Whitstable Lifeboat launched to assist Kitesurfer

Lifeboats News Release

A teenage kitesurfer has been praised by the Whitstable Lifeboat crew after he was brought ashore by the lifeboat when his rig suffered equipment failure north west of the lifeboat station on Wednesday afternoon.

Whitstable's Atlantic 85 Lifeboat 'Lewisco' comes alongside the kite after launching to assist a kitesurfer who got into difficulties following equipment failure just north west of the station on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: Dave Parry/RNLI Whitstable.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Whitstable's Atlantic 85 Lifeboat 'Lewisco' comes alongside the kite after launching to assist a kitesurfer who got into difficulties following equipment failure just north west of the station on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: Dave Parry/RNLI Whitstable.

The lifeboat was launched at 4.30pm when kitesurfer, who did not wish to be identified, got into difficulties when the material enclosing the kite's 'bladder' an inflatable tube around the kite's leading edge, split causing damage to the bladder, and sending the kite into an uncontrollable spin known as a 'kite loop' dragging him out to sea and separating him from the kite's board.


Speaking afterwards he told members of the crew that “ I managed to pull the safety leash de-powering the kite and then swam to the kite and used it as a buoyancy aid. I then was able to call the coastguard on a small radio”.


Lifeboat Helmsman Rob Judge was full of praise for the 17-year old kitesurfer. “It is unusual for kitesurfers to carry small radio's and because he was so well prepared he was able to assist himself by calling for help rather than wait for someone ashore to see his predicament, he has done the right thing, the casualty was cold as a result of having been in the water for approximately 30-minutes but was otherwise unharmed”.



Whitstable's Atlantic 85 Lifeboat 'Lewisco' is recovered to the station after launching to assist a kitesurfer who got into difficulties following equipment failure just north west of the station on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: RNLI Whitstable.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Whitstable's Atlantic 85 Lifeboat 'Lewisco' is recovered to the station after launching to assist a kitesurfer who got into difficulties following equipment failure just north west of the station on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: RNLI Whitstable.
The damaged kite is unloaded from the lifeboat after it launched to assist a kitesurfer who got into difficulties following equipment failure just north west of the station on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: RNLI Whitstable.

RNLI/Chris Davey

The damaged kite is unloaded from the lifeboat after it launched to assist a kitesurfer who got into difficulties following equipment failure just north west of the station on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: RNLI Whitstable.

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