TheStar.com – Kite tubes pulled from market

Here is the latest article from the Canadian Press about the kite tube and the recall. TheStar.com – Kite tubes pulled from market

There are some important things to note for Canadian kite tube owners.
1) SportsStuff has confirmed that the recall affects Canada and 2) Transport Canada is investigating the kite tube.

A spokesman for Sportsstuff confirmed the recall includes Canada.

A spokeswoman for Transport Canada’s Marine Safety division said the tubes just came on the regulatory body’s radar last week.

“It’s a safety concern for us,” said Kristen Goodnough.

“But given that it’s just recently come to our attention, we’re reviewing the activity to see if our regulations apply.”

Goodnough said Transport Canada is expecting a decision sometime next week.

Even this blog gets some play (even if it’s not by name :) )

The founder of a Canadian weblog about kites said he takes issue with the suggestion that users can control the kite tubes.

“From a kite flier’s standpoint, someone who actually builds kites and understands the multitudes of variables that go on there, it’s not going to happen,” said Bill Wilson, 32, a Halifax software development manager.

He found the discussion forums on his website inundated with comments about kite tubing after he made a post in February.

“The majority of people perceive a level of safety that’s not there. Whether you can control it a little bit or not the problem is, all it takes is a wind gust, and you’re (seven to nine metres) in the air,” Wilson said.

Cheers,
Bill

Kite Tube Action Shot!

Josh Banks of Banks Photos sent me this picture a few days ago.


Photo by Josh Banks www.BanksPhotos.com
click for larger image

Here is what Josh has to say about the photo…

This photo was taken from our boathouse in Chetek, Wisconsin on July 4,2006. I was walking down to the boathouse with my camera and saw this guy on a kite tube. I took the photo, removed my camera from my eye to watch the action and the next thing I know he slammed into the water. We went out in our boat to talk with him. Although very stunned, the rider was uninjured and unwilling to try it again anytime soon for more photos. Once I opened the image on my computer I was completely surprised to see the rider in the air. The rider was not tossed this high above the tube, actually the tube was at his height about a tenth of a second earlier. When I took the picture I did not realize the rider had been thrown off the tube. To me it looked like the rider was on the tube having a great time. Suddenly, the tube dove into the water and the rider followed, this all happened much too quickly for me to react with my camera for another shot. I estimate that the rider is easily 30 feet above the water. The conditions were quite perfect for a flight to this height. The boat is eading west, into a strong wind at a good clip.

Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tubes Withdrawn from Market after Reports of Deaths and Injuries

Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tubes Withdrawn from Market after Reports of Deaths and Injuries

WASHINGTON,

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D.C. – In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Sportsstuff, Inc., of Omaha, Nebraska is voluntarily recalling about 19,000 Wego Kite Tubes.

CPSC staff is aware of 39 injury incidents with 29 of those resulting in medical treatment. Those injuries include a broken neck, punctured lung, chest and back injuries and facial injuries. Sportsstuff has received reports of two deaths in the United States and a variety of serious injuries. Sportsstuff has been unable to determine the cause of the incidents. Nevertheless, the company has withdrawn the kite tube from the market and is undertaking this voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution.

The Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tube is a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a power boat. A rider in the tube becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes. The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement “Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall.” The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately October 1, 2005 to July 11, 2006 for about $500 to $600.

Consumers should immediately stop using the kite tubes and contact Sportsstuff at (866) 831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to learn how to obtain free replacement products. Consumers can also visit the firm’s Web site at www.sportsstuff.com for more information.

Sportsstuff Inc. Press Release regarding Kite Tube

A press release from Sportsstuff Inc. dated July 12, 2006 states that Sportsstuff is cooperating with the CSPC’s investigation into the safety of the Wego Kite Tube. The press release goes on to reiterate that in almost all of the accidents they claim the that product was not used as instructed, blah blah, etc.

HOUSTON, TX (PRWEB) July 12, 2006 — Sportsstuff, Inc. has been in the business of selling inflatable towable sporting goods for the past nineteen years and is committed to providing reasonably safe water sport products to its customers. The Wego Kite Tube was the winner of the 2006 Sporting Good Manufacturers Association Product of the Year Award and has been well-received in the water sports market.

Sportsstuff is aware of recent incidents involving injuries to customers using the Wego Kite Tube and other kite tubes as well as the US Consumer Products Safety Commission Advisory Warning with regard to these products. Sportsstuff, Inc. is fully investigating these incidents in cooperation with the CPSC.

It appears preliminarily that many, if not all, of the incidents brought to Sportsstuff’s attention involved serious abuse of the product in direct contravention of the warnings and instructions provided with the product.

Each Wego Kite Tube is accompanied by an instructional DVD, user’s manual and extensive warning labels on the product. The warnings printed on the tube state that the tow boat should never exceed the speed of 20 miles per hour when towing adults or 15 miles per hour when towing children. Media reports concerning these recent incidents state that the boats were towing the kite tube at speeds exceeding 30 miles per hour, a speed far in excess of the maximum towing speed indicated on the Wego Kite Tube.

The Owners Manual specifically states that misuse or improper use of the Kite Tube could result in serious injury or death. Copies of the Wego Kite Tube Owners Manual are available online at Sportsstuff.com.

As with any water sport, kite tubing is not without some risk of physical injury. Sportsstuff, Inc. believes that the Wego Kite Tube is a reasonably safe product if used responsibly and in compliance with the instructions and warnings that accompany this product.

Video of Edmonton man seriously injured on Kite Tube

This video should give you a good idea about the unpredictability of the kite tube. This story ran last week on Ottawa’s A Channel news. Dallas Koperski , a 21 year-old from Alberta, is shown skimming along the surface of the lake having a great time. The next second he is 18+ feet in the air and then slammed into the water resulting in serious head and neck injuries.

Click here for the video

Read the complete story here Kite Tube Dangers

Related stories here

Edmonton Journal Family wants kite tubes banned after son’s mishap

City TVNew Toy Proves Dangerous

CTV Toronto – Ontario man dies from new kite tubing activity

CTV Toronto – Ontario man dies from new kite tubing activity

Yet another senseless death of a kite tube rider, this time in Ontario, Canada. While action to investigate and ban the kite tubes is underway a solution can not arrive soon enough. How many more people have to be seriously injured or killed because of this thing!?

A flat kite (whether it’s slightly concave on the bottom is irrelevant) will not be stable with out a large amount of drag on the back of the kite. Couple that with the riders weight and movements constantly changing the angle of attack; How can it be stable? then combine all of that with the boat possibly heading across the wind, and wind gusts and you have an uncontrollable situation!

Don’t do it, it’s not worth it!

EDIT: July 13,2006
Here is a follow on story that is referenced in the comments. The driver of the boat was drunk…

http://www.570news.com/news/local/article.jsp?content=20060705_130848_4612

–Bill

The ChronicleHerald.ca – too much of a good wind grounds entries at kite fest

Here is a sample of how our first Maritime Kite and Kayak festival went on day 1….

I’ll have more later with lot’s of pics in the gallery and on flickr.. :)

–Bill

Jack Marshall, 4, of Pictou giggles Saturday afternoon, unaware of the gigantic lobster floating in the air behind him. (Mary Ellen MacIntyre)

The ChronicleHerald.ca for the complete story

Turns out beach volleyball and lighting charcoal weren’t the only Canada Day activities hampered by high winds.

Day 1

of the first Maritime Kite and Kayak Festival at Pictou Lodge was less spectacular than organizers hoped, with strong wind keeping most of the large kites on the ground.

“When you have too much wind, you have turbulence and turbulence means danger for kites,” said Bernie Houle of Dieppe, N.B. “Because you’re getting no tension on the line and all of a sudden lots of tension, and very often the line will pop.”

Indoor workshops for kids to learn to build their own kites were busy and kayakers persevered, making use of both the lodge’s small lake and the Northumberland Strait.

Unfortunately, erratic gusts of wind sent a huge lobster-shaped kite into the salt water, too.

“That lobster kite retails for about $1,400,” said Bill Wilson of Halifax Area Recreational Kiters. “When we get gusts of 50 or 60 kilometres an hour the spars, which are carbon fibre graphite spars, bend in half and they get to the point where they just snap.”

Alain Bosse of Pictou Lodge got the idea for a kite festival after taking up the hobby three years ago, attracted by the fact that it didn’t require huge amounts of skill or time to enjoy.

“We fly kites at the lodge pretty well every day, as entertainment for the kids,” he said. “I’ve got kites 19 feet wide, I’ve got power sleds, the big bear, big lobsters — I’ve got about 30 kites in my collection. There’s one guy here this weekend that has 100 kites with him.

“A power sled is a kite . . . that’s like a big air balloon, and it just lifts off and it has a huge amount of pull. I’ve got a 22-foot power sled and it will pull about 1,000 pounds. It gives you the power to hold other things on your main line.”

Bosse said local fishermen sometimes scoff at him when he calls kite flying a sport, but he begs to differ.

“It pulls just as much as a salmon would, as much as a tuna would,” he said. “Once you’ve got one of those big kites up in the air. . . . Anybody under 100 pounds can’t fly them — they’ll just lift right off the ground.”

The rainy weather so far this summer means this weekend is the first time members of various kite flying clubs around the region have gathered.

Several flyers bought spools of 675-kilogram test cord, which looks just like parachute cord, to get ready for today, and winds were forecast to die down Saturday night.

( bspurr@herald.ca)