KITESURF SAFETY SYSTEMS
Accidents in kitesurfing are often happening because most riders are hesitating to use the kitesurf safety systems. It is not only important to know how to use the safety systems but it is crucial to know when and why to use each one of them.
Kitesurf Safety Systems – When and Why to use them?
You finished your first kitesurf lesson and luckily your instructor showed you how to use all the safety systems.
But did you understand or do you remember when to use each one of them?
My name is Petar Pavlovic, I Love sharing my Kitesurf Experience with you and in this blog post we will go through every type of safety system and when it’s the best situation to use them!
We all know that kitesurfing is an extreme sport and that accidents are happening. But I would say that most of them are happening just because people are hesitating to use the safety systems.
Working as a kitesurf instructor since 2012 I realized that many kitesurfers are not sure when and why to use the safety systems. So let’s go through the 4 essential safety systems together!
Now some of you are confused and wondering what is the fourth safety system. Don’t worry, probably your instructor didn’t tell you about that one yet. But in a few minutes we will go to it.
When Should you use the safety systems?
So when would you use your safety systems ? Let’s make it simple in the beginning.
Whenever you don’t feel in control or you feel in danger it’s time to react.
1. LET THE BAR GO
In 90% of the situations to just let go of the bar is enough.
You should never hesitate to let go of the bar, no matter if you are on the beach or on the water. When you don’t feel in control, it is definitely better to let go of the bar than to hold on it.
If you let the bar go in time the kite will just gently fall on one side of your wind window so at 9 or at 3 o’clock.
Therefore, here are some situations when letting go of the bar will be useful.
- There is too much power in the Kite.
- You see that you are going to fall.
- If you are scared.
- You don’t see the kite.
- You are fed up with your kitesurfing session.
It is also important to understand that you should feel free to let go of the bar even if you are not in danger.
- To untwist the lines.
- To pass the board from one hand to another hand.
- You want to relax a bit or adjust your equipment.
WARNING : Do not think that depowering the bar is a safety system ! While you are depowering the bar you may also steer the kite on one side by accident.
The only situation you should think twice before letting the bar go is when you are riding in a very wavy spot. If the kite touches the water, the waves could catch it and that could end your session.
What is the best thing to do if this happens? You’ll find out soon in this blog post.
2. CHICKEN LOOP QUICK RELEASE
In 99% of the situations it is enough. I believe that all the kites on the market at the moment have perfectly working chicken loop quick release safety system. The most common one is “Re-ride” safety system.
Once the chicken loop is disconnected, the kite will be secured by your safety leash connected to one of the front lines. This front line will be pulled out on one SPAN of the kite at least.
Most of the time the kite just falls in beach or smile position.
Let’s see some examples when you should chicken loop quick release.
- Whenever you feel in danger.
- You still have too much power in the kite.
- Lines are twisted around the kite.
- The kite is moving without you touching the bar.
- You crashed the kite on the beach.
- Someone grabs your kite to help you.
- The kite looses the tension and starts falling in the power zone.
I see many people hesitating to use the chicken loop quick release.
Please if you see that something goes wrong react ! Especially if you are close to the beach or already on the beach.
3. SAFETY LEASH QUICK RELEASE
After using the safety leash quick release you are completely disconnected from your kite so we can say that you are a 100% safe.
So what’s the best place to connect the safety leash on your harness?
Not in the back : In powerful movements of the kite, it would be super difficult for you to reach your quick release.
On the side : It is already better but if one of your arms is hurt or anything it could be more challenging to use the quick release.
The best place would be to connect it in front of your harness next to or on the hook.
WARNING : You have to make sure that your quick release cannot get stuck under the hook.
Let’s see now some examples when to use the safety leash quick release.
- For some reason the kite is still pulling you after using the chicken loop quick release.
- A boat caught your kite.
- The waves catch your kite.
Kitesurfing spot with waves
I have been kiting and teaching on many wavy spots and almost every day during my kite sessions while practicing new tricks, I was doing triathlons… Kiting, swimming and running.
If your kite falls on the water in a wavy spot and is being smashed by a bigger wave, probably the best solution is to immediately use all three safety systems : Why?
If you just let go of the bar, you will definitely be aggressively dragged through or under the water and the kite can easily break.
Using the chicken loop quick release, all the tension will stay just on the safety line and again when a bigger wave goes over your kite you will be aggressively dragged and this can really easily break the safety line. So now it is your decision to risk that something breaks or to release everything in time and get ready to swim and run.
Don’t get me wrong, a wavy spot can be a lot of fun. Just make sure to choose the one surrounded with a huge sandy beach.
If the kite already fell on the water and is being smashed by the waves. After you disconnected everything, do not worry about your kite flying away because it is still connected to the bar and this will prevent the kite from flying too far. The worse that can happen is that the kite flips a couple of times until it lands in beach position.
Fourth safety system – the safety knife.
Easily cutting the lines from the bar.
Make sure you have one, not necessarily when you are on a lesson with an instructor, but definitely when you start practicing kitesurfing independently.
Let’s see some examples when to use the safety knife :
- If you ever get the lines around any part of your body, do not hesitate to use the safety knife.
- It could happen that your bar gets stuck in some buoys. This situation, if you already used the three safety systems, is not dangerous for you. But to save your equipment try first to cut the line from the buoy if possible.
Please make sure to use all those safety systems step by step.
In dangerous situations do not think too much about saving your equipment.
Life is more important…You can always buy another kite…you can never buy another life
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you learned something new.
There is one more situation when there s a chance that you should use all your safety systems…And this is when you twist with another kiter.
How to approach this situation, we’ll find out in the next blog.