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So I was running a few errands Sunday, had my gear with me and was near so I dropped by Alameda, even though I knew the wind was northerly. It had been showing NNW, so I thought I'd check it out.
When I got there the wind was ranging from 3 to 30, and there were a couple of people hanging out, just checking out the direction and such. The wind was basically fairly offshore.
Well, one guy had just split to go a find a boat or something because as it turned out he had his kite laying on the beach unweighted (big no-no) and had grabbed his bar while still in his street clothes to check his lines or something. Apparently the lines got a bit of tension, and BAM, the kite took off, dragged him about 25 feet and over the embankment near to the waters edge, where he then let go of the bar. Bye-bye kite.
When I got there, he was already gone, luckily un-hurt, but we couldn;t hardly even see the kite anymore, was only a distant speck.
So, just for fun, we discussed the wind direction, speed and gustiness for a while, then another guy decided to give it a go. He suited up and I held him while Artie launched him. The kite lulled, shot up, lulled again, blew up in another gust and subjected him to few healthy loftings, during which I had a hold of his harness at arm's length directly up in the air. So rather than getting bounced up and down in the air yanking on my arm, he pulled his safety, kite goes down in water, end of story, nobody hurt.
So there you have it - a few exciting moments, with positive reinforcements of the do's and dont's of kiting. I can only imagine how fast the first guy's runaway kite must have flapping end over end (with bar & lines) across the bay....the water was just lit up and whitecapping fiercely as far as you could see, but was still pretty flat water....
Ollie really.... You and Artie know better than to launch someone in offshore winds!!!! If conditions are that unsafe it is best to be the jerk who wouldn't launch the kite. 3-30 mph and blowing off shore??? Were these guy's newbee's?? I can see the headlines now: Kiter draged out to sea and never seen again. Maybe it's just a way of thinning the kiting population befor the spring winds kick in and the water gets crowded.
Well, we gotta have fun somehow!
Although the lulls were a kite-dropping 3 and the gusts were a kite-exploding 30, it was averaging about 12. The guy was experienced and if it wasn't so gusty it was conceivably doable as it wasn't directly offshore, more like almost directly offshore. But seriously, it was a lowish tide and one could have stayed close to shore cruising a bit. If you were still close in and felt like you were having trouble getting back, you could've probably just stood up in the water and trudge back. He was desperate is all and it was all really quite casual, even when he was getting lofted. I just pulled him down and suggested that he pull his safety.
6 posts • Page 1 of 1
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