Floridian Kite Surfer Doesn’t Remember Slamming Into Wall

As reported on www.sun-sentinel.com

Fort Lauderdale – Kevin Kearney remembers heading out to Fort Lauderdale beach Monday afternoon. He remembers kite surfing.

As for the harrowing moments when he was caught by a wind gust from Tropical Storm Fay, dropped into the sand, picked up and slammed into a nearby restaurant?

“I don’t actually remember it happening,” said Kearney, 28, in a telephone interview this morning.

Kearney was released from Broward General Medical Center Thursday. He said he got “some stitches in my head” and some body aches but otherwise felt OK, and lucky. “I’m glad I don’t hurt that bad,” he said.

Kearney said he hadn’t been able to engage in kite surfing for a couple of weeks before Monday because winds were weak. He is an experienced kite surfer who has taught the sport to others in the Florida Keys, his mother, Alicia Paradise-Garza, said Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Fay, which was approaching and then striking the Keys on Monday, looked like a good opportunity to take advantage of some wind.

Lifeguards had advised Kearney and other kite surfers to leave the beach because of threatening weather, and they were complying, said Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Lt. Gio Serrano. Kearney came ashore south of Las Olas Boulevard and was preparing to take off his equipment when the wind suddenly kicked up.

“I guess I caught an updraft of the wind,” Kearney said.