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Old     (dan_lee)      Join Date: Jan 2003       05-12-2006, 9:03 PM Reply   
I saw something posted about this in another thread, but think it warrants it's own topic. I've got several customers talking these up, I'm guilty of riding them and have broken every rule, 120 foot lines, 40 mph, pulling off the tower, etc with my different boats, but this puts it in reality.

here's a link

and the article.

Be careful guys, I don't want to see any wakeworld funerals from something that gets ugly in a matter of seconds. I've buried young friends and it's not fun.

KFDM-TV Channel Six News writes…

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department tonight is investigating the death of a man who fell off something called a kite tube and landed in the water near the Neches River and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Advertisers say buy a kite tube, and you’ll reach ‘incredible heights.’

Water sports enthusiast Don Burnett says, “As wind gets underneath it, you just start to fly.”

Three weeks ago Burnett of Lumberton ordered a kite tube.

Burnett says, “Adrenaline water sport we enjoy doing.”

But as Texas Parks and Wildlife knows first hand, the thrill of flight can leave danger in its wake. On Sunday 33-year-old James Freeland of Orangefield died after falling off a kite tube near Stutes Island where the Neches River meets the Intracoastal Waterway.

Game Warden Robbie Smith says, “Common sense is really an oxymoron. People don’t use it that often. They don’t think before.”

According to another game warden’s preliminary report, Freeland was about 15 feet in the air on the tube. Several witnesses say the kite tube turned onto its side in the air and then fell to the water. Freeland was knocked off. His neck was injured, and he died at a hospital.

Smith says, “It sounds like it was just an accident. As far as being able to put responsibility on somebody, I don’t know you can.”

An instructional video on says the boat driver has far more control over the rider than in other water sports.

The announcer on the video says, “The speed, height and flight control are all directly associated with the boat driver.”

Parks and Wildlife says there is no evidence the driver was impaired, and he hasn’t been cited. But the accident has caused Burnett to rethink whether he’ll take a ride on his tube when it arrives.

Burnett says, “Certainly something I’ll look into and evaluate and weigh the options as far as fun and the risk of getting hurt or harmed.”

Game wardens admit they don’t know much about this new extreme sport, so they’re not suggesting you avoid it. But they agree with the words printed on this tube, ‘Never kite higher than you’re willing to fall.’

Freeland will be laid to rest on Thursday. KFDM News checked with local stores, and we couldn’t find any that sell kite tubes. For comments or questions about this story contact Sally MacDonald at 895-4662 or

Old     (wakeman21)      Join Date: Jul 2005       05-12-2006, 9:17 PM Reply   
it was just a matter of time before something like that happened
Old     (garret_s)      Join Date: Apr 2006       05-13-2006, 12:13 AM Reply   
yeah that thing had a death coming from the moment it was invented.
Old     (anodyne)      Join Date: Feb 2006       05-13-2006, 12:55 AM Reply   
Wow... That thing's going to wreak havoc on the New Boater population of the world. HAHA

In addition, I can see nothing good coming from a death as a result of a towable/boat.
Old     (mammoth)      Join Date: Apr 2005       05-13-2006, 7:36 AM Reply   
...and everybody knows that there have never been any deaths tied to wakeboarding.

Or crossing the street.
Old     (gobigorgohome)      Join Date: Aug 2005       05-13-2006, 10:41 AM Reply   
If all (or most) of the responsibility for the flight of this thing is on the driver's shoulders then I can see boat owners not wanting anything to do with it.

At least with wakeboarding if you hurt yourself you've (usually) only got yourself to blame.

I can see it now: 'hey do you mind towing me on this new toy I just bought? It's pretty much uncontrollable, it's got a 120ft line and if I get hurt it's probably your fault'.

(Message edited by gobigorgohome on May 13, 2006)
Old     (ldr)      Join Date: Nov 2002       05-13-2006, 1:57 PM Reply   
These things are dangerous. My little brother Rode one of those kite tubes and apparently you have very minimal control. Two of the guys he was out with got banged up pretty good. For you delta riders, he said he was so high he was looking down on windmill cove.

Any time your getting thrown at 40 plus mph and 15 plus feet up, your going to get hurt. Especially if you can't control how you land.
It's a little more dangerous than wakeboarding or crossing the street for that matter.
Old     (trakkerguy)      Join Date: Oct 2005       05-13-2006, 2:18 PM Reply   
Sounds like it depends a lot on how you use it.

If you have a 10 mph headwinds, you might only need 30 mph boat speed to get airborne, which isn't so bad. But I definately don't want to take a 40 mph fall off that thing.

Old     (ridealready)      Join Date: Feb 2006       05-13-2006, 2:19 PM Reply   
bottom line is, dont use it if you dont know how. If it's not windy, dont use it. You shouldnt have to go 40 to get it up. We go 25 mph and use the provided tow rope and tow into the wind and we have had no injuries and it gets up around 15 feet which is more than enough. Something to think about is operator error...
Old     (innov8)      Join Date: May 2005       05-13-2006, 2:27 PM Reply   
Bottom line is they are dangerous and its just a matter of time till you get hurt and then its to late. Mark my words they wont be in business long they already have law suits pending.
Old     (tlb)      Join Date: Feb 2003       05-13-2006, 2:29 PM Reply   
AHHH, Natural Selection...
Old     (mammoth)      Join Date: Apr 2005       05-13-2006, 3:39 PM Reply   
How many blown out knee threads do we have from wakeboarders here on WW? How about tib's and fib's? I've seen some great threads lately with x-ray shots showing off screws and pins...or bones sticking out of the skin just above a binding.

I'm not sayin kite tubes are any more or less safe than boarding...but people shouldn't be blinded by their distaste for other people's recreation choices.

Matt, your little brother's boat operator was being negligent and is lucky nobody was hurt worse. 40MPH is way too fast, and beyond the manufacturer's guidelines. In addition, running a kite tube in the Delta is foolish. Blaming the tube for the beating the riders took is laughable. Your description of the run sounds like a serious lack of good judgement, you would be wise not to let your friends or family out with that driver again.

As for the pending argument here. There are always lawyers prepared to point fingers and earn a buck. That said, keep in mind that litigation and objective logic don't always follow the same track. See the McDonald's coffee suit or the general aviation industry for an example, there are many others. If someone were to sue CWB for a wakeboard injury, would you all be as quick to judge based on said suit?

Haters suck.
Old     (pureliquid)      Join Date: Feb 2004       05-13-2006, 5:51 PM Reply   
NATE - You took the words right out of my mouth. Good post!
Old     (trakkerguy)      Join Date: Oct 2005       05-13-2006, 7:01 PM Reply   
Yes, well put Nate.
Old    roadking            05-13-2006, 7:18 PM Reply   
The guy in Oklahoma was only going 15mph as the directions suggest, a gust of wind came in blew it up and slamed him. Result was 3 broken ribs, concussion and out for the summer for any pyhsical activity. At leat on a wakeboard you have alot of control, on one of these the driver is in control and if a gust of wind comes up, no one is in control because it all goes bad before anyone can react.
Old     (wildcatx2)      Join Date: Mar 2005       05-13-2006, 8:30 PM Reply   
I think we have found the "lawn dart" of 2006. They will probably be on Ebay for a thousand bucks each in a few years.
Old     (trakkerguy)      Join Date: Oct 2005       05-13-2006, 8:47 PM Reply   
Roadking - who is the guy in Oklahoma you are referring to ? Is there an article on that?
Old    jt12            05-13-2006, 8:55 PM Reply   
When one is wakeboarding at 20-24 mph, it would be interesting to know how fast one is going when they take a real wide carve towards the wake, I would bet some people would not be to far off the 35-40 mph mark, in the air with a board strapped to their feet. Sure as a wakeboarder you may have more control, either way you look at it they are both risky hobbies.
Just my $0.02
Old     (jwr)      Join Date: Jan 2006       05-13-2006, 10:19 PM Reply   
Yeah, and I wonder what speed your head hits the water with when you catch an edge.

(Message edited by jwr on May 13, 2006)
Old     (cyclonecj)      Join Date: Jul 2001       05-13-2006, 11:12 PM Reply   
FYI the woman that spilled MCD's coffee on her leg had her labia fused to her inner thigh and required surgery.

The tube is designed to fly 15+ feet in the air with no special skill required by the passenger of the tube, and neither the driver of the boat or the tube passenger can control the action of the tube. If the driver slows down, it could cause the tube to flip in the air and dump the rider on his head. The thing is totally non-aerodynamic. That company will be sued, rightfully so.
Old     (rockledge)      Join Date: Sep 2005       05-14-2006, 8:33 PM Reply   
I would not call myself a hater on this subject, just practical in my risk aversion. There was never any doubt that this thing raised the bar in terms of risk and danger as it is simply a big flat tube which happened to have enough surface area to support a sustained flight. When it became ridiculous (crossed the line) for me, was when it was specifically marketed as a flight tube . . . i.e. fly behind your boat. Were they kidding? Did engineers really sit down, design and test this thing? Seeing the videos of how suddenly and wildly these things move in flight suggests that very little real thought was put into this concept.

As we have clearly seen, this thing cannot handle wind shear very well and should probably require boat drivers to pass a certificate coarse in order to truely comply with the company disclaimers.

The recent efforts in this thread that imply that wakeboarding risk is equal to that experienced on this tube is laughable.

Whatever. I was never gonna buy one of these and based on what I've seen and heard, I doubt much demand will exist for these for very long.

"Wego Kite tube" will be changing its name to "Wego Out of Business" in short order. It certainly is an interesting idea though.
Old    billy_ray            05-14-2006, 8:46 PM Reply   
the wego kite tube is awesome...its a blast
Old     (bog)      Join Date: Sep 2002       05-14-2006, 9:11 PM Reply   
wouldnt it be cool if this eventually leads to the banning of all tubes!! Yeah that will happen about the same time i find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
Old     (iamnathanhudson)      Join Date: Dec 2002       05-15-2006, 5:30 AM Reply   
Control is an illusion!!! No one knows what will happen to them next.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       05-15-2006, 7:25 AM Reply   
FYI the woman that spilled MCD's coffee on her leg had her labia fused to her inner thigh and required surgery.

The tube is designed to fly 15+ feet in the air with no special skill required by the passenger of the tube, and neither the driver of the boat or the tube passenger can control the action of the tube. If the driver slows down, it could cause the tube to flip in the air and dump the rider on his head. The thing is totally non-aerodynamic. That company will be sued, rightfully so.

SO you think MCD should have been sued because thier coffee was too hot? She was not at fault for spilling it on herself?

If someone orders the tube, they should read the warnings. If they choose to do it, it should not be the companies fault for crashing. Whatever happened to responsibility for your actions. Now I agree, they will probably get sued to bankruptcy, I think if you buy something like that, you should be aware of how dangerous it can be. Have you ever read the labels on your boots? "Death may occur" does that stop us from wakeboarding? IMO, Lawyers are whats wrong with the world today.

(I should mention that I think the warnings need to be quite extinsive, and should warn about lack of control)

(Message edited by psudy on May 15, 2006)
Old     (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       05-15-2006, 8:34 AM Reply   
I've got nothing against the kite tube idea. Sounds like a blast to me, but if you're going to make something that flies, how about making it aerodynamic. One look at that thing and I can't help but think it has no business in the air. There are just to many variables to risk it.

People have been injured by negligence, but who here is going to say they've never done anything negligent. I'd like to imagine that I'm not that stupid, but I've done my fair share of jet ski-ing at night, riding sketchy sliders, riding after a few drinks, etc.... I don't need anything with an inherently poor design to cause additional risk to be added to the stupid stuff we do at times.
Old     (wakeandsnow27)      Join Date: Jun 2004       05-15-2006, 9:02 AM Reply   
I wanted to try it, but I think I'll pass. I just know me and I know my friends and that would not be good. looks fun though
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       05-15-2006, 9:20 AM Reply   
I agree. I don't think I would ride one either. I can look at it and think, Hmm, looks pretty risky to me. I don't think I will ride it. Unfortunatly, most will think its safe just because you can buy it and won't read any of the warnings.

I thought it would be fun to buy and put my friends on it, but with the driver control issue, I think I will pass on that as well. I surely don't need any lawsuits!

(Message edited by psudy on May 15, 2006)
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       05-15-2006, 11:07 AM Reply   
More people are killed by heart attacks at 5k, 10k, etc. road races than is killed by tubes and boards. Yes, it is tragic. However, if all "risky" behavior was stopped, we would not drive, drink water, or even breathe air.

Personally, I hate tubes. However, what you spend your money on is up to you.

The lawyers are a separate issue...

Go out and ride.
Old     (rootc)      Join Date: Aug 2002       05-15-2006, 1:07 PM Reply   
"More people are killed by heart attacks at 5k, 10k, etc. road races than is killed by tubes and boards. Yes, it is tragic. However, if all "risky" behavior was stopped, we would not drive, drink water, or even breathe air."

I'm thing the % of people who are injured and/or killed on a kite tube is far greater than those who are injured/killed while running a race. Apples and Oranges.

I'm indifferent on the kite tube idea. However, i'd be surprised if they existed come this time next year.
Old     (bfa)      Join Date: Dec 2005       05-15-2006, 1:50 PM Reply   
I've never tried it, don't think I ever will but what I don't like is that the driver can't see the rider.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       05-15-2006, 1:57 PM Reply   
You can see them, you just have to wait until the tube flips upside down and ejects the rider back to the water!
Old     (wkbrdr)      Join Date: Jan 2006       05-15-2006, 3:46 PM Reply   
the warning right on the tube says may result in injury or death...
Old     (rockledge)      Join Date: Sep 2005       05-15-2006, 4:27 PM Reply   
Maybe it should read . . . "often results in injury or death".

Jeez, how long have these things really been on the water? I've been hearing about problems since back in the beginning of April. Wait til drunken joe public gets ahold of these things when the water temps are up!
Old     (driving)      Join Date: Jan 2003       05-16-2006, 3:26 AM Reply   
We have a student here right now that is just getting over busted ribs from one, and another one of my buddies tore the muscle from his sternum.

I also have a friend who sold his pretty quickly, because he said he thought someone was going to die. And, he didn't want to be resposible.
Old     (jwr)      Join Date: Jan 2006       05-16-2006, 9:47 PM Reply   
Totally off subject, but wouldn't you love to see a video of someone trying an acid drop off of one of these tubes?
Old     (mammoth)      Join Date: Apr 2005       05-18-2006, 6:25 AM Reply   
See the main wakeboard forum the fresh wakeboard injuries of the week. This week it seems to be upper body...broken arms, seperated biceps, etc.

Good think wakeboarding is so safe.
Old     (mbw4462)      Join Date: Mar 2006       05-29-2006, 8:55 PM Reply   
Everyone has their own ideas of fun and we all go to our own lengths and risks so whatever someone chooses to do is their own, and the injuries u have are from your own choice. i hate when people complain about things like this. try climbing up a ladder 15 ft up the side of your house and see the wind difference then try that on a lake and add your 20 mph wind from going foward, what do you think it will be like its common sense. like root said you can die from running 5k if you push your limits too far its your own fault dont use someone else as an excuse.
Old                06-12-2006, 9:14 PM Reply   
Control - not with the Kite tube. On a lake Saturday with a rider 15 feet in the air, one gust of wind and it made a b-line for the water. The result: a 26 year old with a splintered hip, a plate and rod, 12 weeks in bed, and the family is an emotional wreck. Before you judge, the boat driver was her father, a very experienced boater. Please read the warnings and not buy this toy because sooner or later I'll read your post.


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