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 off Whitstable on Wednesday afternoon.
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”.
Whitstable Lifeboat Helmsman Rob Judge was full of praise for the 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, and as a result we were able to be on scene ”