TimG wrote: ↑
Tue Oct 05, 2021 9:25 pm
What are other people’s experiences? Does pretty much everyone who learns higher elevated kite loops get injured?
I don't know of anyone injured learning bigger loops here. But most of the people I kite with are in our 40s, so we tend to take less risks and are more certain of our skills before trying new things. That said, two of them recently broke ribs. One got lost upside down during a small boogie (maybe 5-6m), while the other did a 15m megaloop and his kite stalled in front of him from a significant wind hole. I've had a few unpleasant ragdoll cartwheel moments that could've gone quite differently.
1.Pivoty, non-yanking kite:
Pretty self explanatory. You can learn loops on any kite, but some make life a lot less painful. Ideally the smaller the kite the better.
2. Learn looping:
Be comfortable looping the kite at any time. Downloops, helis, downwind riding, emergency transition loops, water starts, etc.
3. Learn looping tricks:
As many people have pointed out, learn basic loop tricks like darkslides with varying degrees of loop height/size to get you accustomed to the pull depending on how slow/fast or big you pull the loop.
4. Loop positioning:
Don't just get used to high vs low positions when you initiate your loop. Get used to the kite positions at varying areas of the wind window. Depending on where you loop it towards the edges of the window, it will pull you in that direction. I can't stress this part enough for preventing rotation. You will accidentally throw yourself into some sort of half rotation, usually on takeoff. You can use the kite to pull yourself out of a rotation, or into a rotation depending on how close you are to the edge of the window and direction of loop. I still struggle with this looping switch as I often oversend jumping on my weak side, but thankfully I know how to correct it.
Loose as possible and build good foot strength. If you crash at speed and your foot gets caught, good luck to your knees/ankles. Don't do boots. Crashing hard is infinitely worse in boots.
6. Don't pull a loop if you're not jumping vertically:
Pretty self explanatory. Even if you get decent height on the jump, the lines will still slack and the kite will stall. Even on a looping kite like an Orbit that can catch on a vertical 3m jump with a high pull, it'll struggle to catch you going under 7m.
7. Flat water:
Learn in flat water. Landing at speed in chop is a ticket to the hospital. I also advise not using kickers for takeoff until you're well experienced. You're very likely to come off slightly unbalanced, which is then multiplied when you pull a loop. I mainly learnt in the flats between waves.
8. Shallow water:
Don't do it. At least in the landing zone.
9. Safety gear:
Helmet and impact vest. They don't prevent all injury, but they definitely help.
Do you need to do any of this? No. People learn various ways and in various conditions. A few of the guys around here started learning kite loops shortly after learning downloops. You know you best as to whether you're comfortable with a bit of extremity.