More drama at Nahant today...

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More drama at Nahant today...

More drama at Nahant today.   The wind was 18-20 mph, out of the south, i.e. side-off.  Several of us (Dani, Tim, Brian and myself) were kiting the southern end, close to Tides having a nice session.  I got off the water at 10:30.  Standing in the parking area close to Tides looking across the causeway, I could see a squall line rolling in from the from the West. In a matter of moments Boston disappeared, then Revere disappeared.  It was 10:45, the storm was moving quickly.  There was a group of ~10 kiters, half way down the beach near the bath house who seemed unaware of the approaching weather.  I counted 5 kites in the air when the squall hit.  Within about a minute winds shifted from south to due west, (i.e., directly off shore) and went from ~20 mph to gusts of ~40 mph (see the spike in the attached wind chart).  Hard rain and low visibility followed.  I saw one kite on shore flagging wildly, after its owner punched out.  About 10 minutes later, after the squall passed and visibility improved, a group of us (including Benny B and students) gathered close to Tides, spotted three kites drifting a considerable distance off shore.  It was unclear from our distant perspective whether the kites had kiters with them.  Bennie, called the Nahant Fire Department who arrived about 10 minutes later with a jet ski and inflatable boat.  To make a long story a little shorter, the rescue crews retrieved one kiter and eventually all three kites.  It seems the other two kiters punched out and swam back to shore.  I later spoke with one of the kiters who swam back.  He was OK and said he and his friends were beginners and were caught off guard by the storm.

I am sharing this story as yet another reminder of the potential dangers of our beloved sport.  The obvious lesson, don’t kite in an off shore breeze, but in this case, the squall caught many off guard. Perhaps the more important lesson, always keep a weather eye out for storm fronts.  It was the rapid change in conditions that lead to this situation.  Luckily for all, it was not a tragic episode. 

I would be interested to hear any other suggestions about, first, how to avoid such a situation and second, how to handle such a situation if caught off guard. 

The changable weather

The changable weather situations are pretty typical of New England kiting.  I wonder if beginners who take lessons are really listening to their instructors when they explain that this sport is not like skiing: "stay inside the boundaries and the ski patrol will conduct a sweep and get you."  Kiteboarders need to be sailors, always in tune with atmospheric conditions, watching the sky.  Short of that, newbies will succumb.  I pray that the DCR doesn't change its attitude toward kiters now.

We do need to look at weather

We do need to look at weather forecast and radar to foresee fronts moving in. It's part of staying safe. We need to talk to new faces at beach and encourage safe behavior, and discourage intermediates to join the off shore riding. It's really only for well experienced riders and then still with lots of caution. Shit can happen and you have to have a plan.

I cant imagine new kiters

I cant imagine new kiters riding on offshore winds. Recipe for disaster. Today's forecast was very clear about thunderstorms possibly sever. Glad everyone is safe.  



lessoned learned I hope

Sorry, I would have been there to catch this before it got out of hand, but I went to Dog to teach a lesson.

Right on Benny, Dani, Phil.

This should never happen.  Many mistakes  were made.  Newbies in side-off is a never ever thing.  Never.  Unaware of weather too, etc...I could go on but suffice it to say I hope those involved understand the gravity of the circumstance.

Those folks need to review and adhere to all basic safety, and to take another lesson if they are at all unclear about what they were doing wrong.

Anyway here's to hoping we never see that  again, and I am glad everyone is safe.




I suggest corporal punishment

I suggest corporal punishment. Slap them hard and punch some sense into them.

On a more seriouse note, shit can happen to anyone, but putting yourself and our precious riding spots at risk is really not cool.

I believe instructors have to doubble down even more on these things.

As for the locals, self-policing is key. Don't let that new rider just go out, walk up to them and engage into a nice friendly talk. If you should feel the person could be ill prepaired, strongly discurage to take a chance.  

But this is all old stuff that we have plentyfully discussed in the past. There are too many forum posts on similar incidents.  

Storm came on WD yesterday

Storm came on WD yesterday too, we could clearly see it inbound from the West. Once it got closer the wind picked up quite a bit and waves got bigger, I left the water as I was fully depowered on my 9 with no more room to defuse the gusts. I had a great session and decided to call it a day. When I left the parking lot there were still 10-15 kites on the water and about 5 minutes later a good rain came down, but obviously I did not see how it was on the water then.

Forecasts are not always clear about storms and it takes experience reading the water but for yesterday they had predicted the wind shift and clearly like Dylan said that was a huge mistake for newbies to go out on a side off, I would not even do it myself as of today and I do remember this from my first lesson with Chris Bobryk in Muskegon, Mi as I had to make the 8 hours round trip 4 times before I got that lesson as the winds were never right.


Reference: Nahant fire department facebook page.
Read this thread about

Read this thread about Outflow Boundaries. .  Never assume storms in the distance are not an issue.



Hello everyone,

Hello everyone,

I'm not a kiteboarder (yet) but I work for the fire department in Nahant. Just wanted to clarify some things.  We (the fire department) train often for water emergencies because of two drownings that occurred in 1997.  We have recieved training from an Ocean Rescue group in South Portland Maine, the USCG sector Boston, and have coordinated training with the Long Beach life guards.  A couple months ago Dylan joined us to demonstrate how to control a kite and how to recognize if a kitesurfer is in distress or not.  Unlike life guards we are not watching the water, we get dispatched and then respond.  When we do we must make contact with whoever was reported to be in distress and then bring them to shore.  Yesterday we assisted three kite surfers and one surfer (trying to help the kitesurfers) back to shore.  Two kitesurfers had released their kites, another had his rolled up.  Once they were on shore we retrieved the other two kites.  Later in the day Dylan kayaked out to retrieve another loose kite.

     I am not speaking on behalf of the fire department but just as a firefighter.  We do not mind responding to help any of you.  If there is ever a question of someone in trouble, let us know.  We would rather not be needed than to not be notified and have someone get hurt. For the most part you are all excellent at taking care of yourselves, and Dylan is like a Long Beach guardian angel.  However, never go alone and call for help before it is too late.



Hey Austin, thanks for

Hey Austin, thanks for posting!  I hope to ride with you on teh water some day soon!

- K T H X B Y E P Z -

Thank you Austin, the message

Thank you Austin, the message you offer is near and dear to all those who recreate in the open ocean.

Austin,  Thank you for your

Austin,  Thank you for your post.  And a huge thank you to you and your team for your efforts yesterday and every day!  I was kiting Long Beach yesterday before the storm.  Luckily, I got off the water just before it hit.  I watched the storm roll in and I witnessed your team's rapid and excellent response.  I know we are all grateful for the happy ending.  I hope we can all learn from this episode and become an even safer and stronger kiting community.  



Thank you Austin for reaching

Thank you Austin for reaching out here. So would you say calling the Nahant Fire departement is the way to go over calling Coast Guard or 911?

Thanks for asking that.

Thanks for asking that.  Always call 911 if someone is in trouble.  Lynn fire dispatches Nahant fire.  We also use Swampscott and Lynn as Ocean Rescue backup.  Coast Guard responds if necessary or if it is a search

Responding at long beach

We will take steps to try and prevent that from happening ir at least make it a much more rare occurance.



Thanks Austin.  I carry a phone and tell my wife to watch if I am out in my kayak for a person and/or gear.  I will not hesitate to call you guys if there is a chance of serious trouble.

Which there was when you responded that morning.  Many thanks.  Those folks were at risk and had no good plan of action left.