Self Landing

Self Landing

Postby BellinghamKite » Mon Dec 03, 2007 9:23 pm

Recently I spoke with a kiter who was asking the best way to self land their kite while on the beach. While this may seem like a good way to keep your kite dry, often it is not worth the risks asociated with having a water kite on the land.

My advice on this is to use this as an opportunity to practice your self rescuing skills.

1st, get the kite to the edge of the window a safe distance from shore, with your kite on the shore side.... If you can't touch the bottom, try to judge how fast you'll drift towards shore. Engage your reride or 5th line safety to depower the kite. At this point, you bar should be away from you. Walk yourself (ie pull with your hands) up the single line attached to your leash until you get to your bar, being careful not to get tangled in any of the lines. If you can, keep your heels together so lines cant wrap around your ankles.

***IMPORTANT**** When you get to your bar, you need to wrap up all of the slack of that single line you just walked up (with your hands) on to the bar while leaving all the other lines slack. Start with the line at your bar, and wrap until you are back at your leash.... This is making one line shorter than all the other and is known as "fixed depower"... ie.. it is locking the like into the flagged (or 5th lined) position.

After you have your kite in the "fixed depower" mode and the kite is totally depowered and flagged out, carefully wrap up all of the lines around the bar until you are within 5-8ft of the closest wingtip. At this point, put a half hitch (overhand knot) on the bar to secure your wrapped lines, and then go into the self rescue mode and have your kite pull you in till you can touch.

This is how I land my kite at Dogfish at high tide if there is nobody to land my kite. Truthfully, it is actually safer to do this than have someone land the kite for you if the beach is space limited due to high tide or what not.

This is something that is worth practicing, and even a good thing to practice from time to time....

The other thing that this does is force you to know how to flag out your kite.... Don't just rely on the sheeting out method of depower as a safely... Learn to kill your kite by flagging it out.. All manufacturers that I know of have this incorporated into the bar system.

Feel free to discuss or ask questions. I'd love to help.

Thanks

Andy
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Re: Self Landing

Postby mikey » Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:51 pm

Hey Andy,

Thanks for the post on this. Given a situation where there is plenty of beach room (unlike Dog Fish at high tide), an approach I have used frquently is to simply step onto the beach with the kite in the air, move the kite so it is 11:00 or lower toward the water, release the safety so the like lands depowered in the water. Then, hand-over-hand up the 5th to bring the kite into shore so it can be safely picked up and secured.

Thoughts on this?

Mike
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Re: Self Landing

Postby BellinghamKite » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:05 pm

The only issue with this is that when you are kiting in side on conditions (or onshore conditions) the kite will have a tendency to blow towards shore and can end up on the land. Since the kite is already going to get wet, why risk having your kite blow or tumble onto shore? You may do better to do this in knee deep water so that when the kite blows downwind of you, it is still in the water. The kite will always want to end up downwind of you and will end up directly downwind of you by the time you get all your lines wrapped up.. This is a problem as we always try to ride in areas the have some onshore wind component.


The best bet is to have another kiteboarder land your kite, which is one of the many reasons to have kite buddies to ride with. Even if the landing doesn't go perfectly, they are there to tackle your kite if need be, and help you if you get into a situation.

mikey wrote:Hey Andy,

Thanks for the post on this. Given a situation where there is plenty of beach room (unlike Dog Fish at high tide), an approach I have used frquently is to simply step onto the beach with the kite in the air, move the kite so it is 11:00 or lower toward the water, release the safety so the like lands depowered in the water. Then, hand-over-hand up the 5th to bring the kite into shore so it can be safely picked up and secured.

Thoughts on this?

Mike
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Re: Self Landing

Postby stringy » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:19 pm

Andy,
I use your method if the wind cranks up and I need to get in. I only do this if no one is there to catch my kite. My first option is to always have someone with experience to catch my kite.
Not a good idea to have inexperienced bystanders catch, or even launch kites.
Usually when I am self landing, I tend to find a wind shadowed area to drop the kite in.
If the beach is an open beach and the wind is not too intense, I like to slowly drop the kite to the side of the window and when it is about 20 feet up, I send it down fast to get it on the beach, I then pull on the closest steering line to get the kite to turn so it is against the wind direction (similiar to how you have your kite positioned when rigging). If I cannot get the kite to turn into that direction, I grab the steering line and will run with the line and this usually turns the kite enough to get it into the depowered position. I don't think this method works when the wind is cranking.
I do not recommend this method for entry level kiteboarders.
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Re: Self Landing

Postby Vinny » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:02 pm

I have a question: Last week I came in as the wind started really building up. It was so strong by then that it was very hard to even walk upwind as I had so much lifting straight up from the really depowered but still pulling hard kite. I did come in fine and someone landed my kite. But I am wondering what a person should do in this situation if self landing? I have a 5 line Octane C kite, I figured that once on land, if I had tried to land it in the water it would certainly have pulled me right out too. So should someone try to land it downwind on just the 5th line, or attach the leash to a front line and try to flag it downwind? Assuming that its just really cranking out there and the kite is still trying to teabag you.
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Re: Self Landing

Postby rodeo clown » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:23 pm

Seems to me when I was running a 5th, all I had to do is put tension on that line and the kite calmed down.
Pull it more and it will drop safely with the leading edge pointed into the wind.
I've been landing my 4-liner by bringing it down the side, then, about 10 feet above the ground I give a very hearty tug on the depower line so both front lines are yanked, and it brings it down pointed into the wind too. (A kiter in the gorge showed me this technique)
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Re: Self Landing

Postby BellinghamKite » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:58 pm

Vinny wrote:I have a question: Last week I came in as the wind started really building up. It was so strong by then that it was very hard to even walk upwind as I had so much lifting straight up from the really depowered but still pulling hard kite. I did come in fine and someone landed my kite. But I am wondering what a person should do in this situation if self landing? I have a 5 line Octane C kite, I figured that once on land, if I had tried to land it in the water it would certainly have pulled me right out too. So should someone try to land it downwind on just the 5th line, or attach the leash to a front line and try to flag it downwind? Assuming that its just really cranking out there and the kite is still trying to teabag you.
thanks


I think it may have been that you were on too big of a kite... I think the 5th line safety system is a great one... but in high winds, the kite can sure pull hard (as with a flagged out kite)...

What I'd suggest doing in an emergency type situation is to engage the 5th... and get your self to your kite ASAP... (ie.. forget about wrapping your lines pefectly....just get to the kite..)... You might have a tangle to deal with... but at least your kite is under control... (you need to make sure you don't get wrapped up in your lines while you are getting to your kite... (keep your legs together))...


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Re: Self Landing

Postby Jeffro1 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:36 pm

From my experience a 5th line system is a more of a direct safety system than flagging a kite from a wing tip. Wingtip flagging systems were the original and can often produce more drag while spiraling down once the primary safety has been released. We would have to warn students of this in the early days of teaching and make them aware that with a wingtip system and the ridged inflatable frame kites we use, the control bar must travel up the lines about 2x the distance of the leading edge for it to be enabled to completely flag. This can often result in tangled lines and can be difficult to “re-ride” especially in deep water.

When a 5th line primary safety is deployed it typically turns the kite over and tugs it from the center or nose of the kite just where someone carrying the kite in the depowerd position would on the beach.
The control bar is not required to travel as far and the kite is less prone to spiraling while making its way down, thus having a greater chance of your lines being clear and the ability to “re-ride” and re-launch the kite.

There are times in extreme winds that anything in the air will produce too much drag and continue pulling you. I was there for a classic DB wind spike one weekend, as I saw Tom Dawson hovering about 20ft up for about 50yds before deploying his safety. While Teague had already done the same down wind of him, but with both of them on 16m kites they continued to get drug towards the shore despite their safety being released. Even once the kite was secure in the depowered position in my hands, I could not hold it just standing there on the beach. The only way to truly depower a kite is to take its shape away, and for my safety and Teague’s I was forced to deflate the LE and roll it up right there in the shallows.

I’ve even had a self landing with 5th line where the kite would float upside-down off the water in the air until it came down by tugging the 5th down to the water or myself. Granted, stay clear of the lines and always be ready to know where and how to deploy your secondary safety release to ultimately “Ditch” the Kite.
I employ every one to get familiar with not only your safety systems but what you can expect your kite to do or act like when deploying them, so you know when is enough too much.

Have fun, know your limits, push your limits, keep yourself and our launch sites safe out there!
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Re: Self Landing

Postby Vinny » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:51 pm

Thanks everyone, guess I need more practice releasing while the safety is on the 5th line. Practice makes perfect, well perfect within a pretty wide range that is, where the wind is concerned. I have also had the kite just float above the surface of the water on the 5th, pretty happy there actually, it didn't want to come down till I had a few words with it and then even had to ask real nicely. I just wanted to make sure here that working with the 5th line is the best way overall.
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Re: Self Landing

Postby kiteboy » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:10 pm

Wow these are some priceless pointers. I've flown the 5th line c kites in some pretty knarly conditions and had to do a few self landings when I was at the edge of my kites envelope. I have found that bringing the kite down to the edge of the window to about 5 feet off the deck and deploying the 5th line seems to work out great. Sometimes the kite will float up in the air on the 5th line, if it doesn't roll over and play dead like you want it to. There have been times that its been hard to climb up the 5th line to get to the kite. In those cases I have found that when the leading edge is on the ground (instead of floating in the air) its easer to climb up the 5th line. If you put a little tension on the outside lines while climbing up your 5th line or if you stopper ball is set right the kite should rest on the ground directly downwind of you. Naish and North (Im not sure about slingshot) have stopper balls that are set up from the factory way to far from the bar. when you deploy the 5th line the kite will tend to fly upside down (instead of sitting down on the water). Measure out the longest strut on your kite and set you 5th line stopper ball that far away from your chicken loop. Your kite should sit down on the water and be easer to get to and also easer to relaunch from.
Its super important to keep an eye on the conditions. Take a look over your shoulder every once in a while and take a guess at whats coming your way. If the conditions headed your way don't look to friendly then its a smart idea to land your kite and watch the weather for a bit. Or if you see a experienced kiter putting there kite down and its getting knarly it might be a good time to come in. But when push comes to shove i would rather be in the water with a over powered kite then to be trying to put it down solo on a sketchy landing area over powered. (water tends to be a bit softer then land!) thats why its a GREAT idea to ride with a friend that knows a bit about launching and landing a kite.
Anyway that my 2 cents on the whole self landing thing. Like Jeffro1 said
"Have fun, know your limits, push your limits, keep yourself and our launch sites safe out there!"
Hope its helps, Nick
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