Sunday, April 25, 2010

Glorious Windsurfing, Disgusting Kite Injury

Saturday was perfect for windsports. Blue sky, blue water, 80 degrees, 20 knots, and a beach shared with good friends. I got a great windsurf session on a 5.5 sail and 106 liter board. My buddies Brandon and Mike windsurfed, as well, with Brandon dialing in the not-too-shabby gear he got for free at Florida Windfest last weekend, and Mike trying and liking my Starboard Evo 83. My kite buddies Marc and Ben were also there, cruising.

We spotted some interesting marine species in the clear, blue waters. I accidentally ran through a massive school of jacks (big, tuna-like gamefish), Ben saw a manta ray, and we all saw loads of sea turtles. If you look closely and don't blink you can see the jacks splashing around in the boom-mount video I took (below).

Windsurfing's on Fi-yur from James Douglass on Vimeo.

Right when I was about to leave, two of my friends from work arrived at the beach. I didn't want them to go un-entertained, so I took out my trainer kite and we did some reckless fooling around with it on the beach and body dragging in the ocean. We managed to avoid any serious trouble, until I had to go for that one last show-off run. Of course I lost control of the kite while body-dragging through the shorebreak and had to let go of the control bar, which ripped through my hands at an angle such that a line sliced half the skin off my right pinky finger. Ouch! Fortunately, my friend had a first aid kit in her car so we were able to clean and bandage the wound. Looks like I'm gonna have to stay off the water for a while to let this heal. There are pictures of the wound at the bottom of this post, but DON'T SCROLL DOWN IF YOU ARE EASILY GROSSED OUT.

Lessons learned:

1. A 4m^2 foil kite is no longer a "trainer kite" when its windy- it's a dangerously powered two-line kite with no safety system.
2. It's hard to control a kite when you're body dragging through shorebreak unhooked.
3. If the pads where the lines attach to your control bar are worn through it puts narrow, tensioned line near your fingers.
4. Long lines on a trainer kite make it dangerous, because it can loop through the power zone bigger and harder before crashing. Today I realized the lines on my trainer were about 20 feet longer than on my big kites, so I shortened them drastically and added thicker leader lines on the bar that should be less likely to slice fingers.

Here's the wound from when I was re-dressing it this morning. I should probably go to the doctor tomorrow.


Here's the end of the bar where the thin exposed line sliced me. The sand-covered pork-rind looking thing is actually the skin from my finger. Eww.



Catapulting Aaron said...

mmm... pork rinds...

well that's a total bummer, man. I hope it doesn't take too long to heal.

Boris T said...

Ouch, sory ot hear about yur pinky that sucks. But some god advise for the rest of us, even the little ones can hurt ya.

Unknown said...

It was "Glorious Windsurfing" indeed, I think I even caught you doing a duck jibe in your vid!

I also couldn't resist the temptation to go out and say hello to the sailboat. I'm sure he was about sick of windsurfers by the time you and I were done with him!

Its too bad about your hand, hopefully you can heal quickly before the next big wind!

PS Lisa has been checking daily to see the pictures from Windfest have been posted yet. Congrats on the official Windsurfing Magazine blog!

Unknown said...

Great post as always. I hope you don't tone down your environmental and political commentary now that you have a gig at WS. Stay true to yourself and I also hope you stay humble. I realize you and times change, but I find your blog pretty refreshingly pure. The skin will heal, just will crack a lot since all the mobility of the joints. I doubt it will keep you out of the water too long.

James Douglass said...

Aaron- Yah.

Boris- Yep. Hopefully people will see my mistake and avoid doing similar stuff.

Brandon- Yeah, that was definitely an awesome day. The sailboat guy probably thought he was under attack by the windsurfing navy or something. You probably saw that Lisa's pictures from windfest are up on the windsurfing magazine blog post now.

wsurfn- Thanks! The finger is still in rough shape, but I'm hoping I'm ready for the water again by the weekend. Trying a new type of bandage today and lubing it with lots of neosporin to avoid the raw meat area healing into the gauze and getting painfully re-opened when I change the dressing, like happened this morning.

Johnny Douglass said...

Boy, don't you ever listen to your Daddy? Go to the doctor and stay out of the water until he says you can return! Remember when you made me go SCUBA diving after I had a small mole removed from my leg and it got horribly infected with some marine micro-organisms? I still have an ugly purple and white scar from that. You exposed a lot of raw flesh on your finger, just waiting for infection.

Paul Richardson said...

OOOUUUCHE!!! You should email pics of that to Paul Nichols so that he can show them to his first aid classes. No, on second thought, don't! I have to take that class. Take care.