SPRINGVILLE — Jenny Sayers prays her husband will soon open his eyes, sit up, pull her close and put an end to the nightmare she's been living.

For now, Derik Sayers, 32, the only certified kiteboarding instructor in Utah, has been in a coma since crashing into the ground May 5 while practicing his sport at Utah Lake.

That day, the Springville man had just taken flight from the lake's South Beach when the wind became too strong for him — and he came crashing down from 10 feet in the air.

"He's responding real well," said Jenny Sayers, optimistically. "He's responding voluntarily, which is nice. He should be coming out soon."

Jenny Sayers said her husband had ordered demo versions of helmets — and she will insist that he always wear them from now on when he goes on the lake with the kiteboard.

Kiteboarding is similar to windsurfing, except participants use a big kite and a wakeboard so they are moving across the water, enthusiast Ryan Allen said.

"It's so much fun," Allen said. "It's too bad things like this happen. We're all wearing helmets now."

Allen was with Derik Sayers the day of the accident. Allen said he could tell Sayers was struggling to control the kite at the launch.

Then, a gust of wind lifted them both 10 feet off the ground.

Another gust picked up Sayers, who tried to rid himself of the kite.

"The set-up he has, you have to use two hands to get rid of the kite, which I think is a bad deal," Allen said. "When he did that, the kite lost control and the kite swung below him and swung him into the ground."

Sayers hit his shoulder and head first, and Allen, when he arrived at his side, heard Sayers snoring, as if asleep. Allen and another friend called 911.

Sayers was flown by helicopter ambulance to the hospital.

Sayers is a safety advocate, his wife said. Helmets, which he ordered right before his crash, will be a requirement in classes.

"We went off to Jamaica for 10 days to teach kiteboarding there," Jenny Sayers said.

"We were just on the verge of getting the orders, and this happened, and I thought, 'Should have done it before we left.' "

Whenever her husband gets new equipment at his home, he tests it, Jenny Sayers said. He is always familiar with his new equipment.

"He does every which way to Sunday, testing it," she said. "It just sort of dawned on us, 'Of course you need helmets.' "

Jenny Sayers hopes her husband will be able to tell her what happened that day.

Allen said other kiteboarders can prevent the same thing happening to them by keeping their kites low in the "power window" after launching it.

"You never want your kite straight above you when you're on land," he said.

Using a bar set-up that allows the kiteboarder to simply let go of the kite if there is trouble is also the safest route, Allen said.

Derik Sayers started "music therapy" on Wednesday, Jenny Sayers said. She plays familiar music for him in addition to reading to him and talking about memories in hopes it will jog his memory and wake him up.

"We've got every CD he's ever recorded or mixed," she said.

Jenny Sayers said she looks forward to taking kiteboarding lessons from her husband this summer. He taught their sons while in Jamaica.

"If he could be up there every day, 365 days a year, he would do it," she said. "He teaches on the snow during winter time. If there's snow, he's out teaching. If there's water, and it's not too cold, he's out teaching."

An account for Derik Sayers has been set up in his name at America First Credit Union.


E-mail: shelps@desnews.com