Helping someone to launch? There are few things that you should look for:
1. Do the leading edge lines BOTH converge to the center of the control bar (forming a NICE Vee shape), AND does the kite size feel appropriate for the winds?
Crossed flight lines have caused serious injuries and recently too. Rigging errors are relatively easy to spot. If you don't see the leading edge lines vee into the center of the control bar, put the kite down, thoroughly anchor it, redo the necessary lines and preflight, again! If the kite seems too large for conditions, talk to the kiteboarder about it. Visiting and new kiteboarders sometimes just fly whatever and damn the consequences UNTIL they happen.
2. Are you in a good position for a launch?
That is well away from hard objects, powerlines, trees, slopes or walls (that might cause an uplift lofting), 200 ft. or more is ideal. If you can't be that far away, are you as far away as feasible. Also, at many launches it is safer to launch with the kite near or better still, from the water in the shallows offshore.
3. Are the kite lines near perpendicular to the wind?
Perpendicular works for winds in the mid range for a given kite. A slightly greater angle than 90 degrees may be necessary for launching at the light end. Slightly less than 90 degrees may be necessary to avoid "hot launching" the rider with strong winds in the upper range for a given kite.
4. Did you agree on a launch signal AND confirmation with the kiteboarder before agreeing to launch him?
Don't rely upon yelled signals or a single hand signal. Lots of guys have been dragged and injured by premature launching due to mistaken communication. Be sure!
5. Does the kite look OK?
Are all the battens and leading edge well inflated, lines free of knots, etc. as far as you can see? If not, abort the launch and fix it BEFORE launching.
6. You receive the first signal to launch, is the area downwind (ideally 200 ft.), free of bystanders, nearby dogs, etc.?
If the kite doesn't appear to be biting into the air and wants to take off you might indicate to the kiteboarder that he should wait for the wind to fill in. Does the wind appear to be excessively gusty and would waiting a minute or so bring less violent wind? Otherwise, give the acknowledgment signal to the rider and wait for the kiteboarders confirming signal and then GENTLY release the kite.
Do you have other ideas out there for things that a kiteboarding assistant should look out for? It goes without saying, DON'T USE UNTRAINED PEOPLE to help you launch and land. Go over procedures with whomever helps you including experienced guys. Misunderstandings can really HURT in a launch or landing gone seriously wrong. Some photos and ideas on launch communication signals appear in the KSR at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... EFERENCES/
7. Kiteboarding Signals
Universal signals to be used to coordinate launching, landing and rescues.