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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:59 pm 
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Location: Ford Lake, Michigan
in my humble opinion this idea that "proper sized kite for the conditions" is a bit dangerous.

Kiters at certain ability levels have absolute wind limits they should never go over no matter what sized kite you are on. For beginners alone you should never be above beaufort scale 5 (above 21 knots). For intermediates alone you should never be above beaufort scale 8 (above 40 knots) for advanced riders alone you should never be out without a support crew above beaufort scale 10 (55 knots).

It's true a little kite pulls less and is more fun in high winds. But when you kite loop it, unless it is so small you can't ride, you quickly achieve wind speed. So for instance suppose you go out on a 3 meter kite in 40 knots. Seems safe right? But if the kite gets into a loop you will be going 40 knots with respect to the ground. That is a very hard crash even on the water. Suppose instead of a 3 meter kite you are out in a 7 meter kite in 40 knots and it loops? You hit the water with same speed 40 knots.

Just my opinion. I know many disagree. It's ok think if you think with the right sized kite you can go out in any conditions, I don't want to hijack this thread too much.

Basic premise is this: no matter what size kite you have, there are some conditions you are not ready for.

I don't think the 7 meter is the problem. Just too windy for the kiter's ability level that day alone tethered, drift, drag, reverse any kind of solo launch. Even on a 5 I think he waits for an assisted launch.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:15 pm 
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Location: The Naki
Laughingman wrote:
KYLakeKiter wrote:
Well then. Since you are obviously all knowing and feel entitled to decide who should go do another activity I guess we should all just accept your opinion as gospel. :lol:

Get over yourself. It is good to discuss safety topics. Every decision does not go well and we can all learn from mistakes.


Look even after 8 months the 3 alternatives he gives still do not address the fact that a 7m was not the choice for 40 knot conditions.... and that he was going out in 40 knot conditions ALONE!!!

It is good to discuss safety topics, but the obvious is being overlooked here, a new kiter could easily misconstrue the advice given as it is okay to go out in 40 knots alone with the smallest kite you have, even though its still too big.... as long as you tether launch....


One man's rediculous is another man's possible. 35 knots with 40 knot gusts is at the top end of your average weight bloke and average powered 7m .

Yes it was the wrong size. But with the correct launch it could have been possible.

At 82kg I have been out on my 8m when the wind gusted past 40. Hell i did a 24 hr landboard world record with squalls gusting past 40 knots flying an 8m. I can tell you that having a 40 knot squall hit at 4 am after 20 hours of flying is very fucking intense.

Was it dumbass?
Oh yes it was. But also one of the best things I have done in my live.

Back to my point. Flying in those winds with those sized kites are completely doable with the correct technique, gear and experience.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:21 pm 
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Location: The Naki
edt wrote:
in my humble opinion this idea that "proper sized kite for the conditions" is a bit dangerous.

Kiters at certain ability levels have absolute wind limits they should never go over no matter what sized kite you are on. For beginners alone you should never be above beaufort scale 5 (above 21 knots). For intermediates alone you should never be above beaufort scale 8 (above 40 knots) for advanced riders alone you should never be out without a support crew above beaufort scale 10 (55 knots).

It's true a little kite pulls less and is more fun in high winds. But when you kite loop it, unless it is so small you can't ride, you quickly achieve wind speed. So for instance suppose you go out on a 3 meter kite in 40 knots. Seems safe right? But if the kite gets into a loop you will be going 40 knots with respect to the ground. That is a very hard crash even on the water. Suppose instead of a 3 meter kite you are out in a 7 meter kite in 40 knots and it loops? You hit the water with same speed 40 knots.

Just my opinion. I know many disagree. It's ok think if you think with the right sized kite you can go out in any conditions, I don't want to hijack this thread too much.

Basic premise is this: no matter what size kite you have, there are some conditions you are not ready for.

I don't think the 7 meter is the problem. Just too windy for the kiter's ability level that day alone tethered, drift, drag, reverse any kind of solo launch. Even on a 5 I think he waits for an assisted launch.



Well said man. Yes I agree. It's the kiters experience not the kite size that determines the max windage they should go out in. With the appropriate experience you should be able to select the correct kite.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:07 pm 
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Question: What is a "drag" launch?... how is it performed?

Comment: It sounds like the type of launch that the original post refers to was not a "drift launch" but a "tumbleweed launch", where the kite was placed in the water and left to the mercy of the wind gusts. What is usually referred to as a "drift launch" is performed by "drifting" the kite away from the rider, while controlling the rate of the drift and the positioning of the kite, by using the kite lines as "reins" ( like you control the head of a horse).

The kite referred to in the incident, in my opinion, has the best kite control system ever evolved to be used to drift out a kite... when used properly. Based on my experience since 2002 in drift launching each generation of kite, I have found that drifting out a kite using the 2 front lines as the tensioned lines is even better and more controllable that using the fifth line, because the kiter can pull on one front line or the other to keep the kite drifting in the proper position, at the right angle to the wind.

Much has been said on KF in the last 12 years in regard to "drift launching" and many horror stories have been noted.

Prediction: With the decreasing popularity of the IDS style (2 front line safety) system... drift launching will become more dangerous in the future, especially in high winds and the use of small kites.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:12 pm 
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It seems we all agree on most of this.

1) Assisted launch safest
2) Tether launch second safest or as safe as assisted
3) Drift launch least safe

In 40 knots which would you choose?

I have to agree on the DUMBASS remark, but mean it like I would say to a close friend not as an insult as I would not like to see anyone get hurt and want them to think about it.

The question is not what size kite he used per se because it could easily have happened with a 6m kite. It's more about why the kite flew up through the power zone and he landed on a hard surface. If these 2 events didn't happen he wouldn't be talking about this now.

A tether launch is not hooked onto you until the last moment and is sitting at the window depowered. It's a no brainer. I have done in gusty conditions and all it does is bounce around forward and back a bit. If gustier than this then crazy to even be kiting.

I have seen a lot of stupid shit that kiters do over the years and this sounds like one of those "ah ya. What did ya think was going to happen?" moments. Like I said may work out 99% if you knew what you were doing, but eventually it's going to bite you. So if you don't mind getting tossed and possibly have a serious injury, then go ahead. Just not on our beaches please.

Strong winds+Drift launch+hard surface=You are playing with fire.

Push your limits with your skills, not your safety. It's an unnecessary risk.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 12:53 am
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Thank you for all the constructive input and um... not so constructive input but I get your points regardless of how harshly you express your feelings.
I thought about my bad drift launch and "dumbass" decision to launch for over 8 months before posting here. I knew I'd get a drubbing here but that's of no real consequence in comparison to the lofting and I think I have confirmed several conclusions:
-35-40 knots is significantly different from 30-35 knots. That was the most wind I had ever tried to launch into (I have windsurfed in up to 50 knots back in the day but, totally different can of worms). Yup. Dumbass. I almost quit over this one. I first drift launched in 30 knots after some time at Kitebeach on Maui. People did it there to cope with the swirly east wind near shore and it seemed to work and there was basically open water downwind. Different situation, tho.
-having said that, I have not and will not be drift launching, since that day
-I might tether launch in less wind and a pinch but I rarely need to self launch
- about "drag" launching; I have done it but have experienced the tumbleweed thing (less wind, I was able to sort it out) and get nervous when the kite drifts a bit and goes up a little hot. I will re-review the video posted in this thread. Only in 20 knots or less.
I still stand by my decision to post this story with all the honest ugly details even tho I knew it made me look bad and would leave me open to criticism. Hopefully, I have learned what I needed to.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:20 pm 
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Good topic to discuss. We all have been dumbasses at some time in our lives. :D I think you will be fine from now as you had some time to reflect. Kiteboarding can be one of the safest sports out there if you follow a few rules.

Keep on kiting! I am till I die.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:32 pm 
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Posts: 515
Ok mister x-dumbass .... Since now you re a smartass (and lucky to be alive) NEVER dot that again with winds over 20 knots and remember always that is dangerous and be ready to activate your QR system.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 12:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:29 am
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I just generally hate drift launching, and really try to avoid doing it. Because of that, I'm not very skilled at it. There's one launch I sometimes use that "requires" it, but I'm looking for an alternative.

The site has wading depth water out hundreds of yards from shore, so it's certainly possible to get well away from "hard stuff", and be in water anywhere from knee deep to chest deep water (series of sandbars). The problem is the blinkin' weeds! Half the time (or more) when I drift launch there at least one line will catch some weeds and screw up your launch. Hot launch with death loop, wingtip bridle wrap--you name it--happens pretty often. I made the mistake of launching there once when it was blowing about 30 mph. I won't do it again. I just won't ride there when it's that windy--unless you guys can suggest a safer alternative. Is it possible to do an anchored launch with a "not too expensive" anchor? I'm looking for suggestions on what to use.

Is there something you can screw into sand when you're in 18 - 24 inches of water, that can be installed by one person, easily removed, safe for the expected loads, and marked with a float while you're out kiting?

Can you use a tethered launch with weeds on a consistently successful basis?

Carrying a heavy anchor for a hundred yards (or more) with 2 ft chop won't work. It also has to be something that you can remove when it's time to head home. A permanent anchor that far from shore would require a permit, lights at night, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: bad drift launch
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 12:28 am 
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Don Monnot wrote:
I just generally hate drift launching, and really try to avoid doing it. Because of that, I'm not very skilled at it. There's one launch I sometimes use that "requires" it, but I'm looking for an alternative.

The site has wading depth water out hundreds of yards from shore, so it's certainly possible to get well away from "hard stuff", and be in water anywhere from knee deep to chest deep water (series of sandbars). The problem is the blinkin' weeds! Half the time (or more) when I drift launch there at least one line will catch some weeds and screw up your launch. Hot launch with death loop, wingtip bridle wrap--you name it--happens pretty often. I made the mistake of launching there once when it was blowing about 30 mph. I won't do it again. I just won't ride there when it's that windy--unless you guys can suggest a safer alternative. Is it possible to do an anchored launch with a "not too expensive" anchor? I'm looking for suggestions on what to use.

Is there something you can screw into sand when you're in 18 - 24 inches of water, that can be installed by one person, easily removed, safe for the expected loads, and marked with a float while you're out kiting?

Can you use a tethered launch with weeds on a consistently successful basis?

Carrying a heavy anchor for a hundred yards (or more) with 2 ft chop won't work. It also has to be something that you can remove when it's time to head home. A permanent anchor that far from shore would require a permit, lights at night, etc.


Why do you have to go out in the water to tether? Just tie a rope to anything that won't move near the shore. It's even better tethering with the kite sitting in the water in the wind window and chicken loop hooked in on shore. If there is nothing there to teether to, fill a sandbag and tie a rope to it then bury the sandbag. You can bury the rope if you want to hide it then pull it up when you come back next time. Then just use a D clip on both ends of a a 1 meter pc of rope to hook onto the sandbag rope and the other to your chicken loop. Piss easy.

Of course set up your kite and lines on land then hook in the chicken loop and walk your kite out to the wind window.

A word of caution for anyone trying this for the first time.
1) After setting your kite, hook into your safety release first.
2) Try to launch where there is nothing downwind of you to avoid any possibility of your kite landing in trees or on people etc.
3) NEVER GRAB THE BAR WHEN YOU HOOK INTO YOUR CHICKEN LOOP.

I traveled up the coast of Australia with my tether and wrapped it around picnic tables, volleyball net posts, trees and fences as there was no other kiters around for the most part. Works like a charm every time! I asked a female kiter in Melbourne if she could launch my 14m SB and she said the kite was too big for her to launch. I almost pissed myself laughing and went and tethered to a volleyball post. First time to hear that one. I have a little Japanese girl half her size launching my 17m all the time here. Funny how people view things differently around the world.


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