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My kite dropped not too far offshore at Alameda yesterday and for some reason it wouldn't relaunch. Eventually it flips over and there's no hope, so I unhook and start swimming in with the kite leash attached to my wrist. The wind was about 10-20 kts.
Suddenly I notice a runaway kite cartwheeling towards me. I had to think fast beacause: I might get tangled up in its lines, or it might get tangled up in my kite!
So I start swimming like mad preparing to unleash if it gets close to me or my kite or lines. If I unleashed, there would be two runaway kites, possible tangled up in each other! And there were plenty of people on the beach.
The runaway just misses me and almost gets tangled in my lines, but thank goodness it blows right past.
I had a surreal moment watching the runaway make land and cartwheel down the beach, while people strolling along hardly noticed!
A few long seconds later I'm on the beach dragging my kite in and safely park it, run down to the runaway which had meantime caught itself in the sand dunes. I park it safely and thought wow, that was not good.
(To make matters worse, someone snatched my board, and I was swimming in skin-eating bacteria)
Kiteboarding: the best of times and the worst of times. Flip a coin.
This is very typical of how things can develop very fast and very quickly sometimes. The upside is that experiences like yours, and those which are much worse that still end OK, all things considered, can be valuable lessons to learn from.
Thursday or Friday (Ouch! I can't remember which) at SI, I was setting up the lines for my 14M Rage II on the beach. It was parked just behind the driftwood "gear rack" behind the blackberry bushes, along with a bunch of other people's kites.
All of a sudden, I heard people screaming, "Loose kite, loose kite". There were people literally diving everywhere. Then this huge sucking sound and the kite came flying over the blacberry bushes, wizzed by my head and into the bushes downwind of the launch. The guy next to me was on the ground, wondering if his jaw was broken. (He was okay after all).
My until-recently-inflated kite was in a saggy heap on the ground.
The bar on the loose kite had snagged the "gear rack" and dragged it across the launch, going right through my kite and knocking the guy next to me down.
It turned out a guy had been coming in and had forgotten to secure his chicken loop. When it came loose and he was fully powered, he dropped his bar, forgetting (again) that the leash was hooked to the chicken loop (and thus, no longer connected to him).
His kite was fine. Mine is full of holes. He's paying to fix it, but it still sucks.
On Sat one guy barely launched the kite (more like launched himself) and then tried to get on the board a few feet from the beach in front of the launch area. Guess what... you guessed right. Kite drifts to the power zone, guy yanked off the water, kite crashes in the middle of everyone. And then when I am on the water relaunching I see this guy with his crashed kite on the water getting downwind towards me. If I was one of you pro guys, I would get up and cruise as fast as possible, but in my current condition I just body dragged away from him.
What is really annoying in Alameda is that many folks launch kites and lack basic kite control. Launch into the power zone is so common. Launch fails, and then the next one fails, and so on. After being there a few days I recognize some faces to stay away from.
Another thing that pisses me off, lack of consideration. You are about to launch your kite, and some @#$% unrolls his lines right on your lines.
Launch zone is not your back yard. Rig somewhere else, and when every thing checks good go there. Launch area, as its name suggests, is for launching and landing and thatís about it.
I can go on and on. Current solution: Watch around you for every launch, after a while you will be able to guess pretty accurately which one is going to succeed and which one requires strapping your helmet.
Yeah, well there's what someone should do and what they are willing to do. I was actually worried enough just about getting this guy to pay for the repair -- he's from Reno, so it's not like can I hound him every time I see him at the launch.
In the big picture, it's not that big a deal, but it sure is nice to have kites that you've used for a season that are still flawless. First question any potential buyer asks is, "Any repairs?". Regardless of what I pay for a new kite, the first abrasion or cut in the fabric sucks.
Flew the 14M yesterday afternoon, nice light wind ebb session.
If I had ordered a new one, I probably still would have been waiting for it instead of riding...
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