FYI I always go out with the assumption that I will with a high probability remain connected to my kite!!
I agree - of course you can reasonably assume that you will in 99%+ of your sessions remain attached to a functioning kite until you return to shore. I was merely saying that that can't be the basis for your exit plan
. Rather, you have to plan for that one freak time when something goes seriously wrong or you lose your kite. Consequently, you should never allow yourself to ride further from the shore than you can swim, even when kiting in on-shore wind. Do you agree, so far?
OK. Assuming that you agree with me so far - do you also agree that you should stick to the same basis of planning ("never ride further from shore than you can swim, even if there is a boat") even when the wind turns from on-shore to side-shore?
Now, consider a situation with off-shore wind. Can you see that as long as you actually stick to the same rule
("never ride further from shore than you can swim, even if there is a boat"), you can remain reasonably safe?
Of course, the moment you violate your plan (by tacking far out to sea, or by not paying attention to currents, or by caring more about your gear than your life), you may no longer have a viable exit strategy.
Most people remain connected to their kite and this is the reason why off shore winds are dangerous
Yes, as I said, you have to be ready to ditch your gear! If your kite is down and you can't get it to relaunch, and you are getting close to the point where you know that you will have trouble swimming in, then you must be ready and willing to let go of your kite and start swimming.
I don't agree that kiting in off-shore wind has
to be more dangerous than kiting in on-shore wind. It is no more fair to say that than to say that off-piste snowboarding is always more dangerous than riding on a prepared slope; that racing a car on a track is always more dangerous than driving on a highway; or that cave-diving always is more dangerous than open-water diving. Yes, in all cases you are adding an element of risk, but risk can be managed
. In reality, it boils down to the rider. It is fully possible to kite in a way in on-shore winds (e.g., long tacks out so sea without paying attention to conditions) that is more
dangerous than careful kiting in off-shore winds. Similarly, the cavediver who carefully plans his dive and monitors conditions may remain safer than the happy-go-lucky diver on an open-water dive who doesn't pay attention; similar to how careful off-piste snowboarding is not necessarily
more dangerous than kiting on groomed slopes. Things can be done well or poorly no matter what the conditions.
It is all a question of proper risk assessment and proper planning. With good planning and a sensible approach, kiting in off-shore conditions can be done safely.