Kiting has its own share of important moments. Launching your kite is perhaps the MOST crucial of those moments. (Asides from action and thinking in a number of random safety situations).
Being kiteboarders, we need to ensure that our kites get up and fly as they should in a quick and efficient manner. We need to do it safely, away from people, landmarks, potentially dangerous objects, etc.
Let’s all remember how heavy kites get when they’re inflated and once they’re up and they’re heavy…they become dangerous. Particularly when they reach speed and catch that wind. Oh, and kite lines. Let’s not forget those. They’re like jungle booby traps with an attitude. If you catch an unawares tourist and you’re gonna hurt someone. Bad.
If you’re not a noob then maybe you can self-launch your kite. But that’s not the best way to do it and I don’t care who you are; you should admit that. The most efficient and safest way of launching your kite is with someone’s help.
It doesn’t even have to be a fellow kiteboarder or someone who has any idea what kiteboarding is…although it helps a lot. Just grab a friend or a stranger who you meet on the beach and is willing to help. They’ll be excited to do so. Okay, well my friends are jerks and they wouldn’t be excited about helping…but some would.
It’s a pretty quick, painless, and requires minimal effort if you know what you’re doing and how to direct the person who’s helping. Believe me, having that second person will reduce stress, effort, save energy and help you have a totally awesome kiteboarding time on the water. Let’s get to it!
10 Things You Should Direct Your Kite Launch Helper To Do
- Other People, Non-Kiters, and Other Beach Goers Get Right of Way
Never block the way for people who don’t care about kitesurfing. You’re not special just because you have a big piece of equipment. In most cases, people will either stay out of the way out of politeness or get too close and watch because they’re curious.
- Launch Near the Water
The air is less turbulent (believe it or not) near the water.
- Hold the Kite Correctly
Never hold it near the wing tips. Always hold the kite in the middle.
- Hold the Kite off the Sand and in a Flying Position
The tip or corner of the kite shouldn’t be in the sand. The assistant should be holding the kite off of the ground, level and parallel to the sand/ground.
- Clean the Kite
Just make sure to brush the sand off of the kite. It’s rude that when the kite flies the sand will be falling on people or blowing into peoples, hair, eyes, blankets, etc.
- Keep the Kite Bridles Straight
The bridles and rope shouldn’t be around the struts or tangled in anyway.
- Launch Angle, Launch Angle, Launch Angle
The kite should be angled so that when it launches it will easily catch the wind.
Communication between the assistant and the kiter are, obviously, paramount. Wind speed, angle, position, overall situational awareness should be discussed constantly.
- Thumbs Means “Good to Go”
Don’t release and launch the kite until the assistant sees the rider give the “thumbs up” signals. ALWAYS wait for the ready.
- Release and Move Away
Don’t stand and admire your handy work. Help launch the kite and the rider and move the heck out of the way. Go grab some rays or something. LOL
Kitesurfing is one of those activities that can be really dangerous or really fun and advantageous. The more experience that you have and the more you follow safety precautions (along with quality kitesurfing gear) then the safer the kiting gets.