In this video Luke from Flukes Kitesurfing delves into a vital technique that every kitesurfer should be well-versed in – how to self-land your kite, especially in emergency situations.
It’s always safer to do an assisted landing.
Why is Self-landing Important?
Imagine this: you’ve been out kite surfing, and upon returning to shore, you find that everyone has left. Who will help you land your kite? Or perhaps you’re out in the water, the wind intensifies unexpectedly, and you find yourself struggling to keep the kite under control. In situations like these, knowing how to get your kite down safely is crucial.
Steps to Self-land Your Kite:
- Scout a Clear Area: Before initiating the self-landing process, ensure there’s a clear downwind area. This is the region where the kite is likely to move or slide. Eliminate any obstacles, such as logs, trees, or people.
- Position Your Kite: Avoid initiating the landing when your kite is at the zenith or 12 o’clock. Instead, bring it down to about 45 degrees.
- Activate the Safety Release System: Modern kites come with a single-line safety system. It’s crucial to test it periodically. When you’re ready to land, activate this system, which will let the kite flag out, losing its power.
- Secure the Kite: Once the kite hits the ground, if it’s sideways or in an unpredictable position, move upwind to stabilize it. Once stabilized, you’ll walk towards it, hand over hand on the safety line, ensuring to avoid any snags.
- Approach with Caution: Remember, when walking towards the kite, it’s essential to keep tension on the safety line. This ensures the kite remains in its position.
(Rick Iossi, who has done a fair bit of safety writing for Kitesurfing Magazine has pointed out that a number of accidents have happened to riders walking up their lines while still hooked in.)
“I know of at least two near fatal accidents, and some other pretty bad injury accidents one included a guy getting slammed into a 10 foot high concrete seawall, then being lofted over a 2 Lane Rd. into a tree and then smashing down into the front end of a car majorly messing that up and the rider. There have been others, including the guy getting impaled walking towards his kite. KiteBoarding has its hazards as we know, bad things can sometimes happen. An anchored solo landing may avoid some of these as long as the wind isn’t too erratic.”—Rick Iossi.
The safety leash unhook method described by Luke is considerably safer for the rider, but potentially dangerous if there are bystanders. Check out the wrap-up technique in Method One of this in-depth Kitesurfing Self-Landing: A Comprehensive Guide for a very good approach. This is a similar method taught by Real in their self-rescue video.
- Securing Your Equipment: Once you’ve approached the kite, secure it using sandbags or heavy amounts of sand to ensure it doesn’t move.
Bonus Tip: Cleaning Up After Self-landing
One of the challenges with self-landing is the mess it can create with your equipment, especially the bar. To address this:
- Make sure the kite is entirely secured.
- Walk behind the kite (downwind), ensuring it stays still.
- Unclip the bar, ensuring no lines are tangled.
- Re-thread the line and conduct a preflight check to rearrange and ensure everything is in order.
Finally, if your bar gets sandy, ensure you rinse it out. It’s crucial to ensure your safety mechanisms work flawlessly the next time.
Regularly practicing self-landing, even in light winds, ensures you’re prepared for any situation. It not only keeps you safe but also protects your equipment. Always prioritize safety and know that every situation might be unique, so adapt as necessary.
Thank you for tuning in, and I hope you found this guide valuable. Remember, the sea can be unpredictable, but with the right techniques, you can navigate any challenge. See you in the next video, and until then, happy kitesurfing!
Be sure to check out this great video about the advantages and disadvantages of the different styles of kite landing. Kitesurfing Self-Landing: A Comprehensive Guide