What would you do?

15 replies [Last post]
TimF's picture
Joined: 10/05/2008
Posts: 186

Good to think about this before it ever happens to you.

kitermike's picture
Joined: 07/24/2011
Posts: 180
Pay attention




Jumpinjoe's picture
Joined: 12/10/2011
Posts: 499

My $800 kite is not worth it. I'm punching out and letting Rod fix the kite rather than Dr. Fixmeup stitch up my knees and face.

dort's picture
Joined: 08/13/2010
Posts: 63

I think what is scariest to me is that he *did* punch out, but it looks like based on the text description,his 5th line was wrapped around his bar and so he was essentially suicide-leashed without knowing it?

As fast as that went, I don't think I would have been able to get to my leash release in time either.



Skyrocketnflight's picture
Joined: 08/21/2008
Posts: 792
Yeah, that guy had shitloads of time.

when in doubt, punch out, release your leash if shit starts going wrong. u can still hold onto it if nothing hard is coming to gauge the situation.But if thing is death spiraling or doing the Chinese dragon let er fly.

If you haven't let go of a kite completely, you aren't kiting enough. It's not a question of "if" but "when".

Get use to punching out, end you session flagging onto your leash, get in the habit. Habits are hard to break. Your neck, not so hard.


SS Rally 10 & 12, SS RPM 6 & 8, SS Dialer 5'10", Caution Trespass 6'0". SUP = Starboard Nose Rider 10' SUP= Exocet Fish 8'11" SUP = Naish Glide 14'

Dunoyer's picture
Joined: 07/23/2008
Posts: 3482
this person admits to having

this person admits to having never taken lessons. Certainly tying yourself to a traction kite and seeing what happens is one approach, but this is 2013. Enough has been said about the perils to the user, the passerby's and the sport as whole when a knucklehead throws caution to the wind.

I believe the issue principally is a cultural one. I saw this sort of thing during my windsurfing days ~ the number of people who spoke of their first experience being tacking out and then failing to understand how to come about and getting stranded. I never understood how it could come to that, when I leave the shore, I have already seriously contemplated how I would return to shore, this ought to be a survival instinct....

People come to kiteboarding from other sporting disciplines ~ snowboarding, wakeboarding, skateboarding, and those that do not have sailing experience misunderstand the ocean and the wind. It is not like a cable park, or a terrain park. You are placing yourself in the elements, much like a mountaineer attempting a steep rock face. One needs to assess the hazards, adjust to the conditions, mitigate the risks, build in safety redundancies, sometimes walk away, and always seek mentorship from those more experienced. These steps are often overlooked by people who see the ocean as akin to a ski area. Remember, there are no area boundaries, no ski patrols, and you are not always going to be the most welcome sight.



ptraykovski's picture
Joined: 02/05/2009
Posts: 186
I think in windy conditions

I think in windy conditions (8 m kites or smaller) in winter, so usually no one around, we should all think more carefully about whether clipping a leash to a chicken loop really makes any sense.

Not having a leash makes it much faster to get rid of everything quickly. If a kite is flailing, lines tangled around the bar, in 30+ knots wind and dragging you it takes a long time to both punch out of the chicken loop and then reach around to your back to unleash..almost impossible.

Same thing when getting dragged by your kite in heavy surf...better to have no leash.

So this is different from what skyrocket said: "release your leash when things start to go wrong"..this is release your leash before things go wrong anticipating they might go wrong so you are ready. in 30+ thing can go badly wrong very quickly

On really windy days I tend to clip my leash to my harness hook and then transfer to the chicken loop once offshore and then unleash before coming back to the beach. Ok I did send my kite into power lines once doing this as 40+ went to 50+ a year or two ago...but at least I didn't splatter the parking lot

Jumpinjoe's picture
Joined: 12/10/2011
Posts: 499
death spiral

Have you ever seen someone recover after their kite goes into a death spiral for whatever reason? If the answer is NO then would it make sense to advise people to punch out as soon as their kite goes into that mode?

oldcolonial's picture
Joined: 04/02/2009
Posts: 803
Like to say I would punchout

I would like to say I would have punched out sooner than the guy on the video did. Before every session, every launch and every landing I touch my quick release to remind myself that its there and rehearse the motion.
I may not have punched out soon enough though. There are many stories of pilots plowing themselves into the ground when evidence suggests they had the ability to pull up and avoid the collision. For instance, during the training of new naval aviators (elite, trained, experienced pilots before the training starts) for carrier landings there are numerous instances where the aviators ignore repeated instructions to pull up and abort landings they should with the result that they plow themselves into the deck often with dire consequences.

I also think about the guy who got dragged across the rocks at dog beach a couple of years back. Clearly, he was in a situation where he should have punched out sooner. But, he was not an inexperienced kook and from the facts it seemed like he had the time to punch out. Yet, he did not, with dire consequences for him.

All can do is practice punching out and if the need arises hope that our practice pays off.


Relax, Stand up and Fly Right

windtzu's picture
Joined: 02/14/2011
Posts: 273
I'm good, that's all I needed

I'm good, that's all I needed to see...will def. take skyrocket's, jumpinjoe, and ptraykovski's advice. Punch out immediately and in high winds consider hooking the leash up once I'm a safe distance from shore.

I also noticed his downwind "out" wasn't flesh friendly. This video is a great wake call on three counts: punch out when in doubt; consider what's downwind of you in the event of a worse case scenario; don't kite alone. He's fortunate it didn't turn out worse.

Since we're on the subject.

I never broke a line/pulley, but is this "death spiral" thing a common result if this were to happen?

And, what if your leash is attached somewhere close at hand (as opposed to the loop on the back of your harness). Is is still hard to punch out quickly enough in high winds?

brianR's picture
Joined: 08/02/2010
Posts: 256
Punch out early and often

I lucked out and got to ride the death spiral in my first real water lesson, at Waquoit Bay, with my instructor talking to me through my helmet, with no one else in the water, about a quarter mile from shore. Similar thing to the video, after a crash one of my outer lines had got wrapped around the bar. Of course I had no clue, I just knew the kite was crazy pulling me downwind, looping and crashing, and that I had two safety options. It turned out the leash QR was set up very close to the chicken loop QR, so I thought I was flagging the kite but I released the whole thing. It drifted down to some bushes where we recovered it.

Later in my first season I had bought a used kite and went to try it out for the first time. Fortunately, again, lots of folks were on the beach and someone experienced was looking after me. The depower rope had been replaced, and the new line was too thin to catch on the cleat, so as soon as I launched the kite (in pretty high wind), it went up full-tilt with no depower option. I dug in my heels and plowed a 30 foot trench in the beach until said experienced kiter dived on me, yelling "punch out!"

The point in that last story being that I was unprepared to punch out at launch time. When it happens, it happens fast. The only way to keep control is to practice. Know where your quick release is - like oldcolonial, get your hands on it before every launch. Test your leash QR regularly. And (usually in warmer weather) give up some of your kite session time to practice punching out. And self-rescue, while we're on the topic.

@windtzu, yes if you snap a line or break a pulley on a front line, it usually goes kind of death-spirally and the normal first stage QR doesn't work well. In that case if you have Oh Shit handles, you can pull on one to flag the kite and in theory clip your leash to the OS handle to walk the kite in. If not...actually I'm not sure, I just know I wouldn't get two hands involved in pulling on an outer line to flag the kite. Probably just punch it. I've said it before, your gear will break, at some point. You want to anticipate these breaks and replace lines and pulleys, but even so it will still happen. So what else can you do, other than practice punching out?

Don't kite alone if you can help it. Handle the kite defensively - I like Traykovski's approach of clipping in once on the water, and clipping out ahead of landing time, in the winter. If you're kiting somewhere like in the video (Dog beach has similar hazards) remember that when on / near the beach, you are one wrong gust away from being dragged into the road. Needless to say, in warmer weather you have to worry about taking out innocent bystanders, so launching and landing - not to mention stuff like backroll kiteloops - should be done well away from beachgoers if possible, if not, rig up and get out on the water and out of their way. Boosting a huge jump is an amazing rush, but it's that same kite power that can break your bones.


9m, 10.5m, 12m RRD Obsession | 135 Blunt | 5'8 Naish Fish

Crabnebula's picture
Joined: 11/29/2008
Posts: 570
Ok so .... Pre flight

Ok so ....
Pre flight check?
That being said QR? from leash?!?

Death spiral to me is when your doing "tow ups" with the kite....snowmobile etc pulling you very high I. The air...
Then as you let go and descend.... You start to pendulum around the kite.... As it, the kite is stationary!

Then you end up slamming into the ground and get wrecked....

This looks like "death kite looping"

Too bad as like in all adv. sports there is risk..... But this looks like it might have been avoidable? But it can happen to anyone!

I teach students& practice myself on my gear , often , the eyes closed QR release on chicken loop, harness, leash, even finding/ using knife to cut taught lines!!!

Practice makes perfect? No...... Practice makes safe kiters'


SNOWKITE, POWERKITE, and KITEBOARDING INSTRUCTION IKO Level 2 Snow & h2o, PASA certified Instructor 18 years experience. IKON TEAM RIDER 2011-current. IKON KITEBOARDING DEALER My web site http://www.kiteboardne.com IKON TEAM RIDER http://www.ikon-kiteboarding.com/

brianR's picture
Joined: 08/02/2010
Posts: 256

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I now carry safety option #3, a knife. I don't assume I would always have the time / ability to use it, but it's a great last-ditch option, especially if a limb gets tangled and the kite could be powered up again.

Death spirals for me have been low to the water, pulling downwind, not lifting up high & crashing.


9m, 10.5m, 12m RRD Obsession | 135 Blunt | 5'8 Naish Fish

Johnny D's picture
Joined: 01/14/2009
Posts: 2417
Front line flags a kite!

Guys heres the deal. Reach out grab a god damn front line and flag the kite....


The guy is trying to fuck with his bar. Hello bar is tangled!

Grab the damn line in front of the bar (grab any line if you cannot identify the front lines)-- the one the bar attaches to above the tangle and haul it in... Fix your bar...

Do this before your being dragged. Also if you are over powered and sheeting out has failed you grab the front lines! or grab one to flag. The kites gonna twist and spiral but with only one line it cant power up!

icedub's picture
Joined: 01/24/2013
Posts: 21
My god, this is terrifying to

My god, this is terrifying to watch. I've only got about 8 hours of kiting under my belt, ever. But we spent the first session (3 hours) completely on the beach learning safety, practiced releasing chicken loop, and then practiced again with the kite attached. Just so I understand what happened here correctly- the front lines were wrapped around the bar, effectively making the chicken loop useless since it couldn't pull one of the lines to flag the kite?

To me, it looked like it was completely avoidable but he would have had to ditch the kite before it started dragging him. Would have sucked but maybe the second you realize your front lines are wrapped you should just ditch it...

Alecco's picture
Joined: 02/16/2010
Posts: 85
Rule number 1

I totally agree w Johnny pull the outer line and kill the kite.
Rule number 2 : stay in the freaking water until ur kite is completely flat or detached.
The guy had no instruction whatsoever, instead of letting the kite go while in the water decided to take his gloves off and walk to the beach.

Shit do happen but if u have had intense training nothing like this would be a problem. When ppl ask me about the sport I always say lessons will save ur life and I use this example: if today was ur first day skiing and u attempt skiing a double black diamond trail, what r the odds of u making it back to the base in one piece?????????

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