About four-times this year I've pulled the quick-release accidentally while trying to depower my below-the-bar cleat setup. When you need to it’s nearly impossible to clear the jammed line from the cleat. If you get lucky and do clear it, it's near impossible to get any leverage to pull in some depower. So I used my other hand to get some leverage. The QR just seems to be the natural place to grab, unfortunately. After a few swims, you'd think I'd learn.
The BTB setup is clean and allows for a metric-shit-ton of depower and bar travel, but is useless if you can't use it when you need it-- dangerous if you do what I seem to do.
Above-the bar-depower is way superior from a user standpoint, but some kites are less sensitive to changes in the angle-of-attack, and so need more depower and bar travel than others, hence all the below the bar setups. So, given the need for BTB setups, I wonder how bar makers can improve them?
1- Use a cam-cleat instead of a jam cleat. I know, moving parts, but being able to unjam your line is half the battle. You’re still left with the problem of pulling in the line from an impossible angle. And if you can get some depower, you’re left with the long tail with a hard ball at the end of it whipping around trying to knock out your eyeballs.
2- Loose the whole cleat setup. Use a ratcheting spool to accept the depower line roughly modeled on a bike gear shifter like a Shimano Rapidfire: http://bike.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/products/mountain/deore_xt.html
a. There’d be a lever with an out-of-the way neutral position you’d use to crank depower onto the spool, and there’d be a release (maybe the same lever, but opposite direction) to let the spool ratchet out for more power.
b. I know—complexity, sand, and corrosion. The mechanism would have to be sealed well. Tolerances would have to be loose enough so the thing would still work with a few grains of sand in it until you can clean it out. And you’d have to be able to wash it out easily without springs and other stuff flying around. The internals would have to be corrosion resistant.
I freely give any and all rights to this righteous idea to any manufacturer who builds it.
Since I’m on a tear, what is with all the impossible to reinsert, while a kite is dragging you further and further away from your board, chicken loops? You know, the ones with the floppy little retaining pins you have to insert into a loop and double back before you slide the red sheath retainer over them. Yeah Mr. Kite brand, just try doing that while hanging on to the chicken loop with one hand as the kite’s yanking on you.
I just got brand new Epic bar with my new Screamer 12 and was real pleased to see that the chicken loop had a plastic arrow-shaped end that simply inserts and clicks home Damn time someone got it right. It also has above-the bar-depower (buckles, no cleat). Haven’t tried it yet though.