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Launching unhooked???

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JHolzhall
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Launching unhooked???

Postby JHolzhall » Thu Apr 24, 2003 6:38 am

Launching "unhooked" or in gear 4 is almost a great idea. I always teach entry level riders to launch unhooked, after I pull the depower strap. If the depower strap isn't pulled, many kites will fly backwards. Even with the kite de-powered gear 4 has considerable more power. Additionally, kiteboarders generally have a board, this presents a problem when launching unhooked.
So what should happen?
After the rider completes his final pre-launch check he should launch in gear 1 (trim loop), the rider should be able to "walk"
his kite on the water by pushing the bar with his set hand while holding his board with his land hand. Move their center of gravity towards the kites center of effort until they reached the water. Once they reach the water they lay forward and bring the kite up.
Certainly onshore winds with shore pound present major obsicles but by and large this is a super way to launch.

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Postby Guest » Thu Apr 24, 2003 6:59 am

I would definitely say launching unhooked is the best idea. Once the rider is sure the kite is setup right and they are happy to go out, hook in and immediately turn the kite over to the edge of the window which is closest to the sea, so at worst case, if they get hit by a gust, it drags them to the water. Trying to walk down to the water with a kite unhooked and a board is a bitch.

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Postby Mr Jo Macdonald » Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:50 am

Yep it's cool but you definatley need a QR chicken loop or fixed loop because if they're standard when you hook in to pick up the board or shackle in for that time you're without any safety system

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Postby EdDy_DiFfUsIvItY » Thu Apr 24, 2003 9:30 am

Yeh its pretty hard to clip in with a QR when using this method But I would agree that its ldeal for a QR loop. Unless you have a buddy or your laiuncher runs over and clips you in.

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Postby RickI » Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:31 pm

Good subject John! Analyzing the accidents from 2002, it could be concluded that the number of serious accidents including fatalities could have been reduced by HALF by launching (AND LANDING) unhooked.

Another variant is discribed at:

http://kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=5521

It involves:

1. CAREFUL PREFLIGHTING and keeping a 100 to 200 ft. downwind buffer zone.

2. Adjusting your trim strap for current winds for stable flight.

3. Launching with your kite close to the water, while holding the bar AND NOT HOOKED IN or CONNECTED TO THE CHICKEN LOOP.

4. Bring it up about 15 to 20 ft. off the surface and walk towards your board near the edge of the water.

5. Keeping the kite low and near the water and hook into your QR FIXED HARNESS LINE and lean over and grab your board.

6. Body drag out a ways, the further the better, then put on your board and go.

7. You reverse the process coming in, adjusting your trim strap and unhooking, holding your bar while still well away from shore as you ride in.

The key is to NEVER BE HOOKED IN OR CONNECTED TO YOUR BAR NEAR HARD OBJECTS so if something goes wrong, the bar is yanked out of your hands and the kite depower. If properly practiced and performed using a maintained/tested kite leash, no dragging or lofting should result.

This approach seems to be catching on in some areas. It should result in fewer accidents.

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Postby Peter_Frank » Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:00 pm

But not very practical :(

As most kitesurfers dont use a CL, but a locked front line connection - you need a very easy and fast way to attach to your front lines.
I have not seen such a system anywhere !

Even if you used your loop to hook into, you still had to use some time to lock it into your hook, which can be quite dangerous too.

And with the huge disadvantages by having a loop in your hook (instead of outside or a schackle like normally), most does not use this method at all.

Whether you use a Wichard or other connection system - I think it is way more risky to try to attach this yourself, AFTER having launched your kite.
Very dangerous, and IMO much worse than the risks by launching hooked in.
Well, I would even call it impossible - it could not be done really :-?

So the safety thought is okay, but useless for most riders unfortunately.

It would be almost the same as saying that you should only use 2 lined kites now, because they are safer.
You cant do that either, right ?

With so many kites having mated (idiot proof) connection points now - I think it is a way more constructive way of looking at the safety perspective.

When teaching at schools, it might be a splendid idea to teach to launch unhooked, and hook into a loop when going out (but you still got the problem with locking it properly).
But if you dont do something to prepare for what to do "in real life" as everyone have their bars set up when you become experienced, then I think it is no good really :(

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Postby RickI » Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:25 pm

Interesting points and valid observations too. Then again, as long as things continue along current practices there will be a number of potentially avoidable accidents and incidents.

I stopped using a shackle about six months ago in favor of a Wipika pin quick release on the bars that I use most regularly. Prior to that time, I didn't launch unhooked a lot with the snap shackle but it was possible although more complicated to be sure.

With the current system, using a QR fixed harness line, it is quite easy subject to reasonable winds for the given kite size. If the rider chooses to connect and disconnect from the chicken loop a distance offshore, the hazards of this transition should be reduced in theory. The approach described requires that a QR fixed harness line be attached to the bar. These are not standard on some bars.

It isn't perfect, then again, neither is the current way of doing things. People are being dragged and lofted periodically. With time there should be more reliable technological solutions but they aren't here yet. All that might serve in the interim is modified technique. Ideas for one possible approach are described above. Other techniques and solutions must exist. The demands of impecable preflighting, weather planning, launch characterization and avoiding plain old misfortune are substantial. Being able to just drop the bar or have it yanked out of your hands could save a lot of problems in the near term.

No matter what approach you use, kiteboarding can still be potentially hazardous. Being hooked in near hard objects only appears to be more
so.

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Postby Peter_Frank » Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:51 pm

RickI wrote:Interesting points and valid observations too. Then again, as long as things continue along current practices there will be a number of potentially avoidable accidents and incidents.

I stopped using a shackle about six months ago in favor of a Wipika pin quick release on the bars that I use most regularly. Prior to that time, I didn't launch unhooked a lot with the snap shackle but it was possible although more complicated to be sure.

With the current system, using a QR fixed harness line, it is quite easy subject to reasonable winds for the given kite size. If the rider chooses to connect and disconnect from the chicken loop a distance offshore, the hazards of this transition should be reduced in theory. The approach described requires that a QR fixed harness line be attached to the bar. These are not standard on some bars.

It isn't perfect, then again, neither is the current way of doing things. People are being dragged and lofted periodically. With time there should be more reliable technological solutions but they aren't here yet. All that might serve in the interim is modified technique. Ideas for one possible approach are described above. Other techniques and solutions must exist. The demands of impecable preflighting, weather planning, launch characterization and avoiding plain old misfortune are substantial. Being able to just drop the bar or have it yanked out of your hands could save a lot of problems in the near term.

No matter what approach you use, kiteboarding can still be potentially hazardous. Being hooked in near hard objects only appears to be more
so.
This is true Rick - but my point is still, that most kiters dont use a chicken loop in the hook no more, as it is kind of an "old" thing that does not work at all, together with the fixed loop.

I dont use a schackle either - but a pin release.
And i definitely dont have a CL into my hook, which would destroy everything.

So what I am saying is, that in order to obtain any bettering in safety, the solutions must be applicable for most riders, and not only the minority using older standard systems...

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Postby JHolzhall » Thu Apr 24, 2003 9:53 pm

Rick, your premise is good but it is based on the fact that riders are trained to "let go" when brain freeze happens. If you review the kitemares you will discover this rarely is the case.
Riders have to train themselves to anticipate problems and take appropriate action. Take for example a self-launch, as the rider allows wind to create a center of energy the top lines will tension, instead of immediately launching, the rider should check these lines. They are the potential problem. As the rider sees the malfunction he moves towards the kites center of energy and gets out of the harness or releases his QR. In this case never did the rider "pull" in on the bar to launch the kite.
I strongly agree that riders need to spend time planning and anticipating their launch and exit long before they attempt it, however, I disagree with your suggestion that riders launch in gear 4 and I respectfully suggest you remove it from your "safety points" in favor of something to the effect of "anticipating brain freeze on the launch and exit".


For this and more insight check out "Kiteboarding's Simple Plan" the Book
http://www.kiteboardcenter.com

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Postby RickI » Thu Apr 24, 2003 10:22 pm

JHolzhall wrote:Rick, your premise is good but it is based on the fact that riders are trained to "let go" when brain freeze happens. If you review the kitemares you will discover this rarely is the case.
Riders have to train themselves to anticipate problems and take appropriate action. Take for example a self-launch, as the rider allows wind to create a center of energy the top lines will tension, instead of immediately launching, the rider should check these lines. They are the potential problem. As the rider sees the malfunction he moves towards the kites center of energy and gets out of the harness or releases his QR. In this case never did the rider "pull" in on the bar to launch the kite.
I strongly agree that riders need to spend time planning and anticipating their launch and exit long before they attempt it, however, I disagree with your suggestion that riders launch in gear 4 and I respectfully suggest you remove it from your "safety points" in favor of something to the effect of "anticipating brain freeze on the launch and exit".


For this and more insight check out "Kiteboarding's Simple Plan" the Book
http://www.kiteboardcenter.com
Not a lot of perfect solutions in this to be sure. Going back through my recollection of the 80 odd KSI accounts, I am having trouble remembering a substantial portion in which failure to let go figured in the accident. Then again there have been cases where people DID hang on like grim death for the complete ride and impact.

In my own experience over the last 4 1/2 years I always have let go or more accurately had it yanked from my grasp on those limited occassions when I was holding the bar and something like this came to pass. Then again, everyone may react differently. I remember discussing training with you at SurfExpo in Orlando. That is training reactions as opposed to mental processing. It isn't perfect but I would encourage people to frequently practice mentally and physically dealing with emergency situations. That is both hooked in and unhooked. It may not kick in with an emergency, then again, it might.

To launch/land with reliable safety, while hooked (that is connected to the chicken loop), the following conditions need to be present:

No line tangles
No crossed lines
No line snags on branches, etc.
No broken leading edge lines
No broken leading edge pigtails
No breakage of the chicken loop assembly
No excessive gusts, lulls and gusts or wind direction changes
No launching seriously overpowered
No excessive wind gradient
No assisted launch errors, premature, etc.
No assisted landing errors
No premature solo launch
No kite leash malfunction on solo landing
No serious bar control input errors
No interferance from bystanders with your lines or bar
No impact with other kites or lines during launch or landing

and IF something goes wrong, you need to be able to reach and successfully activate your connection mechanism. Experience has shown that you may not be able to find it, reach it as you are being dragged, reach it as you are tied up, are unconcious, it may not release due to corrosion or clogging with sand, wrong pull angle with some shackles, Or you just may not think of it due to brain freeze, etc.

and more ...

ALL of these factors have resulted in accidents in the past. Kiteboarding can be dangerous and it definitely isn't as easy as it looks. IF you launch/land unhooked AND let go AND your tested, well maintained kite leash works as intended, there is a good chance that you will escape serious injury.

IF you are hooked in that is your chicken loop is connected, you may be in for some injury. I have ALWAYS assumed that I could be injured by hooking in or connecting to my chicken loop while near hard objects for YEARS. People are proving this the hard way all the time.

None of it is perfect. Launching unhooked, WITH a proper buffer area can and does work under certain circumstances. There are other ideas that may work just as well or better. We should do something other than to hitch ourselves to something that can drag or loft us at high speed if any of the above or other misfortune happens.

Peter, I am not sure what you mean about old gear? My pin release is fairly new. You might be referring to retrofitting fixed QR harness lines on new bar systems without them.

The accidents are happening because people are hooked in near hard objects. We should do something to improve this aspect of kiteboarding. Solutions are needed, launching/landing unhooked is only one idea. What are some others that have been tried and work?
Last edited by RickI on Fri Apr 25, 2003 5:16 am, edited 3 times in total.


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