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How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

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How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby leeuwen » Sat Nov 14, 2020 4:06 pm


I had a scary moment today where I got to much speed, crashed down on a wave and fell upwind from my hydrofoil. (I am still a beginner on the foil)
The hydrofoil decided to jump into my lines and got stuck between the centre lines and my left steering line, with the board on top of the lines mast beween the lines and foil down below.
Obviously that’s a bad situation. Luckily the pull wasn’t too bad and I managed to get it all sorted miraculously without even needing to use the safety.
However that got me thinking if people found some easy way to get out this situation.

I imagine that it might be convenient to unhook your bar from
the harness and keep the chicken loop in hand and then sort it?

I don’t hope to be in this situation ever again but a few tips would be nice in case it does happen.

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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby purdyd » Sat Nov 14, 2020 4:22 pm

I find it easier to get the board out rather than the foil. Usually it is the board that goes into the lines so pull the board out. It will happen again.
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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby jakemoore » Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:02 pm

Advice to manipulate the board is good. I would add to stay calm and also to consider if your foil edges are unnecessarily sharp.

The first time it happened to me I went immediately to safety. The foil cut the safety line and the whole rig was cut away. The kite dropped the foil 100 m downwind and then went out of sight in side off winds.

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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby a99 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:30 pm

This is most dangerous moment in foiling. There is few videos of such accidents. Still i think best way is to push safety, especially if high wind and you are near shore. This is as game with knifes. Also was few year ago was video when riders with boots (on tt) tangle to lines, result was open broke of leg, and he told that his mistake was not to shoot out safety. You can find this video in youtube quite easy. Usually you have 1-3 seconds till kite will get power, so, better not to safe gear, safe yourself first.

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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby cwood » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:51 pm

Depends on how extreme the conditions are. I have had it a few times and in all cases I chose to fly the kite to stable 12:00, then calmly deal with the situation. If carbon rig, the setup is so light that the kite will fly normally unless it is somehow screwing up line lengths due to wrapping or which case punch out. With lines tight and kite at 12 you can work it out.

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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby Hugh2 » Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:28 am

Three times now. In each case the kite ended up in the water. Once I simply let it drag me to shore and sorted it out there, but other two times was far out in deep water and took a lot of calm patience to figure out how to extract the foil from the lines, both successful although I don't recall details, sorry.

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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby Foil » Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:14 am

I would say this situation is one that most foilers find themselves in a few times, mostly happens when you are still building muscle memory, and this means not just in the early months but later on when trying to foil in some sizable waves for the first time, but as someone has already said having lightweight gear helps a lot when in this scary situation,
It was a very gusty windy day on Flag beach yesterday and there were 2 very new foilers trying to get going, and I watched them trying and trying again to get up on the foil, and as I expected they just could not control the sudden fast power surges of the strong gusts, and the Foil kept leaping into the air with the guys being landed flat on their backs looking at their gear rocket out and up in front, typical early moments when the foil can shoot into the lines, or shoot straight downwind ready to get tangled in the lines if the back lines go slack and the kite falls down in front.
The one that is even more scary and happened to me was my first try at going over the top of a sizeable wave to try my first drop in down a wave face, yikes that was scary, so scary I immediately sat back as you do with the resulting mess of the foil shooting up and out in front and me being rolled forward and wrapped up in the lines and the board being caught up in the lines directly in front of me, with waves pushing me right up to the carbon bits, stuff of nightmares!
I was very near the point of going for my knife, but somehow stayed calm enough to get free and work it out, but it made me test my kite knife later that day, as I needed to know how easily it would cut me out of a bad wrap up, it was maybe 4 years old, never tested for years and it had stopped working, very quickly replaced with a parachute line cutter, from a certified seller,and now tested very regularly.slices easily through thick 6mm line, even pu covered center power line.

I think after experiencing a few of these hook up situations and feeling that fear then you quickly learn how to avoid them, and recognise the moments before its too late, basically the same reflexes you learn for all the scary moments we all get to experience, death speed runs, falls down towards a side on rising wing set,
Time on the water builds muscle memory, and I now avoid these risky moments, I sail 100% strapped down which I find helps keep control, especially at high speed and on waves, my straps are groove Soft straps which let me eject very quickly if needed, as my most used "get clear"method is to just power up and get ripped clear of the board with the kite rising me clear and away from my board and sharp carbon bits,

But yes, keeping calm and resist panicking work well, along with light gear, rounded off sharp trailing edges, and rounded off pointy dagger points especially found on most rear wings, get these sanded down so you can press your skin against them without cutting in,
get a knife that actually works well on the thicker lines, or multiple wrapped lines, and position it where you can easily grab it, I will post up a photo of mine which is now sorted for quick response and knife through butter efficiency.
Q line is one particular line that can really cause problems if your knife is not great,
Many years back -17 years back,I had a really bad lofting and landed badly with compound fractures and kite trying to re loft me high again to certain doom, my kiting buddy could not cut through my kite lines with his harness knife, they were standard Q lines, and again a standard line cutter of the cheap type failed to cut these lines, make sure your knife works on all your lines, not just the thin ones.
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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby Flyboy » Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:36 am

It will happen again ... it's inevitable. First thing is to be aware of the possibility & try to avoid in happening where possible. That means being aware of what is happening to the bar/lines when you fall & doing your best to keep them away from the foil.

One problem, that has occurred to me 3 times in the last year: you drop the kite & the board drifts downwind into the lines before you can relaunch it. This usually means the board is a fair distance away from you. On each occasion I hoped that the foil would free itself from the line s... it never happened. I ended up swimming to the board wrapping the lines as I went & each time managed (with some difficulty) to get the lines off the foil & relaunch the kite. One saving grace is that, in general, you are not that powered up when foiling so the pull from the kite is likely to be less violent.

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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby deniska » Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:50 am

maybe a bit counterintuitive to some, but I think it's less of an issue with high end carbon race foils...
they just dont have that much lift and inertia as beginners alu/shovel rigs..

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Re: How to untangle a hydrofoil from a bar

Postby jatem » Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:10 am

Also much less of an issue with peaks that tend not to fall out of the sky, and don't go into deathloop like an inflatable. Dropping an inflatable into the water when you crash a hydrofoil is a recipe for danger.

One of the key skills for foiling has got to be keeping the kite in the air at all times. And then learning to push the front of the board into the water when you are crashing, so it doesn't launch skyward.
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