Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kite vs camera

I read the other day that kite boarding was considered to be an extreme sports. I've always wondered what the definition of extreme sports is. I guess when you can end your life with it, then it must be extreme, but I have heard of golfers getting struck by lightning. Does that make golf and extreme sport too?

Anyway, I was kiting again yesterday in 20 knots wind and after a few minutes in the water decided to get my camera again with the hope of getting better pictures than the previous time. I was in for a couple of minutes enjoy myself when I lost my board in a less than spectacular jump. In my effort to grab my board with my GoPro connected to it, I lost control of the kite and that hit the water head first, if you can call the leading edge the head. I was in the surf and I knew that my board was heading towards the beach and I was really worried that my camera would get damaged on the sand. The wind inflated my kite again but when I wanted to pull it up I realised there was something strange going on with my steering bar. I couldn't move it. With the kite now basically ready to take off, I couldn't steer the kite and eventually the kite started dragging me through the water while the waves were taking my board closer to shore. 

I tried to work out what was most expensive to lose, the kite or the camera. I realised that I was screwed either way. Either my GoPro was going to get smashed on the beach, or my kite was going to get smashed by the waves. What was worse was the fact that I couldn't untangle my bar and the kite was actually pulling me under the water. I struggled to keep my head up and realised that I can actually drown like this, which might be a bit more extreme than losing a camera. Gasping for air I tried to deploy my safety release but that didn't work either. Fortunately for me the waves were pushing me to shallower water and I finally managed to get my feet on the bottom. By this time my board was rolling around in the shallow surf. Extreme sports indeed.

Someone saves my board
After I managed to get out and get my kite under control, I realised what had happened to my steering bar. The end of the bar that is designed to act as a place to wind up your lines, got hooked inside the chicken loop. Because I couldn't see under the surface what the problem was, I didn't know how to solve it and get my bar straight so that I could launch the kite from the water again. As a matter of fact, even on the beach I struggled to get the whole tangle apart. In the meantime someone ran to fetch my board. 

Fortunately my camera was still intact and still taking pictures. When I had a look at the pictures later I saw that some pictures were actually blank. I guess that was when the camera was getting knocked on the sand. I was so exhausted after fighting the kite and the waves that I didn't bother going back for more pictures. I waited a while to get my breath back and spend another half an hour in the water without worrying about a camera. The pictures I got from the couple of minutes before I crashed were not as good as the previous ones, which btw was not good either. Next time I will try the camera on a safer on my head.

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