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The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

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podiatanapraia
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby podiatanapraia » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:13 pm

Hey rjkritzer,

It's hard to imagine what exactly happened during your safety release that caused lines to get tangled, especially if you were in control and were popping the release for practice. Theoretically, if your bar isn't twisted and your center lines aren't twisted around each other, there should be no tangles. Heck, even if there are twists, there should be no tangles. Your kite should have flagged out.

Having said that, things do go wrong. One common problem is the leash getting wrapped around the bar. That will actually prevent the kite from flagging out. Another is the kite rolling around in the water and getting wrapped by a line. This is less critical, as the kite will still be fully depowered, but it can be a problem if you hope to relaunch from the water.

If you have tangles, forget relaunching. You should be absolutely certain that your lines are perfect before you try to reset your chicken loop, and even then there's the problem of how to avoid the safety line from getting wrapped around you as the kite powers up. It's something we've talked about here before. If it's at all possible, you'll be better off just self-rescuing back to shore. If you absolutely have to attempt a relaunch, your lines should be clear and you'll probably need to collect your safety line in one hand and then toss it away from you before you hook in again, so it can run without taking your ankle with you.

Cheers!

ldmelo
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby ldmelo » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:56 pm

This is my story... happend two years ago.

I was about to launch the kite and I asked for some guy on the beach to help me out. I couldn't see anybody else there.

I had him holding the kite sideways by the leading edge and I told him I would walk to the bar and give him a thumbs up if everything was ok.

I was walking slowly to the bar (not even hooked) when some crazy bastard on a motorcycle came up from nowhere. He was driving in high speed on the beach (in a completly forbidden area for vehicles). The motorcycle got the lines and pulled the kite. I did not see this guy. In fact it was a complete suprise.. I was there walking (upwind from the kite), looking down, checking the harness and the next thing I remember I was wrapped in the kite, being dragged on the sand for 20 or 30 meters (the distance the retard got to realize he was pulling a kite, me and the other guy).

In Brazil cars are on the beach all the time.. it is a mess. And the criminal got away with it, I did not have the chance to get his plate number. There was nobody else nearby.

Lesson learned... Check for criminals/drunk drivers on vehicles before launching the kite. If asking for help, explain the guy to not take the kite from ground before you get to the other side.

The kite was destroyed (huge tear, the bladder exploded, two lines broken). One of the lines got tangled on my leg.. I would probably be dead if it was on the neck.
Last edited by ldmelo on Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

podiatanapraia
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby podiatanapraia » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:39 am

That's outrageous! Was it in Fortaleza? I've never heard of anything like that! Glad to hear you're OK. Like you said, it could have turned out really bad!

podiatanapraia
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby podiatanapraia » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:54 am

Since we're on the subject, I had a recent experience I think is worth sharing, and it relates to non violent communication. I asked another kiter, who clearly wasn't a beginner, to launch my kite. He did 2 thing no experienced kiter should ever do:
1. He didn't wait for my signal to launch.
2. He threw the kite up into the air, causing it to stall.
When I looked up, my kite was in the air and falling back. I got the kite under control and then had a knee-jerk reaction and yelled at him, saying he was nuts. Immediately his guard went up, and I could tell he'd gone into "defense mode". Now here's the thing: what he did deserved a scolding, and I could have chewed him out in front of the other riders and been right to do so, BUT... that wouldn't have been an effective way of making him understand what he did and, more importantly, of getting him to never do it again. So I cooled down, called him close to me where we could talk without others hearing, apologized for bursting out at him, and then once he was actually listening, very calmly explained what he did wrong, and why. And he got it! Later I saw him launch someone else's kite and he did everything I told him. Now, I have no idea how a non-beginner had such a gross shortcoming in his understanding of launch procedures, but ultimately we have to remember that we'll always get better results talking to and teaching other kiters who screw up, as opposed to yelling at and chastising them.

ldmelo
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby ldmelo » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:38 pm

podiatanapraia wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:39 am
That's outrageous! Was it in Fortaleza? I've never heard of anything like that! Glad to hear you're OK. Like you said, it could have turned out really bad!
I am from Fortaleza but this happened near Uruau/CE.

thesleeve
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby thesleeve » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:59 pm

I've had a total of 20~25 sessions since getting started in the sport, and just had my first kitemare about a week ago. I definitely learned some lessons and wanted to share my experience.

It was a light wind day so I took out my giant door board and my 14m kite. I was having a pretty good session and got a little over-confident, and tried for a big jump when there was a gust of wind and some chop to pop from. I didn't land the jump, and while I was in the air, I was pushed far enough down wind that I was under the kite when I hit the water. I didn't move the kite to either side, so it was at noon. Since the wind was light and I had essentially fallen directly under the kite, it was out of the wind window. It stalled and fell down nearly on top of me. With no tension in the lines, they became tangled during the fall, but I didn't notice at the time.

I swam away from the kite to get some tension back in the lines and move it to the edge of the wind window, but by the time I was able to relaunch, I noticed that the steering line had wrapped around the center line. The kite relaunched itself before I could correct the problem. The kite went into a death loop and slammed back into the water. Since the wind was light and the kite wasn't pulling too hard, I didn't pull the chicken loop release yet and spent some time trying to untangle the lines, but I was unsuccessful. Eventually, I realized I would have to release the chicken loop to avoid the kite powering up and creating an even more dangerous situation.

After releasing the chicken loop, I was dismayed to see that the safety line wasn't being pulled through the bar, so the other 3 lines weren't getting enough slack. I'm not sure if this is an issue with the bar or possibly due to the lines being tangled and creating friction. In the meantime, while treading water, one of the lines had gotten behind me. A gust of wind came and the kite tumbled over itself and got into a bow tie, and the force pulled the lines and wrapped one around my leg. I was briefly pulled under water before freeing myself. This was the scariest moment of the whole thing. After freeing my leg from the line, I saw how the kite was bow tied and the safety line was not pulling free. I had no choice but to remove the leash and free myself from the kite entirely.

I was in deep water maybe 500 meters from shore. Scary. My board was visible but far away. I figured the safest thing was to swim to the kite to use it as floatation. Because my lines were a tangled mess and I wasn't sure if the kite was really flagged out, I swam to the kite first and then pulled in my bar and the mess of tangled lines. I got on the kite and threw my bar in. The kite was floating but the canopy was half full of water due to the fact that a line or two had wrapped around it and created the bow tie. I was eventually able to get the kite somewhat untangled and create a sail.

Two fellow kiters came over to check on me (there are still good people in the world!). One even went and grabbed my board and took it to shore. But I was so far out and the wind was so light that it took over an hour of using my kite as a sail to make it back to shore. At least I made it, and somehow all of my gear survived too.

I am one of those people who took tons of lessons, is super concerned about safety, regularly watches videos on self rescue, surviving death loops, etc... and somehow I still made these mistakes and got myself into trouble. It's humbling for sure. I think it's a good reminder that I need to not get overconfident and take unnecessary risks. I was lucky that the kite remained inflated and served as a life boat, because in my condition I'm not sure if I would have had the strength to swim back to shore from that far out.

Lessons Learned:
• I shouldn't have attempted to do a jump, something I'm still a novice at, when I was so far from shore. I should have assumed that something might go wrong and attempted the jump closer to shore in order to minimize the risk of getting stranded so far out.
• I should have released my chicken loop as soon as I realized that the kite was in a death loop, instead of trying to fix it. By spending so much time trying to fix the problem I might have done more damage to the kite or gotten myself into even more trouble by getting tangled in the lines.
• I need to figure out if there's something really wrong with the safety line on my bar, and fix it if necessary. This would have possibly prevented me needing to disconnect my leash and separate me from the kite entirely in deep water. If I had pulled the chicken loop release earlier, maybe the safety line would have not gotten stuck as it did.
• I need to bring the kite down during the jump so that it doesn't stall out in the first place.

Things I Did Right:
• Made sure wind was cross onshore before going out in the first place, so that I knew I could do a self rescue if needed.
• Recognized problems and used safety systems effectively, even though I should have done so earlier.
• Performed a self rescue, eventually.
• Didn't die.

I'm heading out again tomorrow for my first session since this all happened. Will be sure to start out the session by testing my safety systems and make sure everything is in order.

dejavu
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby dejavu » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:12 am

Good summary "thesleeve" and glad you are safe. The self reflection bit I think is paramount and I do the same after I stuff up so hopefully I learn and it won't happen again. It is scary just how quickly those lines can become a hazard to the body so quickly and trying to get away from them can take a bit. Hope your session is good today.

knotwindy
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby knotwindy » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:56 am

One question @thesleeve
Why do you ever go that far out? You might have a good reason but lines break, kites tear, bladders burst, valves delam, boards break, things (large things) float around out there to hit, etc. There are lots of reasons not to go out farther than you can comfortably swim so, again, what is so much better that far out that it is worth the risk to you?

thesleeve
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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby thesleeve » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:15 am

knotwindy wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:56 am
One question @thesleeve
Why do you ever go that far out? You might have a good reason but lines break, kites tear, bladders burst, valves delam, boards break, things (large things) float around out there to hit, etc. There are lots of reasons not to go out farther than you can comfortably swim so, again, what is so much better that far out that it is worth the risk to you?
Good question, knotwindy. The short answer is that I didn't realize how far out I was until I was already in trouble. But there are a few additional reasons:
* The wind was very light and it was challenging to stay upwind, so I was making my tacks a lot longer than normal in order to minimize losing ground during turns.
* The wind in this spot tends to be stronger when you're a little further out, so I was trying to utilize that stronger wind to stay upwind easier.

That said, you're right. I shouldn't have been that far out in the first place, let alone trying jumps. Add that to my list of lessons learned.

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Re: The Safety Topic: please post your experience and advice!

Postby alexglebov » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:40 pm

The QR works best with your kite still in the air, this way the bar will travel along the line after you release. With the kite in the water, the bar does not travel so nicely - I had this problem with my old North bar, so you would have to go along the safety line to your bar and push it father down the line by hand. Once you got to the bar you can examine why it does not travel. If it is still stuck, then you probably has to consider cutting the other lines to make sure the kite does not power up. Did you wear a impact vest and carry one or two knifes? I am local to Bay Area too and sometimes kite at Alameda, but now the wind is not strong enough there, so I go mostly to 3rd or Coyote. I had a death loop situation once at Alameda too - very scary, but I was able to stop looping right away by pulling the farthest steering line. My bar was wrapped in a long leash that I had a that time, now I switched to the short leash and no hook/no chicken loop setup to minimize the probability of the steering line/leash wrapping. Your looping probably was caused by the bar wrapping or line wrapping around the tip of the kite.


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