Monday, April 27, 2009

Missing It!

Niko Iampieri duck gybes during his recent Hatteras trip.

And this from a recent sesh Dana Miller scored out on the left coast.

Sorry for the lack of posts. Yah, I've been off the water for two weekends in a row now, attending to projects on the home front. I'm definately looking forward to getting back on the water this weekend, regardless the conditions.

I'm definately looking forward to the Hatteras Jammer Loopoff in less than 3 weeks!!! Can't get here quick enough..

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How High Can You Go?

What's that you say? A live2sail post with nary a single photo? Read it and weep folks....

In response to the Hatteras kitemare a few weeks ago,I've seen a lot of discussion on various forums and blogs, not to mention the press. Well today Ken and I had a pretty good discussion in regards to how high you’d have to be to be killed by just the impact of a jump gone bad.

Now after reading Peconic Jeff's report on a recent puffin post, we found interesting that the deceased kiter actually rigged for the conditions and was not "caught out". If you are going to try a kite loop 30 feet in the air and at that altitude, you gotta expect some dues are gonna be paid is something goes wrong.

Now with respect to how high you could go before simply the impact from a fall could be fatal, I guess one definition of the safety envelope would be heights and speeds at which you can bail out and hit the water in any random direction and survive. My guess would be about 20 feet for moderate forward speeds. Beyond that you must rely on your rig (as a parachute) or a diving reentry to help prevent disaster. No diving in 3 foot-deep sound water!

I know of the death of a Hawaii windsurfer that was stuck on the outside during a huge surf day. A helo pilot tried to help him by dipping down and letting the sailor grab the helo runner. The helo lifted him to 30 or 40 feet where the exhausted sailor fell. Impact on the water tore his aorta loose and he died immediately.

20 feet? Seriously? I mean I’ve hit the water off maybe a 10 foot jump, and it hurt pretty good-knocked all the wind outta me, but I can’t see doubling that and it being fatal. I guess if you where all contorted as you fell and landed right on your neck or something. The key is don’t let go off your stuff when looping. It’ll all work out juuuuuuuuuust fine

Well first of all, Ken and I have little to worry! We aren't reaching those altitudes too often but the future is wide open!

Ken applied his engineering mind, and tried to think of a height at which death coild be a reasonable expectation.

Yes, he was thinking 20 feet still going forward with some speed and hitting say sideways or on your back or belly. Not counting wind resistance which isn't too much at the speeds we are talking about a drop from 10feet has you hitting at 17MPH, 20 feet is 24 MPH and 30 feet is 30 MPH. So 20 feet should be pretty safe. However, stand at the top of a 20 foot dive and consider attempting a back smacker. I think you'll find the thought pretty terrifying.

Bottom line, generally holding onto your gear, especially over shallow water, sand bars, coral etc. is probably the best way to go and with any control should slow things down considerably. A low bail out is another option. Hold on for a while and then kick out.

Ken noted that his scariest jump crashes (and the only ones that have ever hurt) are the low fast ones where he didn't get the air he expected. High jumps generally give you the time to plan things out.I tend to agree, on the injury part.the only windsurfing injury I ever suffered that required surgery was and torn uo sprained ankle after hitting a sandbar in the sound, although I did tear my. Groin up once on a Lewes jump where one foot came outta the straps. Those are scary.

Now with respect to the conditions that are often blamed for many a kitemare: weather fronts hitting the beach with a dramatic shift/change in the direction speed; they are not abnormal.

In fact, that’s the typical symptom upon the arrival of a strong cold front. As a windsurfer, I look forward to those fronts slamming into the beach. Windsurfers may get flattened or get catapulted on the water, but a sport where a change in wind speed kills you seems pretty silly to me. I know what I would have done. Waited out the primary thrust of the front, sailed in, re-rigged, and re-launched with a big fat grin.

I wonder if the liability insurance at Real Kiteboarding goes up after each kitemare...
Bet it aint cheap.

Bottom line, as Peter Hart said in SAW1, “now you may very well fall from a great height….but no one said it was gonna be easy…”

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hatteras Adventures

Ken Kellar reporting from Hatteras last weekend:

I pulled onto ramp 34 just north of Avon. Bill Bell had called from there and said he was launching. Andy sent out an e-mail on it too. I arrived on the beach to find carnage. Two Norfolk sailors (one of them Robert) were changing a very flat flat. I saw Bill’s truck and asked were he was.

They pointed a quarter mile down the beach. On Bill’s first run he tossed a forward and managed to jam the mast in the bottom, breaking the mast and tearing his mast sleeve. I drove down and picked him to take him back to his truck. He sprinted off to get a loaner from Olaf at Avon Sail House.

Well things settled down and three of us launched 5.0s in the side, side-off SW wind. Bill rigged a bit smaller. A bit gusty on the inside and very powered up on the outside. Not much surf but nice jumpable faces on the swell. Bill went right back to looping.
I put on my loop helmet but never tried any. I did get some sweet high jumps on the few occasions I could get on a full plane before hitting the surf line. Andy and Anne showed up a bit later.

In the interim, I gave a couple young windsurfers my recommendation on sail size. After sharing my wisdom I launched again to find the wind had dropped off quite a bit, sorry for the sail size advice youngns! The wind went more offshore and fluky. No more planing on the inside. I rigged up to 5.8 which was better but I started having a hard time staying up wind. In the mean time Andy was ripping upwingd on a Tabou with a teeny little freestyle fin. Go figure! Stuart visited with his hand looking like a mummy’s after his 20+ stitch crash a while back. Possible dawn session tomorrow. We’ll see.

And this from a sesh at the Hole:
Rock n roll! Couple hours inthe afternoon at the hole. Tossed a forward attempt on a 5.0 within a minute of that it really started rocking went to 4.4 smallest I had with me. Wild rides nice floaty jumps. Low but good hang time. Exciting jibes.

The wind did come up pretty quick. I got to the hole and thought maybe I could plane on a 5.8 and in just a few minutes watching the wind I decided to try 5.0. I launched the 5.0 very nicely powered and just off the beach attempted a loop. Crashed on my back pretty harmlessly and sailed back in thinking about my next loop attempt. By the time I turned around, I thought no way will I attempt one now. Way too windy. I sailed for about 15 minutes way over powered and then dropped to 4.4 which was still crazy.

Sounds like Ken had a good time!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Great Weekend on The Delmarva!

Happy Easter everyone. Today I poached as session at Boradkill Beach. I say poached because not only is an ORV permit required, but you must also be actively fishing.

But what the heck, it was Easter Sunday, and I was only out for a couple of hours, so I gave it a shot, successfuly I might add ;)

So thankfull to have mydaughter out with me again today

This is the closest venue to my house in Delaware, bout 15 minutes away.

It was pretty windy. Could of been on my 5.0

Time to get it on!

The girls enjoyed the sunny weather

They absolutley loved driving onto the beach

I enjoyed the nice, sunny, and wind weather....and and I especially enjoyed the floaty port jumps

Gybing on the outside

Blastin back in

So stoked to be a windsurfer :)

I have lots of spectacular photos.....

but these pics here are pretty special..

my daughter comes running down the beach to walk by my side after a sesh. See what you have to look forward to Bill :)

What a weekend on the Delmarva! Excellent sailing both Saturday and Easter Sunday....

I absolutely love it when the entire east coast fires on the weekend, and I'm looking forward to hearing the reports from the Hatteras crew. I think Ken scored some great action on his trip. Ken forward any photos and I'll post em up

One final shot of farmland in Delaware, between Harrington and Milford. The colors are so vibrant out here right now...