Sure is a tremendous amount of good information and thoughtful comments in this thread.
To add my 2 cents to a couple of comments:
It is generally a bad idea to allege that any one technique/procedure is ALWAYS preferred or bad because there are so many possible variables that you can almost always find an appropriate contrary situation.
As to having a kite at zenith: One of the main reasons INFLATO people dislike this position is due to the Hindenberging possibilities which can become excessively dangerous as the kite drops the long way to the ground/water. However, it should be noted that this problem is comparatively INSIGNIFICANT for FOILS which tend to just drift back in lulls. In fact there is NO kite in the BALLPARK that has the stability of a Peter Lynn twinskin at zenith, where if there is reasonably decent wind, you could turn a waist harness around and GET LAID
(unfortunately, not determined from personal experience).
As to beginners using a SEAT harness rather than a WAIST harness, one of the most critical skills which we try to impart to our students is how to prevent losing their balance because when off balance it becomes exponentially more difficult to control a kite. Since the much lower spreader bar of a seat harness provides much greater stability against the possibility of being pulled face forward and thereby losing balance, we believe it is a usually the best choice. Besides there also being an additional couple of other less important seat advantages which haven’t been mentioned, I’ve never heard of ANY advantages of waist harness for beginners and would like to know of any.
As to the actual topic of this thread, ragging on specific industry members as the alleged cause of kiter general retardedness regarding many important subjects, bnthere is overlooking a couple of essential elements and blaming the industry for the consequences of our economic system.
Specifically, everybody must make money and to do so they must stay in business. Since many also want to make a LOT of money and they know that the happier they can make their prospects, the more likely they are to become paying customers, they are willing to misinform and outright lie in order to cater to prospects’ hopes of becoming kiters in a day and pros in 2 weeks.
Back in the day, most prospects would call us because they wanted to learn how to be reasonably safe. Now they call us because they want to learn how to get up and ride and don’t want to hear about safety.
You can’t blame them. 99% of what the INDUSTRY says is that it’s SO EASY and the 1% about possible dangers is buried. Go online and watch videos FROM INDUSTRY SOURCES of people jumping over their girlfriends, piers, boats – of little kids kiting – of people launching and landing upwind and in the middle of crowded beaches etc. and obviously a$$holes like us are just trying to increase their lesson costs by babbling on about safety.
Especially if we try to explain that REAL safety is dependant upon their UNDERSTANDING of the many potential factors involved and their potential interactions and not just memorization of some set “rules”.
They then call around until they find some “certified” school (must be good, since they’re “certified”) that says they’ll be up and riding in 1 or 2 “lessons”. They naturally go there and then think that because they spent 2 or 3 hours flying kites on the beach and/or bodydragging before managing to get up a couple of times without dieing that they’re ready for bnthere to teach them how to go upwind.
We have a 2 hour Intro class that’s all lecture, which only hits the highest of the high points of safety and equipment issues etc. for only $60 and most clients DON’T TAKE IT although we almost always recommend it.
Since the client is PAYING, we feel that they have a perfect right to ignore our advice about WHAT they should learn and so long as it is reasonably safe we will teach what they want. Although we won’t omit any safety stuff pertaining to what a client is actually doing during a lesson (but which may not include the actual EXPLANATION which is the most valuable part), if a client wants to concentrate on being able to “get up and ride”, this client leaves without knowing a vast amount of critical knowledge and so this is another “kiter” who ends up at bnthere’s and of whom he speaks.
Malibu Kitesurfing - since 2002
(310) - 430 - KITE (5483)