I had a moment, not sure why I feel I need to share but maybe the experience will make someone not make silly mistakes.
I'm in Durban (South Africa) at the moment and I wanted to go for a kite, the surf here is big compared to where I'm from so it was a little daunting, but the most important thing was keeping the kite in the air in the surfzone...which is where things got real.
All gear was rented and I was flying a 2018 F-one Bandit 14m, had a load of power on the beach, felt more than enough to get me out safely....I set off, past the first set of breakers and a good distance from shore but the kite was struggling, I was getting up but then it was stalling badly, in hindsight it seemed to be when I needed power and pulled the bar it would stall, possibly oversheeting? I noticed the bar was older so I wondered if it wasn't set up correctly.
Anyway, something definitely wasn't right, the only other time I've felt like that is when I cocked up set up and had a tangled bridle, but I'm 99% sure the bridles were fine. it came down once and I relaunched but after that it just wanted to backstall constantly, until it finally did and wouldn't relaunch.
This then brought me to my situation, I was in a big surf zone with a downed kite and a TT, luckily I had a decent impact vest on but I was still struggling to get to shore, the kite was pulling cross-shore (ejected and on leash at this point) and the breakers were beating me up badly, despite being confident in my home territory with this sort of situation I panic swam frantically until I was literally spent, still in the breakers with nothing left in the tank, I think this was probably the first time I've felt completely helpless.
I chilled myself out a bit and concentrated on floating, timing waves and breathing when I could, then eventually I sort of bodysurfed in on the waves, culminating in me being unceremoniously dumped on the beach and dragged out by a guy I was with (he'd been trying to get me the whole time) I couldn't do anything but lie there like a shipwreck survivor.
That was pretty much it, I was in a weird place for a while after, there was a point when I felt in real trouble and I didn't like it!
Mistakes I think I made.
Tested the kite better on the beach, we always say get to the water as quickly as possible but if you need to get past surf make sure the kite flies.
I should have completely released the kite in the surf, it was hampering my progress.....but a strange part of my brain refused to do it.
Panic swimming - Don't Panic!
Sorry for the essay, made me feel a bit better writing it out.