Will your mechanical attachment to your chicken loop or center line WORK in ALL CASES or not?
Is it safe and reasonable to RELY upon this device releasing your chicken loop or centerline under ALL CONDITIONS?
We are talking about MANY devices including snap shackles such as tip release Wichards, Tylaskas, all the various pin release systems, the new old three ring parachute releases, custom designed spreader bar mechanisms, etc. Some of these devices WERE NEVER INTENDED to be used in kiteboarding of course but have been adapted in some cases.
Lots of accidents and incidents have established that going without any mechanical quick release, with just a bare chicken loop, isn't very safe or reliable and use of some release device appears to be indicated.
What do you think?
Things that might interfer with a proper, effective chicken loop or centerline quick release function could include:
1. Failure to open under excessive loading,
2. Failure to open because of sand block or corrosion because of poor maintenance,
3. Failure to open because components bend or alter configuration through current or historical loading,
4. Failure to fully release the center line or chicken loop AFTER opening,
5. Failure to successfully find, grab and release your device in an emergency,
6. Failure to properly open because it is improperly rigged,
7. Use of an ineffective release never intended for kiteboarding (e.g. side release shackle),
8. And other causes.
I have heard about lots of incidents, accidents and have tried to analyze the root causes and possible solutions. I arrived at the opinion quite a while ago based upon reported accidents, that we CAN NOT rely upon the devices to release under all conditions and at all times.
This is not a condemnation of manufacturers IN THE LEAST. They are trying lots of new ideas with varying degrees of success and these devices appear to be improving. Coming up with a quick release mechanism that works under all conditions and times is a VERY DEMANDING technological requirement and will likely evade discovery and development for a while longer. Taking pot shots at the manufacturers for this is not likely to benefit ANYONE, constructive input on what works, what needs development and best of all, creative ideas should help.
Q U E S T I O N:
Your car has airbags, front and side, your door panels are reinforced, you have a five point seatbelt and helmet on, you have every conventional safety device in your car ...
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU DRIVE OFF OF A CLIFF?
All your gadgets may or may not help, best to NEVER GO THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. LIfe can be uncertain, why add to it by tossing yourself into emergencies through carelessness?
The current approach, that I have been advocating for a long time is, TO AVOID PLACING YOURSELF INTO EMERGENCY SITUATIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE. The outcome of such scenarios is simply too uncertain at this time, even with well maintained and tested devices. You may not have time to act, you may not be able to find it, your lines may twist following release, the device may not open, etc. etc.
Until an AUTOMATIC, HIGHLY RELIABLE DEPOWERING MECHANISM is placed on the market things may continue to be a bit uncertain in emergency scenarios when depowering your kite very rapidly is of critical importance.
For now, one course of action could be:
1. Use a properly rigged, tested and well maintained quick release with as high an indication of reliabile performance as configured, as feasible.
2. Mentally and physically practice activating your quick release to try to develop quicker reaction and to verfiy performance.
3. AVOID EMERGENCY SITUATIONS through proper training, careful building of experience, weather and riding area monitoring and use of well maintained, tested and preflighted kite and safety gear along with good judgment, etc.
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