If you have ever considered rails, will consider rails, or even already hit rails... Please think it through professionally/commonsensicaly
I witnessed a bad crash requiring a 911 call today. story attached bellow
I would like to suggest these guidelines especially for potential first-time rail hitters.
again, i am new to rails myself so i don't propose these as absolute rules or anything
* wear a life jacket (USCGA)
* Wear a helmet
* Don't hit a rail solely cause your friends are doing it or want you to do it. peer pressure SOMETIMES 'can' be good at times to stoke you up but rails is a different scenario for sure.
* Be confident in your wake skills. EX: If you are not in control enough to avoid catching an edge 99.9% of the time and/or if you cant jump wake to wake. you probably are not ready.
* Experience on rails in one sport 'might' not qualify you for wakeboarding rails. Again, Annalise your general wake skills first and not your snowboard, or skateboard, rail experience, etc.
*know your gear (know and be able to control with confidence the board you will use. If you will be going fin-less, ride the board fin-less first for a while if you have not done so before
*other: consider wearing a rash guard (long sleeves) or thin neo-shirt to protect from rashes if you crash on a rail. ask if the employees are trained in CPR and other such emergencies if it concerns you ~STORY~ It was my second time at the winch and rail park today and things got pretty shook up around Antelope Point Marina. just about 5 hours ago. I watched a guy, from a distance, get pulled off balance from on top of the rainbow and come crashing down on the attached fun-box, hitting his back and head. (reference picture bellow, not actual footage of todays crash... i barely missed it on cammera. darn. it would have been nice to show, especially for reports sake to officials)
from what i understand, he was not wearing a helmet... which if so i find a little strange. this is a buisness-run winch park, and though it was my second time ever going, the first day i do remember the employees telling riders to wear a helmet. first couple of rides were free today as part of the free-park-entrance deal that's been going on all over the USA. maybe things got a little lax with all the free rides and numerous new faces? or the rider might have said he was not going to hit the rail and did not need a helmet but decided last second he'd try? i don't want to speculate too much...
from what i gathered (mixture of personall witness from a distance and others who were closer) the guy was possibly knocked out initially. there was an employee on a jet ski who got to him very quickly which was good, but unfortunately was untrained in emergency situations like this. the employee pulled the guy from the water and tried to put him onto the rail to get him out of the water. the employee pounded on him a bit to get out some of the water the rider swallowed. the employee said the rider's face was blue when he got to him. the rider started having a seizure or something too and was shaking. apparently he coughed up some blood too... possibly from a potential tongue biting i heard. Last i saw and heard as paramedics strapped him to a stretcher it looked like he would be ok. he was talking, but didn't pass the walking test at all.
Scarry scarry stuff. i heard his back (and head) hit that box from about 200 ft away over the "OOOoooooo!!!"'s and chatter of surrounding people. what makes it a bit more sad is that he is here to attend a wedding tomorrow. hope he can make it.
Again, good job to the employee who got there very quickly!
Before i took a break from winching, one of the guys in line asked me if it was like snowboard rails. i don't know if this was the same guy that got busted up or not, but it got me thinking that maybe he was thinking that one rail is likely the same as another, which might not be the most appropriate thinking? i saw a couple of other people that just did not look right on those rails at all, especially looking back on this mishap
I watched my friend last week crash in a similar way (with a helmet) on the same rail and was fine. I never expected him to hit the rail period because he is very inexperienced in wakeboarding and has NO experience with rails in general, And was using an older board with a huge fin to make it worse, because he said he would most likely not try rails. that could have easily been my friend right there today. ehh! i hope i wasn't responsible for any pressure that he did try the rail that day, whether or not he had fun. (that i do have footage of. i'll put it up later another day) I don't want to sound uncaring, but i hope this incident does not close down the winch and rails. we just barely got a good thing going here that was advancing the sport in new ways. i'd hate to see it go. hopefully adjustments will be made though.
Now a couple of questions for comments sake:
i bet someone has seen something like this?... worse even? this was a relatively small rail compared to those in pictures and videos i have seen
How well are the employees trained at the parks you go to? Projects, TSR, and all the others receive masses of people and i would hope they are equipped with very well trained employees for emergencies.
one thing my friends and i talked about was the potential lack of equipment and employees at hand. there was two employees; one on the winch tower and the other operating the jet ski with an attached life raft. the wind was blowing which made the jet ski and life raft quite useless once the employee jumped off to rescue the rider. maybe a second jet ski and/or employee would have been better? what do other parks do in emergencies like this and what equipment do they use?
would you agree with my suggestion of guidelines above? change anything? add anything?
excuse my sudden outburst here. it was just a very vivid thing and has got me thinking that much more.