Thanks for the observations downunder. I can remember as far back as I have been teaching (16 years) the "Stand by the Water" vs "Kite by the Water" debate for launching. On a narrow beach, with shorebreak or crowded conditions things become more critical. Here's my two bits:
Kite at the Shoreside: The most obvious benefit is that you can launch, keep your kite low and get out into the water without ever having to bring it to 12 o'clock. In the case of an overpowered kite, you would be pulled out to sea and away from danger. We teach to avoid as much as possible putting the kite to 12 o'clock on the beach because it puts you in a vulnerable position: A strong gust or moving ithe kite too fast will send you straight up (and then down again), while a luffed kite will drop straight into the power zone. On a narrow beach where either the launcher or the helper has to be in the water/shorebreak, it's better to be standing on solid ground; I've seen a lot of people trying to launch their kite while getting knocked around by waves in waist-deep water.
But then again, with this method you may be standing right next to a wall-- and if the kite is going to drag you 3 metres but there's a wall 2m away, things won't end well.
Standing at the Shoreside. There is a lot to be said for standing as far as possible from obstacles as possible-- getting dragged across the sand is much better than into a tree or wall. And if you have space and the presence of mind to put the board just beside you before launching, you have less distance to walk from there into the water. But-- in my opinion the biggest drawback to launching this way is that it introduces the extra step (and risk, if you don't have good control over your kite) of having to bring the kite across the top of the window over to the sea side. Also, the wind right next to the treeline and/or buildings can be less stable, expecially in sideshore winds, so you're launching the kite in dirtier wind. "Kite toward land" also means if it gets overpowered it will pull you towards obstacles on the beach. Then, in that moment where people try to steer the kite up and away from whatever they're getting dragged toward, a bit too fast doing this means doing an unintended powerstroke.
Overall I tell the people launching from my spot to please do whichever is more comfortable for them, the best choice depends on the person and on conditions. In the case of people who are not in good control of their kite, or who don't use a good launch procedure, they may be better off standing by the shore.
Downunder wrote: "99% of bad launches on my local happened b/c the kite looped." Same observation here, except that in many cases the kite either backstalls (then surges forward with power), or just shoots up and over.
Back line wrapped around the tip of the kite? Bridle problem? Not bad luck, but a failure to do the procedure properly, especially finding the launch position carefully, and the back line tension check: before launching, sheet all the way out (to check for depower) and back in again (to check for EQUAL and SUFFICIENT tension). This step greatly reduces the possibility of things going wrong.
In each case though, things need to be as close to the waterside as feasible, usually this means that either the helper's or the kiter's feet are wet & in the water.
I'm at Jibe's in Viet Nam: vietnam-kitesurf.com