Call for kiteboard safety gear
By SUE BAILEY
August 21, 2004
ALL kiteboarders should wear a helmet and impact vest, a Coroner investigating Tasmania's first kiteboarding fatality has recommended.
Coroner Peter Wilson released his findings yesterday into the death of Peter David News, 46, at Sandy Bay on December 1, 2003.
He found Mr News died from massive head and chest injuries received in a kiteboarding accident when he hit rocks at Long Point Beach.
Mr Wilson said the incident highlighted several problems regarding kiteboarding.
"In all cases, kiteboarders should wear a helmet and an impact vest," he said.
"While it is a matter of conjecture as to whether their use would have saved him given the force of the impact, their use may have increased his chance of survival."
He noted there appeared to be problems releasing the kite from the harness in an emergency.
Kiteboarding is an extreme sport relatively new to Tasmania, with giant kites being used to pull boardriders across the water.
It is like water skiing or wakeboarding without a boat.
A kiteboarder has to pilot the kite and steer the board at the same time.
Mr Wilson recommended that launching should always occur at a sufficient distance from hazardous obstacles on land, including buildings, cars, retaining walls, rocks, trees and power lines.
"I would question whether the spot chosen at Long Point was a safe place from which to launch," he said.
"Where in the launch attempt the gap between kiteboarder and land-based obstacles narrows to an unsafe margin, the attempt should be abandoned by the kiteboarder freeing himself from the kite before being re-started," he said.
"In assessing a safe distance, the launch of the kite should be made from as close to the water's edge as practicable with the kiteboarder out into the water as far as practicable and abandoned if the kiteboarder is dragged shorewards."
He commended two people who went to Mr News' aid.