16 Year old Pro Kiteboarder Narrowly escapes Death when his kite launches him into a sea wall, across a boardwalk and wedged him between 2 cars!!
Last week Dean Kaplan, a local Cape Town Kiteboarder, went from having a fun freestyle session in the Milnerton Lagoon to waking up in a ambulance, in a matter of seconds!
In 2009 this exact spot claimed the life of a 38 year old fellow kitesurfer in a fatal accident.
When we hear horror stories like this, we all think it’s just another beginner who is riding in conditions or a location not suited to their abilities, but when a friend who’s pulling off some technical freestyle tricks at his home spot, lands up unconcious and covered in blood in the car park, it makes one think.
As I write this story I recall last winter the exact thing happening to me. I came in hot after landing a blind-judge my line went slack, wrapped around the bar and looped me straight out the water with my wake board still attached to my feet, I missed a bolder but dented and broke off a vehicles mirrors before I could find my safety release!
Interview With Dean Kaplan:
Dirtyhabits: Dean you have competed on the South African Kiteboard Tour and you are a Team Rider for Afrikites; hows that going for you?
Dean: The last tour was great! i manged to get to all the spots around SA ,i just hope I’m up and riding before this years tour begins and my new sponsor is insane. The owner of the company is awesome which just makes it that much better and the gear i have used so far has been top class.
Dirtyhabits: How Long have you been riding for and how experienced would you say you are?
Dean: I have been kiting for 2 years i have been on the water pretty much every time the wind blows, so i would say that i am pretty experienced
Dirtyhabits: How were the conditions on that day, did you or any other riders think it was unsafe to ride?
Dean: It was a normal winters day, it seemed fine to go kiting no one had bad things to say about the wind that day, but me and my bro thought we pumped up to big of a kite… i pumped up a 9m he was on a 11 but once we got in the water it all seemed fine , i was doing unhooked tricks , so i wasn’t that overpowered.
Dirtyhabits: I hear your mom saw the whole thing happen, and found your broken, bloody body K.O in the car park! you must still be in the dogbox!!! how did you explain that one?
Dean: Well she did want me to stop kiting, but she know that’s not going to happen. the new rule she put in place was , no more kiting in the lagoon (Milnerton River), which i think is a good thing and every other kiter should do the same, looking at where we kite in that lagoon is so dodgy and it is not a surprise something happened to me a you.
Dirtyhabits: With those gashes on your head and stitches on your face you must have taken quite a beating to the head! what happened (if you remember)?
Dean: I don’t really remember much but my last memory was doing a jump, landing it… my lines went slacked and wrapped around my bar and my kite just looped me into the air and i just remember being in the air with my hand on the release and i just looked down and i saw the rocks under me and i thought i cant release up here… so i just hoped for the best.
Dirtyhabits: I see you’re famous now Dean, in all the local news, and they all say the same thing: “Dean is very lucky he got swept toward the beach and not further out to sea….” Haha… comments…?
Dean: Haha… i have read so many articles and i just want to call that newspaper or where ever wrote the articles and just tell then to get there facts straight before publishing it. i mean i would much rather get swept out to see then onto land… but just not to far out to sea.
Dirtyhabits: So Chicks dig scares! Tell us about the Damage!! I bet you left a dent in the sea wall!
Dean: hahaha i haven’t be down there to check it out but i think i came out second best…
I fractured my pelvis , had 10 stickers in my head and 4 in my eye brow. i could have have been so much worse though.
Dirtyhabits: Well Dean, looking at the positives, we now have a full time photographer to sit on the beach and snap away! how long till you back on the water?
Dean: I’m off the water for 6 to 8 weeks and if you guys want me to take some pick just give me a call 🙂
Thanks Dean! Get better soon
This article isn’t intended to make the Kitesurfing look dangerous, it is meerly showing how quick accidents can happen, Milnerton is an advanced riders spot, and when riding in strong onshore winds, a small mistake can be applified, as you will get pulled directly to the building on the beach, So when learning kiting or kitesurfing in storm or cold fronts; for safety choose a beach with lots of space and minimal hard objects downwind!
Remember Kiteboarding is an Extreme sport!
And don’t forget, if you wanna Dance… you have to Pay the Band!!