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self rescue thoughts/questions
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honda1

Since 11 Sep 2013
106 Posts

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PostWed Jun 14, 17 2:36 am    self rescue thoughts/questions Reply with quote

I am an intermediate kiter. I have enjoyed kiting at spi, maui, bvi, baja, and allalong the gorge. I know there are skills I can improve on. Self rescue is one of those skills i may need some work on. Dont get me wrong on any normal day with the wind blowing in the 20 something not a problem. I have seen different methods. Do I tie the safety line off then wrap the rest of my lines up or follow the safety line to the kite while and toss the other lines to the side. Seems better to wrap the lines up rather than have a chance of getting tangled. All the videos of self rescue are not realistic. I mean they are...but often fail to show a real self rescue when the crap hits the fan. I was at rooster once in 45mph wind and had to self rescue. The only problem was that the wind was so strong that wrapping my lines was nigh impossible. All the correct ideas were there but the wind was too strong. Perhaps I should have letthe kite go?. Luckily another kiter did help me. I was at Arlington on monday afternoon. I think the wind was high 30s and later ramped up to high 40s. Some windsurfers said it was gusting to 50. If you have been in the gorge long enough you know what kind of swell there can be at Arlington. It was agreat day but afterwards I thought to myself I'm glad I didnt have to self rescue. I know many of you will say I shouldn't have been out there. It isnt that I dont know how. Its just in those conditions a self rescue would be very challenging. Hence all the videos never show
a rescue in those conditions. I guess I was just looking for any additional thoughts or insight in really high winds and swell. Just trying to continue to learn.

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Matt V

Since 26 Oct 2014
255 Posts
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PostWed Jun 14, 17 5:18 am     Reply with quote

The number one self rescue technique is swimming. You are a swimmer first, a kiter second. Brush up on your swimming skills at your local pool. Know how far you can swim. Don't go out past that distance. Use a life jacket while kiting but do not rely on it. I would give up my life jacket to another distressed kiter if needed, then I would be out there without one and I can swim without it as all kiters should be able to. Any one can swim a mile on their back. Fancier/faster techniques take solid training to have even a quarter miles endurance.

I know what you mean about the videos being a bit unrealistic. First off, I almost always have a line wrapped around my legs no matter what I do. Only once out east did I manage to be free of the lines on a self rescue while using the kite like a sail on the water.

Carry 2 kite knives, and practice using an older 3rd knife to cut some old kite line so you know what to expect. If you have to do this, you could automatically revert to being a swimmer.

Sorry to avoid the specific question, but this needed to be said.

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chrissmack

Since 08 Jun 2005
395 Posts
portland
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PostWed Jun 14, 17 6:23 am     Reply with quote

Matt V wrote:
practice using an older 3rd knife to cut some old kite line so you know what to expect. .


i second that. i use old kite line at home for various projects, and it is tough cutting through the stuff while i stand at my workbench with a sharp box cutter. having cut lines at home, i don't plan on successfully cutting lines in nuking winds and big rollers as part of my rescue plan.

rooster on crazy east winds is like your description. a downed kite isn't going to settle down in 40+ winds. it's more like a rabid squirrel looking to attack. and suddenly the kiter is hog tied.

back in the day my 5m deflated on the water at rooster rock. i let it go. i swam in, packed up my gear, went to my car, drove away and followed the kite down the river. retrieved it when it came close to shore a few miles down. might have lost a kite, but was never in danger.

in short, and going with what matt said, don't try to hard to save the kite. the kite is worth less than the first ten minutes in ER.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
284 Posts

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PostWed Jun 14, 17 6:39 am     Reply with quote

Self rescuing in high wind (40 mph +) is very different than self rescuing in light wind.

Your kite flips all around in the air and has considerable pull.

A few things I think about:
(these tips assume no barge is coming, and no fixed objects are near)

* Take it SAFE and slow. The #1 thing to think about is not getting wound up in the loose lines.

* The next tip is that if you are getting pulled hard by your kite, simply flatten your body out and swim towards your kite. The line tension will release because you are moving quicker towards your kite. If you try to fight the kite by holding your body perpendicular you are creating more tension on your lines making them more difficult to wrap up.

* After I pull my safety and as soon as I reach my bar I carefully back wrap my single line on the backside of my bar so I have no loose line floating around to get caught in.

* I then tie a couple of half hitch knots on the tension side lines to my bar so my lines can't accidentally come off my bar. This creates a environment where I can easily hang on to my bar to hold the kite. I can relax for a moment to re-assess my situation (look for barges, fixed objects etc.)

* I then release my safety leash from my bar and tie it to my board. If you don't have straps or a leash hook, create a loop around the back side of your board and fins.

* I then start wrapping all 4 of my lines evenly on the bar as I swim towards the kite.

* It is easy to accidentally miss a wrap or have one of the lines slip off your bar which will start to power up the kite. If this occurs simply add an additional wrap to your tension line.

* Don't wrap your bar all the way to your kite. You will end up wrapping your bridal which will make it impossible to clean your lines up for the self rescue home. Instead, as you get close to (perhaps 10 feet from your bridal) climb that line to your kite such that you can secure your kite in your hand.

* Once you have reached your kite it is time to clean up your lines. Wrap all the loose lines around your bar such that no lines have any slack. You can wrap your lines in any direction around your bar. Just make sure there is no slack line. Each line should have a couple of 1/2 hitch tie off's at the bar to make sure they can't come loose.

* take your released chicken loop and run it through your kite pump loop on your kite. If you can't do this at least hook it around a bridal and re-secure the chicken loop in a locked position. This will keep your bar from sliding off the back of the kite and getting tangled up in seaweed etc.

* At this point you have a secure kite with no loose lines flopping around. Self rescuing is much easier.

**Edited 3 times for clarity **

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Last edited by bigjohn on Wed Jun 14, 17 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total

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voy-tech

Since 08 Apr 2014
251 Posts
SE Portland
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PostWed Jun 14, 17 7:25 am     Reply with quote

Spot on write-up by @bigjohn - I'd reiterate those two points below

bigjohn wrote:
* After I pull my safety and as soon as I reach my bar I carefully back wrap my single line on the backside of my bar so I have no loose line floating around to get caught in.

* I then tie a couple of half hitch knots on the tension side lines to my bar so my lines can't accidentally come off my bar. This creates a environment where I can easily hang on to my bar to hold the kite. I can relax for a moment to re-assess my situation (look for barges, fixed objects etc.)


The way you setup your self rescue is one of the most important pieces in my opinion - you can easily set yourself up for failure if you skip those two.

I had a couple self-rescues over the years including one in the nuking alley of Jones in 30+mph winds while overpowered with a 10m kite and that was not fun at all.

And one more note - if you can - kite with other people - my #1 rule of kite safety is to never kite alone.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
284 Posts

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PostWed Jun 14, 17 7:28 am     Reply with quote

On a side note I want to state that I am always disappointed to hear from advanced kiters who feel their primary solution is a kite knife.

While there are situations where a kite knife is the best solution, I do not believe it should ever be considered a primary solution.

When you release your kite (or cut it away) you have done a few things:

1) You have just given up your primary flotation device. When you get tired you are going to rely on this device to relax. If you get cold you can use this device to get more of your body elevated out of the cold water.

2) You have just given up your free ride home. Your only self sufficient option now is to swim. Hope you don't get tired along the way...

3) Remote rescue is now more difficult as you are more difficult to see. This may not be as much of an issue on the river, but in the ocean this can be a major factor.

4) When you release your kite it now becomes a potential hazard for others around. If the bar grabs too much seaweed it can start to power up which is a danger to others down wind.


Just my 2 cents.

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Slappysan

Since 13 Jun 2012
160 Posts

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PostWed Jun 14, 17 10:20 am     Reply with quote

I used to wrap up my lines while getting to my kite during self rescues because that's the way I was taught but I no longer rescue that way.

My approach these days:

1) Wear some floatation - if you need to kick your legs to stay above the water you will get tangled in lines. I wear an older version of the LF Supreme vest.

2) Wear gloves (3/4 finger) - climing a single center line takes a decent amount of friction and a decent pair of gloves give you the friction you need to climb that line in 40 knots while your kite is whipping around in the wind.

3) Always kite with 2 leashes. I use a short leash for my kite and have an extra handle pass leash for use during rescue (also handy for tether launch/land).

4) Climb center line immediately using only your hands, make a note of the way the water is taking the lines and try and angle your body to pull away from it. You should be able to be holding your kite in less than 1 minute this way.

5) Secure kite via secondary handle pass leash to the pump leash attachment.

6) Detatch all 4 line from the kite (not 100% necessary but I find it's safer, easier and cleaner)

7) Roll up lines. With them detached from the kite this takes only 1 minute and doesn't lead to a rats nest to deal with once you are on shore.

Cool Sail or swim in depending on wind direction and strength.

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proletariat

Since 22 Feb 2013
99 Posts
Denver, CO
 



PostThu Jun 15, 17 9:59 pm     Reply with quote

So I made a couple of videos a while ago because I thought it'd be a good idea to practice deep water self-rescue in a low-risk situation. I happened to have my camera running. Things didn't go nearly as I had planned, even after I thought I had learned my lesson.

Turns out that it's way more complicated than I thought it would be and, by turns, I found myself with a surprise-powered kite, lines wrapped around my legs/ helmet cam / head, and a lost board. A while later, I had to *officially* self-rescue when my 14m kite inverted right as the wind picked up about 15-20mph and I was about 0.5 miles from shore. Wyoming survival kiting at its finest.

Turns out that screwing up those few rescues really helped me keep my cool, which is THE most important thing in self-rescue. If you watch that kite deathloop rescue video guy, it's his chill approach to solving the problem that makes it work. I had a similar experience when shit went sideways for me.

Oh, and I swam for probably 45 minutes... I wear a wetsuit / impact vest so it was no big deal at all. I actually kind of enjoyed the swim once imminent danger was past.

Anwyay, here are those vids... hope they help -- I was pretty new when I filmed them. I'm better now Smile

Me screwing up / how NOT to do it (warning: explicit... I curse like a sailor)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RthixK7tgA0&t=333s

Annotated this one with some lessons learned.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bNZ5gZxafo&t=40s

Guys getting out of insane situations by remaining chill:

He did a couple of these.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naFKEWEHn6k&t=221s

You know exactly what's going through this guy's head.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeQgcY5kJfs

This one is bloody AMAZING.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhIZkdyROFo

Anyway, hope that helps. Most important takeaway is to stay chill and make smart, methodical decisions in deep water self-rescue. Some other, more incidental tips are in my 2nd link. Sorry for the novel.

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proletariat

Since 22 Feb 2013
99 Posts
Denver, CO
 



PostThu Jun 15, 17 10:16 pm     Reply with quote

Just read Big Jon's post... those are some fantastic tips... in my screwup videos, you can see me wrestling with the board a lot, so his tips for board mgmt are great.

Also in the videos, you can see how the slack lines can be a mess by the time you get close to the bridle.

One note: I made a suggestion one of the videos to wrap up some of the extra slack of the other 3 non-tensioned lines before you go wrapping all 4 (not enough to be taut, but just some of the excess slack). I tried this later in high wind and it was terrifying, so don't do that. In high wind, your lines stay downwind of you for the most part, so following Jon's suggestion to position yourself to stay windward of your lines is a great one. In light / no wind self-rescues (such as my 2nd video), I think it's fine to wrap that slack as long as you leave enough for the far end of the kite to flop around at will.

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kookdagorge

Since 15 Jun 2012
31 Posts

 



PostThu Jun 15, 17 10:25 pm    Re: self rescue thoughts/questions Reply with quote

honda1 wrote:
The only problem was that the wind was so strong that wrapping my lines was nigh impossible. All the correct ideas were there but the wind was too strong.


The wind shouldn't be a factor if you have flagged the kite correctly. It does take a little bit of practice to learn to wrap the lines around the bar using the tension to help and not hinder you, but it's definitely possible- I'm a small girl and can do it easily in strong wind with the kite flagged.

Please don't ever float around with loose lines you are asking for trouble when the kite decides to pick back up and hot launch with the lines near you arms, neck or fingers.

It makes me sad that you have so much experience and didn't learn safety systems in your initial kite lessons. When choosing lessons make sure they are going to teach you how to self rescue. It's critical to know how to save yourself when shit goes wrong. And it's never too late to take a lesson where you just go practice with an instructor a few times, no matter how much riding time you already have.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
284 Posts

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PostThu Jun 15, 17 10:48 pm     Reply with quote

proletariat wrote:

This one is bloody AMAZING.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhIZkdyROFo


Ha this one made me laugh... All sorts of funny stuff happening.

Two kites are tangled, the other guy's lines are at risk of causing serious damage to him and this guy is yelling to take care of his board. It's really impressive that this guy perseveres with the other kite lines all around him. He handles the kite entanglement like a champ... A real hero.

After the entanglement this guy gives his working kite to his buddy and his buddy goes to shore with the working kite. This guy then switches and takes the tangled kite. You think he is going to provide some miraculous save where he pops back up, performs some serious bar magic, and barefoots back home looping his kite the whole way. Nope, instead he walks along the shallow kelp line trying to get to his kite while breathing heavily the whole way. He finally gets to his kite leaving all the lines loose around him. A boat stops by and offers to give him a ride back to shore for $30. He negotiates this price down to $15 as he is not a tourist. The boater tells him to pop his kite. He does so (without re-capping aftwards such that water is now pouring into his bladder). I was sure the boater was going to re-negotiate for a new price now that he had popped his kite.

Good for a few laughs...

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skideeppow

Since 26 Aug 2011
330 Posts

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PostFri Jun 16, 17 8:34 am     Reply with quote

bigjohn wrote:
Self rescuing in high wind (40 mph +) is very different than self rescuing in light wind.

Your kite flips all around in the air and has considerable pull.

A few things I think about:
(these tips assume no barge is coming, and no fixed objects are near)

* Take it SAFE and slow. The #1 thing to think about is not getting wound up in the loose lines.

* The next tip is that if you are getting pulled hard by your kite, simply flatten your body out and swim towards your kite. The line tension will release because you are moving quicker towards your kite. If you try to fight the kite by holding your body perpendicular you are creating more tension on your lines making them more difficult to wrap up.

* After I pull my safety and as soon as I reach my bar I carefully back wrap my single line on the backside of my bar so I have no loose line floating around to get caught in.

* I then tie a couple of half hitch knots on the tension side lines to my bar so my lines can't accidentally come off my bar. This creates a environment where I can easily hang on to my bar to hold the kite. I can relax for a moment to re-assess my situation (look for barges, fixed objects etc.)

* I then release my safety leash from my bar and tie it to my board. If you don't have straps or a leash hook, create a loop around the back side of your board and fins.

* I then start wrapping all 4 of my lines evenly on the bar as I swim towards the kite.

* It is easy to accidentally miss a wrap or have one of the lines slip off your bar which will start to power up the kite. If this occurs simply add an additional wrap to your tension line.

* Don't wrap your bar all the way to your kite. You will end up wrapping your bridal which will make it impossible to clean your lines up for the self rescue home. Instead, as you get close to (perhaps 10 feet from your bridal) climb that line to your kite such that you can secure your kite in your hand.

* Once you have reached your kite it is time to clean up your lines. Wrap all the loose lines around your bar such that no lines have any slack. You can wrap your lines in any direction around your bar. Just make sure there is no slack line. Each line should have a couple of 1/2 hitch tie off's at the bar to make sure they can't come loose.

* take your released chicken loop and run it through your kite pump loop on your kite. If you can't do this at least hook it around a bridal and re-secure the chicken loop in a locked position. This will keep your bar from sliding off the back of the kite and getting tangled up in seaweed etc.

* At this point you have a secure kite with no loose lines flopping around. Self rescuing is much easier.

**Edited 3 times for clarity **


If you take your leash off prior to completely securing your kite (all 4 lines) isnt there a change the kite will power and then it call take off on you.

Great tips, thanks

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Hazard to Navigation

Since 12 Sep 2016
32 Posts
Hood River
 



PostFri Jun 16, 17 9:50 am     Reply with quote

Good tips here, thanks to all for the responses. I practiced a self rescue here at the Event Site as part of an IKO instructor course a few weeks ago and I've got a couple of things to add:

I thought keeping the board on my feet would be the easiest way to hold it while winding my lines. It may be, but the added line tension made it very difficult to wrap the lines, even in moderate wind. As others have said, you might need to swim towards the kite while wrapping. A second leash for your board, with a release that you can reach, is a great idea.

Cold water can be a huge factor. I was wearing a full 4/3, kayakers' PFD, and neoprene hood and booties. Warmer than needed while riding, but I had noticeable loss of dexterity by the time I reached my kite, and was pretty chilled when I made it to shore (which wasn't far). I suspect that few people are actually dressed warm enough to be in the water for long, most of the time.

Having a competent buddy or two is always a good idea. I'm a strong swimmer, but I'm also careful to stay relatively close to shore when the water is cold.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
284 Posts

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PostFri Jun 16, 17 10:37 am     Reply with quote

skideeppow wrote:


If you take your leash off prior to completely securing your kite (all 4 lines) isnt there a change the kite will power and then it call take off on you.

Great tips, thanks


I think that's an excellent question.

Personally I look at your safety leash being attached to your bar as a liability at this point. If things go bad the kite will likely not flag out on the safety leash which is attached to you.

More importantly however is the concept of commitment. Once your start a self rescue you are committed. Your best line of defense is making sure you always have a single tension line between you and the kite. If things go bad BE SURE YOU ARE NOT CLOSE TO ANY LINES BEFORE RELEASING THE KITE. If the lines slip or you mess up, figure out how to find a single line to depower the kite. Most importantly as previously mentioned, stay calm, be aware of your surroundings, and relax. Smart beats fast when self rescuing.

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Saildoogie

Since 16 Oct 2013
37 Posts
White Salmon, WA
 



PostFri Jun 16, 17 12:51 pm     Reply with quote

I recently happened to have quite an exciting session that involved a self rescue.
This was a few weeks ago. I launched from the event site on my 7 m for a well powered session. Iím plenty comfortable in windy conditions. I went straight up to the hatch and swell city and had a great time surfing the very large swell. It was about 30-35 knots with occasional higher gusts. So plenty on.
I just kept doing laps between swell and the hatch having a grand old time. Mark Barnes was there at the same time. I eventually got taken out by quite a large puff and crashed. Unfortunately my kite crashed also and got taken out by a breaking wave. I spend about 10 minutes to "unpretzle" the kite but was unsuccessful. Mark swung by and asked if I was OK. I replied, yes, that I was trying to sort out the issue. I finally admitted defeat and pulled myself to the kite. I got it untangled but by then my lines ended up quite tangled amongst themselves.
So it was time for a self rescue. I crashed around the Hatch. I looked around and saw no barges. Throughout this ordeal, I managed to keep my board with me. I clipped my leash through a foot strap and put my board upside down on my kite. (I now have my kite upside down and me on the windward side, in the water, controlling the kite nicely.)
I took my bar and tangled lines and put them also on the kite. I grabbed my steering line and started self rescuing. I drifted, swam, and sailed my way to the Washington side. The current took me past Swell city. Pepi swung by and checked in on me. I wasnít cold and not tired or panicked. I told him I was fine and was working my way to shore. Once I got out of the main current, I let the eddy and wind take me back downwind to some an easier place to get out, right above Swell.

Once I got to shore, I put my board on the rocks, walked up with my kite and lines over the guardrail and walked quickly to the Swell city parking, dropped the kite there and went back to get the board. Once back at swell, I called my wife, told her all was good and I would be late to get the kids. Then I spent 45 minutes untangling my lines with the intent of relaunching and making it back to the event site on my own. I got everything sorted, checked for any damage and rigged my kite at the bottom of the cement path and ran my lines up the path. I then carefully solo drift launched my kite, walked out to the point a bit, rotated the kite and relaunched it. Got up and home I went. All the way back to the event site after leaving there 3 hours before!
I realized that it was quite important to remain calm throughout the situation, and assess what my best options were.
Thanks to the windsurfers for not chasing me out of swell and relaunching there. Although Iím sure they were entertained. Itís definitely a tricky launching site.

Doogie

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bobgatpdx

Since 04 Oct 2008
168 Posts

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PostSat Jun 17, 17 11:06 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
Slappysan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:20 am Post subject:
I used to wrap up my lines while getting to my kite during self rescues because that's the way I was taught but I no longer rescue that way.

My approach these days:

1) Wear some floatation - if you need to kick your legs to stay above the water you will get tangled in lines. I wear an older version of the LF Supreme vest.

2) Wear gloves (3/4 finger) - climing a single center line takes a decent amount of friction and a decent pair of gloves give you the friction you need to climb that line in 40 knots while your kite is whipping around in the wind.

3) Always kite with 2 leashes. I use a short leash for my kite and have an extra handle pass leash for use during rescue (also handy for tether launch/land).

4) Climb center line immediately using only your hands, make a note of the way the water is taking the lines and try and angle your body to pull away from it. You should be able to be holding your kite in less than 1 minute this way.

5) Secure kite via secondary handle pass leash to the pump leash attachment.

6) Detatch all 4 line from the kite (not 100% necessary but I find it's safer, easier and cleaner)

7) Roll up lines. With them detached from the kite this takes only 1 minute and doesn't lead to a rats nest to deal with once you are on shore.

Cool Sail or swim in depending on wind direction and strength.


Great comments by slappysan and bigjohn and others!
My 2 cents:
I always carry a second (long) leash to hold the board nearby.
There are a few different self rescue scenarios:

Most common - the wind dies and you can't relaunch.
In this case, you are not so worried about the kite jumping back up into the sky and the pull on the lines is not so hard. So you have the option of winding up the lines (may take longer and drift downwind more), or climbing the safety line to get to the kite as quickly as possible (while not getting tangled in the lines).

Less common - it's windy and you can't relaunch for some reason
Maybe your kite is hopelessly tangled or something is broken. In this case, keeping control of the kite is the most important thing because it can jump up and pull hard. So for me, this means winding up the lines the way we were all taught. Might take longer, but less risk of getting tangled in the lines.

Kite falls in the surf - in or near the impact zone
This is not so much an issue in the Gorge, but can be a real problem in the ocean. I've had a couple situations where the wind was light near shore, and I dropped the kite just outside the impact zone. As I'm working on getting relaunched, I'm drifting slowly towards shore and all of a sudden there's a huge wave bearing down on my kite. In this situation, the safest thing to do is pop the safety and detach your leash completely. You do not want to get pulled into the soup by a big wave. Kites can get shredded and the lines can give you serious cuts. Best to cut your losses at this point. Your gear will wash up on the beach. Embarrassing, but not fatal.

- Bob

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SpaceRacer

Since 04 Nov 2007
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PostSun Jun 18, 17 1:08 pm     Reply with quote

One tip that I was taught early on, which I personally find invaluable when self rescuing, especially in high winds will be explained below. As a side note, I wonder if that is why the guy who got separated from his kite at Rufus during his self rescue on Tuesday in high winds simply ditched the kite: too much pull to wrap up lines to get to kite? After, as Big John said, wrapping the "back end of your leash line around the back of the bar" so to speak, DO NOT TRY TO WRAP UP YOUR LINES NICE AND NEAT ON THE ENDS OF YOUR BARS LIKE YOU DO ON THE BEACH! IMHO this is the way you store lines but not self rescue! When you self rescue, (AND THIS IS AFTER YOUR KITE IS FLAGGED OUT AND THE LEASH LINE IS WRAPPED AROUND BAR AS STATED ABOVE) start wrapping all of the lines very quickly ON EITHER SIDE OF YOUR HAND IN A FIGURE 8 PATTERN AROUND THE BAR. Use the bar to reel in your lines in a figure 8 pattern around your hand. You have much more leverage this way and can get to your kite fast! The only caveat is that you have to be mindful about not getting your hand wrapped up in your lines as you do this but this is how I self rescue and I get to my kite every time under every circumstance (of course I am on a five line kite so I am lucky here Very Happy). If you do not believe me, try it at home. Pull some weight across your yard both ways and tell us which is better. And I agree with John. My kite is my life raft home. I never try to ditch it anymore unless it is trying to kill me. I learned that lesson a long time ago when I freaked out and ditched the kite and watched it drift away like Wilson in Castaway. I was like....now what?! I am a good swimmer and I wear a PFD and I was still very freaked out that I ditched my kite and had a long swim in cold water.

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