Nik_KiteAntigua wrote:We follow a very similar lesson plan to the one you have described above. And have followed this now for about a year now. We got most of these ideas from our IKO training.
The first part; using the very short lines on a proper LEI kite is so good that we omit any flying time with a "trainer" (small ram air) kite. With the very short lines a student can fly the kite in neutral without much risk as we are flying very small kites. But after that, when we go to 1/2 lengths we stress the "kite low and go" practice.
It is great that you emphasize that the greatest hazards exist during launch and landing. The accident experience supports this view, particularly if the riders use DISTANCE while riding. An effective key to reducing accidents would be to effectively reduce risks during the start and ending of kiteboarding sessions.
We always stress the the danger potential of this sport being the greatest from the point between stepping out of the car to waterstarting and again between landing back on the beach and securing the kite. Obviously there are many other points to learn but this is the basis from which it all comes from.
RickI wrote: Glad to hear that you guys are addressing lofting awareness from the get go in Antigua with students. As I recall, you have stronger winds on the island. Would you say that they are gusty at times as well? It seems that anti-lofting procedures are relatively common in stronger, often gusty locations than in an area, say SE Florida where I ride, where chronic strong winds and gusts are quite rare. People here aren't FORCED by regular necessity to employ these simple procedures because MOST of the time, they don't have to. Of course we do have some extremely violent, sudden gusts that can clean their clocks and them some, should they allow it to occur in squalls. This as opposed to more consist, higher gusty winds such as occur in Maui.
It is interesting that you dispensed with the trainer foil kite. That probably aids the rapidity of familiarization with conventional kiteboarding kites. Do you folks start with two line kites and go to four line or start with four line setups? Also, do you teach new riders to launch unhooked or start them off hooked in? I know both approaches are commonly instructed in various areas.
RickI wrote:The following is from a thread on ikitesurf.com. It deals with training issues, slowly increasing the level of difficulty of kite control and power while reducing the potential for lofting.
The following is worth thinking over, particularly by kiteboarding instructors.
Proper instruction should minimize the risk of flying smaller kites at the zenith during training. Being mindful of the risk of having a full sized traction kite while near hard objects should be high on the list of instructor considerations.
Somethings that are commonly taught,I first saw this technique being taught by Paul Menta of PASA about three years ago and include:
1. Extensive time on land with a smaller trainer kite to learn basic kite handling.
2. Moving to a smaller traction kite, say a 5 m LEI on LEADERS ONLY for more skill development while still on land. This is assuming winds on the order of 10 to 15 mph sideshore or side onshore, ideally. If you have higher winds, the instructor needs to exercise even greater care particularly in terms of flight area selection.
3. Then move with the same 5 m kite on to normal flight lines folded in half or on a 15 m line set. In steps 2 and 3, you continue to develop feel and control with the kite, even parking the kite at the zenith, if necessary with substantially less power. The instructor may elect to have the students fly the kite in steps 2 and 3 while in the water as well. Body dragging may even be feasible during these steps.
4. Finally change to full line length with the 5 m, launching from offshore in the shallows and proceeding immeditely to body dragging. If there is inadequate wind to handle the student's weight with a 5 m then you need to move up in kite size. Anti-lofting technique should be a firm part of technique as instructed from this point onward. That is, never bring the kite to the zenith while near hard objects. If you are well offshore, go ahead and plan to use the downwind buffer zone should things go wrong to ease things up. IN NO CASE SHOULD A FULL SIZED KITEBOARDING KITE BE FLOWN ON LAND FOR ANY LONGER THAN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Use trainer kites and smaller transition traction kites on shorter lines to build land based skills. When launching, normally having the kite close to or even better out in the shallows away from shore is a safer approach. Launch the kite and "KEEP IT LOW & GO."
How many instructors focus on this or a similar learning progression? I don't know but it does gradually increase the amount of control needed along with the thrust potential of the kite.
Loftings will continue to happen regardless. There are MANY people out there who either don't know or appreciate the significance and root of the problem. Fingers crossed that the incident and accidents will be minimal as word gets out. Some simple precautions can substantially reduce the risks of kiteboarding. Imagine if people drove without using simple precautions? It only makes sense.
Lastly, keeping your kite low, will not necessarily keep you safe either in the face of a strong gust. It will likely drag you, as opposed to lofting you skyward. Lots of riders are injured or just scared by high speed dragging over ground. The difference is that once and if you depower your kite, YOU ARE ON THE GROUND. If you are lofted, you have Part II to deal with, falling to earth assuming you didn't hit already before you could react. Launching and landing unhooked is frequently standard during instruction and riders would likely benefit from continuing the practice beyond thier instruction.
Kiteboarding can be dangerous and isn't as easy as it looks. Blow this off if you like, you may get away with it or not. Good technique cuts the probability of a bad experience. Trusting to luck to an excessive degree while practicing poor technique isn't a good approach.
More about Anti-lofting technique and related considerations in:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitesurf/ ... EFERENCES/
p.s. - As soon as lofting substantially declines, I will back off talking about anti-lofting technique. Until then, more to come ...
Nice job by Rick on the launch guidelines and tips. Have to say though, I think the anti-zenith slogans go a little far. I think newbies should fly the kite 10 times or so before they even get wet. How are you going to learn to fly a kite without flying it at zenith?! The picture is of a wide open - ocean beach on a clear day, with no one around...I would argue it's a perfect setup for beach practice flying and people flying at zenith position should not have their kites shot out of the sky. It's more important to learn how to assess the risk of gusts and hence of lofting.
Some ideas including lots of photos and illustrations on launching, weather planning are related matters appear at:
Check it out and think it over.
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