Kite gear breaks, right? Yup, you bet it does and with the loading and wear some bits may break sooner than others. Things like BRIDLE LINES for instance. If a bridle breaks at a minimum your kite my stop flying or worse it might continue to fly, spiraling out of control and perhaps even with some power. Ideally if you sheet out the power should go but who needs to experiment with this stuff particularly in powered conditions?
The following ideas were collected from discussions with Paul Menta with The Kitehouse, Garry Mink with Cabrinha and Thomas Gaehwiler with Best R&D.
Check gear EVERY TIME you tear it down, POST-Flight inspection,
1. Look at bridles for fraying, change in diameter and color loss. Compress line together and look closely at braid for evidence of wear.
Some industry reps say based upon riding frequency and conditions, plan to change out bridle lines every 3 to 6 months and based upon condition.
2. Pull line back and forth through pulleys to check for function, lack of binding.
3. ALWAYS WASH OFF METAL PULLEYS AND LINE WITH FRESH WATER. The accumulated salt cake, sand and grit can severely reduce the useful life of pulleys.
4. Examine pigtails using techniques described in #1 above. You may need to replace them along the same time schedule as bridals.
5. Look at line attachment points on control bar assembly for wear or fraying and replace if necessary.
6. Look at chicken loop line for wear, fibers sticking out horizontally, replace before failure!
7. Carefully examine flight lines for wear points. Regular tricks can wear lines at specific points with repeated twisting under load.
Other considerations follow:
1. Consider where you ride and how. Are there rocks that can nick or fray bridle, leader or flight lines? Do you solo launch and land to where added wear may occur? Do you ride in higher or lighter winds? All these factors need to be considered in estimating wear and replacement intervals for bridle, leader and flight lines.
2. Every 6 months PLAN on having to replace bridle, leader and flight lines and pigtails. Depending on the above factors and other considerations you may need to replace them more or less frequently.
3. Check flight lines for relative length at least once every 3 months.
4. Examine and wiggle pulleys every session, replace if binding or excessive wear occurs.
5. Garry suggested keeping your bar and lines attached to your bow kite. He described carefully winding your lines up on your bar tightly in figure 8's right up to the center of the kite. He then loops the built in bungie over one end of the bar and line. The other bungie is looped through the pump leash attachment point on the leading edge of the kite. You then roll the kite up conventionally leaving the bar inside. Garry has faster and easier setup using this technique and if you need to you are already setup for boat launch or assisted launch from the shallows in areas without suitable beaches.