If you can't get the kite relaunched due to equipment failure or user error, and or you are unable to reach the shore with the kite in the air, then you must complete a self rescue.
A self rescue is any procedure that gets the rider from a position of
flying a powered kite at the control bar, to a position where the
rider’s kite is disabled, the rider is out of the water, and safe
from kiteboarding related harm.
There are several different ways to do a self rescue.
The easiest is to activate the secondary safety release, on the bar.
When the bar slides away from the rider on the safety leash line, the
kite will be disabled. Simply pull the safety line towards you as you
float, swim, or walk toward the kite. When the rider reaches the kite
and holds on to it firmly, they can be sure the kite won’t launch and
Once the kite is disabled and the kiteboarder has the kite in their
hand, the kiteboarder will force the kite into the U position. From
this position, determine where the shore is located, and walk your
hands to the wingtip of the kite, that is closest to the shore. Grab
that wingtip with one hand, and roll the leading edge under your arms
until you have both wingtips in your hand, or until you have a
significant portion of the kite capturing wind. At this
point, keep the kite pointed towards shore. The kite will eventually
pull you to shore without you having to swim, or tread water.
Once you are safely on the beach, with your kite disabled, you have completed the self rescue.
Step by Step
Activate the safety leash by unhooking and letting go of the bar, or by activating the secondary release. Make sure the kite has depowered and the bar has slid up one kite line. For 5 line kites, activate the 5th line.
Pull in the leash line, which is attached to the only one kite line all the way to the bar. 5 line kites vary based on Brand.
Fast, emergency method: ignore the bar, don't touch it, and continue pulling the line in all the way to the kite.
Slow, no wind, less line tangle method: make sure the kite is still depowered and wrap the loose end of the leash line around the bar 5 times, like you would wrap a string around the end of your finger.
After securing the first part of the loose line, wrap the rest of the line on the end winders, on the back side of the bar, the side of the bar that the chicken loop sticks out from. As you wrap the line in a figure eight on the back side of the bar, the line should all be touching the bar.
Once you have wrapped the leash line all the way back to the leash, secure it on the bar. At this point, you should have: three, full length, loose kite lines that go from the bar to the kite; one half of a single kite line, tight, that goes from the bar to the kite; and the other, loose half of that single line, wrapped up on the back side of the bar. 5 line kites will have four loose lines from the bar to the kite and the 5th line will be tight.
Wrap all four lines together on the end winders of the bar all the way to the kite. 5 lines for 5 line kites.
Point the leading edge of the kite upwind and toward the shore. Float and ride the wind into shore.
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