Friday, February 26, 2010

First solo attempt to cross Bass Strait is imminent

Natalie Clarke, a keen Melbourne-based kitesurfer, is ready to attempt the first solo unassisted crossing of Bass Straight kitesurfing.

Natalie has been training hard for this feat, and is also fund raising for the Swim 4 All Foundation.  

The attempt is now waiting for the right wind conditions.  Fingers crossed that the wind god smiles and that Natalie makes it.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sean Richardson rescues a drowning woman with his kite

Sean, a kitesurfing buddy who frequents South Melbourne beach and environs, rescued a drowning woman using his kitesurfing gear.  The woman, who had apparently fallen oft a jet ski, was floating face down when Sean kitesurfed out to her.

He was able to drag her in to shore using the kite controlled by one arm, and his other arm around the woman.  Well done Sean.

More details and a video interview are available in this article:

St Kilda psychologist rescues drowning woman after Albert Park jetski accident

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Self rescue

Hi, my name is Stuart Webb - I've shared some great adventures with Peter over the last year or so, and thought I'd share some tips that have helped me out.

I've been kiting for about 6 years and last week I had a bit of a disaster. One of the pulleys on my Switchblade (IDS 10m) broke on one of the leading edge lines. The wind was about 25 knots and the kite just kept on picking up and spinning around. It took me some time to figure out which line had been broken, by which time the lines had become very tangled and I was unsure as to the best way to handle the situation.

After a forum discussion, the consensus for self rescue procedure is

Self Rescue Procedure
  1. Depower
    Get as much depower as possible. This will typically involve taking all the tension out of the back two brake lines. If you have a switchblade, use the absolute depower.
  2. Regain your bar
    Depowering typically involves letting go of your bar or activating a depower mechanism. You must swim up to the bar to regain it.
  3. Tidy up loose lines
    To be sure that tension remains out of the back brake lines, wind in the middle leading edge lines onto the bar.
  4. Secure your board (Optional)
    Remove the board from your feet and secure it to your body to leave you free in the water. You can use your safety leash by detaching it, threading it through your board and reattaching. Or carry another leash. This step could be done prior to step 1 depending upon personal preference.
  5. Regain your kite
    Wind in all remaining lines onto your bar, exactly as if you are packing up at the end of a session. This will take you up to the kite.
  6. Ride the kite into shore

Self Rescue Procedure (Switchblade)
In my instance, I have a 2009 Cabrinha Switchblade IDS. The pulley broke. Apparently these pulleys have known issues - so my advice is to replace all your pulleys with the warranty Cabrinha pulley replacement. Apparently for some extra cash you can replace these pulleys with an Aluminium slider (which comes as standard with the 2010 model) - reducing the chance of failure and wear on the lines.

Safe riding,


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snow kiting in Washington D.C. and a cautionary tale

From Keith Edwards, my neighbour who is living near Washington D.C. - here's a novel way of enjoying 40+ inches of snow in DC,  with the Washington monument in the background.

Back in Australia, a friend of Keith's had a kitemare at Merimbula.  He got tangled in his kite lines when body dragging and was hurt badly after being "tea bagged" repeatedly.  He was rescued eventually by a tourist boat in the vicinity.

Some tips to avoid this type of accident::

  • Have enough lessons to learn kite control and safety drills. Five is a realistic minimum.
  • Practice your safety drills - such as releasing your kite completely.
  • Carefully check your set up before heading out.  
  • Carry a safety knife and cut your lines if you get tangled in them, don't try to "sort it out" unless the kite is safely on the beach.
  • if you get tangled, land the kite and re rig the lines before flying it again.
  • If in doubt, release your kite without delay.

Link: Happy to be alive, Merimbula News