DeseretNews.com – Kite-tubing dangers face probe

Looks like the Wego Kite Tube is under investigation by the US Consumer Product Saftey!! BOOO-YA!!!

Finally someone is sitting up and taking notice that this thing has some serious saftety issues.

Deseretnews.com writes – Read the original
here

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission opened preliminary investigations into kite tubes last week after park rangers banned the water toy at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The commission received a safety alert from Glen Canyon two weeks ago regarding four serious kite tube-related injuries and they are assessing the accidents, as well as the tube’s safety features. Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the commission, said the accidents at the park are not exclusive to the area.

“There are numerous incidents across the nation,” he said.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Superintendent Kitty Roberts said the park’s administrators banned the activity to ensure the safety of park visitors.

“Kite tubing has proven itself to be extremely dangerous,” she said. “There are many other, far safer ways to enjoy Glen Canyon — from water skiing, to fishing, to exploring narrow side canyons.”

In kite tubing, a speedboat tows a rider on the 10-foot-diameter tube, and the rider pulls back on a rope to glide from heights of 10 to 60 feet in the air. Kevin Schneider, management assistant at Glen Canyon, said controlling a kite tube is extremely challenging, and the slightest upset can cause the rider to fall violently into the water, resulting in severe injuries.

Last week, the Deseret Morning News reported two people were seriously hurt in separate kite-tubing accidents. In the first and most severe, a 29-year-old man from St. George fell about 40 feet to the water’s surface June 2, while moving approximately 40 mph, and suffered a broken neck. The next day, a 14-year-old girl lost consciousness when she fell about 15 feet and struck the water.
Rangers also airlifted two other individuals in April and May for kite tube-related injuries that included a punctured lung, broken ribs, chest injuries and back injuries.

Park administrators evaluated the injuries and determined the only way to prevent future injuries is to ban the Wego Kite Tube, manufactured by SportsStuff Inc., altogether. The park’s restriction also applies to any device that is towed by a boat and allows the rider to take flight, including the Manta, manufactured by Sevylor, parasailing and kite boarding.

Jay Schneider, spokesman for SportsStuff Inc., said he contacted Mike Mayer, chief ranger at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, after learning about the ban.

“The only thing that has been proven is that these items are being used incorrectly,” he said. “It is the improper use that has driven the blanket ban of all flying towable items.”

Jay Schneider also said SportsStuff is an active member of the Water Sports Industry Association’s safety board.
“There are inherent risks with any water sport,” he said. “But these risks are significantly reduced when the item is properly used under the recommended guidelines.”

Erica Bush, director of customer services, said she has heard nothing but positive feedback from customers about the kite tube, and agreed proper adherence to the instructional DVD, which is included with each purchase, can prevent serious injury.

“We recommend riders, boat drivers and operators to watch and adhere to the instructions on the DVD,” she said.
Kevin Schneider said park managers appreciated input from SportsStuff representatives but the prohibition will remain in effect.
“In light of all that has taken place, we decided the prohibitions are necessary for the safety of our guests,” he said Thursday.
Mayer said he doubts the kite tubes were used improperly when the four serious injuries occurred.
“All victims were using the kite tube as directed when they suddenly lifted to dangerous heights, became unstable and plunged down to the water surface,” he wrote in the safety alert he sent to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and nearly 400 other parks across the nation.

8 Comments

  1. In response to whoever posted the BOO Yah comment,
    I have one of these kite tubes and I must say that they are a blast. As far as I know we have the only kite tube on Lake Gaston and it sure is attracting a lot of attention. However, when some renters in the house beside us declined our offer to take them up kiting due to someone they knew being paralyzed from it, I ended up on this forum concerned about the saftey of these tubes. I will probably end up returning it due to all of the negative feedback (deaths, paralysis (sp), and concussions), it just doesn’t seem wort it risking the rest of my life for a quick high. Anyways, I am still behind SportsStuff, we started buying SportsStuff Wake Jets and will continue buying their tubes. All this talk of suing them, or filing a lawsuit is terrible. Take it upon yourself to Google “kite tube deaths and accidents” and make an objective decision, as I did, if the tube is acutally worth it.

    So my decision, after experiencing gliding 20-30 feet in the air for about 20 seconds then hovering a foot or so above for a minute or so, It just doesnt seem worth the risk, I will be callign SportsStuff soon to get my money back. I’ll quit while I’m ahead because I can always look back to the footage we shot and enjoy it with NO worries.

    To you adreneline junkies though- go 27 mph into a steady wind- it’s the craziest thing you’ll do on the water AND you do NOT need a wakeboard rack to fly high as I thought before I had one
    IM me @ skiing196 to chat about it

    Reply

  2. Yes it is very dangerous, there are a lot of activities that are dangerous that people choose to do. Let’s get the word out about the dangers, lets build a safer tube. BUT DONT TAKE OUR FREEDOM AWAY! NO MORE LAWS protecting us from ourselves!

    Reply

  3. is there any thing that can be done to wego . its not what they say it is .i pulled a 24 yrr old on it and it slammed him into water and broke his back and cut up his face. very unstable kite

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  4. I agree its dangerous, alot of responsibility to the driver, its an extreme sport, the warning labels all over the tube, don’t just throw yourself onto master level right at the start, have a spotter, hand on the throttle, takes alot of trust to be on the tube(that I agree). I also have to say that they make it look pretty effortless in their safety video, must’ve been on perfect day for the tube to fly, because either you can make it fly and your out of control, or you can’t make it fly! I know we got frustrateded with the tube first weekend cause we couldn’t get it 5 ft off the ground, next weekend winds gusting (not a steady wind) and it would catch you and throw you out of control!!! All in all as a water sport maniac that I am, I’d say the price is too high especially if you can only use it 2 days out of the summer, waiting for the perfect conditions, also the safety video makes it seem like a 9 year old could fly it, thats just not the case at all!! These manufacturers should be held responsible, for making it appear to be something its not!!!! Its like selling a bullet bike to a 16 year old!!!
    STUPID STUPID STUPID, stop the false advertisement, alot more are going to fall!!! – THX

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  5. I agree, this product can be dangerous, but you know what, the people getting hurt are not being smart and respecting this toy. It’s common sense, if its too windy out then dont tube. I bought one a month ago and have had no injuries on it. I use the beginner rope and fly about 10-20 feet high, and it is extremely stable if the wind is not gusty. The only time I had a bad day on it was when we turned around a point and hit a gust of wind with the 55 foot intermediate rope and shot up 40 feet. I had a smart driver tho who cut the engine and let me float down gently. With the beginner rope at moderate speed (20-25mph), this product can be used safely and riders can remain injury free if you are smart about it. This toy cannot be taken for granted and if you are just learning how to use it, then dont be dumb and throw the long rope on. I don’t blame the manufacturer one bit, because it comes with an instructional dvd on how to properly use the thing. Ride at your own risk and just be cautious.

    Reply

  6. We bought one because it looked like alot of fun, but it turned out dangerous for my son. He flew it a few times with success until a gust of wind sent him 20 foot into the air and out of control hitting the water like a bullet. He suffered a broken ankle, bloody nose and a bitten lip. We are done playing with this Kite tube because of unstable conditions in the air and to much risk of severe injury.

    Reply

  7. Hi to all, I dont see why a gust must send you unavoidable to dangerous heights. This is not just tubes anymore, I know, flying is way different. If you fly in good weather conditions, towards wind if is a little windy, and you are within the minimun weight limit (not a 10 years old kid) you can have full control of the kite. You just need to find the minimun speed to take off for you in present condition. I forgot to mentio that the WEGO is terribly designed and is a lethal trapp. The Manta Ray obiously have better flying design, for much stable position, avoiding the feared wing tip stall. I have seen all the videos in youtube and 90% of them are making a mistake. If the boat goes 40mph the pilot will need less angle of attack to fly in a desired altitude, this combination low angle of attack/high speed is deadly, because the kite is flying at a not stable position, in fact it will struggle to leave that position, and high speed of course makes any little input from the pilot huge response and great risk of a tip over dive, wich 100% of the times will end up in Ouchhh!!, for any reason the kite should turn over pointing the surface. The other error I have seen is that the pilot just want to fly effortlessly, and there comes speed again. Low speed and lots skills you need to be safe. The correct way is to push hard with all you weight the kite in the correct high angle of attack (to the back) so you will be more like dragging behind the boat than just gliding without been a pilot with a control stick on hand.
    150 FT ROPE, thats what I call: Stop the world, I want to get down! Stay with the 60ft rope and if you go upper than 10 ft lean forward gently and youll be down again.
    Make short jumps! Dont try to fly home, It`s not a airplane, if you love flying like me then go learn to fly to a certified school.
    I`m a sailplane pilot, paraglider pilot and licensed skydiver, and I think that flying worth the risk but take every safety meassure to be able to fly and jump another day.

    Reply

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