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Launch and Land By Yourself

Launch and Land By Yourself
By Paul Lang

Originally Published in the October 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine

* This editorial is meant as a guide and should not replace professional instruction. Use these tips at your own risk.

While it’s always best to launch and land your kite with the help of a fellow kiteboarder, there are many times when you need help with nobody around to assist you. With a little practice, self launching and landing your kite is very easy and, if done correctly, can be just as safe as launching or landing with the help of another
person. You’ll want to practice this in light winds, on a beach with plenty of room.

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Remember that every kite is different, and you may have to slightly modify these steps to work with your particular kite. If you have any questions, you should contact the manufacturer of your kite or your local retailer to ask them the proper self launching and landing techniques.

Self Launching: To self launch your kite, you need a beach with plenty of room as the kite will move on the sand a little as you launch it.

self_launch

1. Place your kite in the normal down position and then slightly rotate the kite on the ground away from your bar until the downwind wingtip just begins to catch air. Don’t turn it too far or it could blow away before you get to your bar.
2. Before leaving the kite, check your lines and bridle lines to make sure everything is clear. Quickly go to your bar and pick it up. Be careful to keep the lines loose until you are ready to launch the kite.
3. Position yourself so the kite is just slightly downwind of a normal launch position. Look up your lines to make sure there are no tangles and that your lines do not get caught on anything on the ground.
4. Once you are ready, back away from the kite to tension the lines. At the same time, pull on the right outside line (if you are launching on the left side of the window as in these photos). The kite should rotate and begin to take off.
5. As the kite takes off it will have more power than in a normal launch, so ease the bar out or even let it go until the kite reaches the edge of the window.

TIPS:
• Never wrap the lines around your hand when you grab them. This is a horrible idea that will lead to cuts
and lost fingers.
• Most kites are easier to launch if you ease the bar out while you are trying to rotate the kite into the
launch position.

Self Landing: Self landing your kite is an important safety skill in case you end up away from other kiters and need to get your kite out of the sky.

self_land

1. Move your kite to about 30° above the land on the edge of the window.
2. Grab your chicken loop above your bar and pull. This will cause your kite to shoot further upwind out of the window, which causes it to stall. If you have a 5th line type safety system, grab that instead.
3. As the kite begins to fall, let go of your bar while you continue to hold onto the chicken loop. If you have a 5th line safety system, let go of the bar and continue to pull that line in
4. As the kite approaches the ground, pull on the top front line. This will turn the kite slightly so it lands on its
leading edge.
5. When the kite lands, it should stay put if you do it right. Immediately go to the kite, rotate it to the correct beach position, and put some sand on it to secure it.

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TIPS:
• Never never ever wrap the lines around your hand when you pull on them. If the kite powers up, you will probably no longer be able to count to ten without taking your socks off. Don’t do it!
• If the kite does not stay put when it lands, pull more on the one front line or 5th line and hold on. The kite cannot power up if you hang onto just one front line or have pulled enough of the 5th line in.
• Practice this in light and medium winds until you have it down solid. Overpowered on a small kite in high winds is not the time to learn how to do this.

* This editorial is meant as a guide and should not replace professional instruction. Use these tips at your own risk.

Originally Published in the October 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine

Facebook Comments:

3 comments

  1. In step 2 of “Self Landing”, the article states “Grab your chicken loop above the bar and pull.” I’m a beginner, but I’ve yet to see a kite rigged so that the chicken loop is above the bar. Do you unhook the chicken loop first? Do you grab the front lines above the bar, rather than the chicken loop which should be below the bar, and pull the front lines towards your body? Step 2 seems very confusing.

  2. “Chicken loop” refers to the whole depower assembly. You are thinking of the harness loop, which is always located below the bar. Another way it could be described is “Grab the depower line above the bar and pull.”

  3. Hi Paul,

    OK, now I understand. Thank you for the explanation. I want to try this over the next couple of months and see how well it works. I saw an instructor land his kite in this manner fairly recently, but I was a little too far away to see exactly what he did with his hands. These articles are quite helpful.

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