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Cabrillo Guidelines

The SCKA does not recommend kiting here without contacting a local shop first 



Cabrillo winds are EXTREMELY GUSTY. There are big, jagged rocks directly downwind of the launching/landing  & riding areas. Both areas are small, so they quickly get crowded. Contact Mel at kiteboarder@pacbell.net for assistance.  For your own enjoyment & safety, as well as that of other area users, you’d be well advised to follow all SCKA general guidelines, as well as these that all the locals follow (which were learned the hard way – severe, hospitalizing injuries were involved):  

  • NO kiteboarding, power kite flying, or body-dragging allowed by the Lifeguards at Cabrillo Beach on SUMMER WEEKENDS OR HOLIDAYS from July 4th through Labor Day

Even though summer is over, the lifeguards are now preventing kiteboarding EVERY day (including weekdays) on an hour-to-hour situational basis.  If there are a few people in the way on the beach, or in the water, or if they see a couple of kiters crashing their kites near bystanders, they will stop any of us from launching.

Mel has been riding here exclusively (except for maybe a couple of  times at Belmont)
 since 1999 without a serious accident, until now. Not only does this indicate that no 
matter how accustomed you get to Cabrillo, there's a good chance you'll get 
spanked eventually, but also that even with 941 hours of total riding time, 
you still need to be very careful.

5/22/3 0hrs. Guerilla 13
Winds were between 10-22 & 11-24mph (on iwindsurf.com).  A gust on launching (with the kite low at the water's edge) pulled me a bit too far downwind to grab my board (where I'd left it near the sanded kite) on the way into the water.  I flew carefully through zenith & low over land, to get back upwind of the board, but while carefully flying through zenith to get it back over the water again a gust hit at the exact wrong moment, lifting me about 8', so I couldn't continue moving the kite down.  As soon as I landed another gust hit, lifting me about 20', & while I made the landing okay (on feet with bent knees) there was sufficient impact to fracture my spine.  

Lesson: Don't EVER fly at zenith, even momentarily, unless in deep water. If the kite accidentally reaches zenith, release IMMEDIATELY, before there's a chance of getting lofted.  

Solution:  Leave the board well downwind of the sanded kite, so even if dragged by a gust, it's still within reach

Note: the three incidents requiring release would have resulted in dangerous runaways, had I not had a leash attached to my body, & the other incident (when I didn't need to release) would have been much more drastic if the rider who did release didn't have a kite leash too

5/20/3 4.25hrs 13m G-ARC

A fellow rider jibed right into my lines, without even looking back first!!
As a matter of fact, he must also have failed to watch his kite too!!  I was
slightly upwind & slightly behind him, he turned his kite up & over on top
of mine, before I had time to react.  He quickly released to his leash*, & I
worked my way under his now floating lines, then disconnected my board leash
(should have done that first), & still had trouble getting its bungee & clip through
his now twisted lines.

*Not sure if that was the best thing to do, under the circumstances.  Let's
see: His kite was downwind of mine, yet I was slightly upwind of him, so his
lines were pushing mine downwind, & mine were pushing his upwind.  I'm not
sure, but I THINK maybe I would have got pushed downwind of him, at which
point the lines would no longer be crossed, HOWEVER, I may have been pulled
into him first, which might have been a bad scene.  On the other hand,
releasing any kite (even leashed) into another's kite could be REALLY bad, if it could
slide up far enough to pull on one side of the flying kite.   HMMMM.

3/27/3 2.5hrs. G-13
Since the G-ARC is SO good at handling gusts, I didn't realize just how
gusty it was when I was landing.  Turns out iwindsurf.com was reading 5-25mph at
the time!!!  Had I known it was really that bad, I'd have landed on the
water, but since I didn't know, I landed on shore.  A gust hit, pulling the
kite WELL upwind of me, where it collapsed fully.  I reached for my release
ball, but as I was fumbling for it I got scared of what the kite was doing,
so I glanced up at it momentarily, which set back my release activation
process by a few moments.  The kite powered up a few feet from the ground
directly downwind, & while shooting to one side (thank God it didn't shoot
UP!) I was slammed on my face & dragged (felt more like 30', but a witness
said it was only about 10) across the sand before fully releasing.  The very day before I'd chopped the worn-out Velcro off the top of my boots, so as I was dragged they pulled down exposing my ankle to one of the few rocks buried in the sand, gashing it quite badly.

Solution: OceanRodeo.com or other "punch-out" release system, where the bar
itself is the release handle (I have a few ideas for making a Wichard 2673
work like that).  Something similar MIGHT have saved me from the 20'
lofting, as I may have been able to instantly release immediately after
landing the 8' lift.

3/26/3 2.5hrs G-13
A new launching technique was suggested, where you keep the lines from the
unsanded tip under slight tension, in order to prevent them tangling.  I
leave my harness attached to my bar, so I was standing on the bar in order
to keep the lines tight while I put the harness on.  After getting one foot
in the harness, a gust hit the kite, moving it very slightly away from me
(even though I'd sanded it heavily due to the gusty conditions) adding
tension to the lines, & making the kite take off.  I was only barely
able to get my foot out before the kite went to "auto zenith", at which
point the gusts would have "tea-bagged" me by one foot, likely all the way
to the rocks a few line-lengths downwind.  I'm rather proud of myself for
hanging onto the harness while getting tea-bagged towards the rocks,
thinking first of the potential injuries to bystanders in the parking lot
past the rocks, & second of the potential damage to my nearly new kite.  I
managed to pull the harness down far enough to release the safety with no
injury or damage at all.

Lesson learned: Always use more sand than you think you need on the kite, &
if your launching technique requires keeping the slack out of any of the
lines, do NOT clip into your harness until you're fully ready to launch.