Dragged out to Sea

by Jared I. Greene
(New Jersey, USA)

I was kiteboarding by myself in some near off-shore winds, they were blowing inland initially but pointing down the beach mostly. I was riding for quite some time, enjoying myself, but the winds kept cutting out. I was at a beach where there were people all around, but not over-populated. But the beach is actually a camping ground, so there were no lifeguards, rescue boats, or any boats at all out on the water for that matter.

The winds started dying and I headed towards the beach. My kite kept losing lift which should have been a sign for me to come back in. But with the excitement of just having bought my first (functioning) kite, I wanted to keep riding in the water. I headed back out from the beach towards the ocean when a breaker hit me in the face and made me spin 180 degrees. My kite ended up crashing into the water.

At around this time the winds started pushing offshore and I was being (slowly) dragged away from the beach. With the assistance of currents, I was fairly far away from the beach relatively quickly. Because of the very low winds I couldn't relaunch the kite in the water. At around this time my family was yelling at me to jettison the kite and swim back, thankfully my uncle had saved my board.

After quite some time of struggling to get the kite back in the air, I realized that either my new kite or I was going to end up drifting out into the middle of the ocean with no one to save me. I struggled to find the safety releases on the leash after untangling the bar underwater. Eventually after releasing the bar from my harness, after having struggled for about 10-15 minutes to stay afloat, I was already tired, but had no choice but to swim back to shore. Exhausted while on the beach, I fell to the ground, barely able to walk. I watched my kite slowly fade off into the distance as I hated myself for not landing the kite when I should have.

Had I had a boat, or others kiting with me, I would have either been able to recover me kite or taken the hint from others to come back in. I'm a novice (IKO certified) rider, so I knew when it came down to it, it was either my safety or my new toy. I chose my safety. Later on I found out the Coast Guard sent a boat out there to make sure no one was attached to the kite. According to them, they saw no one attached and turned around...But I think they kept it ;)

Moral of the story: Don't kite on your own unless you're sufficiently experienced, don't kite offshore winds unless you have a rescue boat, and come in when you lose the wind.

Comments for Dragged out to Sea

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 12, 2011
If in doubt, back out...
by: Glen - KiteboardingEvolution.com

Hey Jared,

Thanks for sharing! Sorry to hear about your kite, but I'm glad to hear that you're ok... I totally bet the Coast Guard has a new kite.

The hardest thing to do as a kiter is to know when to come in, when to go out, and when to stay home.

It sounds to me like you've learned to come home when the conditions are questionable, as well as to ensure you have some sort of safety mechanism in place if things go south. As for offshore winds, just keep away from them alltogether... Even if you have a rescue boat, I know from experience that loading a kiter, lines and a kite into one is next to impossible. At the very least you'll damage your kite (there's a big rip in one of mine that proves this point). I prefer a leisurely float back to shore with onshore or side-onshore winds when my equipment fails (which happens more often than I like to admit).

Thanks for sharing, and happy kiting in the future!

Aug 27, 2011
it happened to me as well
by: luke

well I had a similar experience but I was able to deflate the leading edge up everything and paddle back to shore.

Jan 22, 2012
Thanks for sharing
by: Anonymous

Thanks for sharing your story.

Its good practice to notify the coast guard that you lost your kite but you are safe - this ensures precious resources aren't wasted by the coast guard looking for a missing kiter (if they don't know the kiter has abandoned their kite).

Mar 05, 2013
Same story over here
by: Federico

I came across with the same situation a couple of weeks ago, but the end was slightly different. Fortunately the Coast Guard had mercy on the kite owner (ME), who was waiting on the beach and returned the kite to the shore. :)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Share Your Kitemare.


Join us on Facebook
Follow KBEvolution on Twitter