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 Post subject: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:56 am
Posts: 72
Hi guys,

Looking to get some help. I was kiting today in strong winds (20 knots avg) and my kite had a peculiar fall into the water. It looked like the kite inverted or something--the lines looked "not right" as it sat on the water, though I can't be more clear, I'm afraid. The bar may have passed through the lines somehow as well, as the pull wasn't even in the lines when I started trying to move the kite. When I took the bar and attempted to steer it through the wind window, the kite went up and locked into a death spiral. I couldn't recover from it, so I released the chicken loop. But the kite STILL kept spiraling, dragging me downwind. I released the safety leash as it seemed the kite wasn't slowing down.

I'm on a 4 line Blade Trigger with the unibar.

Any ideas on what in the world might have happened? Is a death spiral recoverable, and are there things you can do to avoid it? (I've done loads of lessons, so I've learned about kite control, but this was really weird/freaky)


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:05 pm
Posts: 474
Location: Maui
I can't tell you why but you did the right thing. Don't try to recover from a death loop just release. I have been able to clear tangled lines before the kite loops but if the kite actually loops don't mess with it just release. So much better to swim then die.


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:02 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:27 am
Posts: 2382
Location: Ford Lake, Michigan
extensive disccusion here

www.kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2379430&start=60

your center lines wrapped your bar, after you have released your primary QR you must then release the entire kite. If you notice it right away it is possible to reach up above the bar and pull in the two center lines and while the kite is depowered, flip the bar around so the chicken line isn't wrapping it. If you notice it after you have hit your primary QR you must release the kite.

So yeah, you did right. I know it's nearly impossible to recognize this before it happens, the instinct to hit that QR is ingrained so hard, you see the kite in trouble pop there it goes, then you have to hit the leash release.


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:13 am 
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Posts: 727
I would guess the bridle might (maybe) have wrapped around a wingtip?

Especially in strong wind, when things don't look right release the safety first and think later... in some cases you will not have time to think. And if kite does not depower, yes it's time to release the leash too... better lose a kite than your life.


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:56 am
Posts: 72
Thanks guys. I looked at that other post about deathloop causes; my situation pretty much matches up since my steering lines were really slacked (to depower the kite). Time to buy a smaller kite. (and maybe another board, since I lost my board in the chaos.)

Thank the stars that the safety system on the leash worked or I likely would be dead.

I'm throwing away my old bar that does have an insane velcro system that I'm certain I could never release in the heat of the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:13 pm 
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Glad you are okay mate and well done on your safety sequence. Stories like this are much better not read than the terrible ones we have recently.


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:51 pm 
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Location: Ford Lake, Michigan
Metaphor_ wrote:
I'm throwing away my old bar that does have an insane velcro system that I'm certain I could never release in the heat of the moment.


take apart the velcro bar and just throw away the velcro part you can build a decent bar from the parts if you buy a decent chicken loop and maybe a V or Y part for it.


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 3:20 am
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Thankfully you did right not your safety system. Had your leash functioned right but been backwards as I see occasionally, you would be severely injured or worse. You may have lost a kite and board but you are ok. You work well as a safety system. Recognized something wasn't right with the kite so you were on guard, activated the primary, bad situation and quick thinking to ditch the mess all together.

Was your leash attached to your harness in front of you on your spreader bar or on your handle pass area or perhaps a d-ring on the side. It might be helpful for others reading to gain insight on the dragging. If it was on your handlepass area, clearly it was reachable otherwise injury would have happened. Was it easily reachable or did you learn enough to know where it was and could get to it without too much trouble?


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:54 am
Posts: 219
Location: Vancouver, Canada
I fly a 2013 Blade Trigger 10m with the Unibar and I've had two issues that I discuss here:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2380704

When you released your CL how far up your single center line did the bar/swivel go? it should go 3-4m past the connection with the grey leash line.

When I had a bar wrap and decided to pop my CL my kite was deathlooping slowly (but still deathlooping) and it took about 3-4 loops after releasing my CL before the swivel went up far enough for the full depower.

You might want to do this mod to the swivel to help it flag right away:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0ayTXfQjA0

Although if your kite was deathlooping with the bar way past the grey/white connection then it was some other issue, with a bar wrap you always have the potential for all forms of depower to fail on a kite and that's why we have the secondary release and you should always be ready to let your kite go.


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 Post subject: Re: kiteboard death spiral, agh
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:56 am
Posts: 72
Thanks for the link - I bore out the hole today on the unibar to make the depower happen sooner. However, I suspect that the bar did pass through a steering line (though to know when you've let go of the bar in the first place in the middle of the unfolding chaos).

PVITfrumBYRAM wrote:
Thankfully you did right not your safety system. Had your leash functioned right but been backwards as I see occasionally, you would be severely injured or worse. You may have lost a kite and board but you are ok. You work well as a safety system. Recognized something wasn't right with the kite so you were on guard, activated the primary, bad situation and quick thinking to ditch the mess all together.

Was your leash attached to your harness in front of you on your spreader bar or on your handle pass area or perhaps a d-ring on the side. It might be helpful for others reading to gain insight on the dragging. If it was on your handlepass area, clearly it was reachable otherwise injury would have happened. Was it easily reachable or did you learn enough to know where it was and could get to it without too much trouble?


I've had the leash on the handle pass area as that's what all my instructors did (and as I'd never really known differently). I wasn't getting dragged backwards as when I fell I was facing the kite, and the leash had moved to the side of the handle pass area. I also wear a PDF. I can see how this setup could be catastrophic, especially once you start on handle passes. Just now I've looked at some videos of alternate leash attachment points at http://vimeo.com/48361608 , and I think I'd like to attach to the metal fastener on the side of the spreader bar. Any disadvantages to doing so?

I also lost my board :( hoping someone in Squamish finds it. :(

EDIT: I just noticed there's another QR on the liquid force luxury harness to release the handle pass altogether. Mind you, it's not so prominent and I'm not sure I'd be able to find it in a panic...


Last edited by Metaphor_ on Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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