SELF RESCUE KITESURF TUTORIAL
If you want to feel safe on the water in every condition, knowing how to perform self rescue will definitely help you. My name is Petar Pavlovic. I love sharing my Kitesurfing Experience with you!
In this episode:
- Perfect process of self rescue.
- Pack down in deep water.
- When it is not necessary to perform self rescue.
After 14 years of kitesurfing and 10 years of teaching experience I realized that a lot of kitesurfers out there don’t know how to perform self rescue.
To be honest, my first years of kitesurfing I didn’t know nothing about self rescue. I was putting myself in a lot of dangerous situations and I had a lot of problems. Spending a lot of time and energy into untwisting the lines or even repairing the kite.
WHAT IS SELF RESCUE?
It’s the safest way to reach and to use your kite to get back to the beach.
When and why you perform self rescue? Whenever you are too far out and for some reason you are not able to relaunch your kite. Most common reason is not enough wind, one of your line is broken or your kite is broken.
There are different ways how to perform self rescue. I will explain the easiest way in my opinion, and after this I will give you more details.
When you find yourself far out at sea, and you are not able to relaunch your kite, this is the right time to start with the self rescue procedure.
SELF RESCUE PROCEDURE
- Activate your chicken loop quick release so the kite looses all tension.
- Start pulling on the safety line to reach your bar.
- Roll the safety line on one side of the bar.
- Once you almost rolled the safety line until the end, secure it, so it cannot unroll.
- Take all the four lines and start rolling them on the other side of the bar.
- Once you are close to your kite secure the four lines.
- Go completely to one side of the kite. Turn the kite with your shoulder in smile position.
- If there is a bit of wind the best solution is to grab a connection point of one of the bridle line and to make a sail out of your kite.
- If there is no wind at all you can always use the kite as a small boat.
- If you see that you are close to the beach and you have enough energy to swim connect your safety leash on the pump connection and start swimming towards the beach.
Once you are back to the beach, the best is to immediately untwist the lines. Secure your kite in beach position and unroll all the lines while walking down wind. Do a pre-flight check of the lines.
For sure you can find yourself in a lot of confusing situations while doing self rescue.
If you don’t want to lose the board I suggest putting it on your feet. Thius way you are avoiding the lines to twist around your legs. If it’s too difficult for you to start self rescue with the board on your feet never connect the board on the safety leash because you could easily get the board in your head while doing it.
Instead just forget about the board and focus on reaching your kite.
Once you disconnect the chicken loop quick release, if there is not a lot of wind, the bar will not slide away from you. It is super important to push the bar away from you for at least 4 to 5 meters so that the kites looses all the tension.
ROLLING THE BAR
You should never start rolling the bar without pulling out and securing the safety line. This could become really dangerous if suddenly the wind picks ups. Do not pull the safety line with your fingers. In case there is strong wind the kite tends to pull a bit so it can easily burn your skin!
You should never wrap the line around any part of your body!
Always pull on the safety line with the palm of your hands facing down. You’ll have a stronger grip and you can safer let go of the line if suddenly the kite starts pulling.
Once your kite is completely without tension, while holding on the safety line, pull the bar towards the chicken loop so you can easily roll the line.
While rolling the safety line on one side of the bar, make sure that you leave enough space between the floater and the bar to secure the line. Rolling all four and on some bars all five lines will always look like a big mess. Do not worry about it! Time to time make sure that you are still rolling all the lines and again leave enough space to secure them.
Once you are close to the kite, it can be difficult to secure the lines. Grab the kite and hang on it so the procedure will be much easier. Once you secure the lines you can let go of the bar. However, keep it connected on your safety leash.
Most of the time your kite will stay in beach position, in deep water it is not really easy to turn the kite from the middle especially if it is a big kite. Go completely on one side of the kite, put your shoulder under the leading edge (front tube). With your hands pull down the wing tip of the kite and with your shoulder push the kite in the air.
SELF RESCUE – SWIMMING BACK TO THE BEACH
For creating a sail from your kite you should grab a connection point of one bridle line and go completely on the other side of the kite. That way you make a bigger sail which will help you to get faster back to the beach.
It is also easy to do it with the board on the feet. If there is no wind at all, and you want to relax a bit, just get into your kite. First sit on the leading edge (front tube) then roll yourself in the kite. Make sure that you don’t press the kite with the hook of your harness because you could damage it. You can also take your board and put it next to you with the fins facing up. Quite a nice position to chill and would be perfect for a drink.
If you have energy to swim instead of chilling, while holding on the kite you can disconnect the safety leash from the bar and connect it on the pump connection of the kite.
UNROLLING THE LINES
When you get back on the beach your bar will still look like a mess. Make sure that you don’t disconnect the lines from your kite immediately because then would be quite difficult to untwist them.
Start unrolling the lines while walking down wind from your kite. Once you unrolled the four lines, in a steady position start unrolling the safety line. When you free the safety line, grab the chicken loop and start walking down wind. That way the safety line gets back in place. Do the pre-flight check of the lines. If the lines are not fully free, now you can disconnect all the lines from the kite. Untwist them the same way you do it when you set up your kite.
Now we have seen the basics of self rescue, but it is also good to know how to pack down in deep water if needed.
PACK DOWN IN DEEP WATER
When would you need to do a pack down?
When you get rescued by a boat with people who are not familiar with kitesurfing gear. Or when your front tube lost air for some reason.
This is why it is important that after pumping up your kite you close all the pipes connecting the leading edge whit the struts. This way if your front tube lost air, the struts are still inflated and the kite will still float nicely so you can hang on it.
process of pack down in deep water
- Make sure the pipes connecting the struts are still well closed.
- Open the deflate valve and try to keep the leading edge of the water to avoid water going into the kite bladder.
- Fold the kite so the deflate valve is on the upper side, away from the water.
- Get both wing tips of the kite and start rolling in the direction of your deflate valve.
- Close the valve. Take off your harness and wrap it around your kite so you are sure that the kite doesn’t unroll. This way you can lay on the kite and slowly swim back to the beach or pass the kite to someone on the boat.
- Once you are back on the beach, make sure to not immediately disconnect the lines from the kite.
I have to be honest with you, I didn’t find it easy to do a pack down in deep water in every kind of conditions. My personal suggestion, go for pack down in deep water just when your kite already lost air.
If a boat with people not familiar with the kitesurfing gear comes to rescue you, just deflate the kite. Give to a person to hold the leading edge while you are getting on the boat. Once you are on the boat make sure to close the deflate valve to avoid any water going in the kite’s bladder.
SELF RESCUE – FINAL TOUGHTS
THE KITE IS PULLING YOU TOWARDS THE ROCKS
For some reason you are not able to relaunch it but the beach is just a couple meters away from you.
In this situation it is not smart to initiate self rescue procedure. You would need some time to do it and you and your kite would most probably end up on the rocks.
Use your chicken loop quick release and swim back to the beach.
Once you are back on the beach start with the self landing procedure.
Whenever you are far up wind from the beach with your kite on the water
Pull the back line which is closer to the beach. This way even if you are not able to relaunch your kite, you will slowly be dragged back to the beach.
Once your kite reaches the shore chicken loop quick release and initiate self landing procedure. If you are in an offshore wind once you realized that it is not possible to relaunch your kite and you are still close to the beach there is no reason to do self rescue.
Chicken loop quick release and swim back to the beach
Once you reach the beach start with self landing procedure.
If you are on a wavy spot, even with small waves do not go for self rescue procedure. You don’t want to hold on the lines while the kite is being pulled by the waves.
If there are bigger waves just disconnect the chicken loop quick release and disconnect the safety leash. Swim back to the beach and catch your kite. Why would you disconnect everything ? You can check the explanation in my previous episode about safety systems.
So once you are in trouble don’t hope to remember all those steps of self rescue. But make sure to check on my Patreon the tutorial of how you can practice self rescue at home. There you will find as well a different method of performing self rescue, that might fit better for some of you.
See you next time.