I ride small kites all the time almost and being on the coast in Oregon there is almost no micro-bursts so lofting is not really a problem.
My plan is to keep the kite low(trees and buildings will stop a kite) and be ready to put it down and ditch it .
Kites that don't shed power are a liability in overpowered conditons ,
I come in while I can easily land and get a smaller kite.
My launch is a long sandy beach with few obsticles.
I am of the belief that if my hands are in the center of the bar I have a faster turning speed (more leverage),so I adjust to the turning speed I like which on 7's and 5's is closer to the ends.
Short lines do kill a lot of power but after yrs. of long lines they are too uncomfortable for me as they greatly speed up the turning of the kite.
I kite alone a good deal of the time.
I never go anywhere where I wouldn't feel comfortable swimming in.
The lastest tragedy in Seattle I believe was on a SS Octane 10.0 with a 5 line set-up ,A kite known to shed a lot of power ,I've seen guys using them in 40 mph winds and having a blast while I couldn't go on a 5.0 Waroo.
Regardless of the ability of the kite when it goes wrong your back-up had better be good.
I see people trying tricks all the time that could render them unconcious .
luck is a huge factor in life.
It's never good to lose friends and brothers
especially when your out to have fun
Dax, Dan had a 10 m Octane rigged but went out with a borrowed 7 m Fuel correct? Do you know if the 7 m was rigged with a 5th line or not?
On the high wind stuff, it is good to be in the habit of depowering your kite using the trim strap to the full extent feasible while still maintaining stable flight while near and on shore. If someone is heading in to land be in the habit of exchanging signals and helping him land fast. Do not make the guy wait, be ready to grab the kite as soon as feasible if the rider allows this.
Experienced guys know how hard a kite, at least a C kite, can want to jerk free and fly away in strong gusting wind. Consciously hang on plenty tight enough to make sure it doesn't get away from you and mash up the guy on the far end of the lines.
Be in the habit of preflighting your gear at least twice in strong winds, three times may not be a bad idea. Expect line tangles when you launch and look carefully for any evidence of them. MAKE SURE your helper knows and follows clear hand signals for wait, hold, put the kite down, launch, etc.. Miscommunication has cost riders dearly in the past.
Oh, here's another one. With a flat kite if for some reason the kite ends up in the power zone, a hot launch or if the kite is launched prematurely despite normal precautions (using someone who knows exactly what to do using an agreed exchange of hand signals), be ready to push the bar out all the way and even drop it once the kite is heading up IF your kite will allow this. You may still get dragged if you try this in strong winds. Grab the bar as soon as the kite flies high enough to ease off on the pull on the bar. Hanging on to the bar and making no effort to radically depower the kite in strong winds may see you dragging on your face at high speed. This may have figured in a severe accident this year.
In really high wind, launching with proper bar/line tension for stable flight slightly less than 90 degrees off the wind may avoid a hot launch in nuclear winds. MAKE SURE you don't have your kite released too far upwind to where it stalls and drifts into the power zone. Be sure to not launch at more than 90 degrees of the wind to try to avoid a hot launch in real strong winds.
For all practical purposes, solo launching in very strong winds is a very bad idea as others have said already. The kite can easily dig itself out if a C kite (I have had poor success with trying to bury a flat kite wing tip even in lighter winds), flat kites may tangle bridles on kite tips or worse the flight lines may rapidly tangle with unavoidable strumming. This last factor may have been a primary cause of the loss of a kiter in Spain recently. The kiter, the helper and even a third person need to scope out the lines, bladder pressure, integrity of things, etc. before kite release.
Airmiles wrote:One thing I noticed kiting & windsurfing high winds - the higher the wind, the more the wind strength varies.
e.g. If you go out in 35mph avg you could find yourself in anything from 16 - 50mph.
That's probably the main reason why higher winds are often far, far more dangerous than lower winds - the distance between gusts and lulls gets too wide. No kite yet made can handle those extremes, especially when they happen within minutes or even seconds.
Sometimes high wind is consistent and kitable, sometimes it isn't - know the difference, and be prepared to walk away.
Tom183 wrote:[ No kite yet made can handle those extremes, especially when they happen within minutes or even seconds.
Ah it has been made 2 years ago. The Crossbow. There was no wind conditions I couldnt deal with the Xbow. I kited at Pounda beach in Paros last april with very strong southeasterly winds ( side off shore ) and it felt like riding in hell , it was gusting 30-40kn and droping to 0. The kite performed amazingly good, and I was on a 9m. But the best one for me is the 7m. Been out in gusts up to 48kn and nothing strange happened with the kite. Handled everything pretty well so far and felt safe for my level in the most extreme conditions.
I agree the stronger it gets the more risks you take, but there are kites that can handle them very good