Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby Ron » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:49 pm

I like to put my board upwind and out toward the water so i can see if i can get it, if not i'm overpowerd and drop my kite right back down and rig down


Interesting...how far upwind? a couple of miles? ";

As far as landing your kite in the l/z, do it quickly if you feel you're way overpowered. I wouldn't mind if you were landing your kite on mine while I'm setting up. For 1, you are safe, and 2, you will give me a launch!
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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby shred_da_gorge » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:25 pm

Thor29 wrote:Kite size vs jumping is an interesting subject. I've noticed that if the 9m is powered up it seems like I can actually get higher jumps than on the 12m even when the 12m is almost maxed out.

Kite size doesn't determine flight characteristics, kite design does. One thing kite designers have learned through the years is to get better at designing kite ranges. In the past they spent lots of time at one location and the result was the prevailing wind drove which size kite had the best hang time, low end, etc. Their companies now understand the value of them spending time in various locations with different conditions, and the result is some bigger and smaller kites now act as reliably as the 'bread and butter' sizes. If your 9m and 12m are the same year and model it's possible the designer spent more time riding the 9m prototypes and then trying to scale them to 12m on a computer. Last year I flew an 8m that was SO much better than the 10m (same model, minor tweaks) of two years previous, in conditions from 7m to 10m. This is the same type of rapid evolution that took place with windsurfing sails (and bike frames) that has plagued my bank account for decades... :D

Back to the OP/OT, kudos for talking openly about this. One thing I'd recommend to every newer kiter is to come into the sport with the expectation that you can NOT rely upon others to land (or launch) your kite. Learn and practice these techniques - in predictable winds. Spring and fall don't bring predictable winds, but I'm glad you came out of it OK. I got overpowered there once years ago and opted to go back out and come in downwind to empty beach to self-land/rescue and walk rather than get near the crowded LZ (maybe I looked like a kook, I don't care).

Alas, I've yet to be OP'd at Alameda since. {}[]
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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby WindMuch » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:08 pm

nick_80044 wrote:The problem with yesterday was I could tell there was a lot of activity going on in the desired zone--people were preoccupied with setting up their kites and I couldn't catch anyone's attention.


Yell, scream, whistle. Make a ruckus. Someone will hear you and *should* help you get your kite out of the sky. Seriously, make some NOISE!
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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby wjb » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:46 pm

shred_da_gorge wrote:One thing I'd recommend to every newer kiter is to come into the sport with the expectation that you can NOT rely upon others to land (or launch) your kite.


+1 on this. You absolutely should be able to launch and land in any situation as well as handle any mishaps out on the water independently. Or there will be the time when you end up by yourself and you are f,ed
It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind. T.S.Eliot
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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby nick_80044 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:43 pm

nbon wrote:Hey Nick

Thanks for sharing your experience. I think its gutsy of you to come forward and tell this forum about a situation any kiter could find themselves in. A very good reminder of how quickly things can get sketchy.

Hearing these kind of stories makes it more likely that I will punch out and self rescue if I'm getting that spidy sense that things could go wrong.


Thanks, nbon. That was one of the main points I wanted to make--I've been kiting for a while now but I still found myself facing a set of variables that were somewhat unique. A reminder to never get too complacent.
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Re:

Postby nick_80044 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:47 pm

jzderm wrote:I pulled kite rescue duty in this case and saw the whole thing. I think the wind shadow from the boardsports shack got you. Glad to hear you were Ok.

Feet on sand, kite in hand is the take home point, for sure.

Jz


Thanks for your help, jzderm--much appreciated! It's always heartwarming to see how some people will go out of their way to help.
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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby nick_80044 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:13 pm

Edited due to repeat (sorry)
Last edited by nick_80044 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby nick_80044 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:16 pm

friggin old guy wrote: it's crazy sometimes how many people there can be at Alameda and nobody will jump up to land an incoming kite. Even if you have the skills to self-land, the place is just not big enough for people to self land without the possibility of a problem if the kite skitzes just a little bit.


Something for everyone to keep in mind: there is a phenomenon called "diffusion of responsibility" which says that the more bystanders there are lingering around, the *less* likely you are to get assistance, because everyone thinks someone else will do it.

"It has been demonstrated that the likelihood of a person offering help decreases as the number of observers present increases. This is known as the bystander effect."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_ ... onsibility

And in our specific situation of a crowded launch/land zone, it's probably made even worse because 1) people are anxious to get going and are focused on setting up their gear, and 2) nobody is that enthusiastic about having a kite land on top of them, causing further delay.

I would have to say that I've never been there on a day when landing with your feet on the berm would not put you in the wind shadow


I keep seeing people mention "the wind shadow ... behind the shack." Is this really a wind shadow? I think of "wind shadow" as usually a *good* thing. I sometimes self-land at the Racetrack behind some small hills which create a wind shadow---it causes the kite to gently plop down and fall over on its side. And where is "behind the shack" exactly? Is it literally the area outside the wall opposite the front entrance of the shack? Or does it really mean "downwind of the shack," in which case it's most likely partly in the LZ and partly in the grassy area across the path?

Anyway, to your point: I climbed up the berm at the pointy tip of the LZ (across from the park bench). I'm pretty sure kites launch from this area, or even further towards the shack, regularly. So I don't see why landing would be a problem.
Last edited by nick_80044 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby nick_80044 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:24 pm

shred_da_gorge wrote:
Thor29 wrote:Kite size vs jumping is an interesting subject. I've noticed that if the 9m is powered up it seems like I can actually get higher jumps than on the 12m even when the 12m is almost maxed out.

Kite size doesn't determine flight characteristics, kite design does. One thing kite designers have learned through the years is to get better at designing kite ranges. In the past they spent lots of time at one location and the result was the prevailing wind drove which size kite had the best hang time, low end, etc. Their companies now understand the value of them spending time in various locations with different conditions, and the result is some bigger and smaller kites now act as reliably as the 'bread and butter' sizes. If your 9m and 12m are the same year and model it's possible the designer spent more time riding the 9m prototypes and then trying to scale them to 12m on a computer. Last year I flew an 8m that was SO much better than the 10m (same model, minor tweaks) of two years previous, in conditions from 7m to 10m. This is the same type of rapid evolution that took place with windsurfing sails (and bike frames) that has plagued my bank account for decades... :D]


These insights into how and why kites are designed a certain way are always fascinating. Thanks!
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Re: Disaster in High Winds + Lessons Learned

Postby nick_80044 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:36 pm

WindMuch wrote:
nick_80044 wrote:The problem with yesterday was I could tell there was a lot of activity going on in the desired zone--people were preoccupied with setting up their kites and I couldn't catch anyone's attention.


Yell, scream, whistle. Make a ruckus. Someone will hear you and *should* help you get your kite out of the sky. Seriously, make some NOISE!


Well sure--that might work. But you know the old saying--hindsight is 20/20. When you're in the moment, and things are not looking promising, you have to do an instant cost/benefit analysis of your various options. Admittedly, I try to be thoughtful and not create hassle for my fellow kiters if I can avoid it.

When I got to the top of the berm and took in the view, my thought process went something like this: "Wow--super crowded. There's, like, no place to land in the normal LZ without plopping all over people and kites. That's sure to create instant bad vibes. And nobody is looking towards me anyway. I need to land this kite, it's jumping and this is a bad place to have a mishap. Oh wait--there's a guy who sees me way over there. And he's close to the closest empty space available. Not ideal, but this will work. Okay, here comes the kite---down, down---wind is strong, I can't get the best angle without tripping over someone--try again--we're almost there .... "

That's when the kite went all kerflooey. Of course, I didn't expect this, and if I had known it would happen, or was even a strong possibility, I would've pursued one of the numerous options already discussed.
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