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The kick with the kite: an analysis of kite surfing related off shore rescue missions in Cape Town, South Africa
  1. A K Exadaktylos1,
  2. G M Sclabas2,
  3. I Blake1,
  4. K Swemmer1,
  5. G McCormick1,
  6. P Erasmus1
  1. 1South African Red Cross Air Mercy Service, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Aristomenis K Exadaktylos
    Department of Anesthesiology and Emergency Medicine, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland;


Background: This study analyses kite surfing related off shore rescue missions in Cape Town, South Africa with the aim of providing more information on the frequency, pattern, and severity of kite surfing related injuries.

Methods: The observation period for this study started on October 1, 2003 and ended on May 1, 2004 and included 30 air rescue missions. Data and information were collected prospectively.

Results: The Air Mercy Service in Cape Town Province responded to 30 requests for help. Twenty five accidents were attributed to inability to detach the kite from the harness. Injuries occurred in five incidents and included fractures of the upper arm, ribs and ankle, and lacerations and contusions to the head and neck. Two patients suffered from hypothermia and one experienced severe exhaustion. All surfers were rescued successfully and there were no fatal accidents.

Discussion: The risk potential of this new sport is unclear. Dangerous situations can occur despite proper training and safety precautions due to unpredictable conditions and difficulties with equipment. Safety should be stressed. Surfers should sailing with a fellow kiter and should wear a life vest. More efforts must be taken to make this booming new water sport safer.

  • AMS, The Air Mercy Service
  • NSRI, National Sea Rescue Institute
  • WSAR, Wilderness Search and Rescue Organisation
  • accidents
  • injuries
  • kite boarding
  • kite surfing
  • rescue

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