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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:18 pm 
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It must be nice to kite in an area where the wind is steady enough that a kite really is stable on a wingtip. Last time out, I did an anchored self-launch. Set the kite on a wingtip, got it as stable as I could, and before I got half-way back to the bar the kite had tumbled it's way to straight downwind, power launched itself, rotated during its partial Hindenburg, and then power dove straight back down. I don't think I'd want to hand off a kite around here unless I had to. Especially to a beginner, unless it was securely parked--flipped upside down and "sanded" (around here, that means "snowed"). You guys actually hand a flying kite to a student? Can't imagine doing that, unless the wind was so light the kite was barely flying.


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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:50 pm 
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Handing over a flying kite is 'standard'. Be very methodical. Run through the 'drill' with the student as part of the initial safety briefing before the kite is even in the air. I.e. Practice handing it over when you're showing them the safety release system, depower, trim adjustment, etc. they should not be surprised when you go to do it on the water.

If the wind is gusty or the area is tight also hand the kite over whilst it sits on the water at the side of the window. That is the safest method.

As with everything...space is the most important safety measure. People do teach in amazingly tight and crowded areas.


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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:33 pm 
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Advice to newbies:
I would not trust an instructor that would pass you a full size flying kite for which you had not MASTERED the steering, sheeting, safety release, launch and landing, especially if the kite is overhead. Wingtip on water is safer, preferably with someone holding the LE.

Instructors that pass a new student a flying kite, especially near shore or obstacles, are demonstrating a CASUAL attitude toward your safety.
If you feel the least bit uncomfortable with the situation,
DO NOT LET THEM PASS YOU THE KITE.
Even with undersized bow kites in light wind, it's not really safe.
Just my opinion, feel free to spin the wheel of fate.
Might want to carry good insurance though....


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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:01 am 
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a lot of good comments in there ... it is nice to see a lot of people demonstrating sense regarding kite handling.

put it down to swap it

remember its not what you can comfortably and effectively do with a client, teaching kite handling is about giving that person good strategies to use when they are on their own in the future. show him to pass a flying kite and not mention about putting it down, and later that year he will be passing a flying a kite to his buddy or accepting one from his other buddy and they will screw it up, cause they aren't as good as you and no one told them its less sketchy to put it down and not touch the bar.

same with a lot of situations. anything you have to do besides fly your kite (multitasking), like picking up a board off the ground, adjusting a harness or helmet, adjusting trim, whatever, is sketchier and riskier with a flying kite vs a kite sitting on the ground.

seen plenty of experienced rider screwing with a footstrap and trying to keep the kite above their head and screw it up. I know you have too.

I can do it, you can probably do it. but you gotta tell the new guy that he doesn't have to do it like that, and that a landed kite is easier to deal with (safer) than a flying kite.



a kite "resting" "sitting" or "touched down" on the side of the wind is inherently less difficult to deal with and less potentially dangerous that a flying kite.

should acknowledge that not all kites sit on their wingtips as nicely as others....most do it well, some amazingly well, some not so good but still a better option that to keep it flying.

to don: that is a common story, and why you should maintain contact with a centerline as you move from kite to bar, so that you can hold the centerline and run the few steps upwind and toward the bar that it takes to flag the kite out and disable it if you need to before bad shit happens. the low centerline will kill the kite faster with less initial distance traveled.



just dishing out lesson material these days.


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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:58 pm 
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Location: L.A. & Ventura Counties, CA
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Although there is always good information in these “instructors should....” threads, it would behoove posters to remember that readers’ knowledge may vary from very experienced to knowing NOTHING.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if these types of threads attract a greater proportion of novices than usual, since they are more likely to want to know what constitutes “good” instruction. Since a novice has significantly less ability to correctly analyze the info for flaws and/or inapplicability to their PARTICULAR situation, it is especially easy for them to be confused by seemingly contradictory opinions, ideas etc. propounded by posters whose unequivocal statements tend to create the impression that they are an “expert” and/or “authority” regarding the subject.

First of all, virtually ALL unequivocal statements are necessarily WRONG. Not only is there NO consensus in the industry as to what constitutes various “best” practices, but as experienced kiters know, there are almost ALWAYS significant EXCEPTIONS to every situation due to varying local factors.

Some examples of statements which may be accurate in the posters’ experience, and MIGHT be correct in general, but which are POSITIVELY WRONG when stated unequivocally include:

bnthere wrote:
a fundamental aspect of kite instruction is imparting the concept and fact that a kite can be put down at the side of the wind and left alone, with the bar untouched, and that that is the safest and most predicable place for a "flying kite" to be. that is something that anyone that knows anything about giving someone good advise about how not to hurt themselves with a kite knows to emphasize to their clients. you can always put a kite down and let it sit on its wingtip, and not "multitask" with a kite in the air. aka, a kite on its wingtip on the ground (or the water), is the best place for a kite when: transferring, picking up a board, putting on a board, adjusting a harness, adjusting a helmet, anything. especially for an inexperienced kite flyer. obviously these things can be done easily with the kite in the air by experienced flyer, but the fact remains there is less skill required, and less stress, less difficulty, and less risk when a kite is touched down.


Some of the factors that could make the foregoing incorrect, particularly in various combinations, include, the particular gear involved, the terrain (including if water), the strength of the wind, gustiness and especially shiftiness as well as factors related to the specific student.

BWD wrote:
Ok then the point:
It is not safe to hand off a kite in the air to an inexperienced kiter.
Ever................!


I have personally done this over 1,000 times and although some were not as safe as others and a few represented an error of judgment where the risk wasn’t justified, the particular equipment used in combination with various other factors (including things like lesson efficiency), otherwise made it reasonably safe and perfectly feasible.

It should be noted that since there is almost always SOME risk, arguably, NOTHING is “safe” regarding most aspects of kiting, especially since the definition of “safe” is very subjective and will vary from person to person. Unequivocally stating that something is “safe” (or in this case, not “safe”) tends to
create the incorrect impression to a novice that it is POSSIBLE to be “safe”. I have had many students who defined “safe” as being UNABLE TO BE INJURED. Besides usually overlooking the possibility of injuring others, this attitude is incorrect in that it is virtually ALWAYS possible to become involved in an accident in some way, even if only remotely possible. This is why, at Malibu Kitesurfing, we try to drive home this point by using qualifiers such as “reasonably” safe. Hopefully, it helps to prevent novices from succumbing to industry hype and becoming complacent about being “safe”.

As to whether to transfer the leash to the student before or after transferring the kite, it appears that transferring the leash FIRST makes better sense in that the instructor has control of the kite throughout the entire process.

Lubo wrote:
Do you guys mind staying on topic. This is a safety issue not a gear discution


Incidentally, regarding many, if not most, safety issues, the particular equipment involved may be an extremely important factor - as in the particular safety issue under discussion.

Richard M.
Malibu Kitesurfing - since 2002
(310) - 430 - KITE (5483)
http://www.MalibuKitesurfing.NET
kfRichard@MalibuKitesurfing.NET


Last edited by RichardM on Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:05 pm 
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Quote:
I have personally done this over 10,000 times
:rollgrin: why am i not surprised,
mr malibu strikes again
Then again, 10000 times means theoretically every day for over 27 years, or three times a day for over 9 years.
Therefore what you are saying is statistically likely to be a pile of horseshit.
Because this makes no allowance for the wind not blowing every day, or for holidays.
Or other elements of what is called "reality."

Quote:
and although some were not as safe as others and a few represented an error of judgment where the risk wasn’t justified,

No kidding, which ones, like 9999 of them?
:rollgrin:
It seems like all the bad instructors are outing themselves here.
Actually a good thing, might save a life.


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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:33 pm 
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BWD wrote:
Advice to newbies:
I would not trust an instructor that would pass you a full size flying kite for which you had not MASTERED the steering, sheeting, safety release, launch and landing, especially if the kite is overhead. Wingtip on water is safer, preferably with someone holding the LE.

Instructors that pass a new student a flying kite, especially near shore or obstacles, are demonstrating a CASUAL attitude toward your safety.
If you feel the least bit uncomfortable with the situation,
DO NOT LET THEM PASS YOU THE KITE.
Even with undersized bow kites in light wind, it's not really safe.
Just my opinion, feel free to spin the wheel of fate.
Might want to carry good insurance though....


Interesting point about mastering kite skills before passing a kite 'in flight'. I've seen it work fine with some people...starting them from the edge. I've also seen them go instantly windshield wiper up and over the other side....and back again....etc. So while I agree that it's often the safest place to hand over a kite the student might not have the skills to launch a kite under control and keep it in a stable, benign, flight overhead. Yes...they should spend more time on the beach with the trainer kite then....and yes the instructor should be 'on the spot' to make sure they're doing the right stuff but it is always a step up to 'the big kites' regardless. So...starting them 'at the top' where the kite is flying in a stable manner can be the lesser evil. They should then learn to fly it to the water and back up again....


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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:57 am 
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In the old days there was a better strategy usually split into three sessions.
1. Get good at the trainer kite, fly it all over window, one handed, loops and 8's etc. Theory and safety instruction.
2. Move up to a 5-7m or so kite, in about 10-12 knots.
5m is easier to steer and slower reacting than trainer, easy progression.
Repeat what you did with the trainer, but skip the loops. Body drag with it.
Body drag across the wind with it. Self rescue instruction.
3. Repeat with a bigger kite, maybe one size down from what a kiter would use.
Add board. If the student has learned the preceding steps, he or she will be able to take a run, stop, and start again heading back to shore. If their board skills are decent they shouldn't even end up far downwind. If no board skills, intro to board skills between 2 and 3.

By the end of my first day riding, I came back in where I started. I attribute this to using a surfboard, and previous surf and windsurf experience helping me know how to carve into the wind.
When I moved on to independent kiting, I could self launch and land, self rescue, and ride back and forth without losing much ground. This is from following the progression of skills and knowledge. Not from letting someone pass me a kite to save a few minutes.
At that stage I wasn't about to pass off a kite overhead to someone, or take one that way.
That is a way more advanced thing to do. Even though it is simple.
Neither the instincts/muscle memory, nor the risk management skills are going to be there for a beginner, to make passing the kite off reasonable.

In recent years, I have seen people start kiting with far less of a clue than those you saw as newbies say 8 years ago. Thanks to higher depower kites, most of them survive unscathed, but along the way many kook out way harder.
Saw one guy last year who wanted to use a self landing stake. Didn't get the concept.
He hooked the leash to it, unhooked, and dropped the bar.
With the kite at zenith.
He was quite surprised to see the anchor stake, rope, leash bar and all rocket out of the ground and down the beach after the kite.
I suspect there is a reason for the crazy behavior, by an otherwise sane person: he had probably "learned" to pass his flying kite off already!
He was "trained" to have the "instinct" that it might be ok to just let go of the kite, if it was attached to someone or something.
I also wonder if he went through an accelerated beginner lesson, without really enough time to work through the steps of learning.

Opinions may differ, and docile kites let us get away with more, but I really think the student needs to learn they have to control the kite at all times or risk great harm. That lesson seems to be missing. Not everything was done right in the old days, with board leashes, newbies walking their kites upwind long distances on full beaches, etc. But at least we learned a little more respect for the danger of the kite itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:42 pm 
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The problem with threads like these is that they just turn into a competition for who knows the most and in reality the people who actually know the most don't bother to post as someone else will always know better than them, or claim to.

If you are a safe person then you are a safe person, it's not the technique that you use. Ultimately to go back to the OP surely if it is unsafe to hand a student a kite that is already flying then you really have to ask yourself why as it is a technique used safely by instructors all over the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Safe student launch?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:03 pm 
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Well you have a point and maybe I wrote too much on the subject already.
I will say this though, there are some kiters I would pass a kite to, and some I would not.
One more reason not to, is that it doesn't teach the student anything much of value. That is really not fair when tuition is usually $75-100 per hour.
Starting out, you learn something just about every time you launch or land a kite, and it's important to master the skills. That is what the student is paying for, not to be handed a kite and get another downwind drag with no consequences, like at Disney World or the state fair!

So I still see passing a kite to a student as a lazy shortcut or a way to get a student to fly a kite somewhere they shouldn't, like on a narrow or crowded beach.

But people are getting away with it with beginners, maybe it is safer than I think. Maybe I am biased because I don't have enough experience with really slow, stable kites, having learned on Cs 10y ago and still flying quick turning, powerful kites.
Still, it might be safe for the instructor at that particular moment, but it is not going to be so safe a week or a month later when the student who has only launched and landed with supervision say 5 times, instead of 10 or 20, is out on the beach kiting alone, or with only the help of another beginner or bystander.
Launching and landing, as with airplanes, is where most of the danger is.
Passing the kite to students in the air deprives them of practice to manage the risks.
I 'll concede though I have less problem with it out on a shallow water flat, off a boat or jet ski, etc. On or near the beach though, it's always going to rub me the wrong way.

With that I'll try to let this one go though, seems most posters don't agree with me....


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