeast coast of Tasmania. Tasmania is an island south of the southeast corner of Australia.
http://www.tas.gov.au/images/tasmap-600.gif

The rider was to fly a 12 m 2003 Cabrinha kite in onshore & shifting 16-18 knots gusting to 24 to 25 knots. Although conditions were reportedly gustier than normal no squalls were present. It was near high tide and a close female friend helped him to launch his kite in the onshore winds while both were standing on land. The kite stalled and fell/flew downwind into low bushes next to some tall pine trees with the kite’s leading edge facing upward. The kite may have been launched a bit closer to 90 degrees off the wind and/or been hit by a pronounced lull causing the kite to stall and drift downwind. The rider was hooked in to his QR equipped chicken loop. The kiteboarder decided to try to do an unassisted relaunch from this position with the kite almost dead downwind in a “hot
Several important points come from this accident summary. The sad fact is that today, all too MANY riders might well make many of the same mistakes as this rider. This sport is often seems to be too easy, dangerously easy. When things don’t go wrong very often despite routine careless practices, we often take ready kite control for granted and ignore the tremendous power of the kite in gusts and blinding speed at which things can go seriously wrong. If you visit many launches you will see poor practices quite commonly but things may be improving in this regard all be it slowly. Careless practices erode what factor of safety we may have against misfortune and can remove options for avoiding injury if misfortune strikes.

Some conclusions from this accident follow:

1.Never launch close to and upwind from hard objects.

Avoid downwind “hot

David Furchtgott
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