All safety systems are designed to kill the power of the kite relative to you, and most do this in such a way that the kite will stay near you when you activate the system. There are many types of safety systems out there, but there are four general types you will see repeated in many brands and types of kites. In all of these, a “safety leash” is used as part of the systems. All of these systems can be used in various combinations or all at the same time in a linear progression, depending on your configuration and brand.
Primary - Letting go of the bar
A suicide leash is a pro safety system. It disables the secondary safety system and creates a redundant primary safety.For this system, you attach the leash to your chicken loop line below your bar. If you are using a C kite, this system is called a suicide leash. If you are using a bow kite, then it is called a bow kite leash. The leash connection point can be the same, however the effect can be quite different.
With a C kite, while you are hooked in, if you let go of the bar,
the kite will lose some of it's power and, generally, it will crash at
some point. However, if the kite doesn't crash quickly, and goes in to
an uncontrolled kite loop and starts pulling you, you have a good
chance of getting injured or drowning. Hence the term "suicide leash."
Secondary - Pulling or pushing the Chicken loop release, which activates the leash safety system.
Disables secondary release, see explaination under primary release.
One Line Slider Leash system
This system is the most commonly used. It usually consists of
having a ring connected to the bar end of one of the kite lines, after
that line has passed through a similar sized ring, which is attached to
the bar. The leash then connects to the ring attached to that kite
line. When the bar and chicken loop are released, all of the pressure
transfers to the “safety leash” and the one line that the leash is
connected to. The bar slides up that one line and kills the power of
the kite by turning the kite, in essence, into a flag, instead of
allowing it to provide lift.
Outside Slider Leash
Works almost all of the time. Leash connection is close to control bar.
Extremely dangerous if it malfunctions. Spiraling kite tangles lines. Hard to recover kite after activating.
Center Line Slider Leash
Fifth Line Slider Leash
This system is only used on a 5 line kite. For this system, the leash connects to the 5th line, though a “one line slider system.” When the chicken loop is released, the only tension is one the safety leash, and the bar slides up the 5th line. This puts the kite in to the “U position” while still in the air. This kills the power of the kite, and causes it to land on the water in the “U position.”
Tertiary or Last Resort Leash
This is located on the safety leash itself and is to be used only after the first two safety systems have been activated and have failed to kill the power of the kite. It separates the leash into two pieces and disconnects the rider entirely from the kite.
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