Crash, Bang, Wallop!

Subject Crash, Bang, Wallop!
From (Andy Wardley)
Newsgroups rec.kites (Kathy Jarvis) wrote:
> Anyone got an update on the guys involved in the buggy/mountain board crash?
> Andy Wardley and Roger ?  How are they?

I'm fine. I walked away from the crash with nothing worse than a sprained ankle and few cuts and bruises. Other than requiring a few stitches in my knee, there's nothing wrong with me.

I wish I could say the same about Roger. His lower right leg was badly broken through both tibia and fibia. I've heard that he required surgery to pin the bones back together but haven't spoken to him or heard any more recent news from the last few days.

We were riding towards each other, Roger a good 20 metres or so upwind of me, and everything seemed fine. My kite was drifting up slightly, his was drifting down. It looked like our kites were going to cross lines so we both corrected slightly, me taking my kite down slightly and Roger turning his up.

We were right in the middle of some strong wind at the time, and there were some pretty beefy gusts on top of that. From what I could make out, it looked like Roger got a big boost of power as he lifted the kite up and got pulled right downwind into my path. We came together very quickly and there was nothing either of us could do to avoid it. I would guess that we collided at a combined speed in excess of 70mph.

From what I remember at the point of impact (and if anyone saw it, I'd be interested to hear about it), I dived off my board, trying to pass across the front of Roger to avoid as much body or head impact as possible. My left shin hit the side of Roger's right leg. He was riding a No-Sno board in which his feet were fixed onto the board in snowboard-like bindings. There was nowhere for his leg to go and it snapped instantly.

Roger was screaming in pain before I even hit the ground. I waited for the intense hurts to kick in, assuming that I too had at least broken a leg, but instead I remember getting up, checking on Roger and then walking, or rather stumbling away to get help. Mike Shaw arrived moments later in the van and the ambulance followed thereafter.

There may have been nothing that either of us could have done to prevent this accident, but I feel quite strongly that Roger's injuries were far worse than they might have been had he not been permanently fixed to the board. I consider myself an experience kiteboarder and the one and only time I ever tried riding with fixed bindings (ironically, on the very board that Roger was riding) I decided straight away that it was unnacceptably dangerous. Strapping your feet to anything and holding onto a power kite is a Very Bad Idea.

So here's wishing Roger a full recovery and a better long-term solution to fixed bindings (or an automatic de-powering safety system).

I guess I'll be riding again in a week or so once I get these stitches out. It doesn't seem quite right that I should escape almost totally unscathed from what was a very serious situation, especially given that I was wearing neither helmet nor pads, despite my usual advice to the contrary. Pretty stupid, huh? That's what happens when you get so good that you think you don't need them anymore...

Safety is paramout. Prefer life.