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Got Leash? ...BUT WILL IT WORK???

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Kiting since: 1998
Local Beach: SE Florida
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Location: Florida

Postby RickI » Fri Jun 21, 2002 2:18 am

You have rigged a depowering leash on your kite, thanks and well done! Taking responsibility for your actions and your kite is only right and will go a long way in preserving safety and kiteboarding access. You aren't done yet though.

You verify that you have brake fluid to make sure your car brakes will work once in a while, correct? You need to checkout your leash to make sure that it will do the job as well with the kite size you have it rigged with. A leash that works well with one size kite may not adequately depower a larger kite resulting in potential problems. Lots of us have experienced some of these outcomes and can easily relate. Some of the potential problems that may result if your leash isn't rigged properly or well maintained include:

1. The kite won't depower adequately and you will be dragged by your leash until you free the kite, turning it into a runaway kite and someone else's problem downwind.

2. The kite won't depower adequately and you will load up your kite leash to the point it breaks or the attachment to the rider passes its safe load limit and releases. A runaway kite results again.

3. This runaway kite doesn't have to hit or come near bystanders on the beach to cause problems. It can hit a power line, start a fire or simply knock out power for a bunch of people and create the basis for a kiteboarding ban. It could wrap another kiteboarders lines and pull that rider out of control at full power towards a hard impact and possible injury. The runaway kite could also wrap a car windshield and cause an accident. Your lines could wrap a bystander and give him a line burn to a severe cut. Your kite might simply self destruct on a sharp object or be badly damaged. All of these outcomes of runaway kites have happened throughout the world with varying frequency.

4. So just because your leash came straight from the factory, you should still perform the following test particularly with different kite sizes. Periodic preflighting of the leash system is also critical. If obvious weaknesses show up, repair them before flying.

Leash Self Test Procedure (suggested by

1. Select a test area that has a wide clear area free of bystanders and obstructions for at least 200 ft. in the downwind direction.

2. In light to moderate winds bring your kite to the zenith or vertical position and release it.

3. Your kite should float down to the ground fully depowered.

4. If your kite spins or cups your depowering leash is not long enough to fully depower your kite or something else is out of adjustment. Check below for leash length guidelines for various types of depowering systems.

5. Periodically check all hardware and lines for adequate strength and to verify the absence of excessive deterioration.

Leash length guidelines:

For "fixed leash" line designs such as Cabrinha, Naish, and Wipika Kite-leashes: The kite leash should be attached to one of your leader lines at a distance equal to 1/2 of the kite's wingspan or greater. This type of leash in effect doubles the length of the leash to equal the actual kite wingspan when deployed. Measure the maximum wingspan by laying it deflated and flat from wing-tip to wing-tip. Then measure the distance of the leash attachment point from the wrist cuff or leash fastening point to the rider.

For example with a kite wingspan of 30 ft., the fixed kite leash should be attached 15 ft ( or more ) from the leash wrist cuff or fastening point to the rider.

For control bar "slide through" type depowering systems such as Airrush Re-ride, Longhorn, Slingshot: The effective leash length before any stopper or knot should be EQUAL TO THE WINGSPAN of the kite or longer.

For example with a kite wingspan of 30 ft., the kite leash should allow the control bar to "slide" 30
feet or more before hitting the "stopper ball or knot" at the end of the leash line. Failure to have a "stopper ball or knot" may result in kite damage in a particularly powered release from bar impact.

NOTE: A kite leash set-up of either type that is rigged to one of your "front or leading
edge" leaders is MORE effective and thus safer than one rigged to a
"back or training edge", leader line because the kite is far less likely to spin.

Good winds,
Rick Iossi

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