Kudos to Fred for an excellent thread with many great contributions.
As noted in many of the posts, it is a good idea to practice activating your quick release both on land and in the water as well as tensioned and untensioned. The expression "He who hesitates is lost"
sounds like it was coined for kitesurfers.
Although our advice is geared toward conditions found in southern California and especially the Los Angeles and Ventura counties area, at Malibu Kitesurfing
, when discussing this subject with beginner students during their kiteboarding lessons, we usually tell them:
A couple of other tips which may be helpful include:
1. In an emergency (your kite is out of control or you're sure it's going to be out of control) and you've decide to activate your quick release, use 2 HANDS to activate it.
The idea is to MAKE SURE you activate it as quickly as possible. This way if the primary hand is knocked away or misses the release, the other is right there to take its place.
2. Practice finding the quick release by sliding your hand down the chicken loop line (main line) to the quick release while looking up at the kite (or at least away from the release).
Depending on how you're being dragged, the chicken loop may not be in its usual position and simply reaching down may not immediately find the chicken loop and quick release. Additionally, contact with the ground and/or water will have a tendency to pull your hand away.
The main line will always take your hand to the chicken loop and its quick release. It may also help keep your hand from being pulled away. Practice with both hands separately and together.
3. Make sure you can activate it with either hand. You never know, one hand may be tied to your leg or broken or your shoulder may be dislocated etc.
4. A potential problem with all quick releases that work at the chicken loop is that if you are getting dragged, especially over nasty stuff like rocks and/or debris (and maybe bounced), it may be difficult to get your hand under you to activate your release.
You may find that it is better to ROLL OVER on your back to MAKE SURE that you can activate it immediately. Being on your back eliminates the problems described above and allows you to see
what you're doing.
However, there is a significant problem to rolling onto your back. As you probably know or have gathered from many of the posts, it often takes a substantial effort of will to force yourself to let go of the bar (which has to be done for the quick release to work). Unfortunately, you will find that it takes an exponentially GREATER amount of will power
to additionally force yourself to STOP LOOKING at the bad thing (rock jetty, lifeguard tower, etc) that you're heading toward and you must do this in order to roll over. Like practicing forcing yourself to let go of the bar, it is possible to overcome the hesitation you might face by practicing rolling over a couple of times.
When you have very light wind, a large empty sandy area and preferably a friend or instructor to possibly help you, try lying down and getting your kite going enough so that you are being dragged. See what is involved to get your hand under you. You will find that it can be a lot different than simply standing on the beach and pulling your release. Try rolling over and activating your quick release.
As always when kiting, you should wear a helmet for this procedure and if possible, an impact vest. A full length wet suit is also advisable.
5. Try to determine the situations that may cause your quick release to fail. Some are better than others and although knowing the potential problems doesn't necessarily prevent them, awareness might lead you to some corrective solution or at least faster response to some plan B should an anticipated failure occur.
The most important thing to try to determine is what could make any of the moving parts jam up and not move. For example, if your quick release activates by pushing away from you and you are being dragged forward, could sand or debris be forced into it and prevent it from sliding forward? If you have to pull back towards you to activate, would your stomach be in the way if you were bent over the chicken loop? These are by no means all the possible ways a release can fail. You need to examine yours.
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