Well it eventually happens to everyone… Kite goes down in the soup… and you have a few precious moments to figure out how to get yourself and hopefully your gear out of a sticky situation. Sadly it doesn’t always work out, but ALWAYS ditch your kite before its too late.
Local sunny coast ripper Tom Mcgregor had this exact situation go down… here’s what happened…
What were the conditions like?
We were right in the corner at Sunshine Beach. We had a solid 20-25 knots straight southerly wind blowing. There was about 3 ft of swell and about 5 knots of current heading north towards the headland.
Who were you riding with?
I was riding with my good mate Daniel Bevan AKA beaver and Dyllon Schulz
How was the session going?
We had been riding for a good hour-hour and a half, battling against the current, wind and mushy conditions. I was getting some good right handers towards the headland and some good upwind airs on the left handers. The wind had lots of big bullets in it which made it difficult to get a long clean wave so I focussing on trying to get that one big turn in which didn’t work out too well for me. This is where the session went south real fast.
How did you crash and invert your kite?
I remember following in the set wave and had a lot of wind speed plus wave speed all going in the same direction. As I dropped to the bottom of the wave and lined up my bottom hand turn, I knew that I was going to hit the section late but I still thought I’d have a go. I made it up over the lip of the wave, but lost control once my fins had released too much. I was getting tossed and turned under the water, and thought I was still flying the kite. Little did I know it had been dumped into the ocean heading towards the headland. I popped my head up and was trying to do everything I could to re-launch my kite, but it had already inverted itself which made things very difficult. At the same time I was trying to avoid getting tangled in the kite lines.
When you saw how close the headland was, what went through your mind?
First thing that went through my mind was to avoid getting my kite shredded on the rocks and also shredding my body on the rocks. My kite was only a few metres away from the rocks when I realised I wasn’t getting this kite up anymore and felt as if I was only getting dragged closer and closer to the rocks.
What did you do with your lines, did you try to wrap them up?
It didn’t even cross my mind to wrap my lines up, there was too much water moving and I was focussed on keeping my head above the water.
Beaver tried to help and almost got caught too?
Yeah beaver had a good attempt at trying to rescue my kite but the current was only pushing him closer to the rocks so it was looking like a recipe for disaster. He quickly bailed out when he realised it was too late to save my kite.
When did you finally decide to pull the pin and get out?
I decided to pull my quick release when beaver kited off and my kite was only seconds from getting ripped to pieces. The lines were badly tangled and I noticed that I was also only metres off the rocks. That’s when I swam over to my board, twisted my harness around and fought against the current to catch a wave in to the shore.
Any thoughts of hindsight?
Yeah we probably shouldn’t have been kiting so close to the headland but it was a good scene to get a good photo and an easy shooting spot. And as they say, ‘you have to risk it to get the biscuit!’.
Thanks Tom, it’s unfortunate mate but at least you still have all your skin! Hope you get a new kite sorted soon!
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