Until very recently I've been a big fan of naish's UDS. I like the huge amount of depower and the extra speed the kite has when I'm unhooked (esp with big kites) .... but I think it's responsible for a bad habit that is starting to take it's toll.
If you've used the UDS for any length of time I'd really appreciate your perspective - and you may relate to what I mean here...
When I'm using the UDS and my 19m boxer I've started to ride a lot of the time unhooked. This allows me to easily cope with the gusts as well as fly the kite close to the wind (awesome for making upwind ground). When it's gusty and you're using a largish kite the UDS system provides comforting additional control.
The downside to being unhooked it that there is always quite a bit of bar pressure and this is starting to give me really bad kiters elbow (tendonitis). Recently I haven't been signing the kite much - had more wind - but the pain is there all the more and I think the constant high bar pressure is the real culprit here. From all I've read on tendonitis - sustained stress on your elbows doesn't only occur when you are bending and straightening them a lot - it also occurrs when you are just holding onto a significant force.
So assuming this constant bar pressure is the culprit what to do?
If you hook in with the UDS you go from having a huge amount of depower to practically nothing - the UDS chicken loop travel is even less than the std bar setup.
I also find that I spend most of my time unhooked. I find that being hooked in kills the kites speed, therefore power, in the lulls (not to mention sacrificing the extra turning speed that the free bar gives right when you want it) & is too restrictive during gusts, which is the time when you want to depower.
So when do you hook in? When cruising in super steady winds or for short arm breaks, that's about all. I've tried tuning this effect out, but can't seem to find the right balance point to make staying hooked in worthwhile.
I haven't had any elbow issues.. err.. guest, but I feel that it shortens my sessions coz I just start losing upper body strength a lot quicker due to the constant strain. I hit that point where it takes both hands straining on one end of the bar to get the bugger to turn, then it's time to head in.
Every time I rig up lately I'm tossing up whether to go UDS or normal, whichever I choose I miss some aspects of the other.
I have been thru most of the old UDS posts on here without any joy. Any other UDS users got any tips? Anyone found a different bar that gives the best of both worlds?
I've been using UDS exclusively now for about a year and I agree and disagree with some of the points you guys have made. UDS allows much more room for error in edging if you are unhooked. With a normal setup when a gust hits you have to edge your ass off to keep control or lose your edge and fly downwind at 100 miles an hour. With UDS, when your unhooked and a gust hits you just let the bar out a little more and keep on cruising. In gusty unstable conditions I will fly unhooked most of the time, then hook in before jumping for the extra power. This does take more of a toll on your arms as they are constantly under strain, but I just see this as more of a work out, kind of a good thing. In stable, steady wind I'll hook in and ride that way no problem. I have not had any issues with handling of the kite while hooked in, this might be more of an issue with the kite itself. For me, UDS makes life much easier not having to worry about getting spanked in the gusts. The only thing is I think you do develop a bad habit of not having to absorb gusts with the board and your edging technique because if you ever decide to switch back to a normal setup, you'll lose the feature that UDS provides - ultimate depower.
Basically I think UDS was a good idea, but in its current form is not really an improvement over a classic chickenloop setup. Naish hasn't made UDS a part of its 2005 roll out, which probably has something to do with the stock piles of bars they never sold.
I run into people who still love the system, but I encourage anyone who is a big fan of it to try and go back to your regular bar for awhile. If you want a lot of depower just rig your bar with an exceptionally long trim line. If you feel like you still need more depower than that, maybe time to get some kites with better depower or a shorter board.
I used UDS for awhile and was stoked on it at first, but after I switched back to my old bar for awhile I realized that the regular bar was much easier and let me focus more on my riding.
I re-read the link posted by Dax and it seemed that most of the guys who really like the UDS were using it with a really long back line setup. I rigged today using furthest back line attachment points on my bar, as well as attaching one knot closer to the kite on my front line pigtails (kite end). I flew with about 1/3 depower on the strap as well. This combination would probably have been too much on a more responsive kite but my old Aero 14 seems to have a long bar action between under & over sheeting... if that makes sense.
The wind wasn't all that steady in the 1-3pm time that I was out:
So how was it? Much improved! I found I was much more comfortable with the whole setup, and it worked more like how it was advertised. For some reason (contrary to expectations?) I was able to keep my arms more outstretched and yet lay back more, taking the strain off my arms and getting more edge at the same time. I was able to fly one-handed much more of the time (which I love) and hook in for breaks or jumping. I was finally nailing those super-powered carving transitions too, swinging the kite back low, laying back & dragging one arm, throwing up a huge wall of spray... wicked! I've never felt comfortable using the UDS like this before..
All in all I had an awesome session, which renewed my enthusiasm for the UDS .. just when I was about to give up on it! Cheers Dax for the post..
I've been using the set up for a while now on my biggest kites e.g Aero2 18 and now V4 20.
I agree that if your out of the loop you do get a lot of bar pressure, and on top of that you get a free feeling, lively bar that can lead to strains.
I only enjoy being out of the UDS chicken loop when I'm wading in shallow water, transitioning or trying to pump onto a plane. Other than that I'm in the chicken loop. With a V4 20m I don't want a lot of depower once I'm through a transition and pumped back on a plane. Its at that point I want to lock my kite into it's solid sweet spot and use my board/edge for control.
Riding out of the UDS loop does get you through massive wind increases. However, I only kite that way temporarly and get back into the loop or go in and down size.
I won't go back to a normal bar on my V4 20, but I don't know that I'll ever add it to a new kite unless the uds is improved upon.
I re-read the link posted by Dax and it seemed that most of the guys who really like the UDS were using it with a really long back line setup. I rigged today using furthest back line attachment points on my bar, as well as attaching one knot closer to the kite on my front line pigtails (kite end). I flew with about 1/3 depower on the strap as well.
Hi , i have been doing the same thing as aero-boy, and my UDS works alot better although instead of just adjusting the center lines+pigtails on the kite-end, i tied-on shorter larks-head on my center lines(bar-end) where they attach to the red+blue spinning leash thingy. Essentially i shortened the center lines 2.5 inches
I wish there was a UDS users group or website not affiliated with Naish.
Rodan just in case it helps I actually lengthened my back lines a helluva lot, so much more than just usual tuning differences in line length. That's why I hadn't tried this before when I was trying to adjust my UDS into being useful.
I would say the other day I had nearly 2 inches on the kite pigtails, 2 inches on the depower strap, and 6 inches by attaching my back lines to knots I've put on the very end of the leader lines which come off the sides of my bar. So my back lines were at least 10 inches longer (v. front lines) than for my previous session(s)!!
Awesome, next session i will shorten up the center lines some more and see how it feels. So do you mind having bar alot closer to your body? If so, the famous UDS "out stretched arms" are no longer a problem.
Very informative posts. I've been using the UDS for about 6 months mainly on my slingshot GTO 13 before, and now my slingshot fuel 13. I too have experienced some tendenitus in my elbows, almost to the point that I had to give up a couple of windy days to recover. It seemed to subside after a couple of days, but it was fairly painful initially. Also, I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, but I've had the QR fail about 1 out of every 2 times the last 10 or so times I've used it to depower my kite for self recovery. I would pull the QR red ball down, the medal eye loop would not flip 180 degrees when it slid out of the plastic holder. It seemed to just hang in the balance until I reached up and helped it along. I'm very familiar with the rigging of the UDS and frankly this worries me a bit, I wouldn't want to pull the QR in an emergency and have it fail to deploy. Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions to alleviate it?