guy made a ton of mistakes but you have to remember this is from 4 years again when he was a newbie. I'm sure he's heard all the advice again and again and is now a competent safe kiter. so let's not give this guy advice he's heard it all before. instead, we need to focus on lessons for us. My feeling is the most important lesson in this video is he didn't have a working QR. You might disagree that we should learn something else, I just feel that is the most important lesson from this video. When is the last time you threw your quick release?
Yeah, I'm not here to dogpile onto the guy, I think it's great that he spent a lot of time putting together a video with text that is aimed at keeping others out of that situation. And he totally did it for others - no hints of heroism that I saw.
My original point is around him being a newbie - I'm not sure that he is or isn't. He could have intermediate riding skills but not have good safety skills, or bad judgement that the situation has kind of built in. Im my mind, in a similar situation, not trying to salvage at least a little bit of riding out of the day means it was a waste of a saturday, a drive, a hike etc. It means your friend rode and you didn't. It might mean that you are going to pack your gear down and sit on it while your friend keeps riding and then you both trudge out while your friend recounts the high points of his session.
We get all locked in to maximizing riding time because we like it and it's scarce. It's seriously hard to rig up, hook up and then stop everything to wait and see what the change in wind means.
So, yeah owning a working QR is super important of course. Can't argue with that. Testing it every session is the way to make sure it's still working is part of that. Maybe this dude has totally studied up on the quick release reflex and practiced releasing it with either hand, upside down, blindfolded using a stopwatch. He still didn't use that reflex until way too far into the situation.
Him not using it is the area of nuance that makes an infrequent poster like me want to go all forensic on the video - and of course the wind is bad now so I have time. I bump in to this problem while I'm teaching and I have to parse my words very carefully. I explain the QR, I explain building a reflex around it. I say you have to be able to use the reflex when it's called for. The reflex is super easy, the judgement around when it's called for is super hard and I honestly can't even continue talking about it at that point in a lesson because I would go straight down the rabbit hole until I was talked out. So I touch back on it repeatedly after a student starts to get a little touch of experience with kite power. I just say that while we're working together here you should default to hitting it if you are uncomfortable or I yell at you to use it.
But the difference between the ability to hit the QR fast and the ability to make that decision is important. So much goes into the decision making process, which is probably happening at a moment of mounting panic - monetary value of the kite, possibility of it getting damaged, is my new girlfriend watching and how shallow is she, how long will it take to rerig and ride again if I want to, how much danger am I really in, are there thorns in those trees I'm getting dragged towards...super hard to teach. Best case is to have forseen and weighted hazards and influences on the decision in advance which only comes with a ton of experience and comes differently to different personalities.
Anecdotal sidenote - one of the best and most experienced kiters in Alaska lost a season when he broke some fingers by getting dragged into a cutbank by a gust. I asked about the QR and he said "You never think about it till it's too late". So, expert rider, beginner safety level.
As to when I last threw my QR - twice this winter on the snow, once last summer on the beach. El Nino kept South Central AK from getting much high pressure this winter and I dealt with shit conditions just like in the video for the last 4 months, I guess that may be why I have so much to say. Both times on the snow were pretty similar. It's a hike in area and I was augered way back into it. Wind starts to go flaky, sky turns grey with an approaching squall. I don't want to walk a mile out in deep snow so I start beelining towards the car. Wind is coming up, I start to get onto hardpacked snowmachine trails running between thicker bushes than the riding area with more terrain effects because it's on a ridge. Lose my edge, sit down, getting dragged with my board in front of me. Bushes at 40 ft, kite flying erratically. Can't reach my brake because I'm scared to put my weight forward and flatten the board out. QR.
I don't think the decision making was that bad. I did have influences like I was talking about - my friends were rigged smaller and were going to get out fine and have to wait for me. I didn't want to finish a session with postholing at dusk. Expediency. I did put myself in a situation where the QR was going to be considered if not used, but I ended up using it a little closer to emergency level than I wanted.
Hitting the QR is kind of thought of as being the result of things going bad but I almost feel the opposite. I have rarely regretted making the decision to use it even if I could have tried harder to wrestle my way out. Also, I always reflect on how suddenly calm and peaceful everything becomes as soon as I unload that beast. It's like opium to go from fear to normalcy that quick.
EDT - when is the last time you threw yours?