8 Lessons Charles Learned From Losing His Kiteboard

Charles Littwin graduated from our Zero to Hero kiteboading camp in 1999 and has since spent 335 hours on the water. During his camp, he was taught to always put his contact info on his gear…

Here is his story that he just shared with us:

Last week I lost my kiteboard at sea at the Avon pier. Long story, but the wind was blowing side off, my kite was too big, and I was headed for the Avon pier when the problems began. Safety first, so I abandoned my board after I fell off it and let the kite pull me back to shore. I looked for my board for a half hour that day, and rode my beach bike from the Avon pier to cape point the next day, no luck.

I was in shock when Eddie of A.S. Austin Company in Hatteras village called me 1 week later to say he found my board on the south shore! It spent a week at sea and travelled 20 miles. Thank goodness for the 2 days of southerly winds and the force of the gulfstream! He even gave me a 22” red drum. A miracle on the island for sure!

Going out for a session now but am starting downwind of the pier!!
See attached pictures.
Yours truly,

Eddie and Charles with the lost board

After the session, Charles made a list of lessons he learned from his experience. Here they are as he told them to us:

1. I rigged for the current conditions
Often I rig for the current condition, not the forecast. This bit me since the wind really picked up. If the wind is forecast to pick up quickly I will rig for the forecast. Better to be underpowered than over powered!

2. I felt rushed
I will slow down, check the forecast and not be hasty

3. The wind was side offshore
I will not go out in side offshore winds. I will go to another spot that is side onshore or not go out.

4. The kite was not real stable
That is an indication of gusty or dirty wind caused by the houses. Next time I will realize something is not right, that the wind might not be the direction I think it is and I will not go out.

5. I was close to the pier
I will not go out in side shore winds upwind of the pier. Had I not been close to the pier I could have retrieved my board! But safety first, so I went to the land to get away from the pier. I am more valuable than any of my gear!

6. I was alone
I am always alone when I go out in the ocean so I need to make sure the conditions are just right or I will go to the sound.

7. I will not go out at dusk
While I did not make this judgment error I realize it is not a good time to go out since there is less safety margin.

8. I will never start in a caution situation
Caution situations can quickly escalate to danger or they can return to safe. A conservative thinker always stays in the safe area and would never start out in a caution condition that could quickly progress to danger.

Thanks for sharing your story Charles!

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