Kitesurfing Accident In Taupo

2-star-1sm10I had a phone call from Mike Watson yesterday, this was the first I had head of the serious Kiteboarding accident down at Taupo.
It's sad to hear of this news and our thoughts go out to Byron, and also to his friends and family who are all affected by this unfortunate accident.
Little in the way of details are available from the media who are reporting this accident. And we all await further news.

Every year at this time the frontal systems sweep through and conditions can change extreemly quickly.
Take extra care out there guys! Shout out to other riders if you spot a weather change, Spring weather is volitile stuff at times.
Do't ever rely entirely on a safety release for safety as conditions in Spring can change faster than you can imagine.
Extreeme squalla pack more punch in El Nino seasons like we have this year than in La Nina of the past few years.
So if it's 25-30  knots and a frontal squall or down burst occurs it can instanly hit +40 knots.

Bow and Delta kites are safer than C kites in gusty conditions, but no kite will be safe pushed beyound its limits in extreme conditions.

You can read the report written by Mike Wilson of Taupo here.


Kitesurfer critical after slamming into lake rocks
By MIKE WATSON - The Dominion Post

A man was last night in a critical condition in intensive care after a kitesurfing accident on Lake Taupo.

Byron Smith, a Taupo barista and barman, was kitesurfing with a friend off Three Mile Bay about 7.30pm on Saturday when a rogue gust slammed him into rocks near the shoreline.

Mr Smith, 25, landed on his head, suffered a severe head gash and was knocked unconscious.

He was last night in an induced coma and in a critical but stable condition in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit, the hospital said.

Mr Smith's mother, Sam Lamb, and his sister were at his bedside yesterday.

"It's early days yet and we don't really know what the outcome will be, but there is hope that he will recover," Ms Lamb said.

Karin Davies, of Taupo, said she was walking along the bay when the accident happened.

"He was close to me when this big wind gust just picked him up and lifted him out of his board. He landed headfirst on the rocks in the water."

Mrs Davies rang emergency services while a man tried to clamber down a cliff to Mr Smith, who lay half-submerged. Other passers-by rushed to help.

Mr Smith was taken by ambulance to Taupo Hospital and airlifted by helicopter to Waikato Hospital.

About eight kitesurfers were on the lake at the time. Mr Smith had been kitesurfing for a year and was safety conscious, a friend who was with him on the lake said.

"He is a top bloke, wise about conditions but he had been using a sea kite with power controls at the time, which is more susceptible to wind gusts."

ACC does not keep statistics on kitesurfing accidents but there has been one fatality in New Zealand. American winemaker Doug Wiser was killed in 2005 at Te Awanga Beach in Hawke's Bay when a gust picked him up and threw him at trees and a caravan. He died from multiple injuries.

Golden Bay kitesurfer Nigel Marsden was caught by a gust and hurled 50 metres on to the roof of his house at Pohara in 2003. He punctured a lung and received serious chest and shoulder injuries.

Nelson man Michael Baker was lucky to survive when he was slammed into a parked car in 2002.

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