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Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Forum with lots of safety info - a must for newbees


tcwicklund
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Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby tcwicklund » Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:39 pm

About a month ago, I was kiting off a beach down in Anna Maria Island, FL in some 20-25 mph wind. The wind started side-onshore, but had shifted almost directly onshore. I only had my 12m Cabrinha Convert with me that day and it was a bit overpowered. At one point, my harness was really riding up into my ribs and starting to bother me. I was about 30 meters off the beach and the water was about 3 ft deep and i decided to unhook to try to adjust my harness a little bit. Well, I had never unhooked before while flying the kite... I was holding the left side of the bar and unhooked the chicken loop with my other hand. Next thing I knew, the kite started into a death spiral. It was fully powered and I was just steering hard left because I couldn't grab the other side of the bar. It pulled me up out of the water in the first loop. I landed in the water, and before I could do anything, I was getting pulled up out of the water again as the kite continued looping. I didn't want to let go of the kite because I knew I wasn't hooked in and it was just going to fly away if I let go and there were lots of trees and stuff downwind. After the third loop, I landed on the sand and got drug about 15 ft to a line of sea outs. The next stop was the backside of a house about 40 ft away. At that point, I finally realized I had to let go because I wasn't going to get control of the kite. Turns out, I should've just let go in the first place, but it all happened so quickly, I didn't have time to think. I had my leash attached to the middle flagging line. As soon as I let go of the kite, it completely depowered and landed on the other side of the house in nice green grass.

I was pretty fortunate to only have a couple of very minor scratches from landing face first in the sea outs and I was even more happy that my kite wasn't damaged at all. It was a pretty scary moment and since then, I've always made sure to think about what to do should anything go wrong before it goes wrong. The worst part was realizing that I could've just let go of the kite when it first started looping and it would've just depowered and I wouldn't have been dragged at all. The other bad part was that my parents were down the beach watching me. I definitely gave my mom a pretty bad scare that day.

This incident caused me to realize that it's important to always be conscientious of what you need to do in case something unexpected happens, because you never know when that might be.

switch313
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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby switch313 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:02 pm

ok guys...dont get scared if you really need to unhook and never have- find shallow water, steer the kite into one side of the windowgrab the chicken loop with both hands to unhook and the kite will flap down wingtip in the water (if you are using a bow). there will be hardly any pressure pull from the kite do what you have to do and hook in.....realaunch and learn unhooked tricks..........

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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby prwinds » Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:04 pm

Heres a good unhooking tutorial from http://www.soloviento.com

Wakestyle is all about kite low, unhooking, power and above all…style. Here are some tips to get you motivated to start riding unhooked.

Requirements

1. Wear a leash! You’ll be unhooking a lot so the chance you have to let go of the bar are very high so do yourself, your kite and all bystanders a favor and use your leash system.
2. Have confidence in yourself! If you have come to the point of reading this tutorial it probably means you have set your mind to accomplish the goal of riding wakestyle and unhooked. So you are good to go!



Kite trimming

Remember that when you unhooked you’ll have the kite fully sheeted in and powered up, because of this its very important to have the kite setup to not oversheet. So it’s crucial to depower the kite a bit. To find the perfect depower spot, ride hooked-in for a few minutes and ride with the bar fully sheeted in, keep trimming the kite until you can ride with the bar all the way in and still have control and not loose power for a couple seconds. If you loose power then you need to power the kite more, if you have too much power then depower the kite. (Pretty obvious eh?)



First tries

Once you are all set and ready to go the last thing to do is…you guessed it, unhook! The good news is that its really much easier than you think. The bad news is that you don’t know this yet. You really just have to try it and get a feel for it. But here are some tips to have you unhooking in no time:

1. Ride confidently with moderate speed. For the first few tries its better to ride at a relatively slow speed to get a feel for it.
2. Move the “donkey dick” out of the harness hook.
3. Put your hands closer to the middle of the bar. I usually place mine about 10cm apart. This will make you not move the kite aggressively so you can focus on unhooking and hooking back in rather than on where the kite is.
4. Look in front of you and picture your path.
5. Head downwind to create slack in the lines.
6. Pull the bar in and unhook.
7. By now your either smiling with joy or are freaked out and want to hook back in. Always remember to stay calmed and if you feel overpowered just head downwind to create slack in the lines and loose speed. It’ll be almost impossible to edge and head upwind so don’t try it, instead keep heading downwind. Keep riding downwind for about 5-10 seconds.
8. Now its time to hook back in, remember that to do this you will want to easily pull the bar in, so head downwind aggressively to create slack in the lines.
9. Pull the bar in and hook in.
10. Now you are about 100 feet downwind so try to edge as soon as you hook in to gain speed and head upwind.



Next Pogression

The first unhooked trick you should give a try is the raley, it’s the easiest and simplest wakestyle move you can learn. Its also a trick that leads to much defying variation of it such as the raley to blind, blind judge, etc.



Common mistakes

Not having the kite trimmed correctly. If oversheeted the kite will backstall and will drop to the center of the wind window. If undersheeted the kite wont have any power and you wont be able to ride with speed. Its very important to trim your kite correctly.



Trying to edge when unhooked. Remember to always head at a good angle downwind, don’t try to head upwind or edge against the kite, you wont be able to handle the power of the kite.



Not releasing the bar when you loose control. Always remember to let go of the bar if you feel out of control, it should be second nature. Always be careful with objects, other riders and/or bystanders downwind of you. You should ALWAYS practice unhooking when there’s no one directly downwind of you.

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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby BWD » Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:17 pm

had never unhooked before while flying the kite


Sounds like you also never threw the bar before, although maybe you have?

Next time there is maybe 8-11knots, maybe you should go out and fly the kite around unhooked.
Drop it, crash it on purpose, screw it up a few dozen times and figure out how your kite works thoroughly before you actually go ride in challenging conditions with it. You probably won't hurt the kite, but If a ER visit and a new kite both cost $1800, I know which I would pick.
Just wade around or body drag somewhere safe for a "session" of figuring out this stuff.

Use the leash so you aren't afraid to use the leash.
You need to know how far downwind a kite goes, how it lands and if it will pull you after you throw the bar, before you use it in strong wind.
You also need to know how far you will "coast" after throwing the bar if you do it while you are going full speed. It's easy to come way too close to obstacles by accident, thinking you can stop on a dime. When I try a new kite, one of the first things I do is blow the safety so I know how it works/if it works.
It's not a bad idea....

a bit overpowered.

not the greatest time to try things for the first time, especially in onshore.

harness was really riding up into my ribs and starting to bother me

=bad form, mostly self-curing. If your harness hurts you when you are using it wrong, or so overpowered it is lifting you, it's "teaching" you something is wrong. With good form, you can use a crappy harness without padding, and it won't ride up. Others may have a diferent opinion, that's mine tho.
Also, you can usually fiddle with your harness without unhooking.
And it's good to hold the bar in the middle....

Anyway, glad you weren't hurt.
I don't mean to be critical, just putting up ideas people that haven't prepared for this kind of thing might learn from.....
It's nice of you to post this stuff.
I have put up a few descriptions of "incidents" I was not too proud of myself, and may yet again...
No shame in it.
Kite on. carefully.

poldo
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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby poldo » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:29 am

good to share this but.....everyone shoud know that grabbing tha bar by one end make the kite loooop and is not a great idea for first unhook... :roll:

Kristoff
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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby Kristoff » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:53 am

And keep the kite low, I had my share off problems when holding the kite to high when unhooking :lol:

frankm1960
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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby frankm1960 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:25 am

Hey good post :thumb: . I picked up a few tips here. I'm not a big unhooked tricks rider at all but I have been flirting with unhooking a bit. Probably be able to do better next time.

I'm glad you weren't hurt during that massive kite looping experience. :) I've never experienced a kite looping out of control and I hope I never do.

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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby Gpet78 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:27 pm

It sounds like the initial poster is a begginer which never had proper kiteboarding lessons. it is good though that fellow kiters here have the patience to explain him some of the basics but I dont't since I have more than 3 weeks to kitesurf and I am getting crazy :angryfire:

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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby tomatkins » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:15 pm

I would retitle this thread "Be Careful when Doing Anything for the first time"...

I would make the point that (1) throwing your kite to its safety, and (2) dealing with an acdidental kite looping situation... are both basic and common scenarios in the activity of Kitesurfing.

It should not be considered "the end of the world" when either situation occurs, and it should not be the first time the kiter deals with the situation. The kiter should practice dealing with both situations, ahead of time under "controled" circumstances...best, with a kitesurf instructor, but at least, with an experienced "buddy", who has a boat or kayak, to chase down your loose kite (if it comes to that, and you have to totally release the kite).

I am sure other members of this forum will have other suggestions on this subject, but here is what I do in situation (2)... If I am on the water when the kite starts looping and dragging me, I just hold my breath and count the number of loops the kite is making. You can easily tell, even if you are under water, because you will feel a surge of power, and then a decrease of power...and that happens with each loop. If the kite does not crash into the water within 3 loops, I seek out the release, and prepare to hit it when the kite goes into its fourth loop.

Why do I give it four loops maximum? Because, any more than 4 loops, and the lines may be too twisted up to allow adequate "flagging out" of the kite to its safety line(s). If you wait much longer, your only alternative may be to completely let the kite go, by releasing your safety leash release.

Practice, practice, practice...under controled circumstances...don't just pray the situation won't ever occur.

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Re: Be Careful when Unhooking for the first time

Postby robin78 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:37 pm

Thanks for sharing valuable info.

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