i'm writing from a wonderful chiringuito in front of Prea Beach, Jericoacoara, NE Brazil.
Just out of the water after my first deathloop experience, and boy yes i'm still a bit under shock.
Was happily riding on my 9m Rebel 2012, wind blowing 25+kn, perfect conditions albeit i maybe was a bit overpowered.
From what i remember i missed a jump with a few rotations, landed without board, and the nightmare started. Kite has started to do well timed loops, sending me each time 10m skywards and then down in the water, again and again. Didn't panic and started thinking "ok, this is what a deathloop is". Tried to understand what was wrong, and had the half a second time to stop look at the bar only to notice that one of the lines was twisted around it, then another loop, then another look at the bar, tried for a second to untangle the lines, another loop, i was "ok, this is it, time to release and see the magical 5th line safety do its work".
Released on the chicken loop, and here i am finding myself with the bar 5 meters up in the sky, totally powered just as it was before, and kite keeping doing its loops. Now i'm in troubles, kite is keeping on looping, i keep on flying'n'drinking, kite is full powered and i have no many options left. Didn't panic, made my assessement and decided that i was worth more than my new kite. So pushed the release, set the kite free to fly and was finally free.
Managed to swim ashore, guys from the kite school went like bolts to get my kite, recouped my board, they fixed the lines, 10 mins later i was back riding my way upwind to the starting point, albeit without the leash as it was stuck and coudln't fix it while on the beach.
The 5th line safety does not work. It's designed not to work. Why? Because it pass through the bar, and if the lines tangle around the bar, blocking it, so is the 5th line blocked. And guess what, it's exactly when your bar is stuck in full power that you need to release. Now, was it my fault? I think it's a no. I've been kiting for years, and this is the very first time i have a deathloop experience, as it's the very first time my bar becomes stucked after one back line is tangled, blocking the bar i in full power without being able to depower it. Actually it's my second time this happens to me, the first time it happened was the first time i tried my new Norths, a few months ago, with much lighter winds. In that case, i was able to fix the tangle while in the water without releasing, as the wind was light. No way to do it with today's wind.
Now, let's look at the numbers. I've flown years with other kite brands, all four lines, and never had a similar experience. Out of 7-8 sessions spent on my new Norths, this is the second time i have a bar tangle, and the this time it ended with a total release of the kite.
I love how the kite flies, i love how it jumps, performance wise i believe it's the best kite i've ever flown. But the fifth line as a safety measure is a freaking mistake, period. It's one more line, it increases tangle chances, and it just does not work exactly in the situation you need it most to work. Safety should be totally independent from bar and other lines, it should be designed to work exactly when the other lines are totally messed up.
When today i pushed the chicken loop i lost any chance to fix the situation, the only thing i could do after that was either be superman and crawl back to the bar while the kite was looping and untangle the line blocking the fifth, either release.
The positive side of it is that the kite today while looping took a couple of mega-crashes, and it's still there, and obviously i'm very lucky there were two beach guys who got my kite before it disintegrated.
Had it happened in 90% of the spots where i kited before, today i would have just lost my 1,000eur+ brand nerw kite.
Very pissed, and yes, still scared. Deathloops are not fun i must say, took a big beat today.
Sorry for the rant, but it wasn't nice.