The following is quoted from a different posting in this list:
7. CONSIDER LAUNCHING UNHOOKED from your bar for rapid release & kite leash activation if things go wrong. Consider hooking into your QR fixed harness line only once you are near the water & your kite is well low over the water in order to grab your board. Connect to your chicken loop offshore.
Given the current standard equipment, I am wondering whether this really works.
Recently, in Hurghada I tried to do this. Overall conditions were good, almost sideshore winds, 3-4 bft, with gusts up to 5 bft. My starting position was on the beach and my partner was in the water. I was flying a Takoon Scoop 14.3. Immediately, after the unhooked launch the kite gained some height, about 2 to 3 meters, and it started pulling me downwind. It pulled me over the sand and, being busy with not falling down, I could not prevent the kite from rising more and consequently pulling even harder. By that time I was already in the water where things became more relaxed. I controlled the kite in the zenith position, hooked in. Nothing special from this point of time. Well, except for the fact that I was missing my board which I obviously left on the beach.
To summarize, due to the fact that I was starting in the right direction, the situation was not dangerous at any point of time. However, I had the feeling that starting unhooked caused the kite to be more powered. Consequently, I was pulled in the downwind direction.
Here comes my question: How many of youare practicing this technique? And finally, if this only works in light wind conditions, does it make sense at all?
I'm trying to champion this idea at the moment wherever I go but 1st you need a little piece of extra kit.
I ride Slingshot, and on their new bar set up is a little round locking ball device which sit either side of the bar. They're designed for handles passes primarily I think, but what I do is as follows:
Get the kite set up to suit the conditions and define the amount of depower range you will need.
Then pull the chicken loop in to the maximum depower (without the back lines being too loose because you will still need to steer the kite to get it in the air) Lock the ball
Launch the kite, get to the water, get set to go.
Then hook in (or shackle if you must. I don't like shackles have seen too many failures) unlock the ball and off you go.
When you come back to land, reverse the procedure.
Using this method I would say you are as close to 90% safe as you'll ever be.
I will not launch my kite unhooked, basically, because I'm fully powering my kite up. Just like pulling my bar down when I'm riding, only I have no escape this time.
My advise just stay hooked in and launch by sending your kite up by using the bar and pull your depower strap (depending of the wind, low wind it could give you problemws with launching, then you need the angel of your kite to make certain it stays stable)
Equipment plays a significant role - each manufacturer has certain features that may favor one method over the other. I'm using '04 Cabrinha stuff, it has a "leashless" safety incorporated into the leaders, so launching hooked in is less of a risk. It also has a "powerlock" thingie that will keep the bar locked in the max power setting, which lets me launch unhooked by pre-depowering the centerline adjustment strap - after I hook in, the powerlock keeps the bar in place while I repower the center strap, then I can depower on the bar without overdoing it.
Sounds like your kite was overpowered for conditions and could have used some depower on the centerline adjustment before launching. Either that, or it was launched too far downwind (or caught a gust) - especially given that you were able to hook in with the kite overhead.
Practice letting go of your kite unhooked (on a leash of course) because it is not natural to do in a hurry at first
Being confident with your kite unhooked is a good way to stop the panic when you accidently come unhooked with a kiter or whatever downwind of you. (grab the depower loop to hook back in don't strain your arms trying to pull the bar in while oversheeted.. - trying to dangle the depower loop back into place!)
make sure your kite does not flair when fully depowered/unhooked first. (ie flys ok unhooked)
Chuck your board at edge of water.
Don't launch with other kites/anything else in the safety buffer zone.
Don't go out overgunned ie rigged for a slow moving poo stance session ie riding with the kite at almost 90 degrees in the air the majority of the time
I have managed to launch unhooked and ride out 100m all unhooked -difficult but not impossible - just a hop or 2 needed to get your board in the water
I have self lauched unhooked in 30 knots without any drama it was one of those days when there was no one else around and the kite was flapping so hard there was a risk of lines self tangling (by the way you can also sand down lines near kite to reduce chance of this happening in self launch)
Launching unhooked is not a huge deal.
But know this
The most likely thing that is really going to save you when shit hits the fan is great distance from solid objects (rocks, boulders, walls, banks, cliffs, big holes in beach, groins, logs, dogs, humans, kiters, trees, fences, bushes....) above ground level (ie the safety buffer zone).
Launching unhooked is NOT A WAY AROUND THIS it is simply risk reduction
even unhooked you first slamming/ lofting is already under momentum - nothing can stop this momentum
I am a beginner, and this might be a stupid question/suggestion, but would it not be possible to hold the chicken loop with one hand, and control the bar with the other hand thereby allowing you to fly the kite in a depowered state until you reach the water's edge. Then you would obviously grab your board, hook in and go....
Not sure but seems like it might work from my viewpoint...If it works you could say you launced Drazticly safe
If it doesn't work you can just call me another clueless newbnoobnub.