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Forums > Kitesurfing > General > Kite surfer critically injured at Altona
Author Kite surfer critically injured at Altona
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VIC
21 Posts
Posted 10/3/2012, 5:32 am        Report
My thoughts and feelings go out to the friends and family of Nic. I believe these communications are about supporting Nic and family but are also about constructive comments aimed at prevention. Prevention is the key. For whats it's worth- I hope these points help future learners; Advanced kiters need to politely interfere and give advice to novices... Even at the risk of bruising an ego. Make sure the kite size matches body weight, and wind gust strength. Above 20kts, learners should not be on a kite size that launches them up for their body weight Novices should keep at least 25m's away(line length) from anything hard downwind- including sandbanks and the shore. If you're a novice and you only have one kite size- know the wind range limit, usually above 20kts you need a smaller kite If you're instructing - teach safety first, back rolls and jumps second Practice releasing your kite, often.
WA
3524 Posts
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Posted 10/3/2012, 11:31 am        Report
lotofwind said... When things go wrong, it happens really quickly. Best wishes.
My sincere condolences as well. But I think it is valuable, and in no way disrespectful, to use posts on theses tragedies to get messages thru to ppl when they are at their most attentive to the risk factors & consequences. Its all too easy to dismiss safety warnings and advice when you are not cut down in attitude as you are when reading these posts. lotofwind is spot on. With our new super-safe kites we very quickly forget how fast it happens when the unexpected happens. How many actively practice their QR nowadays? With almost all kites now having the push-away system at the front of your CL its all too easy. Which unfortunately makes it all too easy to forget about. EVERYONE should have the QR action as second nature to them as hitting the brake pedal in your car. A very good piece of advice we give all our students is "As soon as your landing partner has your kite fully in his/her control then hit your QR rather than going through any other method of unattaching". This means you are both thinking about and practicing your QR at least once every time you go kiting. The emergency has become an unusual occurence so we tend to ignore it. But when it happens it still all happens in a split second. Its gotta be an instant instinctive response. No time for thinking allowed. Practice it.
VIC
459 Posts
Posted 10/3/2012, 11:56 am        Report
For those who are interested, here is the latest on Nic from his family blog... "Morning Folks Sorry for the delay, we have been understandably busy… I have mostly medical stuff to tell you today, firstly Nic was stable throughout the night. The pressure in his head has decreased which is a great sign, the bleeding is still present but the pressure is receding which is wonderful. For those who don't know Nic has been 'cooled' whilst in the induced coma, with his body temperature lowered to 33 degrees odd and monitored. Later this evening around 5pm or so they will start the slow process of warming him back up to his normal body temperature, which is around 36-37 I think. They warm him up by half a degree every four hours so it is quite a slow process. If at any stage his body shows any reaction to being warmed up they will reverse the process and cool him back down and wait again before trying to warm him. This is the first step in the long process in the awakening process, and at several points throughout the Great Awakening if they are worried Nic's body is not yet ready they will reverse the process and allow him longer to heal under sedation. The meditation tomorrow will be timed wonderfully to assist and we have many people coming from all over Australia so hope to see you there and we look forward to taking over Nic's Garden as such. I know this is neither here nor there, but yesterday, everyone who sat with Nic was left with a really strong, uplifting feeling of hope and positivity. He looks strong, and maintains a wonderful sense of energy and presence, even in the hospital support stockings. And somehow the stockings just don't look that odd on Nic… His family is with him this morning and I hope to drop by this afternoon and will blog again later to let you know how the process is going (so will be a later blog around 9.30pm / 10pm unless something happens). I am interested to see if Andrew our beloved Nurse has copied Nic's haircut. Will keep you updated, much love and keep up the healing goodness over and out Vettyx"
QLD
83 Posts
Posted 10/3/2012, 1:25 pm        Report
Thank you smithy, Good news.
WA
5136 Posts
Posted 10/3/2012, 1:49 pm        Report
Cheers keep us all posted, we are all hoping for the best...
NSW
482 Posts
Posted 10/3/2012, 3:17 pm        Report
Very good advice Puppet. And Smithy thankyou for the update, we're interested in his progress, so keep it coming. Col
VIC
55 Posts
Posted 10/3/2012, 5:51 pm        Report
Guys, Is this Nick B that was a champion Windsurfer in his heyday?
WA
52 Posts
Posted 10/3/2012, 8:15 pm        Report
Saffer said...
eppo said...
amclean said...
Compared to someone who doesn't understand water, wind waves tacking etc. we're both Long time surfers, sailers and windsurfers. Kiting wasn't that big a jump. Sorry to burst your bubble.
Damn I hate hearing these stories, thoughts with him. No it isn't a big jump, especially with the technology available nowadays compared to say when i started 12 years ago. But but, kiting and the wind window the kite moves in, is very different - the mechanics of edging against a pull, wave riding etc is very similar. But understanding where you are in 3 dimensions - including the vertical z axis, in relation to the wind window takes time to truly understand. Sounds as this guy could do all the basics, but wasn't completly in tune with where his body and kite where in relation to this window. Poor bastard, wish him well. I've landed in a similar situation trying a back roll transition with a kiteloop in shallow water and just happened to land 'flat', legs pointing upwind. Knocked the wind out of me so hard I started to convulse, if my head had hit, would have been the same result. Again pull through buddy.
I agree, but I don't blame the beginners themselves. Without knowing any better, a location like Altona would seem ideal to learn at. I blame the kiting community as a whole (i.e. the instructors, shops and riders who insist on telling people locations like altona are good to learn at when they aren't). Shallow water is great, but a location with a short beach and direct onshore is a disaster waiting to happen. Three months ago we had another accident in Altona with two ambulances visiting on the same day to deal with two separate incidents and a guy dragged over the wall. At some point we need take responsibility as a community and to accept that we as a community are responsible for the safety of our riders. Kitesurfing is an extreme sport but learning to kitesurfing shouldn't be and we need to make sure these kinds of things don't happen in future. All we can do now is hope that he pulls through. Its a very sad occurrence.
Do what we do on the third beach at woodys, "mate you're not good enough to kite here, slip of backaround to the first beach befor you and up in Freo" Best of luck to bloke hope he gets well soon!
Ireland
993 Posts
Posted 10/3/2012, 9:16 pm        Report
I'm very glad that help was on hand very quickly when Nic was injured and it sounds like he is getting the best of care, so I'm wishing for the very best outcome for him and a full recovery.
53 Posts
Posted 12/3/2012, 7:47 am        Report
Sorry to hear that! Altona is a beginners beach. If you walk out far enough you are in waist deep water which is perfect to make mistakes in. If it gets too shallow, stop and walk out again. Ankle deep shallow water is for advanced riders only. If you see an amateur attempting to ride in the shallows you should tell them to walk out further. Once you can body drag upwind, aim to learn in deep water. also, If you can't control the kite on the sand to get it into the water then you need to move back to a training kite. I'd be interested to hear what other people thoughts are of the perfect beginners conditions?
VIC
3776 Posts
Posted 12/3/2012, 9:19 am        Report
HaydenDekker said...
Sorry to hear that! Altona is a beginners beach. If you walk out far enough you are in waist deep water which is perfect to make mistakes in. If it gets too shallow, stop and walk out again. Ankle deep shallow water is for advanced riders only. If you see an amateur attempting to ride in the shallows you should tell them to walk out further. Once you can body drag upwind, aim to learn in deep water. also, If you can't control the kite on the sand to get it into the water then you need to move back to a training kite. I'd be interested to hear what other people thoughts are of the perfect beginners conditions?
Interesting first post, but I won't go into that. People have already posted the problems higher up, but here goes again. Great in theory except: 1. Launch and landing at Altona has no margin for error. The beach is less than 30m long. Majority of incident we've seen at Altona happen when launching or landing. (kites in trees, power lines, riders hitting the concrete wall) Majority of launch and land incidents are beginners. I.e. kite falls back in the window, beginner can't recover, things go pear shaped. 2. Hidden sand banks. The issue is not whether it gets shallower, its what happens when things go wrong. Majority of problems occur for beginners when something goes wrong, not when everything is perfect. Surprisingly enough it's not not normally due to gusts, it's losing control of a kite due to something unexpected happening. I.e. picking up too much speed, hit a sandbank, riders gets knocked into a rotation and doesn't know how to recover. Even advanced riders take a little while to recover from these situations. beginners often don't pull the correct side of their bar and may do something worse like pull it into a kite loop. 3. Wind is direct onshore majority of the time at Altona. If something goes wrong, there is only one place for the rider to go and that's the shore. Most beginners don't have the understanding of the kite to recover quickly or adopt what is commonly referred to as the grip of death. I.e. they panic and hold on instead of just letting the bar go or pulling their QR when they are in trouble. 4. How far will the rider walk out into waist deep water? 10m? Have you tried walking upwind in waist deep water with waves hitting you (the waist deep water is where the wave start) and with a powered kite when you are barely able to control your kite without looking at it? How about when you are tired and its the 5th time? I suggest you try and come back and tell me again whether you think its a good idea. Reality check! The reality is most beginners will walk until they get to waist deep water and walk back up wind when they get too close to the beach or when they hit a sandbank which is too late. What beginners should do and what they actually do are two separate things. 5. Is it really a smart idea for anyone to ride downwind (what you are suggesting) of a beginner? I.e. beginners upwind in deep water and advanced downwind in shallow water? How long before a beginner loses control and takes out an advanced rider? The big problem with Altona is that beginners think its great because it's easy to walk back to their board without bodydragging and it's nice and flat so they don't understand the consequences of the conditions. They think about what makes it easy to ride their rather than what makes it dangerous to ride there. Your comment on learning to bodydrag upwind is also off. Bodydragging upwind is one of the first skills you should know before even getting on a board. Perfect conditions for a beginner: 1. Wide beach for launching and landing (not at Altona) 2. Cross shore wind (not at Altona) 3. At least waist deep water (only if you walk out far enough and stay there which is unlikely) P.s if you don't have enough experience to understand what constitutes a beginner beach, it's not a good idea to state a particular beach is a beginners beach.
VIC
152 Posts
Posted 12/3/2012, 10:17 am        Report
Here Here Saffer, ALTONA IS NOT A BEGINNERS BEACH... DO NOT TEACH PEOPLE THERE... DONT MEET UP WITH MATES AND SAY IT SHOULD BE OK TO TEACH YOU THERE IS NO ONE AROUND... Local riders are going to start to pull you aside and ask you to not do it. You are being selfish and lazy and you are going to wreck it for EVERYONE. DO NOT TEACH PEOPLE AT ALTONA BEACH... AGAIN ALTONA IS NOT A BEGINNERS BEACH. Sorry for the rant.
VIC
8 Posts
Posted 12/3/2012, 11:51 am        Report
Perfect conditions for a beginner: 1. Wide beach for launching and landing (not at Altona) 2. Cross shore wind (not at Altona) 3. At least waist deep water (only if you walk out far enough and stay there which is unlikely) that makes Brighton beach to the best beginners beach in melbourne, right saffer???
VIC
245 Posts
Posted 13/3/2012, 7:14 am        Report
hasselhoff said...
Perfect conditions for a beginner: 1. Wide beach for launching and landing (not at Altona) 2. Cross shore wind (not at Altona) 3. At least waist deep water (only if you walk out far enough and stay there which is unlikely) that makes Brighton beach to the best beginners beach in melbourne, right saffer???
I think this post is in jest, but for those of you not familiar, there are a number of hazards at Brighton to watch out for. You want to be able to at least stay up wind before you begin riding there.
VIC
147 Posts
Posted 18/3/2012, 3:46 pm        Report
A further meeting took place today with the Alfred hospital intensive care team and Nic's family. Nic remains in a stable condition and there has been no change from three days ago.  On a positive note he had an MRI scan which has revealed no significant spinal injury. The intensive care doctors again explained that with head injuries such as these it really is a matter of waiting and it could be weeks before there is any improvement in his condition. Visitors remain restricted to family members during this critical stage. Just an update thoughts are with his friends and family
NSW
245 Posts
Posted 18/3/2012, 7:03 pm        Report
For those of you preaching safety etc - I'm not sure this is the appropriate thread for it...? Wishing Nic the strength to pull through.
VIC
850 Posts
Posted 7/4/2012, 8:15 am        Report
1 month since accident and still very very ill. Latest update. A life changed in the blink of an eye. http://www.nicssorehead.com/2012/04/
VIC
32 Posts
Posted 8/4/2012, 6:19 pm        Report
Thanks for the update, were still thinking about nic. And hope he has a full recovery.
WA
218 Posts
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Posted 8/4/2012, 7:40 pm        Report
lotofwind said...
Saffer, maybe time to chill out and get off your safety police soapbox for a while.
It may appear a bit callous to haunt posts like these with safety & cautions BUT in my experience it is only when we are brought down to earth about the risks we all run everyday that we take any notice of advice on where, when & how etc etc. I dont know the location so dont know if Saffers right or not; but; I do believe that sensitively posting on these unfortunate incident threads is the BEST way to pull up all the carefree (read careless if you like) kiters amongst us at a time we may feel just a little vulnerable. Good luck to you Nic. Sounds like ur in with a chance. We all wish you well.
WA
281 Posts
Posted 11/4/2012, 11:03 am        Report
That is an amazing website which has been put together for us about Nic. http://www.nicssorehead.com/2012/04/ I broke my neck in a kiting mishap 7 years ago which inspired me to became active in promoting awareness and safety, particularly for newby's. In my opinion any accident should be published with full details and open discussion to help build awareness of the risks. My heartfelt wishes go out to Nic, his amazing friends and family. Graeme Speak
VIC
245 Posts
Posted 11/4/2012, 11:32 am        Report
Great to hear that it appears that his condition is improving (however slow).
VIC
1712 Posts
Posted 11/4/2012, 4:23 pm        Report
It is good to hear Nic is going in the right direction. All this talk of Altona not being a beginners beach and what constitutes a "beginners" beach seems a bit crazy. i would put it to you that it is the support and assistance from fellow kiters that makes a beach a 'Beginners' beach. Maybe you should be looking at what you personally, could have done and will do to make your beach a 'Beginners beach'. unless of course you, having been through the beginners process with help from others, have decided there should be no more beginners so you can have the beach to yourself.
VIC
3776 Posts
Posted 11/4/2012, 6:26 pm        Report
RAL INN said...
It is good to hear Nic is going in the right direction. All this talk of Altona not being a beginners beach and what constitutes a "beginners" beach seems a bit crazy. i would put it to you that it is the support and assistance from fellow kiters that makes a beach a 'Beginners' beach. Maybe you should be looking at what you personally, could have done and will do to make your beach a 'Beginners beach'. unless of course you, having been through the beginners process with help from others, have decided there should be no more beginners so you can have the beach to yourself.
Sorry Tony, this isn't about being anti beginners or how we can help, this is a simple case of people suggesting that kiters avoid a location until they're ready for it. All of the kiters at altona are friendly and willing to help. Ive helped countless people, not to mention helped getting kites out of trees. Unfortunately, being friendly and ready to help doesn't prevent having a location which is already in the spotlight for bans and has consistently had 5 or more incidents per year for the last couple of years. By incidents, I mean serious accidents or kites in power lines. For injuries, we have a duty as a community to try help protect those coming into the sport, even if it seems harsh. We aren't the first sport to doit. There are also other issues, like people walking on the path which they sre perfectly entitled to do and do so without the risk of someone decapitating them when they lose control of their kite. Add to that the council issues to consider, each time a kite hits the power lines, it's a $5k bill so how long do you think it'll be before the council or power company takes notice of the bill and bans kiting? When the tides are high, you have a location with less than 30m of beach before a rock wall, trees and power lines. Wind is onshore majority of the time, not to mention the hidden sandbanks which have seen their fair share of injuries. It's really not that hard to understand why it isn't suitable for beginners and I'm not sure why people keep insisting it is. In the last year we have seen two serious injuries with beginners, neither of which could have been prevented from someone being friendly or helpful. People aren't saying they want it reserved for advanced riders, they're simply saying that people should avoid the place until they are comfortable enough to stay upwind.
VIC
1712 Posts
Posted 12/4/2012, 3:09 pm        Report
I am reading this and seeing 5 incidents per year. 2 with beginners. so banning beginners won't solve the problem. Helping them by launching them further out and pointing out he shallow hazzards and landing them out and being there to assist rather than standing in a group saying "this could end up bad (chuckle)". Yes there are friendly helpful kiters at Altona, focus on ways to expediate the connection of these with the beginners. think positive.
VIC
3776 Posts
Posted 12/4/2012, 4:44 pm        Report
RAL INN said...
I am reading this and seeing 5 incidents per year. 2 with beginners. so banning beginners won't solve the problem. Helping them by launching them further out and pointing out he shallow hazzards and landing them out and being there to assist rather than standing in a group saying "this could end up bad (chuckle)". Yes there are friendly helpful kiters at Altona, focus on ways to expediate the connection of these with the beginners. think positive.
You read wrong. The 2 serious injuries were beginners. Not 2 of the 5. I also said at least 5, not 5. On one day this year, we had two ambulance visits on the same day. I dont know if you kite much at Altona these days but since people have been punting it as a beginners spot, there have been a lot more incidents. For example, of the 5 separate incidents that happened in 5 days (yes, 5 kites in power lines or trees 5 days in a row), 4 out of the 5 were beginners. The one was a snapped leash. I've watched a beginner get slammed into the concrete wall after accidentally unhooking on launch because they didn't know they needed a donkey dick. Altona doesn't have the room for error to make those kinds of mistakes and walk away unscathed.
VIC
152 Posts
Posted 12/4/2012, 6:26 pm        Report
RAL INN... Getting people further out and landing them further out are you kidding me. YOu should teach beginners in side shore. Altona is generally side on or onshore thats why Saffer is right, Hey beginners need to know what a good beach to learn on and Altona is not that beach. I have seen someone teaching a guy way out at Altona the guy got slammed and dragged for 200m to the beach I jumped on him and 2 other guys jumped on the kite. I pulled the safety (he ended up about 10 mtrs to the rock wall) and we retrieved stuffed kite funnily enough slammed into the side of his mates car. The guy was freaking out and his mate was as well it was lucky that 3 locals could see what was going to happen. I was not going to wade out there and tell them it could end in disaster his mate should of been aware. Funny enough we were pretty cool about it it was only 15 - 18knts and he was on a 9mtr. So PLEASE get a kite instructor t teach on an appropriate place... Inverloch is a great weekend away and many instructors are at safe kite beaches not Altona....
VIC
1712 Posts
Posted 14/4/2012, 7:36 am        Report
HappyG said...
I was not going to wade out there and tell them it could end in disaster his mate should of been aware.
So how would this have ended up better if you HAD waded out and helped. Unqualified mates trying to teach mates is of course another issue and not confined to any one beach. A properly qualified and experienced Instructor would not have a student end up in such a position and wind direction or beach type etc. would be minor issues. Saffer; Why you don't see me at Altona so much is partly due to over crowding (the main issue here,i believe.) Plus the 'Kraken Tours' offshore kiting is way more fun and nothing to run into. Also we have plenty of water in our lakes and a growing group of Central Victorian kiters that I watch out for. compared to inland lakes for launching Altona is Heaven, 90% of kiters are beginners and we have no problems with incidents. I have kited and instructed since 2000/2001 both all over Australia and internationally and believe me when I say the Location is not the real issue here.
VIC
850 Posts
Posted 14/4/2012, 7:49 am        Report
Stop arguing guys, if youve read the blog his friends want positive vibes not negative vibes, respect their wishes. Update - Some good news from Nics blog " Dear Waiters We at the headquarters are cautiously pleased to offer you some good news. The first in what seems a very long time. In the last week Nic has shown his first baby steps in the right direction. We have been holding our breath to see whether he could sustain this progress, or to see if he went backwards instead of forwards . However, (furiously knocking on wood) all would appear stable. The progress? Nic has started opening his eyes at different times and is focusing on objects / people and tracking. The nursing staff have even begun to sit him in a chair. Incredible. But there is a little bit of a dampener to the good news, you see (and this was really hard for us to get our heads around), even though Nic is opening his eyes he is still by all medical definitions in a coma. So that's a bit of a curly one to get our heads around. To us at the headquarters we see what could be the start to real responses to various stimuli, reactions to certain photographs, certain people – but the medical team are far more cautious in their joy and are hardly rolling in fields of flowers in ecstasy. Well not yet anyway… though they do appear pleased he is moving in the right direction. It would appear to us non-medical people that Nic is starting to climb back through the levels of consciousness. However our understanding is that celebrations will be postponed until Nic can consistently obey commands such as squeezing his hand / blinking his eyes etc (this amongst other things will indicate the end of the coma period and the start of rehabilitation). The expectation has been set by the medical team that the next miracle of movement forward could be weeks away, or even months away, not days. However, we at the headquarters naturally hope it comes sooner rather then later. As now stated many, many times there is still many other hurdles and complications that could arise and pose new challenges for Nic in his recovery. In the mean time the nursing / medical team are giving wonderful care and we continue to proceed with additional therapies on top of the excellent care already received. "
VIC
1712 Posts
Posted 14/4/2012, 7:54 am        Report
great news
VIC
29 Posts
Posted 14/4/2012, 5:36 pm        Report
Glad Nic is coming around, To everyone bashing the Altona spot- Start another thread, I come to this thread to check on how Nic's doing not read your arguments.
 
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