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Old 12-03-2014, 09:58 AM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
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Default Want to launch ... Read This!!!

I posted this ten years ago on Kiteforum, it still makes sense today and is worth reading over.

Originally Posted by RickI
Helping someone to launch? There are few things that you should look for:

1. Do the leading edge lines BOTH converge to the center of the control bar (forming a NICE Vee shape), AND does the kite size feel appropriate for the winds?

Crossed flight lines have caused serious injuries and recently too. Rigging errors are relatively easy to spot IF you look for them. Don't rush this part, take your time to do it right. If you don't see the leading edge lines vee into the center of the control bar, put the kite down, thoroughly anchor it, redo the necessary lines and preflight, again! Look for snags, wrapped lines, etc.. If the kite seems too large for conditions, talk to the kiteboarder about it. Visiting and new kiteboarders sometimes just fly whatever and damn the consequences UNTIL they happen.

2. Are you in a good position for a launch?

That is well away from hard objects, powerlines, trees, slopes or walls (that might cause an uplift lofting), 200 ft. or more is ideal. If you can't be that far away, are you as far away as feasible. Also, at many launches it is safer to launch with the kite near or better still, from the water in the shallows offshore. Is the wind "clean," not excessively gusty and or seriously impacted by wind shadow or passing over objects upwind. If not, moving to where the wind is clean would be a good idea.

3. Are the kite lines near perpendicular to the wind?

Perpendicular works for winds in the mid range for a given kite. A slightly greater angle than 90 degrees may be necessary for launching at the light end. Slightly less than 90 degrees may be necessary to avoid "hot launching" the rider with strong winds in the upper range for a given kite.

4. Did you agree on a launch signal AND confirmation with the kiteboarder before agreeing to launch him?

Don't rely upon yelled signals or a single hand signal. Lots of guys have been dragged and injured by premature launching due to mistaken communication. Be sure!

5. Does the kite look OK?

Are all the battens and leading edge well inflated, lines free of knots, tangles, wraps, damage, etc. as far as you can see? If not, abort the launch and fix it BEFORE launching.

6. You receive the first signal to launch, is the area downwind (ideally at least 100 ft.), free of bystanders, nearby dogs, etc.?

If the kite doesn't appear to be biting into the air and wants to take off you might indicate to the kiteboarder that he should wait for the wind to fill in. Does the wind appear to be excessively gusty and would waiting a minute or so bring less violent wind? Crossed lines may make a kite hesitate before taking off and impair the tendency to "bite into the wind. That is initially anyway, after the hesitation is over it usually flies at light speed across the wind window powered and out of control. If the kite doesn't "feel" right, stop and carefully check things. Otherwise, give the acknowledgment signal to the rider and wait for the kiteboarders confirming signal and then GENTLY move the kite into the wind and release it. NEVER throw a kite into the air unless it is particularly light and both kiter and assistant are experienced with the procedure and are expecting this to happen.

Do you have other ideas out there for things that a kiteboarding assistant should look out for, if so what are they? It goes without saying, DON'T USE UNTRAINED PEOPLE to help you launch and land. Go over procedures with whomever helps you including experienced guys. Misunderstandings can really HURT in a launch or landing gone seriously wrong. Some photos and ideas on launch communication signals appear in the KSR at:

7. Kiteboarding Signals
Universal signals to be used to coordinate launching, landing and rescues.

Originally posted at
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 12-03-2014 at 10:14 AM.
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