It is nice to see so many experienced kiters comment on the many issues involved in the remaining dangers inherent in our activity. I have been a participant or at least a close observer of the activity of kiting since the "Jacobs Ladder" days of the '80s, through the "delta kite" (Kiteski) days of the '90s, and the "inflatable" kite days of the present. The activity is no longer a "kooky circus act" for daredevils only. "Safety" was a late-comer to the party. The activity has always been a magnet for creativity on the part of the "wackos" (me and you) who are attacted to this kind of recreation. Creative thinking has kept a lot of us alive and well, and prevented others from experiencing the horror of having a fun day turned into a nightmare.
In an "eccentric" and small activity, like kiteboarding, we are all "beta testers" whether or not we choose to be. It seems that all safety improvements have occured, by "reactive" and not "proactive" engineering of the equipment... an example being the horrible death of Silke Gorldt (1976-2002), which encouraged the development of the safety release.
The fact is that our kiteboarding equipment is not being developed by large companies like Boeing, with a large staff of certified mechanical engineers, with access to a research lab and a lot of expensive design equipment. The well-meaning and enthusiastic individuals, working for the small kiteboarding companies are not that different from the above-average kiter, and for that reason, may need some help... from us, the kiters.
Thanks to Toby and this international kiteforum, ideas can be presented here, some of which may actually be a contribution to the cause, by "filtering up" to the designers, who work for the kite equipment manufacturers. So keep the ideas coming! It only takes ONE good one to solve a problem.
Of course, when you propose an idea for discussion, you will run the risk of being called derrogatory names ("kook", etc), by certain individuals, who put forth an effort to condemn, rather than an effort to improve on the short-comings of an idea or proposal. Don't be discouraged by this reaction or react in kind, but keep your "thinking cap" on and keep putting forth the effort to improve on the idea. 'It takes many links to make a chain, and the longer chain may reach a solution.'
Do any of you remember this proposed solution to the "out of control kite" problem of old? It came and went pretty fast. Here is a picture, dug up by a kiteforum member, from another KF "design" brainstorming thread.
"...WHAT DOES IT DO?
Pull the handle and the kite immediately releases three of the four flying lines, losing 100% of its power.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU RELEASE?
The Caution handle is attached to three of the four flying lines, and when pulled it releases the two front lines and one rear line. The handle uses the classic pin release system at each point, and comes out easily. The rider remains attached to the remaining rear line through the chicken loop. It's a no-nonsense system.
DOES IT WORK?..."