October 3rd 2001 was a mixed day that began with a kitesurfing
world speed record
and ended in a tragic accident that nearly ended Chris's career.
"It was a squally day with very gusty winds of up to 45 knots. I was using a 4m Blade after trying a massively overpowered 6.4 and then 4.9. I was still maxed out as you can see from the video clip below. My girlfriend caught the clip below on my old camera. (Hence the poor quality). I had already set a kitesurfing record of 33.38 knots earlier on a warm up run. On this run I had started slow off the line and finished bouncing on my backside trying to stop for a windsurfer on the finish line. That was an easy 33.38 knots. It seemed 40 knots was in reach and I decided to go all out. I crossed the line at high speed.. but once over 35 knots I couldn't hold my rail anymore and was just accelerating out of control. I drifted out of my planned line and into the choppy water. I started losing vision from the way I was rattling over the water. I was on the edge of control and was just hoping to cross the finish line for a new record... Then through the blurred vision I spotted a recreational windsurfer 40ft straight ahead, just sitting in the water. I let go of the foil kite or I would have ploughed into him. I fell face forward and expected to tumble but of course just bounced. Then my face penetrated the water and stopped. The board caught up with me, or rather my face and the sharp tip of the speed board struck me across the cheek bone 1 cm below my right eye. It destroyed my right cheek bone, and smashed my nose into bits before it bounced away from my face. Luckily my eye was not damaged! I had double vision and loads of pain... I got back to the beach somehow and was off in an ambulance.
The Fateful Run.. Click picture above....
A 393kb avi file of the speed run that ended in hospital.
X Ray. Taken 5 hours after the accident.
The right cheekbone is gone.
Less clear is the smashed nose and a fracture to the eyebrow and skull.
Above and below: After the operation.
A plate held by 4 pins is visible on the right eyebrow (top left of picture). There is titanium mesh fixing the base of the nose as well.
To do this they went back in through the visible cuts plus also in through the roof of the gum in the front of the mouth. Lots of stitches
Nowadays I am miraculously back to normal......
I think they did a great job............... what?