i'm about to tie some kiteline to my spreader bar for a leash point on the front, cos my kite tried to drown me one time and i could not get to release with it pulling me backwards
anyone got anything i should know/look out for with this?
I am not sure that that is a good idea.
In normal conditions (i.e., when riding small waves, or when you are being dragged behind a kite on the surface
of the water), then I agree that it makes sense to have your leash attached to your front. That does make it easier to reach the release, if needed.
However, think of the forces involved when you are underneath the water and a big wave catches your kite. Being dragged backwards underneath the water by your leash is not pleasant; but at least your body is designed to fold that way (doubled over with your face towards your knees). I have had the unpleasant experience of being dragged violently underneath water in the other direction - i.e., with the front of my pelvis leading the way, and my upper body being folded backwards so that the back of my head was almost touching my heels (or so it felt). Let me tell you, that was painful. My back hurt for quite a while after that - it's simply not designed to bend that way. I'd much rather get folded over the other way... So, for me, I'm sticking to keeping my leash attached to the back of my harness when in big waves.
As for the rest of this thread, I agree with trying to keep your kite flying at all costs. If I'm not sure what is going on with the kite, I try to loop it right away - anything to keep it in the air.
The other thing I have learned is to relax. Once a big wave has you (and your kite is in the water), there is very little you can do. Don't waste oxygen by fighting the force of the wave, and don't try to swim for the surface until the wave let's go of you and the whitewater dies down. I try to simply relax my body, hold my arms around my head to protect it in case I get slammed into the bottom, and count slowly. It may feel like an eternity, but you should reach the surface within 45 seconds even in huge waves (and usually in as little as 5 to 12 seconds). You can hold your breath that long, if you relax and remain calm.