This was a close call for our beloved West Aus Surf style kiter Ryland Blakeney. Getting barrelled on a kite can be dangerous enough let alone getting tangled in your lines!
Check out the sequence below and then read what happened.
All pics Jason Wolcott.
So what happened in this sequence?
It was a day or two into a trip chasing a swell with a good mate of mine, Keahi De Aboitiz (also from Oz). We were following a swell we’d seen pop up and knew of some spots that would be firing, so we jumped straight on a plane with Jason Wolcott in hunt for some solid waves. The swell was well and truly there – but minus the strong winds we’d hoped for. Keahi is a light-weight so had no problems in the light winds, but earlier that day a solid 8ft wave had eaten my 10m so I was struggling with my 8m in less than 12 or 13 knots. Going upwind was a struggle for me to say the least, as there was so much sweep from the size of the swell and the incoming tide didn’t help either. Between waves I had to body drag back upwind after a wave as I simply didn’t have enough wind to get going on my board, let alone go upwind. Several times that session my kite fell from the sky when I got worked or went at it too fast.
Finally, the particular set came through and I picked the wave I wanted. Dropping in, I edged quite hard, trying to get some tension in my lines to set up for the barrel. Just as I just started to see the lip come over, I also saw the lines come over – not a good combo. They were completely in front of me, like hanging spaghetti off a clothesline. I had no choice but to focus on making it out and went straight through them – I had lines touch the water, go under the nose of my board and around my neck.
Meanwhile, I was trying to focus on the barrel and make it out – I knew it wasn’t a good situation to be in. While I was trying to set my line to come out of the barrel, I was also trying to untangle lines from my head with my kite falling out of the sky and about to regain tension. In the last shot you can see my lines have come off my neck and have pinned my arm to my body.
In the end I got lucky and made one of the only barrels I got that day, escaping what could have been a pretty bad situation. Now, looking back, I can have a laugh and realise I kinda got lucky on that one. The beers definitely tasted good that night!