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How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

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knotwindy
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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby knotwindy » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:48 pm

Depends on so many things. There are a couple of kite schools nearby so there are regularly beginners needing rescue here. Boards are pretty easy, especially tt. Surfboards are not much more of a problem, still pretty easy and safe to do. People, you do what you have to to get them in, regardless. Kites depend on the wind and water to be doable and safe.
When you show up, first talk to them from a short distance away to be sure they are ok & not panicked or injured. Usually they are fine, just stuck and confused about what to do next. If onshore wind and not to far out, you can just let them drift in or teach them how to self rescue. Pretty much the best time to learn as they are motivated and if you stay with them and step-by-step it, it works fine. Release, wrap the safety line, etc. We mostly all here know the drill, I hope.
Sometimes, I’ll teach them to get them to the kite without kicking and have them rest on it and start wrapping the lines from there. If they seem comfortable with this, you can haul their board in while they wrap or go back after the rescue and get it, either way. If they can taco the kite and sail it in, great. You’ve helped them get in safely and taught them a valuable skill. Stay with them and praise them, like a good puppy, when they make it safely in. Reinforcement helps.
If they can’t taco it, you can drag them in fairly easily now that the lines are wrapped and less of a problem. All this depends on flattish water and decent wind. Doesn’t have to be steady but you can’t be way under or over powered.
In surf and 40 knots, good luck. You can’t do much unless they are willing to ditch the gear.
Which is what a lot of my friends advise right from the start no matter the situation. “I’ll bring you in but lose the gear. If not, you’re on your own.”
Last edited by knotwindy on Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby edt » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:50 pm

great post by knotwindy. I like the part about how they are "motivated" lol. give a man a fish and you feed him for a day teach him how to fish you feed him for a lifetime. It's a great time to teach him how to properly self rescue.
Last edited by edt on Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby Toby » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:40 pm

ok, with onshore winds I would do this:

If kiter is not on his kite: tell him to get to his kite on one line only.
Sounded like he already did this in your case.

Meanwhile, I would bring in his board (while he gets to the kite, and if already there, let him wait).

Once board is in, go back, and with one hand either grabs the back of your harness, or if you don't have, take your kite leash and let him hold onto that.
Now drag him in, it takes a bit, so have a chat with him, to make sure one doesn't panic or so.

Done

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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby Herman » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:47 pm

If we are talking a normal day a downed kiter should be drifting towards safety and I would just reassure the rider that I will watch him in. Find out why he can't relaunch and decide if it is worth trying to solve this issue. If there is enough wind to ride i would not encourage him to pack down but just drift on the lines. If he needed to modify the direction of drift I would get him to pull the appropriate rear leader.

If the bearing of the drift takes him off the end of the beach and he does not want to try a bar pack down and sail the kite on the bridles I would get him to leash the board to the bar and drag the rider in so they have a chance to intercept their gear as it drifts in to the rocks or whatever; he might be able to organise a boat once on dry land etc! I would only go back for their gear if I felt comfortable about it.

If it was a mate and suitable benign conditions I would consider asking them to leash their board to the bar, go to the kite on the 5th or single front line and flip it. I would then tow them slowly. You have to go slow because unless the board is rigged with a proper towing point it will probably troll and produce loads of drag if towed fast. I would keep my board on my feet to control speed and direction in the waterstart position. (If you want to go fast I think it has to be a bit at a time, rider first.) The towed rider could leash to the kite if everything is benign and under control but don't underestimate the danger of entanglement. (If the board trolls too badly I suppose you could pull it in and sit it/leash it on top of the kite but I have never tried that myself. Talking TT.)
Last edited by Herman on Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:44 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby tautologies » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:01 pm

Oh man. Yeah like has been said there are lot of variables here, but in general, do not take rider and gear. Never take the gear without rider.
Experiences that support this:

Once I tried to rescue a guy and his kite. He ended up launching his kite into mine, then released so I suddenly went racing downwind with 2 kites. Taking a board first can have a person with a downed kite get exhausted. The board is the only thing near that has any kind of floatation (if you are tired you will not get the kite). If you ride tandem...other kiter on his board you on yours it will definitely bump into yours. If you are int he water holding on to the board and harness at the same time will tired the downed kiter out faster.
If you take the kite first you will have a hard time finding the downed kiter again. Even in ideal conditions.

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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby RagingGrandpa » Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:18 pm

My example: Sideshore wind, correctly powered 10m warm sunny TT session, long sandy beach and no breaking waves. Travel buddy has a kite bladder explosion 500m offshore, rolls up lines and is sitting there... facing a long difficult swim with wet laundry, or a long boring swim with lost gear.

What we did: Downed kiter wraps up deflated kite, holds own kite+bar+board. I leash my harness to his harness hook, and I drag us in while holding my board and piloting my kite.


It felt safe. Lines are wrapped, kite is dead and can't relaunch, and ez to release the tow leash if something else goes wrong. Only remaining hazard is getting bashed by a mishandled TT, fine.

It makes me think that deflating the LE (leaving struts inflated) might be a good choice for rescuing a rider with all their gear in one haul... in some situations. (There is no such thing as a universal solution.)

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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby edt » Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:47 pm

If your kite has inflation never deflate. There is just too much weird shit that can happen. If you get swept out to sea for some reason, could be a mciroburst or maybe a weird current, who knows, anyway if you have your kite inflated you will be rescued. if you are out there with a deflated kite you're dead. There are stories every year about kiters who do a full release from their kite because they think they can swim back in faster without the kite than with it, and they wash up on shore days later. Once you are in the surf zone you can full release. If you find it difficult to swim with the kite and you can't sail it back, first of all twist your harness around to the back (so it doesn't puncture the kite) then crawl on top of it while the kite is in the U position, then paddle like you are on a surfboard.

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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby Herman » Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:10 am

I have used the technique of leashing TT boards to bars to keep the flying lines streaming out of the way while towing in a kite and it has worked ok but trolling is a problem, better if there is a towing eye by a fin bolt. In my experience kites drift faster than TTs, and probably faster than most SB.

Anybody know if a hydrofoil with foil down can drift faster than a kite? (Small ribs drift faster than kites in rideable wind in my experience.)
Presumably if you tried to tow it, the hydrofoil would weave about like the donkey tethered to a train and maybe catch up if the tow slowed up for a few seconds? Apologies to OP for being a little off thread.

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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby RagingGrandpa » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:38 pm

Herman wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:10 am
Anybody know if a hydrofoil with foil down can drift faster than a kite? (Small ribs drift faster than kites in rideable wind in my experience.)
Presumably if you tried to tow it, the hydrofoil would weave about like the donkey tethered to a train and maybe catch up if the tow slowed up for a few seconds? Apologies to OP for being a little off thread.
(I presume you don't ride a hydrofoil...)

For normal foiling windspeeds 10-20kt, a hydrofoil will almost always float downwind faster than a downed kite. In addition to wind, any surface chop or waves will speed the foilboard up.

Hydrofoils can't be towed at anything above a swimming speed- they immediately jump out of the water. When I need to self-rescue by lying on an inflatable kite and sailing it in by holding bridles, I prefer to attach a tether (long leash etc) to the rear of the foilboard and tow it in that backwards orientation at the slow sailing pace, works fine for me.

Recovering someone else's foilboard while riding sounds unrealistic and sketchy.
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Re: How to rescue downed kitesurfer?

Postby Herman » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:05 pm

Thanks Raging grandpa, you are right I don't ride a hydrofoil although I have acquired one and shall get round to it eventually. You have confirmed what I expected and I won't be leashing a hydrofoil to the bar of a downed kite in a hurry!

I have brought a hydrofoil about 800m back to the beach whilst riding a sector 60 race board. I kept the board on my feet and if memory serves tucked the foil board under my arm. I stayed in the waterstart position and just came in at a fast drift pace. Not too uncomfortable if you are patient. Got the nickname of Spikey Norman for a while. Needless to say there was no surf running and the seastate was benign.


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