[quote="cancun_hound"] As a newbie, it appears to me that there is no absolute recommended set of rules for launching as the launch site ultimately dictates the most appropriate method.
It is true, there are FEW absolutes in kiteboarding. Until you have accumulated enough LOCAL experience with your launch conditions you need to proceed with particular caution. Watching and talking to other experienced, responsible riders in your area may help in this process. There are some general rules of thumb that you can look over and consider applying if appropriate to your local conditions. They have been derived from analysis of accidents from around the world with the intent of trying to reduce future accidents, incidents and access issues. Some exerpts from the document that pertain to launching follow:
LAUNCHING AND GETTING UNDERWAY
1. Avoid hooking or snap shackling in while onshore or near hard objects. CONSIDER LAUNCHING AND LANDING "UNHOOKED" or not connected to your chicken loop. Pull in your trim strap or rope entirely or to a point that will allow stable kite flight with existing wind conditions, to properly depower the kite before launching and so that you can readily hold the bar and release it if necessary. Physically and mentally rehearse managing emergency situations including just "letting go" of your bar.
2. Announce your intention to launch and then launch promptly. In many cases the kite should be launched towards or preferably from the water. Assisted launches are always preferred.
3. To try to avoid lofting or involuntary lifting. DO NOT BRING YOUR KITE much above 20 degrees off of the surface, within 200 ft. (60 m) of ANY HARD OBJECT (on water or land). NEVER BRING YOUR KITE TO THE VERTICAL WITHIN THIS 200 ft., preferably more, of hard objects.
KEEP IT LOW AND GO!!!
4. Go offshore at least 300 ft. WITHOUT DELAY after launch. Stay beyond 300 ft. until time to come in. If there are substantial waves where you need to put on your board consider body dragging outside the breaker zone first. Be aware of and properly react in advance of low flying aircraft coming into your area.
Other related information follows from the document:
1. Readily help other riders with launching and landing. Whether you are starting out or are almost a pro, your help may avoid a serious incident/accident and possible restrictions. Get involved with your local association or club and with area riders to try to preserve access to kiteboard. Riders are solely responsible for their safety and that of effected bystanders. If you are new to an area or visiting, seek out local kiteboarders, shops and/or associations for local guidelines and rules before riding.
2. All kiteboarders, particularly beginners should seek adequate professional instruction. Beginners must avoid crowded areas as most bystanders aren't aware the potential hazards. Beginners should body drag out at least 300 ft. (60m) from shore prior to water starting and should always stay out of guarded or restricted beach areas.
5. Give way to the public on the beach and in the water at ALL TIMES. Be courteous and polite to bystanders. Complaints have led to restrictions on kiteboarding in some areas.
7. If despite all precautions you are lofted AND have time to react, depower your kite at the earliest possible time and ideally before being lofted and still offshore, away from hard objects. Multiple gusts can hit over a short period and you may be lofted a second or third time, so ACT to depower your kite as soon as you can.
1. Make sure your launch is open, FREE OF DOWNWIND BYSTANDERS, hard objects, nearby power lines, buildings and walls, within at least 100 ft. (30 m), and preferably 200 ft. (60 m) or more. Avoid kiteboarding near airports and in low flight path areas.
2. Check to see what size kite other kiteboarders are rigging and get their input on conditions. Do not rig too large a kite for conditions and carefully consider advice of more experienced riders. Failure to act on prudent advice has cost some riders very dearly.
PREFLIGHT AND THEN PREFLIGHT AGAIN
6. Solo launching and landing are NOT recommended. If solo launching make sure your kite is properly anchored with a substantial quantity of sand and is draped downwind to avoid premature launch. Rig your kite for solo launch at the last minute and launch without delay AFTER CAREFUL PREFLIGHTING as serious accidents have happened in only minutes during this stage. If you leave the kite unattended, disabled by disconnecting all lines from one side and roll your lines when not in use.
1. Approach the shore slowly with caution. Take care to avoid causing an accidental jump in well powered conditions by slowing suddenly while approaching the shore. Keep your kite low (ideally within 20 ft. of the surface), to try avoid lofting.
2. Arrange for assisted landings at least 200 ft. (60 m) from bystanders, power lines and vertical surfaces. Do not use non-kiteboarders for assisted launches or landings. Use mutually understood, hand and voice signals to improve launch and landing safety. IF IN ANY DOUBT, ALWAYS SAFELY SOLO DEPOWER your kite in the shallows well away from shore and bystanders and swim in.
The complete document appears at:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopi ... a16cc69010