As we all know, kiting has gotten a lot safer since its inception. There are pretty good safety systems in place for many situations. Many except for the out of control death spiral and/or getting tangled in your lines to a powered kite or in the surf. What if with the push of a remote control button you could completely detach your kite from the lines thus saving yourself and most likely your gear? Will something like in the video below ever be possible, ubiquitous and commonplace?
We can keep developing different methods of disengaging the chicken loop and safety leash I suppose. Ideally we will have the actual lines run through some unit, that will separate/cut the four lines away from you. Don't ask me how though?
Toby, run an 18 doesnt avoid accidents, in fact it could lead to accidents in some situations.
You always ride in places with steady/thermal winds where the wind is predictable, that is not possible in every world location.
What if you are riding 18 and 35 knots spike comes? Run an oversized kite is not always the safest way, and you are always saying how bigger is better...well, not always. Many people here read your advices and that could lead to someone thinking ok ill go with my very big kite as its safer...then a squall hits and problems comes.
Your lines also suffer from more tension that can lead to snapped lines as we have seen in one of your videos, snapped lines lead to death spirals in some kites, i guess you already know this. So, your comment i dont think it is very true, sorry.
Also with a big kite you can get tangled in the lines, it is possible with every kite. So i would avoid these opinions as a kiting community leader that you are, its ok to push airstyle but to say its the ultimate way to avoid accidents is just not smart in my opinion.
I find big kites only to be more safe in thermal lower winds.
On lake Neusiedl two month ago, I needed the help of others to safely land my kite as in the 40 knots that hit within minutes after I was on the water I was so extremely overpowered that the kite lifted me uncontrolled in gusts and dragged me towards the beach, even though I could stand in hip-deep water.
I was on a Naish Draft 12m, which is a monster when it comes to pull, but even fully depowered with all the bar way sheeted out, it pulled me up in the extreme gusts (40+ knots maybe?), I weigh 90+ kg.
In a short gust break, I flew it on the edge of the wind window on the water and started deflating it with the help of a second guy who saw me and walked 5 min towards me (great kite fellow - he really went the whole 9 yards) to hold the kite while I took care of the lines.
I went on the water when it was 22 knots, no forecast stated it will pick up, but when it did, it was a quite dangerous situation, with onshore wind.
So, yes, a remote release (on the kite eg) could sometimes be really helpful I guess.
I can recall speaking to Raphael with F one in 2000 at Surf Expo about my ideas for such a remote disconnection device for four line kites. This was after my recent lofting, before the development of reliable QR by many years and so it was pretty much on my mind. Also, four line kites were brand new, the "chicken loop" wars vs. two line proponents were still in play. Kite accidents were to rise in coming years but at this time only potential seemed to be evident. It was a new and different time. In that case I was thinking of a voice activated electro-mechanical release. The technology was present even then to develop something like that but the size, weight and reliability were problematical. Fourteen years later with all the water-resistant key fob transmitters, small highly reliable electro-mechanical actuators or releases, I would think you might be able to do something off the shelf.
I was thinking about this again within the last year in the context of looping scenarios. If the kiter is tangled and unable to set the kite free and can't cut out of it, unless the kite or lines fail or otherwises stops flying, someone shoots it out of the sky, etc., he is in it for the duration. I was thinking a release like this might be a potentially viable solution. I even spoke to a development firm about it but they weren't interested in pursuing it.
speedyRider wrote:Toby, run an 18 doesnt avoid accidents.... So i would avoid these opinions as a kiting community leader that you are...
Perhaps you missed his "winky face" emoticon. It looks like this -=> According to urban dictionary it either means Toby is kidding, or that he wants your cock inside him.
(Actually...according to UD, there are only sexual conoctations of the winky, which is news to me. I must be using it completely inappropriately. I'm not sure how Toby intended to use it. Can't speak for him.)
On topic, yeah, a means to remotely detach/disable your kite would be cool. The problem is that in a situation when you really REALLY needed it...you probably won't be able to reach a button. You'd have to strap a few of those things on you to make sure there was one you could hit.
I think an additional safety mechanism like those discussed above is an idea worth pursuing. Obviously there is no substitute for best practices when it comes to riding safely but even the best riders among us have been in situations out of our control. I know I have been in a few predicaments where by sheer luck I have escaped serious injury or possibly death.
read ALL I write when it comes to a serious discussion about riding an 18 and what comes with it.
in short: - not for beginners - light to medium winds - check forecasts for gusts - ride in safe locations only - launch in water if possible - be aware of weather and eventual changes - distance is your friend - launch and land with one hand on the release - check your gear before every session
That makes a big kite very safe. If you break one of above rule, you ask for trouble. Most of them also with smaller kites.
And I also think that guys with bigger kites are more aware of the dangers. People with smaller kites feel very safe and look out less to weather, launching etc.
I made my experiences, that's why I ride big kites only. And that's why I progress in Airstyle like no other. With limited injuries. Other styles need other gear, so that is a different story of course. Big kites should be considered for intermediate and good riders who want to progress with hooked tricks, as long as they stay within above mentioned rules.
On a serious note about this topic:
anything that can make the sport safer, is great! This tool could be a solution. I just wonder how many would you need? Is one enough? And having a QR and a leash QR is not enough? I guess the biggest problem is that most people are not trained and willing to release. But maybe a device like this could help to rethink...it is just a button to press? What happens if accidentally pressed? If I throw my board around it might hit the button? And then???