Noob here. Thanks for the tip. By "dropping your kite" I'm assuming you mean to let go of the bar and allow the kite to hit the water. Obviously an important tip because a lot of beginners hang on to the bar and get dragged around.
To expand on this (and it may have been asked on the board before, sorry -- can't find it by searching): in general for recent-model kites and control systems, when should a kiteboarder (A) let go of the bar, (B) pull the primary QR on the chicken loop to flag or full-depower the kite, and (C) pull the secondary or leash QR to completely disconnect from the kite?
For (A), I understand that as long as the kite's not going to hit anyone or cause trouble, I can let go when I want. I might let go when I'm falling, being dragged, or simply not in solid control. The kite should depower and drop to the water on its edge without pulling me much, and from that position I can relaunch the kite.
(C) happens only in an extremely bad situation, obviously. Maybe if the kite gets caught on an aircraft or whale and the rider is about to go on a very long trip.
What about if a huge gale comes up, so even after hitting the primary QR, the rider is still being dragged downwind? Or if (to be avoided at all costs) a swimmer gets caught in the lines? I suppose whether there are people downwind is also a factor. I'm hoping to never have to completely ditch the kite.
(B) is the tricky one. I imagine that it depends on many factors such as the safety system, the kite, and how the leash or secondary QR is attached. Another factor might be whether the kite can be water-relaunched after hitting the primary QR. I'm talking about people who are riding hooked in with the kind of QR that detaches the chicken loop from your harness so the bar and lines fly away, with the secondary or leash QR attached to only one or two lines so the kite is disabled on its back or LE.
For example, the thing that makes me nervous about my '12 Switchblades (which I haven't used yet -- can't wait!) is the primary QR on the Cab IDS bar. It's hard enough to put it back together while I'm sitting in my living room; on the water, it must be brutal. Hitting this QR on the water will mean at least a swim to shallow water to reset everything. Right now, I'm hoping to pull it only if the wind picks up dramatically and I can't get to shore with the kite in the air. (There's also self-landing, though I don't plan on doing that for a while.)
Should a rider be prepared to pull the primary QR in other situations?
Thanks for the advice and beginner tolerance. I'll certainly talk about this with my instructor, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask here.
And just to introduce myself, as I've been lurking and am a newbie: I'm Tim, in Durham, NC. I had lessons on Hatteras a few years ago and didn't follow through with the sport, but I'm going to get into the sport in earnest now. I'm pulling together some equipment, getting in touch with locals, and looking at options for a refresher course. I love sport kites and have been drooling over kiteboarding ever since I was on the beach flying a stunter when a kiteboarder cruised by. When I picked my jaw up off the sand, I said "I have GOT to learn to do that." I'm good with kites but not with boards, so I'm prepared to make a lot of splashes before I get it right.