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Windsurfing vs Kitesurfing
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Joined: 21 Aug 2002
Posts: 3223

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i feel as though i win, at 50 +, when i can get any wave day in. helps me keep fit for the more epic days. the more waves one is exposed to, the better one can experience them all too. lots of times folks won't sail in slightly offshore conditions. that's the best direction of all for wave riding. additionally, windSUPing allows for a glassier wave ride.
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Joined: 12 Dec 1999
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jingebritsen wrote:
lots of times folks won't sail in slightly offshore conditions

I'm guessing those people haven't thought it through beyond the point of
"There's an pffshore component, thus, theoretically, one COULD get swept out to sea in that scenario". But realistically ... how? What would it take?

It would take totally broken gear AND body. Without that very rare combination*, we may not get back to our precise launch site, but on a big beach, the Walk of Shame is called "beachcombing", "taking a hike", or "strolling" by most people. i.e., They do it for fun.

* And if even the slightest gamble or risk to our life is too much, what the heck are we doing out there up to our necks in a substance which can kill us if we inhale it? And how did we get to the beach in the first place?

If one's gear isn't totally disabled, it will broad reach us back to land even if we can't "get it up". Even if it is totally disabled, we can swim it in against anything but a significant offshore component, and that's not what you're referring to. If the gear is lost, we can still swim ourselves in.

If it's our body that's disabled, we can buttsail/bodydrag back to shore. We've seen it done with a leg or arm broken or dislocated, so it's not life threatening in modest conditions.

If we're unconscious, wind direction will affect only body recovery. And shame on us for not wearing a helmet.

Caveat: I don't know how well that line of thought applies to them kite thingies, but it's probably pretty close, given that they can body drag upwind and that if they're physically disabled they're probably on land awreddy, intentionally or not.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:
Supposed to be double overhead surf at Jalama tomorrow. That would make windsurfing as dangerous as kiting. And the odds of the day costing you $1000, much higher for the windsurfer..

Is it? Darn near every windy day some kiter is asking everyone on the beach, "Did you see my [kite or board] " ... hell, ["my husband"] out there? I get the distinct impressions that kites and boards are considered disposable, kiters are all rich, and/or that they don't make the connection between losing their gear and having to replace it.
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Joined: 26 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NW30 - Very sorry to hear of your friends story. I realize that there are many more stories like his, and indeed here in NYC a kiter was killed last fall, so while I am learning the sport, I am aware that it is unsafe. The very thing that makes it unsafe makes it appealing - a kite has tremendous power. For me, as an experienced windsurfer, that power is appealing in marginal conditions. I suspect these marginal conditions are less unsafe - you are working to generate enough power, and have to worry less about an over-abundance of it. I also know that most of the horror stories pre-date the kinds of kites I am learning on - that is, kites with nearly 100% de-power. Let go of the bar and the kite pulls little or not at all - again, this is especially true in marginal conditions. I admit I am surprised that more traditional C-kite shapes are retuning to popularity because of their power in jumping - as I understand it, they generate power in a turn, unlike the bow or delta kites. The newer C-kites purport to de-power more than the old ones, but my guess is that they are much easier to get into trouble with than the flatter profiles. But the kiter killed here in NYC was on a large modern kite (the story I read said he was new to the sport, couldn't get back upwind, tried walking the kite on slippery rocks past a seawall, slipped, pulled into seawall, bashed head, then pulled into the water unconscious), so again, modern kites guarantee nothing. I don't personally know anyone injured while kiting: I have a friend who's father drowned while windsurfing. On its own this fact can only serve as a reminder that at the very least safety is relative, never absolute.

isobars - I agree, must be willing to accept some risk (I skied yesterday - risky sport). But one must try hard to understand what the risk is - understanding risk is an important part of minimizing risk. As part of that understanding, I often make rules for myself (to cgoudie1's point). Those rules limit my activity somewhat - I accept those limits. Not going out in offshore wind is one of those limits, and it has always worked for me. Yes, with a windsurfer, if need be you can ditch the rig and paddle, but that's outside my comfort zone. Sure, if I find myself with perfect side-off conditions, I might make an exception - side-off is far less risky than straight offshore. But my local conditions are typically thermals or fronts; side-on or straight off. So, to joe_windsurfxxx's comment; no, kiting cannot be made safe (though there is gear now that has very good safety features), but I think it can be practiced more or less safely. I'm going to take it slow, and try to do it more safely, and accept that that approach will be limiting.

jingebritsen- I'm with you, windsup is the best thing to happen to windsurfing in awhile, and I love it. I just happen to live in a place where the waves break on the beach, so I rarely get to do it. Nonetheless, my favorite boards (that I own and use regularly) are out of this mould - Mistral Pacifico and Exocet Kona Surf (not saying these are the best, just what I've got). And to stevenbard's comments, I think windsurfing is far more beautiful to watch (though kite-jumping is astonishing), and though I will never windsurf in waves like Cloudbreak or anything close, I would choose a windsurfer over a kite for sure (though it would be expensive!).
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