some safety stuff worth a ponder

Shoot the breeze and stay in the loop with the unhinged and unhooked word on the street.
Post Reply
Posts: 1177
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:21 pm

some random safety stuff to ask yourself / discuss:

1 when was the last time you checked your leash actually works?

Embarrased to say i've been in the position of 'demonstrating' my leash mechanism only to discover it didn't friggin work! :oops: In my case it was one of those long tubular airush ones and at some point i must of crash landed on it and bent the stiff tubing into an 'L- shape' stopping it from working. Other ones i've seen have been salt-encrusted / jammed etc.

2 when was the last time you checked your quick release actually works?

As above they can get jammed up with sand / salt-encrusted and seize up. Have you got one of them old-style 'pull the velcro' type releases? I used to have one that if you activated it CORRECTLY your fingers would often get jammed in the steel ring as the bar flew away! Of course it's possible yours might work fine - but this shortarse geordiecunt recommends you immediately throw the freakin thing in the bin and get a standard, modern push-away release.

3 do you attach your leash to the back of your harness?

If you're going out that day specifically to do nothing other than practice slimchances or dangle-passes then fair enough - when you miss the bar you'll come dangling down like a spider - nice! :P In every other circumstance you should attach your leash to the front of your harness and should practice reaching for it without looking until it becomes second nature. Why? because if your kite starts looping and dragging you it will be almost impossible to reach it (see Karolina Winkowska video below)

4 have you thought about what you might do if your kite was looping uncontrollably?

I've been in this scenario a number of times and they generally fall into either 'kite-end' problems or 'bar-end' problems.

Kite-end is usually a line-wrap / bridle-wrap round a wingtip - or maybe a bridle getting knotted up on one side...

Bar-end may be your leash getting caught on those stupidly large 'bull-horn' line-winders you've got on the end of your bar - or maybe one of your steering lines getting caught in the same way - or maybe a steering line has somehow got itself wrapped around your harness hook? Or maybe one of your bar end floats has got itself jammed right up under your harness hook?

All of these situations are scary as f*ck and the most valuable thing you can do (easier said than done!) is try and stay calm and quickly assess your options.

If it's a 'kite-end' thing:

1 you've got the option to fire your quick-release and assess how the kite responds. If it kills the kite then great - you can now do a self-rescue or deepwater packdown (if you've never done one of these before PLEASE do one soon! you need to know this shit).

2 If the kite keeps looping then go for your leash-release. (I've done this before and fired the leash but kept hold of the end in one hand - the kite pulled me ashore and then i let go of it once i knew it wasn't gonna hit anyone?)

3 in the future avoid old style - humungously long bridle-type kites (the old Liquid Force Havoc comes to mind!)

If it's a bar-end thing:

1 If you're not getting dragged too violently and / or you've got the presence of mind to calmly figure out what's gone wrong - then try and free that snagged leash / line / float

2 if its a line / leash wrap around the end of the bar you can fire your quick release and assess how the kite reacts. As above, be prepared to go to the next stage and release your leash.

3 There's a video going round that shows how you can compensate for the one-sided line tension causing the loop - by 'evening-up' the pull on the other side (see below)


Personally i think that might work if you're able to stay extremely calm / it's not too windy / the pull isn't too violent. It's also worth bearing in mind that once the kite has looped say more than 5 times - all the lines are going to be spiralled around each other and any bar input is unlikely to get a response from the kite.

4 if its a line wrapped around your harness hook or a bar float jammed under your hook - you've either got to somehow free it yourself / cut it free with a knife / or try and get your harness completely off.

Mystic do a KRS spreader bar that could help in this situation (see below)


I've actually got one of these - but unfortunately i have to step into the harness and tighten the webbing both sides to get it on (the buckle attachments don't fit)

5 another option which i've done for real is to somehow assist your kite to crash - but you can only do this if you've got a bit of steerage input left at the bar. Also - with modern, 'easy to relaunch' kites (particularly in the smaller sizes) this is unlikely to help much as the kite will probably immediately take off again. A traditional C-kite is much more likely to 'stay crashed'.

5 all the above only happens to inexperienced kiters right?

Wrong - shit like this can happen to anyone and usually after a failed trick attempt - so you could argue that it's actually MORE likely to happen to intermediates and above....

Karolina Winkowska is a multiple world champion and is a better kiter than you :mrgreen: here's that video...


Aaron Hadlow is waaay better than you :twisted: and he famously got in just as scary a moment during 2014 King of the Air. Can't find the video (anyone?) but here's a quote from him straight after:

"I didn’t do myself any favours when I boosted into one of my biggest loops of the day, then came in and tried another close to the beach where I broke my board and caught an edge. The kite crashed down, leaving me surrounded by kite line with barely seconds before the kite would power up. In a panic I threw everything away from me but a line got wrapped around the end of my bar and off I went, rag dolled across Big Bay, trying not to drink too much water and not run out of breath. After the kite had looped about 15 times it finally it came to settle on the water for a brief second. I managed to climb up my leash to detach it and whip the steering line back into its correct position just before it took off again.

One more loop and I’m not sure if I would have gotten away with it!"

(Of course Aaron being Aaron then sorted himself out - promptly landed the first ever competition megaloop kgb and advanced to the next round 8) )

Airush Pro rider Oswald Smith dislocated his shoulder in a similar experience (see link below) ... RHCOY5F.97
Last edited by Tony on Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Made "Sticky"
Site Admin
Posts: 5053
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 12:06 pm
Location: WWW

Good info, made sticky

Mike B
Brand Rep'
Posts: 3259
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:09 am
Location: the north

Nice post John. Been kiting for a long long time and I know lots of stories. Always pays to use your head before, during and after as well.
mike dubs
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Camber or the Kent northshore

Great post.

In 2007 when kiting at Southend on my new Rebel, I got a wrap round the bar end after a wipeout, it looped uncontrollably, dragging me backwards as my leash was on harness back, I could not turn to fix the wrap or reach the leash QR as the water pressure was too much coming over my head and starting to drown me.

Luckily the wind was on shore and I was a 100 yards out and the kite snagged on a groyne and I could release. If I'd have been 200 yards out I'd have drowned.

Always checked my leash and worn at the front ever since.

Mike B
Brand Rep'
Posts: 3259
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:09 am
Location: the north

Yesterday, for the first time in years I actually got caught in a full loop situ on the beach coming in after a session. More of an 'inconvinience loop' than a death loop, as there was loads of room, even if it was windy on a 9. Tried to self land on my own, and the kite re-powered with the front line wrapped round the bar. Zero option but to pull the final safety which fired fine and I quickly caught the kite after a fast sprint.

It can happen to every one of us...
for me, pulling that release was my ONLY option. Too much power in the kite to get back to the bar

Posts: 67
Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 8:55 pm
Antispam: No
Location: NYC/US Brighton UK

I think this is good advice, the trick is to try and stay calm.
Easier said than done I got caught in a deathloop situation in cape Hatteras in 2011 on an old Flexifoil.
I hit the release nothing happened and now I am at the end of the leash, I just climbed the lines and grabbed a few meters of steering line.
I was at the top end on my 9M it was not a fun experience.

I think putting this information out there is a good thing, the more kites that know how to deal with a dethlooping kite the better.
Posts: 1177
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:21 pm

fair play - he reshot his video on a 6m in strong winds...

Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:57 pm
Antispam: No

JohnM wrote:fair play - he reshot his video on a 6m in strong winds...

Real fair play to him, and also demonstrating cutting of lines whilst riding!
Posts: 954
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:40 am

good points, have often wondered what might happen should a line break and how the kite would behave.
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:29 pm

Hi there, here are some thoughts about dangerous situations while kiteboarding. I hope we can learn something from getting more awareness about the accidents. Kiteboarding is an amazing sport and it's super sad when you hear stories about fellow kiteboarders getting injured.
I hope my video helps beginners as well as advanced riders to avoid such a situations
Post Reply