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 Post subject: Self Launching
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:08 pm
Posts: 62
Location: W Calhoun 55416
I turned the kite into position for the drift while drowning the top of the canopies with h2o. Everything is of course happening so quick. Excitement. Windy as hell. Waves. I let my kite drift. Then before the lines tightened up, the kite lifted off the water. It did not lift high off the water yet just enough. Not enough h2o on the canopy I guess?! It lifted a little then made its way out to the end of the lines and my late afternoon sesh turned into a bad movie trailer. DEATH SPIRAL is the name of this matinee as we in the kite boarding comm coin the not so fun experience as the kite propellers downwind! Its been awhile 4 me, but we've all been there. It started to pull me under. I reached for the chicken loop then pulled the red. Not only did the kite flag, but my harness completely removed itself from my body! I quickly ran towards the harness,was able to grab it, and gather my harness, lines, then kite safely. WOW! Rob went back in for a second to make an adjustment on his rig. Rob was walking back out towards me during this ordeal and said, "nice save, glad you were able to get that kite."

I don't really know how this all looked since it happened so fast. In retrospect I was glad I was able to save, well; me. These incidents are crazy and I don't wish it on anyone. I'm grateful everything worked out. I learned some things. All I can come up with is like stated above I needed more h2o atop the kite prior to letting it drift downwind for the self launch. This or I just could not make the correct kite choice today for some strange. Glad everyone had fun this weekend.....


Last edited by Browbry on Mon May 03, 2010 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching (Update)
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:08 pm
Posts: 62
Location: W Calhoun 55416
I just had a word with a fellow kiter about last night. We deduced in wavy blowing as hard as it was this past weekend conditions self launching can be a real trick and dicey deal for anyone. If there are people around its always best to ask for help launching or landing your kite even if you feel like you have both dialed on your own.

Lastly I have a Mystic Warrior harness. I would ask the reader to dumb down for a bit to my kiter intelligence level while I explain. I have been hooking up the safety leash to the wrong part of the harness. :oops: Its the reason my harness flew completely off. :shock: The little black nylon loop is for your thumb or fingers to pull the clamp around and secure it to your spreader bar. Its not to be used for the safety leash. :roll: I feel like Lloyd Christmas having done it this way ever since someone else told me not to hook the safety leash to the metal rings located on either side of the harness. I forget why but it has something to do with being able to reach the red arrow to free yourself entirely from the kite if your unlucky and become involved in a situ when you have the need to completely free yourself from everything. The talk I had with fellow kiter tells me to hook the safety directly to the spreader bar. I moved away from this idea b/c the safety leash was wrapping itself all over places I didnt like so I sought other options. Can I ask what other owners of this harness do when attaching the safety leash?


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 11:34 am
Posts: 592
Location: Buffalo - Lake Pulaksi
I had the clear view of the entire thing and it scared the crap out of me so I can imagine how you felt. Hot launches are scary, in your situation having the kite start to spiral out of control the only thing you could do is let the kite go and save yourself which I was glad I seen the release pretty quickly as I was to far away to help catch you or the kite. I was a bit spooked to drift my kite after watching the hot launch - I soaked my kite good and spun it sideways as I ran upwind as fast as possible. I believe spinning it sideways gives less area for the wind to catch and hot launch as your LE got tossed up just enough for the wind to catch it. Glad you got released ! And saved the kite. I completly agree though - we should be launching each other in those conditions as it was gusty and most of us were flying overpowered in the gusts.

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Rob Hyland
Cabrinha Shop Rider / Lakawa Team Rider


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 3:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:46 pm
Posts: 251
Hey Bryan,

Glad you're alive and no one got hurt. I have a mystic warrior as well. I hook my safety leash onto the cable that extends around the back. In any event where you have to eject your chicken loop, the safety leash can freely move to either extreme ends of the cable. This allows you reach the leash in order completely free yourself off the kite. If however, you are unable to reach the leash or the eject system is not working, there is safety release tab on the harness on the left side of your spreader bar that you can pull. This will release the cable from the left and your leash will then will simply slide off. So, I'd clip it that cable to have the secondary ejection system available. See you out there!!!

E.H


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:08 pm
Posts: 62
Location: W Calhoun 55416
Lee - Thanks for your 2 pennies. I do not have the cable that goes around the back of the harness however. I have seen those on some harnesses in kite shops tho and I am unsure if that's a newer or older harness than the one I have. My warrior harness has 2 rings on it however on either hip. It might be where I put my samurai swords. This harness has a little knife you can pull out from the left packed inside. I think if I were in the surf I would have difficulty reaching around to grab that little knife, then picture myself swinging wildly as I cut lines free from lines wrapping all around my limbs, body, or rubber neck. I just cant imagine in the short time you have to react to a bad situ especially in the surf you could truly pull off a successful knife cut of lines scenario. It also has a built in seat so you can use it as a waist (which is what I typically use it for) or seat harness if that's how you roll. I'm sure there is a kiter reading this post who has had the misfortune of having to cut lines with the knife or risk losing just about any word in the blank here __________ will suffice. I hope I never have to go thru something like that...a death spiral every now and then or hot launch is enough bad movie time for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 9:37 pm
Posts: 268
Hey Bryan, I ride solo about 90% of the time, much of it on Lake Michigan, and early on when I was learning I had a similar experience (or three). Drift launching in choppy and gusty conditions can be challenging. No matter how much water or sand you put on the kite, sometimes a wave can tip it just so and a gust comes along and grabs it. With luck the kite will simply hot launch and you can quickly regain control. If I have learned anything along the way, which is dubious, it's that in strong winds it's best to drift launch in the lee of a point or lull in the wind--or to have the nerve to decide not to launch in sketchy conditions without a buddy to help.

Glad everything worked out and you're all right.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:20 pm
Posts: 365
Location: Rochester, MN
Always best to ask for assistance in launching / landing...never had anyone decline to help when asked.

If you have no choice but to self launch, then be sure to unwind all your lines while walking out before letting the kite go. I've seen a few people this spring unwind while the kite is drifting...very dangerous.

Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:08 pm
Posts: 62
Location: W Calhoun 55416
Hey Bill S,
When you say put sand on the kite are you suggesting I grab some sand from the bottom out there then throw it on the canopies? I've never seen or heard this suggestion. I've seen some weight down one tip of the kite with sand or a sandbag on the beach folded over. Then when its time to go they pull gently to sort of shake off the sand from the folded over edge and just like that the kite is sitting on the edge of the window ready to be air born. Out in the water particularly in conditions like MN had this past weekend is a different story than this beach idea. I need to stop fighting the common sense approach which is to find assist. It can always be accomplished with a little patience. In retrospect another idea is to put the chicken loop on a dock and let it drift out to launch. Make the dock your anchor the same way an ice screw would in the winter. There was a dock there. Once in Padre I took the owner of Air Padre, a kite instructor, and another great kiter to beach access 5 and launched all of them in 40+. Who am I to think I can do a self launch in similar conditions? I must be crazy. Sometimes you just grab your rig and run out in shallows with adrenaline pumping to get in another sesh. Yesterday I had no excuse to not get assistance. I had plenty of opportunities. Jerry kindly asked me 2-3x prior to his leaving for the day. Oh well I lived and I learned & these threads get the wheels turning upstairs in a positive way to move on, ride on another day!


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 9:37 pm
Posts: 268
Hey Bryan, that's exactly what I meant by sand on the kite: basically a solo beach-start carried into the water. Only recommended if you've got nice soft "sugar sand," of course. I've also done the "dock start" you mention. When the wind is SE at Cannon, for instance, I sometimes anchor the kite by the chicken loop around a tree branch on shore, unwind the lines, sheet the kite completely in so it sticks to the water, then let the kite drift out into the lake in side-off winds. It works especially well there as SE winds create a small wind shadow to launch in.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2002 10:37 pm
Posts: 646
Brian
Thanks for sharing your storing so we can all learn from it. The most important thing is that you got yourself out of the jam by quickly pulling the safety. The $ for the kite is much cheaper than hospital bills!!

In lighter winds and shallow + clean waters the drift launches are relatively easy with not much downside but throw a stick or two in there and waves and stronger winds and all bets are off - it really becomes a roll of the dice. Even experienced kiters can end up with their kites in the trees. The important thing is to do what you did and get out of it safely.

Of course it's always better to use buddy but if your solo I feel most confident in the beach launching. I know all beaches (ie Cannon, Wac..) don't lend itself to it but I'm feeling more confident launching from the beach (ie shore) because at least then you know your lines are straight. Now that WB has so much beach this can be done at Ramsey, Wildwood, or Bellaire. Either tilt kite slightly and walk the lines out to the right angle and pull on trailing edge til the kite turns nicely on the side or use a dog leash anchor ($4) to secure loop like what Bill described. The one time I botched the former technique was when I wasn't upwind enough and it still worked out ok. I haven't had to do it on real windy days though like Saturday. Do those techniques work ok in lots of wind too? Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
KO

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Kevin Ousdigian


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 7:54 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:06 pm
Posts: 5274
Location: Here, Now
I want to reiterate Rob's point. Turning the kite 90 degrees before letting go is critical. When I was teaching and doing drift launches off of the jetski, if the kite was let go (in significant wind and waves) with the LE into the wind 10% of them would go bad (bows are worse because the LE doesn't want to sit on the water) Turning the kite 90 degrees completely eliminated the problem. We never put water on the canopy.

Also, I never hook in till the kite is at the side of the window, unless maybe in the lightest of winds. I hang onto the CL and let go of the bar (leash connected of course). If things go bad I just let go (only happened once due to a stick in the lines). Probably the same as putting your hand on the CL release, cept you would need to reload the CL after flagging.

Glad everything worked out. Drift launches are the sketchiest launches to do. There is no reason to do them if there are other kiters present, especially if there are others enjoying the lake nearby (boaters, swimmers etc). I was amazed at how many people were doing them last week at Waconia in onshore conditions.

Thanks for sharing your experience and starting this dialog.

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Tighe


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 Post subject: Re: Self Launching
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 8:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 8:17 pm
Posts: 544
Location: St. Louis Park, MN
Your right Tighe, why do a drift launch when others are around to launch you. I had a problem on my first launch at Waconia on Sat. I was in a hurry to get out on the water, and have had very few mishaps in my drift launching technique. However, with the Wind and the Waves, the same kind of think happened to me, and the kite started to tumble right as the lines were getting tight. I was lucky and the kite just did one roll over and ended up ready for a relaunch. Needless to say, I got help on the rest of my launches that day. More wind and waves makes any drift launch more tricky. I also don't hook into the chicken loop until I can see all the lines going to the kite are straight. Just my safety line is hooked up before I ever let go of the kite.

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Eric


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