Happened to me about 18 months ago in Margate UK, when I launched a kite that had been rigged by a (more experienced) friend. As it launched I knew it wasn't flying right, but didn't immediately understand why, or have any inkling as to what was most likely to happen next. It was about 25 knots cross-on and the kite was a 9m. As KF mentioned it did have an 'unstable slight shake' prior to launch but I was not experienced enough at the time to recognise this for what it was. I remember the kite flying towards the middle of the window, and the next thing I knew I had a face full of sand/shells/grit etc. Due to disorientation etc during my merry beach drag it was not possible to hit the QR. I think the kite looped just once prior to crashing directly downwind of me. I guess I was dragged only about 50-60 yards, and suffered only very minor cuts/abrasions/bruises. I'm not sure why it wasn't a whole lot worse; I knew at the time I had got off really lightly, and consider myself very lucky.
1. Never launch a kite you haven't rigged yourself (or at least seen flying properly prior to using it).
2. If subsequent to launch the kite doesn't immediately
react the way it should, hit your QR. Don't try to fly yourself out of trouble.
3. I also rig my kites by myself - do not let others get involved/rig one side while you do the other etc. Only then can you be sure.
4. I run my lines out at least twice and properly concentrate
when rigging up. Complacency is your greatest enemy.
5. Whatever method you use to rig up eg downwind/upwind etc always do it exactly the same way each time.
6. Take your time!
Not sure why the kite was rigged wrong by my mate, but I know he was just as relieved as me (probably moreso), and yes we're still friends
Good thread, hope this helps. Agree that manufacturers could and should do more to make kites 'kook' proof.