Redundant kite suicide leash release system for land/snow kiting
I setup a new triple release system on my 19 and 15 meter kites which works like a suicide leash and keeps you from dropping like a rock in the event of harness, spreader bar, chickenloop, chickendick, chickenloopline or depowerstrap failure. The only failure that could drop you hard would be a front line failure which would still leave 3 lines to support you on the way down. Last winter I had a close call when my third spreader bar broke (Dakine) and left me 20+ feet up off the ground with a fully powered up Speed 2 15 in 20 mph of wind. The front line safety leash had been connected to the hook which completely broke off so I was only connected to the kite by holding onto the bar and the kite was fully powered up as the chickenloop was out at the bar. If I had let go of the bar its certain that I would have broken both legs at best or been dead as a doornail at worst. The redundant kite support system worked well with my climbing harness and I tested it extensively. In over 10 years of kiting I have destroyed 3 spreader bars, 5 harnesses, 10 chickenloops, 2 depower straps and countless chickenloop lines. The equipment is designed for 150lb guys that are far less aggressive riders than I am. I weigh in at 205 lbs, am 6’9” and am not happy unless I am over 20 feet off the ground/water.
I used 3mm Amsteel to make the line out of and you can buy it from APSltd for about $.48 a foot and you will need about 4 ft of it per kite.http://www.apsltd.com/p-20968-amsteel-blue-18-3mm.aspx
The harness is just a cheap black diamond climbing harness that I paid $50 for. You should buy it new and wear it on top of your seat harness or below your waist harness. The carabineer is just a cheap $10 locking beener and the release shackle is a stainless steel release shackle which will run you about $40http://www.apsltd.com/p-9729-nicro-snap ... -bail.aspx
My advice is don’t cheap out on the shackle, the less expensive ones will rust shut with salt water or corrosion. You will also need a red ball for the shackle release. http://www.apsltd.com/c-4556-ColoredStopperBalls.aspx
Now you are at about $102 for a safety system that could easily prevent serious injury or death from equipment failure.
You need to sleeve the ends of the amsteel and sew it. Make sure to leave about a 1” loop at the end toward the shackle so it doesn’t get caught on the end of the shackle release arm. To install it on your kite just make a larks head above the trim strap and run the amsteel through the existing bar and down to the chickenloop. Then hook the other loop end to the release shackle. You will need to make sure when you loop the kite or roll in one direction you roll back in the other direction. If the suicide leash line gets too many twists in it then it won’t work properly when you need it to and it could interfere with your normal leash release system.
When I launch the kite I do not hook up the suicide leash/climbing harness system as I want to be able to dump the kite if I have to by pulling only one ball. When I go out riding and getting big 20+ foot airs I hook the shackle to the suicide leash system. When I have finished riding or if I start getting overpowered I disconnect the 2ndary leash system. Its important when launching and landing to make sure the system is not engaged as anything that will eat up precious seconds you may need to activate your normal release systems could kill you. When out riding or gliding and getting big airs over land this system is a MUST HAVE.
You also need to test the system in <15 mph winds. When you remove the chickenloop the ktie should act as a very short suicide leash system and the bar should still be within your reach. Make sure that you can pull your suicide release system ball on the shackle and the kite flags out on the release system and depowers completely.
The downside is when you are out riding you will have to pull 2 balls to get the kite to drop out of the sky, the upside is you might not die when your harness/spreader bar/chickenloop/chickenloopline/depowerstrap fails and you are over 20 ft in the air.
I do not endorse kite gliding and I think it’s obscenely lame and detracts from the entire sport. When I watch videos of Shasta or anyone gliding at 100 ft in the air I think to myself “He is going to get someone killed by showing off like that”. I am putting this out there for people who INSIST on kite gliding or getting big 20+ foot airs on land or snow who don’t want to kill themselves when their equipment fails. Regardless of how meticulous you maintain your gear, no matter how new it is I can guarantee that at some point it will fail, and it will always be when you need it to work the most.