This isn’t as much of an issue for me, as I’m in the tropics, but I used to ride up north in a black helmet, black wetsut, and with a black board.
There was a fatality over the weekend where a kiter was caught in offshore winds and swept out to sea in Connecticut. Details here:
A sad ending to a terrible story.
But there’s something to think about here - the coast guard found his kite almost immediately, but not him. He was wearing a dark drysuit, and of course it was dark out. The found his body the next morning in the daylight, right in the middle of their search grid; and the coroners report says he likely survived until midnight.
Several other kiters related stories of coast guard helicopters shining their search lights directly on them, but not seeing them in the dark water. This guy lived to tell the tale:
As the premiere drysuit manufacturer, perhaps Ocean Rodeo should check out putting some of those 3M reflective strips on the shoulders and arms of your drysuits. Maybe you’ve already got them; I can’t tell from the photos, but the stuff on the MEC cycling jackets is almost blinding when you shine a car headlight on it - that kind of stuff can only help.
Anyway, keep up the good work! Just thought I’d pass this along.
Hi Wade, thanks for the info on this,
Very sad story indeed?.
As a kiter may wear a drysuit, wetsuit or board shorts perhaps the various safety elements should be combined into a vest that can be worn at all times, in all seasons/climates. This is a very common practice with sea kayaker?s and white water paddlers. (Vests include throw lines, knives, strobe lights, reflective materials, whistles etc.)
Would you wear a saftey vest if it was designed to look and fit like an impact vest?
That’t not a bad idea. I used to wear my river knife on my seat harness, but I haven’t found a good way to attach it to my new waist harness. And, on big offshore expeditions, I’ll kite with my whitewater PFD and a marine radio in the front pocket. Whitewater PFD’s incorporate a tow strap as well, so you can tow an unconscious paddler or his/her boat back to shore.
I’m not keen on extra stuff though - if you could make it all fit together, and look killer, that’d be the ticket. Maybe an impact vest/flotation vest, harness, with a pocket and some reflective tape all in one. The hard part would be making it look good - have to mold in some fake abs or something.