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 Post subject: Kite Low vs. High?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:47 pm 
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fernmanus wrote:

If you fly you kite very low, it will generate far less power than if it high in the air. When a gust hits, the kite will fly forward in the window and you will get pulled across the ground a bit. On the other hand when the kite is high, far more power is generated and you can be lofted very high.

Of course, it is also easier to bail and use your safety leash when you are getting dragged compared to when you high above the ground. :thumb:

Kenny


There is a video clip of Andy Hurdman that shows part of what your are describing Kenny and I believe provides an example of Peter's advanced edging technique during the first part of the clip at:

http://www.kiteflix.com/4thplace.html

I caught a still shot of Andy during the onset of the squall winds depicted in George Saunders kiteflix.com video as shown below. He could have depowered the kite further by mashing the kite into the water as described by Neil and others. Still, I would say release the kite to the leash, well before the gusts hit to try to be on the safe side of things. Better still get into the habit of routinely launching and landing unhooked to improve the general safety of things using a proper downwind clear buffer zone.

Image

I think Toby may have seen this when he was in Islamorada during the 2003 Islamorada Invitational.

The gust front of the squall was followed by the conditions shown below:

Image

Image

Still images from: Squall Story at:
http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopi ... highlight=


and what can happen when you keep your kite high ...

Image

From: http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopi ... highlight=

and

Image

and

Image
Kite aimed at zenith, ready ...

Image
LOFTED and in 10 to 14 kts.!

From: http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopi ... highlight=


By the way, look at the dates on some of this stuff. These images and the conclusions drawn from them have been around for YEARS with input being requested for years as well. Why all the controversy now?


Last edited by RickI on Sun Jul 04, 2004 5:19 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:53 pm 
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and from Jo MacDonald. This was NOT a high lofting, nor was a very large kite in use and yet read over the serious injuries.

Here's a vid of a guy getting lofted just like this with his kite overhead and it dropping back into the window while landkiting which means you use a kite that's less powered than in kiting on water, it's only a small loft but he broke several bones in the impact and spent ages in a wheelchair then gave up traction kiting because doctors said another impact like that would most probably paralyse him in his condition

Lofting Vid
http://www.mr.nice.btinternet.co.uk/gixersaccident.wmv

Pics
http://www.mr.nice.btinternet.co.uk/
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 12:03 am 
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Having your kite low, may well result in your being dragged. Particularly if you lose your footing and are pulled on to your stomach. If you keep your footing and lean against the kite you should be able to exert a force in excess of your body weight. If you mash the kite hard into the surface you should be able to potentially reduce some of the kite force, maybe (use your leash instead unless you miss that option entirely). If the gust is strong enough, the force may exceed your ability to resist it rapidly and over you go to be dragged. Hopefully, you will have picked a launch with a clear buffer area as recommended. If the surface is fairly smooth, inclined downwind and the gust strong enough/extended you could be dragged far, fast and hit hard if there is anything to hit in your buffer area. This could easily result in serious injury.

If your kite is pointed up, you may well be lofted or involuntarily lifted up and blown downwind once the force exceeds your body weight. If the gust is particularly strong for your kite size/body weight, if the gust builds, if you hit a standing pressure wave (uplift lofting) or thermal bubble as you are hurled downwind, inland you may gain altitude, perhaps a lot. Guys have been lofted to in excess of 100 and 225 ft. in extreme circumstances. Free falling to earth from such a height isn't much of an option, is it.

Then you have to decide what to do. Go for the full ride and impact at speed at the end of your parabolic tract. Your speed of impact may approach that of the wind gust potentially. Or, do you depower your kite and fall like a stone? You could try a transition as some guys have successfully done to reduce forward speed to attempt to avoid hitting something, still no guarantees in any of this.

Best to pull the plug early, that is to drop your control bar and use your kite leash BEFORE the gust ever hits. Better still, if you see unstable weather in the forecast, weather radar or in clouds, white water lines moving in, etc. DON'T LAUNCH IN THE FIRST PLACE.

1. So, if you are dragged your main task is to depower the kite before you hit something by using your kite leash, or failing that by mashing your kite into the ground if you can, etc.

2. If you are lofted, then you need to figure out what to do while you are still airborne, assuming you have sufficient time to realize this before you impact. Once you decide to depower, transition or ???, then you have Part II to deal with, falling to earth and impact.

NOTE: If you are launching and landing unhooked and have conditioned yourself to let go of the bar if hit by sudden kite force you are likely elligible for a third option. That is having your kite depower into your open buffer zone with no harm coming to you are anyone else. It is something to think about.


Last edited by RickI on Sun Jul 04, 2004 5:26 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 12:14 am 
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What do you do if you drive off of a cliff?


Not much.


Try (HARD), to avoid the lofting or dragging in the first place.


Incredible forces can be mobilized before you have a clue as to what happened. You can hit the ground before awareness even dawns as is often the case with less spectacular loftings. If you set yourself up for a major lofting, you may find yourself in the "just drove off the cliff" scenario. Not good. Loftings are not that uncommon anymore. Best to think things over and take steps to try to avoid falling into it one of these days. Things like weather planning and monitoring, reasonable launch and kite size selection, for many launches, launching your kite closest to the ocean, keeping it low and getting the hell away from land without delay, etc. Launching and landing unhooked with proper downwind buffer areas could reduce a lot of this uncertainty. Basically common sense stuff. More food for thought appears at:

http://www.kiteforum.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=2300704

Focus on the fun, use common sense and awareness to try to keep things that way.


Last edited by RickI on Sun Jul 04, 2004 5:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 12:34 am 
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Rick I generally agree with you that the low and go is the way to place your kite in super gusty conditons, but when dealing with mother nature, one just never knows eh? Remember the report you did on the french guy in Cabarete that got lofted from Bozo beach almost to the street? He had brought his kite down and it was inches away from his friend's hand to catch it when suddenly that 51mph gust front came through, powered up his kite and away he flew.

He lived through pure luck and by keeping his wits about him by steering the kite like a paraglider, then actually aiming for a tree when he realized he was going toward the street and power lines.

Thanks for all you do. I appreciate your efforts to educate the kiting community through reporting incidents and offering tips.

I would just like to say that there are no rules of thumb 100% of the time when doing a sport that deals with mother nature. There will ALWAYS be exceptions! I learned this in paragliding as I'm sure you did in hangliding.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 12:47 am 
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maybe i am just crazy, but why the heck is that girl taking on onshore winds with crap loads of peeps around? She had to keep it high in that case but dang, can't you find a slightly less crowded area than that? at least teh kiteleash anchored her down.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 3:38 am 
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marina wrote:
Rick I generally agree with you that the low and go is the way to place your kite in super gusty conditons, but when dealing with mother nature, one just never knows eh? Remember the report you did on the french guy in Cabarete that got lofted from Bozo beach almost to the street? He had brought his kite down and it was inches away from his friend's hand to catch it when suddenly that 51mph gust front came through, powered up his kite and away he flew.

He lived through pure luck and by keeping his wits about him by steering the kite like a paraglider, then actually aiming for a tree when he realized he was going toward the street and power lines.

Thanks for all you do. I appreciate your efforts to educate the kiting community through reporting incidents and offering tips.

I would just like to say that there are no rules of thumb 100% of the time when doing a sport that deals with mother nature. There will ALWAYS be exceptions! I learned this in paragliding as I'm sure you did in hangliding.



I definitely have to agree with this - gusty conditions (gusts more than 30% above average windspeed) and/or squalls factor into a LOT of accidents (almost every lofting), even some where the kite was low and the rider was an expert.

NOBODY SHOULD BE ADVOCATING "LOW KITE" AS THE SOLUTION FOR BAD CONDITIONS - the only cure is AVOIDANCE.

The data shows that the only solution - for everyone, regardless of ability - is to PACK UP when conditions are bad.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 3:42 am 
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Having a kite low on land is generally a good idea. However, the real problem is to be "hooked in" on land.

After 7 years kitesurfing, I had many occasions got dragged, lofted on land but eventually the bar got ripped right out of my hands before anything serious happened.

P.S., Ofcourse, I often got dragged, lofted 30' in the water but that is a different story ;-)

P.P.S., If you cannot hold onto the kite with your hands maybe your arms are not strong enough for kitesurfing ???

Hung.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:14 am 
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Quote:
The data shows that the only solution - for everyone, regardless of ability - is to PACK UP when conditions are bad.


So what is bad? 90 km/hr wind in -25C? I have kiteskiied in very strong winter wind (wind that keep everyone in door) in deadly cold weather (any exposed skin is badly burned - yes burned from cold not from heat) using 0m lines going more than 80km/hr...

It's all about knowing the limits and not to blindly trust the kite by "permanently" attaching to it.

Rick's recommendation to keep the kite low on land is good but if you don't think that it is wise then don't even hook in on land....

P.S., I have known to attempt to kitesurf in wind where noone want to try (Luke Stanek, the world buggy champion for example) and still survive after 7 years by using some very simple rules...

Hung.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 5:15 am 
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marina wrote:
Rick I generally agree with you that the low and go is the way to place your kite in super gusty conditons, but when dealing with mother nature, one just never knows eh? Remember the report you did on the french guy in Cabarete that got lofted from Bozo beach almost to the street? He had brought his kite down and it was inches away from his friend's hand to catch it when suddenly that 51mph gust front came through, powered up his kite and away he flew.


Too true Marina. This is one of the more notable exceptions that I am familar with. An air foil or lifting surface confronted with high speed flow will react violently with small inputs. I would suspect in this case and perhaps others, some minor uneven bar inputs were substantially amplified by the high wind and up the guy went to over 100 ft. off the ground and 800 ft. downwind. So in the seconds or a major gust it is hard to predict what might happen. Still, short of being unhooked what are your options based upon what we know in advance?


It is not feasible to toss out a set of guidelines that work for ALL conditions and launches, at least not in under a very large quantity of text, under current conditions. All we can do is to toss out some generalities, ask riders to think ahead and to do what is appropriate for their launch and current conditions. Too often, these thoughts don't seem to even come up for some riders. Hence the general guidelines and why we are even talking.

Thanks for all the good that you have done Marina and continue to do online and at the beach.


'caneman wrote:
maybe i am just crazy, but why the heck is that girl taking on onshore winds with crap loads of peeps around? She had to keep it high in that case but dang, can't you find a slightly less crowded area than that? at least teh kiteleash anchored her down.


The girl was standing in a fenced off prep., launch and landing area at a the Kiteboard Masters 2002 competition in Miami Beach, FL. There were no people downwind of her. The winds were dead onshore as I recall however. This was poor but very common technique even then. People merely denied the hazards were significant and rode the way they felt. This has changed slowly over the years but at least it is changing. She wasn't using a kite leash as virtually no one else was either. That is a board leash and a potential means of driving the board into her. People weren't taking that threat too seriously either in early 2002. Silke didn't meet with her sad end until June of that year. Much of the kiteboarding community wasn't ready to accept some of the realities of the sport until her tragic accident brought some of these issues up in a very big way.


Tom183 I appreciate your input on the KSI data and accenting good common sense points. Run a search under "squall" and RickI on kiteforum.com and you will see that this has been a favorite topic for quite a while. People are still learning about signs of unstable weather. Unfortuantely, in some temperate areas, there are minimal visual signs of incoming squall gusts. It all can look grey, to black to rainy. In those cases even more weather planning through color radar and other resources is indicated. Sadly, color radar isn't even available in all these areas or if present at low resolution without a subscription fee. Then there are the more rare cases of clear weather gusts. This may be more rare in some areas but they still do exist. Keeping your kite low routinely when near land is a common sense response to many conditions however specific measures should be employeed that offer the best safety for your actual conditions. The point is that to rely upon avoiding unstable weather in all cases may not be that realistic. However I do agree that it has been clearly avoidable in most of the serious accidents that I am familar with. Add in launching and landing unhooked and keeping your kite low, if local conditions support it, and you may have your best chance for avoiding lofting and dragging in uncertain conditions. I very much agree with your assessment not to go out if in doubt about conditions. Unfortunately, this awareness will likely escape some people in the future as it has in the past for whatever reasons.

If your kite is low, over clear sand and near the water, unless the wind takes a major directional change you should be dragged into the water and away from impacting hard objects.

Image
Ready to launch ...

Image
Kite is low, time to GO, offshore. If you are dragged, ideally you should be dragged into the water unless there is substantial wind direction change. Otherwise you may going flying off over land. Avoidance is the key and unhooked launching and landing should help even more.

Be ready to depower your kite and even release your kite leash if necessary even if you are being dragged through the water. I was forced to do this four years ago when my early kite leash tied in knots over the end of the bar while I was being dragged at high speed over sand. Breathing can be difficult under these circumstances and sometimes you are left with little option but to set the kite free to fly off offshore.

Hung wrote:
Quote:
The data shows that the only solution - for everyone, regardless of ability - is to PACK UP when conditions are bad.


So what is bad? 90 km/hr wind in -25C? I have kiteskiied in very strong winter wind (wind that keep everyone in door) in deadly cold weather (any exposed skin is badly burned - yes burned from cold not from heat) using 0m lines going more than 80km/hr...

It's all about knowing the limits and not to blindly trust the kite by "permanently" attaching to it.

Rick's recommendation to keep the kite low on land is good but if you don't think that it is wise then don't even hook in on land....

P.S., I have known to attempt to kitesurf in wind where noone want to try (Luke Stanek, the world buggy champion for example) and still survive after 7 years by using some very simple rules...

Hung.


You are right Hung, launching and landing unhooked would substantially improve our accident experience. Still, regular rehearsal and conditioning is needed. Some people will just hang on or the lifting may be progressive as shown in Jo MacDonald's video. For my part, if the kite exerts excessive force and I am not hooked in, the bar is yanked out of my hands reliably to date. Some folks on the other hand, just hang on even though they are not hooked in. Thinking about this, once you escape gravity with the initial pop up, the force felt by the rider is less as he is now traveling in the same direction and speed as bar. Think about the bar pressure during a jump, it usually isn't that great during portions of the jump. So, your opportunity to have the bar ripped from your grasp automatically is at the onset, after that some may just hang on and go for the ride.


Last edited by RickI on Sun Jul 04, 2004 12:42 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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