Riding safely and responsively on kites means having a safety system that allows you to completely depower the kite. On inflatable kites, most systems accomplish this by relieving the tension on all the lines except one. By doing this the kite stretches out, end on end, flapping in the wind and looses power. At this point the ride can do a self rescue by winding up his lines on his bar and/or by swimming in. If you wind the lines on the bar you must maintain the differnce in line lengths that was created when you let go of the bar. If you let the lines become equal again they could all retension and the kite could power up. Below is a guide for setting up safety systems. This is only meant as a guide and any modifications to existing systems are done at your own risk. It is highly recommended that you double check any modifications you make with other experienced riders.
Through the bar/ ring system. These systems as found on Airrush, Liquid Force and Slingshot kites, have your leash attached to one flying line at the bar with a way for the bar to slide up that line when you let go of the bar. These systems usually have something that stops the bar from sliding all the way up the line. VERY IMPORTANT> The bar must slide up the line at least half of the flat span of the kite in order for it to fully depower. Since the kite flys in a very rounded version of being folded in half, moving 3 lines half a span toward the kite you are able to open the kite up and have it go end on end and depower. So if you put any stopper on your lines, say at the end of your leaders, make sure it is at a minimum half the span of the kite from the bar. If you use only one bar, make adjust it for your biggest. I can't stress how important this is. If you let go of your bar and the kite can't depower, you will need to cut yourself from the kite and could loose the kite (lunch for the trees). Why have a stopper at all? The advantage of these systems is that you can get back to your bar, let the lines retension and relaunch your kite. If the bar slides all the way up the line you're pretty much done.
Safety line. These systems have an additional line that goes from a leash and attaches up to one of the flying lines. When you let go of the bar this line pulls that flying line from that point and the bar gets pulled toward the kite, once again increasing the length of the other three lines and depowering the kite. As with the other system, this line should be attached no closer than half of the total span (when laid flat) of the kite. If you have to let go of your bar with these systems, you most likely are done with your session.
Oh Shoot Loops- This is variation of the through the bar systems. This system is being used by many experienced riders who are shackled to their kites. In this case letting go of their bar does little good, though in an emergency situation they will be able to depower their kite. With these systems, they have a loop attached to one line and they will put the kite down on the water ( usually at the side of the window) grab the loop and release their snap shackle. The bar slides up the line and depowers the kite. These systems also allow the rider to perform spins and the like without tangling a leash system. Snap Shackles and the Oh Shoot Loops should really only be considered for experienced riders.
What ever system you go with consider attaching the kite to your harness instead of your wrist. Also, make sure that your leash has a way to break away from it, in case the kite does not depower. Most leashes out there have a break away system.
Make any modifications at your own risk and please please please, have someone experienced double check your work.
LAKAWA Knowledge Base - What are your secrets to wind and water success? Share what you've learned that may assist others.
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