We were asked to make a presentation on kiteboarder rescue considerations to 29 candidates enrolled in the United States Livesaving Association (USLA) training course being held at on 12/12/12. Lt. Jim McCrady of the USLA and Ft. Lauderdale Ocean Rescue got in touch about putting on the presentation. They had a large turnout for the Academy including lifeguards traveling from Puerto Rico, Missouri, Alabama in addition to participants from throughout Florida.
There were lifeguards in from all over!
The following summarizes some of what was conveyed in the session but certainly not all. Ocean Rescue is a hazardous business goes without saying not only for the folks in need but also for the lifeguards. Thorough training, skill development and regular practice are key in helping to assure rescues go as we would like them to. Kiter rescues are no different and shouldn't be casually undertaken without proper training in rescue along with a thorough kiteboarding orientation to reduce the odds of problems for the one being rescued or the rescuer. The following information is provided to professional lifeguards for discussion and in no way replaces proper training in these procedures.
The class was held at the Breakers Resort on Palm Beach. What a great five star venue for a course like this!
I updated a similar Powerpoint presentation that Gio Serrano of Safety & Rescue Training, LLC (and Ft. Lauderdale Ocean Rescue) prepared and Neil Hutchenson formerly of Tiki Beach and I put on at a USLA National Conference in Cocoa Beach, FL in 2008. So we had a good base to work with.
Going over the Powerpoint presentation in the class
Kiteboarder rescues can be complicated by a kite which can exert high force through wind and wave effects, four 100 ft. sections of high strength line pulling the kiter or drifting around, submerged to tangle and possibly cut further impacted by a potentially impaired or unresponsive kiteboarder and still other factors.
I got in touch with Luke Svanberg, manager of Adventure Sports Ft. Lauderdale about putting on the current presentation. Luke graciously agreed to help out putting on the practical beach exercises dealing with kite landing, QR activation, hands on kite flying (subject to weather) and other considerations. Luke has done similar kiting orientation work with lifeguards in Long Island and Puerto Rico.
The video clips have been removed from the Powerpoint presentation but can be accessed below.
We had also talked about out of control looping kites, what they look like and the problems they can present to both the kiter and rescuers. Here is a video of a loop kite caused when two kites wrapped together. Anything that causes the kite lines to become uneven in length, often a tangle, may result in such looping putting the kiter at significant risk of injury in some instances. The kiter may soon be unable to depower the kite due to twisting of the lines, if he becomes tangled, he may be unable to completely release the kite either. The kite will continue to pull him with varying degrees of speed and violence largely depending on wind conditions until something breaks or the kite stops moving. It can be a complex dangerous situation to safety resolve. Proper training and preparation are important in short.
We then moved down to the beach.
We setup on the beach south of the hotel but unfortunately in the last hour the wind and clocked offshore and dropped in speed. This severely limited practical kite flying and landing exercises we had planned to conduct. Still the time was put to good use.
Luke is rigging a 2.5 m inflatable trainer and 9 m kite for some hands on work, winds permitting.
Luke maintained a running commentary about rescue points during setup and beyond. We also went over quick releases, what to look for, how to open them, the variability in systems out there today. Luke setup a drill in a pool once with lifeguards swimming over to release all the QR from another kiter lifeguard being rescued.
Going over the correct position to hold a kite during an assisted landing or near the center of the leading edge.
Using a lot of skill and exertion Luke was able to get a kite up and flying for a while despite real light uneven land shadowed wind. We would have covered assisted landing and kite securing with all the participants individually if useable winds had been on. We also would have had a station for the guards to fly the 2.5 m kite to getting a feeling for the flight and limited power of a traction kite.
Thanks to Lt. Jim McCrady for inviting us to speak, to Luke Svanberg of Adventure Sports Ft. Lauderdale for presenting, Gio Serrano for preparing the original Powerpoint presentation. It is important to note that both Gio and Luke can provide hands on lifeguard orientations to kiter rescue. Their contact information appears below:
Luke Svanberg is manager of this large South Florida watersports retailer location in Ft. Lauderdale. Luke is also a long term kiteboarding instructor with experience in providing orientations to ocean rescue squads. https://www.facebook.com/AdventureSportsFtLauderdale
Gio Serrano offers professional training across a broad range of topics to lifeguards and first responders through Safety & Rescue Training, LLC. The level of complexity and information these live saving professionals are required to known is impressive. He is also an active kiteboarder in addition to being a Lieutenant with Ft. Lauderdale Ocean Rescue. http://www.safetyrescuetraining.com/
For the ninth year running, Christophe Ribot of Miami Kiteboarding, Neil Hutchinson of Slingshot Kiteboarding brought this great event to Crandon Park in Miami once again. When the wind is on this is an incredibly scenic venue both for riders and spectators. The wind gods delivered this year with a few lulls and the riders had a blast!
Be sure to checkout images from the past kiting events at Crandon Park HERE and HERE.
There was an exceptional turnout possibly the largest since this event started. Things kicked off with a course race which sadly I missed. Easter weekend and family commitments, what can I say? Fortunately, I was able to shoot most of the afternoon action which follows.
Christophe, Neil, Morgan and Juan, judges from The Kiteshop organize and watch the action.
Neil and Garry hold the captains meeting for the afternoon free style session.
Ugne of Miami Kiteboarding and sporting a stylin Roxy wetsuit gets ready to ride.
Lots of kites and among it all is new Cabrinha team member, Annabel van Westerop. She hails from Aruba and is both a strong and skilled kiter.
Damien Leroy, Cabrinha team rider and World Champion Slalom kiter is present as always riding very well and having a great time too.
Garry and Alexandra Menk get ready for the event, Alex as a competitor and Garry bringing the event about behind the scenes. Garry along with Ken Russell are national distributers for Jimmy Lewis boards.
Matt Collins (I think) passes one near shore. Say, if I mess up anyone's name or leave someone out please send me a message. Thanks!
The competitors through the various heats
Alex throws a donkey kick or I think that is what Neil called it. The wind was light for portions of the free style event with things going on weather hold a few times. Alex is working it as best as the lighter conditions allowed. She is quite a talent under a kite.
Jeanice Stone of Stone Wear Bikinis transitions
Annabel passes one
Things became so light during this one heat that Damo invented this kiting easy chair to gain some style points. There wasn't enough wind to even get off the water at this point.
Checkout the wind plot from Crandon that day. I was there from about 1 pm and on. You can figure out the wind hold times.
Patrick sports a GoPro on an improvised monopod, (a windsurfing mast!) as Johnny Berger flys by.
Giovanni or Gio Messina with Miami Kiteboarding shows his stuff aloft.
Alex works back upwind. Lots of competitors had to beat it fast back upwind on foot during the lighter periods.
Rich Gardener and Andre Balzac go to it. Rich has been a hard riding standard at events all over for years. Andre at 14 years is fairly new on the kiting scene but riding very well.
Sprinting back upwind for all he is worth, good competitive spirit while Ms. Ribot captures the action!
Brandon Bowe is a strong up and coming Cabrinha rider from the west coast. He rode very well in this contest.
A Miami Kiteboarding instructor sets up for a lesson off the sand bar as a mega cruise ship eases out of Government Cut to sea.
Big Ian throws one in boots. A heavier guy like Ian needs a bit of wind to compete, who doesn't, looking good here though.
Tom Fields comes in for a landing
Patrick Rynne carves a smooth turn on his homemade traditional Hawaii wood board sans fins during one of the wind holds in the competition. The board flexes on turns aiding in the carving. He is working on a documentary on how to make these remarkable boards in short order. He later broke it this day but no worries he had it repaired the next day? Fast work and a novel board thanks to Hawaiian insight and wood glue.
Patrick's girlfriend goes out for a whirl. Despite lighter winds she rode upwind fast and easily. I think I need to look into making one of these boards once the "how to" video comes out.
Damo and Annabel experiment with a QuikPod Monopod. I understand this monopod works both in air and seawater. Some of us are trying it out currently for kiting, diving, whatever else comes to mind. It can be used with a variety of cameras including the GoPro shown here.
Here we are in a group shot taken with a GoPro HD and the monopod.
Wind is back on so ...
Damo following instructions, goes up!
Gio gets focused
Fortunately, lighter winds didn't prevail for the entire day. Near the end, some lighter squall lines passed to the north and south of Key Biscayne bringing a nice pressure gradient and WIND! The folks ate it up and an impromptu big air contest was called. I took some artistic license Photoshopping some of these images. The squalls were no where near as black or menacing as shown. Plus they were pretty far off too fortunately.
Brandon does a board off against a dramatic ('shopped) sky.
Some of the Cab riders started charging around boosting synchronized jumps. Looking good!
Five go up at once.
A closer look at the folks going up
Damo floats along
Jan Gianello boosts a transition bracketed by kites
Just add wind and a bit of skill and you're way up there!
Brandon throws a nice kiteloops way aloft
Another dramatic image somewhat exaggerated by Photoshopping. Still looks interesting!
Jan (I think) throws a big kiteloop
Here are the Results of the MASTERS 2012 posted by Miami Kiteboarding:
"FREESTYLE : MEN 1-Brandon Bow 2- Damien Leroy 3- Leif Given 4- Matt Collins
WOMEN 1- Annabel Vanwestep 2- Alexandra Menk
Trophy of the #youngest Contestant : to Andre Bacic ( 14 year old )
RACING ( a reaching leg between 2 marks of 1/2 mile )
MEN 1- Damien Leroy 2- Matt Collins 3- Gary menk
WOMEN 1- Annabel Vanwestep 2- Alexandra menk
Trophy #1 Senior : Bertrand Lecoq
BIG AIR CONTEST : Giovanni Messina
We had a solid 20kt consistant toward the end of the day, and the Big air contest was a amazing Show. Special Mention to Damien's Cabrinha team riders, who put up a breathtaking spectacle in jumping together: a real aerial choregraphy !"
Christophe congratulates 14 year old Andre Basic for some excellent kiting.
Christophe awards Bertrand Lecoq for the number one senior riding spot.
Annabel receives her award
Alexandra, Jeanice and Annabel the women competitors
Sunset kiting off Rum Cay, life doesn't get much better than this!
A group of action sports enthusiasts were invited to participate in a boogie at Rum Cay in the Southeastern Bahamian Islands recently by Jesse Cors of Island Extreme Ventures, firstname.lastname@example.org . The event promoted both air and water sports including sky diving, kitesurfing, diving, surfing, fishing, standup paddleboarding and a good deal more.
Rum Cay is in the southeastern Bahamas about 380 miles out from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Nassau is about halfway between the two points and is usually the place where plane changes occur. For larger groups direct charter flight from Nassau to Rum works. In other cases another flight leg from the Exumas, Long Island or San Salvador to Rum connecting from Nassau is necessary.
We stayed at Rum Cay Outpost Club & Marina at the southeast portion of Rum Cay. The marina is a man-made basin which serves as a pretty good hurricane hole too.
Bobby Little created this out island destination and is shown here with his animal entourage who travel the island and seas with him regularly. I shot a video interview with Bobby about Rum Cay, the operation here, what it has to offer and plans for the place. The interview will be included in the next installment.
Rum Cay is a small island with an even smaller population of 60 full time residents. Our group of 20 equalled a third of the islands population! It is a quiet place, close to and all about the ocean.
A big part of the Rum Bum Boogies is sky diving. Here is a famous Harry Parker image capturing almost the entire island in one photo. Harry is well renown for his startling sky diving images along with other commercial photography exploits and marketing, http://theharryparker.com/
All images not marked were provided by Jesse Cors on behalf of Rum Cay Outpost Club & Marina. Sky diving, kiting, diving, surfing and other action sports are facilitated on Rum by Island Extreme Ventures.
Our Bahamian adventure started early with several participants in the boogie car pooling to FLL for the flight out to Nassau in the Bahamas.
A sketch map overlay of a satellite image of the island with points of interest.
Kristyn roams over the nearshore sands in search of conch for the evening meal. Foraging for seafood is a daily afternoon process to provide fresh conch, lobster and fish for dinner.
Our morning self-checkin with some distinctive luggage at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport. The fare from JetBlue was surprising reasonable for roundtrip to Nassau in the Bahamas.
We all have a job to do on Rum, for most it is taking as much pleasure as possible for the simple joys of the place. Visitors immerse, literally in ocean pursuits, fishing, diving, kiting, SUP, surfing, cliff diving, sky diving, exploring and just savoring life on island time.
The intrepid Rum Bum Boogie crew collecting on the tarmac at NAS to board the Pineapple Air plane for the trip from Nassau to Rum Cay. These folks are well traveled and experienced in the finer side of life be it hurtling towards the surface at 120 mph, throwing themselves skyward from a wave ala kite to paddling into some prime surfing swells.
Speaking of surf, Marcus is ducking under an incoming swell on his way out to the break. Look at that visibility! I shot some nice GoPro video of the guys catching rides, stay tuned for that.
About a half hour later we're on the ground at Rum, unloading and getting ready to travel to the Outpost, our digs for the Boogie.
Craig greases one into surface effect over water gliding into the beachside dropzone. He decides to up the degree of difficulty by dismounting his patent "jump" flip-flops along the way. The sun looks on as it slides to the far side of the earth, all is good.
Chris mounts his ride to the Rum Cay Outpost Club, one of the trusty ATV's that provide ready transport over the island.
One of many superlative kiting spots, this one on the salt pond just to the north of the resort. Rum Cay's current population is 60, prior to 1920 when the salt works shut down there were over 3000 souls on the island. The salt pond isn't worked anymore, except by folks on their immersion experience of Rum. It is a mighty fine place with nearby Arawak cave drawings to add to the singularity of the experience. It is ok to get mudded and rummed up first of course. More about that to come.
The rest of us mount up for the run to the Outpost. I understand they used to do this with massive land tortoises (not really). I understand these guys moved on to the Galapagos a while back. So, the trailer works well in their absence.
Arriving at the Outpost.
A look at the cut towards to ocean. Life here is as mellow or intense as you like it. Although there is a mandatory happy hour around sunset each day for an island time out.
Some of the cottages at the resort. There are several types of accommodations available from cottages, to rooms to barracks to entire houses. Still more limited accommodations are in development under the new Rum Cay Outpost Club & Marina.
Back out to the break, watching the shadow surfers ride overhead.
This place is definitely good for the soul.
Bobby and his able partner Rasta have mastered carving dead coral colonies into some amazing sculptures that are strewn throughout the development. Bobby tells me some of his creations are destined to be returned to the sea as underwater art soon.
A roof level view southwest across the island.
Bobby and Rasta prepare the evening meal daily this time aided by Jenny late of Australia. Jenny and Sam are moving around the Caribbean over the next year or so on their sailboat, taking an inside look at this unique waterworld. Foraging for food on the reefs and sand flats for lobster, conch and fish is a daily process here. The folks are expert at it and at preparing the fine repasts to follow.
The Chefs outdo themselves with a multiple course creatively prepared spread fresh from the sea and the crowd likes it!
Dinner passes, night falls and the moon rises as tropic breezes run through the palms around the central lodge. Folks sit around swap stories, plan dives, jumps, kite sessions, sample rums and basically chill out. It can become an addictive lifestyle.
Hanging out in the lodge
Loading up the pontoon boat for forays to other parts of the island, this time to the salt pond. Some of the crew travels overland via jeep and ATV. Even going point to point can be an adventure here.
Matt tacks upwind through the small tributary that feeds the salt pond to the open ocean. I headed out earlier, speaking of adventure, that is one in spades! Real scenic too, short tight tacks between mangroves upwind, going overland to the beach and then running out over exposed reef sections into bluewater. Bobby had an interesting shark experience in the ocean while SUP'ing here. The dogs on this island capture and eat shark. They'll even try to take down real big ones too! More to come about that in the video interview.
The "Rock Steady," the house fishing and dive boat ready to take folks offshore. In many ways, this place reminds me of the Bahamas of decades past. Something that will never return to some of the islands, except perhaps for here. It is well worth experiencing.
King Neptune gazes out to sea, another one of Bobby's sculptures.
Hanging out on the sand bar in the salt pond. Quite a few images in this post were taken with the GoPro HD2, it offers some unusual high quality imaging options in a hardened small package. I was surprised to see so many GoPro cameras among the participants in this trip. The camera works well in so many applications particularly action sports.
The big room at the lodge.
On the way north to the salt pond. Rum has exposed limestone cliffs in places breaking up the coast into bays and headlands in spots.
An aerial kite view of the sand bar in the salt pond.
The sun sets on another action packed day in the Out Islands!
There is some amazing diving close by including a drop off to thousands of feet with swim throughs just beyond the marina. They have dive gear, experienced dive masters to show you the undersea wonders surrounding this out island.
Matt pops another one over the bar and the dogs cheer. Bobby rigged a GoPro around one of his dog's necks to capture a pooches-eye view of things. Considering they go ballistic when kites fly nearby, you might need to take Dramamine to watch that clip without interruption!
Craig and Doug paddle out of the break tandem style.
Jesse in mud-mufti lurks in the mangroves, Arawak style.
Matt gives Craig a tow upwind.
Another day at Rum, jumping over Sumner Point and gliding in to land in the resort by the sea. Randy maintains his jump plane here catering to sky divers and students many months out of the year.
Craig paddles in from some SUP fishing on the reef.
A mangrove island upstream in the tributary feeding the salt pond.
Dogs in the mangroves no doubt on the prowl for handy sharks that they might pickup from the shallows. It is a dog-eat-shark kind of place.
Kiting beyond the salt pond making for blue water as the kite flies over the limestone cliffs.
Jesse poses underwater with a typically massive spiny lobster off Rum captured with his patent Hawaiian sling-mounted GoPro camera. This sling-cam shot a video of a similar speared monster lobster kicking to the bottom bottom dragging Kristyn his girlfriend down with it. These are some tough downtown bugs, handle with care!
Beachside fires are a regular thing on Rum. Bobby has conceived of quite a few spectacular flaming spectacles for the enjoyment of visitors. He has some new great ideas in the works too.
Making further offshore sliding through breakers on exposed reef. Be careful not to strike here, could be painful.
A visitor from another time to Rum styles with mud, knife and conch.
Jesse holds out two goliath lobster which will feed quite a few people. There is some GoPro wide angle size distortion but these were a pair of BIG lobster.
So, that is a first look at our time and adventures at the Rum Cay Outpost Club & Marina. There is lots more to see and do on Rum. Don't just take it from me, find out for yourself through your own Rum Cay adventure. Drop an email to Jesse Cors at email@example.com and he'll work out a memorable vacation for you at this excellent island destination.
More to come in the next installment, stay tuned ...
We're having the best wind season that I can recall in at least seven years so far.
Went up north late in the day Friday after work on the way to meet the family. The wind was up (and down) so I thought I would hit Palm Beach and cruise a bit north and checkout Lake Worth Inlet and Singer Island. The winds were all over near the start, drifting below 15 mph but eventually settling in around 15 to 25 mph or so. The winds were ENE to E or close to onshore with 6 to 8 ft. waves, sometimes higher in the breaker lines. I tuned my 14 m Switchblade for max power on the pigtails being concerned about being able to get offshore much less navigate up the coast. I didn't want to use my larger lighter wind twin tip in all those big waves if I had a choice.
I shot these images using the new GoPro HD2 cameras mounted on my kite and helmet.
There is the historic Breakers Hotel followed by the condos on Singer Island a bit further north. Doesn't look that far, maybe three miles? Actually it is over five miles but the distance burns away fast once you're going close to a beam reach with a bunch of tacks thrown in. It turned out to be a nice few hour session covering over ten miles in good winds and waves.
The Breakers was originally the "Palm Beach Inn" constructed by Henry Flagler in 1896. It burned in 1903 and was replaced with the Breakers Hotel. Looks like quite a bit of dredge and filling happened prior to the present day. http://fpc.dos.state.fl.us/f
Some nice sets rolled through on the way north, almost double head high at points.
You don't want to get too close to that massive seawall in onshore winds and waves!
I got going at around 3:15 pm and a couple of hours from sunset.
Might as well get going north, we'll pass by this way running back to the start around sunset.
Working up to the inlet
Made it to the south jetty, need to make to windward and around the inlet to the north.
Coming up on one of the south channel marker buoys
A good sized yacht moves into the inlet ala HDR.
Crossing the channel, there is the bypass dredge or Pumphouse, dedicated to shifting sand accumulated above the north jetty to a discharge south of the inlet on the receding beach.
It has been years since I last kited up here. The last time was for the three 60 mile kite races from Jupiter to Ft. Lauderdale. I noticed at that time with northerly winds anyway, that the wave heights dropped with each inlet you passed heading south. So, this was the first drop passing Lake Worth Inlet.
Sliding along inside the break pending working back out again.
Looking north towards the condos on Singer Island.
The waves build and get a bit erratic close to and just north of the inlet. Things clean up a bit and grow larger slightly further north.
The pumphouse is a well known surfing spot going back years. I understand Kelly Slater used to surf here at times. I can recall seeing a bunch of guys tow-in surfing here on livecam (above). More about that at: http://www.fksa.org/showthread.php?t=537
The 14 m Switchblade kite proved to be a good fit for this session. It was light initially, barely enough to workout in onshore winds and good sized waves. After a while though the wind filled in particularly further offshore. The depowering came in handy at that point. When going point to point in the ocean it helps to have enough power to stay upwind without throwing in a lot of tacking.
Back to the Breakers and the sun is starting to drop.
Still playing around with HDR, it provides some unusual colors and contrasts.
The sun is about down, time to head in and call it a day. Its been fun!
I had wanted to get out kiting today and take advantage of the last day of good wind for a few. Trouble is it wasn't going to happen during the day. So, I woke up around 5:30 am, checked the wind, tides and time of sunrise and headed out. I wanted to get some dawn color shots for a change, sunsets being more conveniently scheduled as a rule. Here are some images that came out of it using the new GoPro HD2 camera.
The sun is up and climbing in this shot. I launched before sunrise despite which it was still fairly light out.
Winds were ENE about 19 gusting to 24 kts..
GoPro does a nice treatment on spray.
I wanted to try shooting around the inlet and through a gap in the north jetty. The wind direction, speed and tide phase were conducive. You don't want to get sucked into the inlet nor have your kite stall in wind shadow in a place like that. Also, it was before 7 am and there was no one on the normally crowded beach. This later point has stopped me from trying it for years. So, I decided to run through the gap.
George Saunders of kiteflix.com shot Andy Hurdman running through this gap in an early kiting video in 2003, "Day 1." It was always a favorite of mine for the score and visuals. I can't find the actual video on the Kiteflix website anymore strangely enough. It does show up at the link below, preceded by a commercial unfortunately. Anyway it is an excellent early video, a classic today I would say.
You can read what George had to say about the video at the link below, including "Day 1 does not have to be January 1. With each day the Sun rises you get a "do-over." He has a point there, I tried it this morning. http://www.kiteflix.com/day1.html
Here is a short clip that I shot this morning in the cut.
Turnabout and head out back into the inlet.
I am glad I rolled out of the sack and came on down to ride through the dawn. It was a good start to the day or as George would say, Day 1.
For "real" on a hot Oz TV series, Rescue Special Ops.
You can see the kitesurfer lofting sequence and rescue in this clip. No blood or anything, totally conscious and just hanging around. Dramatic and highly believable TV, uh right!
Here is some background on the series:
"Dean and Chase Gallagher are brothers. Competitive alpha males, they argue over everything, agree on nothing, but defend each other from outsiders no matter what. They're also members of the Special Operations Rescue Unit. Experienced paramedics in peak physical condition, they're called in for complex search and rescue operations. With the latest in tools and training, they can access anyone, anywhere, under any conditions." http://www.australiantelevision.net/.../articles.html
So, that explains two full grown guys wrestling like kids on the spur of the moment in the sand. No worries, the horseplay is interrupted when a twin tip almost slices into them mysteriously out of the sky.
A lady, previously shredding easily in lighter wind in waves is suddenly lofted hundreds of yards to the upper story of a condo. Fortunately she only snagged her kite on the roof and wasn't smashed to jelly on high speed impact with the wall? Hey Neil, do SS Rallys really boost this well in lighter wind on 15 m lines? I'm impressed! Then again she would probably be within 15 ft. of the ground on a normal line set, how would that play?
Removing the offending spreader bar, the second one?
Maybe the makeup helps her boost so well? We really need to know the secret, this could revolutionize kiting as we know it! http://bit.ly/nefxRw