wjb wrote:It seems that reaching toward your chest or your hip would be a more natural move then behind your head in a crisis situation. Also a possible line tangle vs reducing the effectiveness of you helmet is not a tradeoff I would be willing to make. I like the position of the Mystic knife, right at your hip.
The reason I settled on carrying the hook knife on the back of the helmet was the following:
(1) The likely scenario for needing the knife is one where the kiter is relentlessly being dragged behind a looping kite which may be crashing and then, relaunching. The kiter is hanging on for dear life to the kitebar. this may be occuring on the water, deep or shallow, on dry land, through brush, rocks, etc. The kiter is being turned "every way but loose", taking hits at times to his front, side and back.
(2) Any piece of emergency equipment located on the kiters chest, hip or backside is in danger of being fouled in seaweed, sticks, other kiters equipment, etc.
(3) The kiter will probably only have one opportunity to make a grab for the emergency equipment (in this case, a hook knife), and this "grab" must be done quickly, smoothly, and unimpeded by debris or loose pieces of his own equipment.
(4) The shortest distance that the kiter's hand needs to travel in such a scenario can be illustrated by having you, right now, put both hands up above your head, as though you are holding onto a kitebar, and imagineing that you are being dragged, chest-and-head-first by an out of control looping kite, directly downwind. Now, pretend that you are reaching for the hook knife, located at the back of the helmet. The motion is the following:
(5) The chosen hand (either one works equally well) releases its grip on the bar, and simply bends at the elbow, arriving, in a split second, at the back of the helmet, where the handle of the knife is encountered at the rim of the helmet...no searching involved...just follow the rim of the helmet.
(6) At the moment the kiter has chosen to grab the knife, he will most likely be laying in the stomach-down position, but thankfully, due to the upward pull of the kite, his face will not be dragging in the surface, and most likely, there will be free space between his hand on the kitebar and the back of his helmet.
The best case, I can make for carrying the hook knife in this location, is the location has the best access to the knife in a realistic scenario. None of the other locations, where I have carried the knife, in the past, satisfied this "best access" test in a realistic scenario.
I will not put forth a dramatic scenario, where a knife, carried in the common over-the-heart location, is accidentally, durring a dragging situation, where through the force of encountering an immoveable opject, the knife is, thereby, driven into the heart. That would be overly dramatic! This common over-the-heart location is where EMTs and other rescue workers seem to prefer for access to their knives, along with parachutists, and other recreationalists. These individuals have specific reasons for carrying their knives in this location, accessible to them in their likely emergency scenarios, but I would make the case that, with the activity of kiteboarding, that the likelihood of needing quick access to the knife, while being dragged in the head first position, is paramount. Let's be practical and cover that base first.
There is a lot of valuable opinion in the other threads that I listed above, and they are worth reading, if this subject interests anyone else. The subject deserves a lot of thought...at least by "safety conscious" kiters who, unlike the majority of kiters, would not even consider wearing a helmet or carrying a hook knife. Even though we are in the minority, let's see if we can find the best answer to this problem. All opinions need to be welcome, and analyzed, and this forum is the best place in the world to do it.