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New Kiter Safety Tips: READ THIS

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 10:50 am
by BayAreaKite
Dear Bay Area Kiteboarding community, in light of this weekend's fatality at Alameda, I would like to take this opportunity to leverage the reach of BAK and create a new sticky topic/announcement where us seasoned kiters can offer safety tips and recommendations to the community in an effort to prevent this from happening again. There are a few forum members constantly reminding the community of spring winds and dangerous behavior, and thank you for doing so, but perhaps it's time to consolidate into a single thread.

It is so important that all new kiters use this resource when learning to kite, and even more intermediate and advanced kiters use this opportunity as a refresher or before exploring new launches. There is so much valuable information on beaches, equipment, and people that can be found and reviewed with simple searches. Facebook is not the place to ask for recommendations on conditions and gear, sadly I see it happening all the time. Let's continue to encourage safe behavior on the beach, but also use the forum to share the most site-specific safety tips to prevent these terrible accidents from happening again. My sincere condolences to the friends and family of the fallen kiter, please let us know if there's anything we can do to help during these difficult times.

Re: New Kiter Safety Tips: READ THIS

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 10:51 am
by BayAreaKite
My first tip is not an advertisement; it is a serious recommendation to all kiters to learn about the wind. I have found that the best way to learn about the wind and conditions here in the Bay Area is to subscribe to the pro forecast of iKitesurf. Upgrading your subscription is a small price to pay, especially when factoring the other costs of this sport. Doing so however will help you generate a wealth of knowledge about our local winds, and make better decisions on when and where to kite. Personally, I feel I pay off my subscription in gas money savings alone. However, the most valuable benefit is by far my safety. Almost every night, my wife and I read the forecast, and look at computer models for the following day. Even on days we don't kite, which sadly far outnumber the days we do. We constantly compare the forecast with actual, and look at conditions at our favorite spots to understand the type of whether patterns that lead to fun sessions as opposed to survival kiting. This time of year, we always avoid what we call the "spring nuker days." We were out of town this weekend, but looking at the various graphs showed conditions that are typical to those spring nuker days.
nuker.jpg
don't kite when it looks like this
nuker.jpg (223.9 KiB) Viewed 7188 times

Above is a screenshot of the pro forecast the morning of a spring nuker day. When it looks like this, we don't kite. Sure, it's easy to get excited about the wind, especially at a place like Alameda, but it's best to avoid these days. We are so lucky in the Bay Area to have steady thermal winds for nearly 6 months, we don't need to kite crazy frontals or clearing winds. Even as advanced kiters, we do not go out in these conditions. Admittedly, my wife is small and is often overpowered on our 6m even in normal conditions, but I personally don't enjoy the chaos of the launch and kiting in fear when it is so gusty and shifty. It is just not worth the risks to kite in conditions like this, ESPECIALLY if you are fairly new to the sport, and/or do not have the right equipment.

Again, this is not an advertisement for iKitesurf, it is a very serious recommendation that if you're going to become a safe kiter, you need to familiarize yourself with the wind and weather. Think of yourself as a pilot, and pilots don't fly without knowing the weather. It is a small investment, and you can save $20 your first year by joining through the link at the footer of this page. Full disclosure: BAK does get a small referral bonus, which simply helps cover the cost of running and hosting this site. I had a membership long before I took over BAK so this is an honest recommendation in the interest of the safety of our community and sport.

Re: New Kiter Safety Tips: READ THIS

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 1:35 pm
by manplesvanuatu
Thanks for posting this. I hope beginners can read it and make a good use of this rule of thumb.
It may save the next person's life. What happens on Friday should never happen again!!

Re: New Kiter Safety Tips: READ THIS

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 2:21 pm
by windhorny
It would be great if EVERY kiter were somehow forced to look on one site and get informed before kiting at any of the sites in the bay area. But this has been a futile effort over the years. We need to do something as Crown beach is very close to getting canned for kiters.

Re: New Kiter Safety Tips: READ THIS

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 3:50 pm
by NorCalNomad
1. If you are unsure, ASK

2.Gusts are dangerous and not fun.

Super gusty conditions are especially dangerous for newer riders. Anything over 8kts difference I question whether I want to go out. The strong the wind the smaller that difference becomes since the gust import more force. A doubling of wind speed does a lot more than just double the wind force. http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/wind-load-d_1775.html

All the gnarly accidents that have happened the last few years have been during high winds with a lot of gust (3rd into rocks, OB into the street, Alameda...)

3. Look around and ask what size people are on that are coming in, and advanced kiters. ALSO look how much they weight, board used, and ask their skill level.

I honestly went out overpowered last week at Crown, and the only thing that kept me on the right side of just being safe enough was my experience (which lead me to shorten my session when the wind picked up just a little more) and a board that doesn't hold a lot of speed.

Re: New Kiter Safety Tips: READ THIS

PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 2:53 pm
by skinnydoc
I just posted on the thread about this fatality, but I'll repeat here:

1) How about a diagram posted at the more dicey launch sites showing launch rotation, different wind scenarios, and do's and dont's? I see this at paragliding sites. Its harder to be a site newbie or just plain dumb when there is a sign clearly stating the risks.

2) similarly, how about the same sign with a changeable (heavy/light, kite/no kite) indicator? Like with those "fire risk - high/medium/low" signs? Again its harder to be stupid when you can clearly see what you are getting into.

Ben