Launch un-hooked and live to ride forever.
Author: Matt and Keegan Myers
Published: Aug/Sept 2004 issue of Kiteboarding Magazine, www.kiteboardingmag.com
The majority of all kiteboarding accidents happen on land or close to shore. A preventative measure can easily be implemented into the launching and landing process to avoid unnecessary ‘kitemares’. Un-hooking from your kite while on or near shore is a fool proof way to get on and off the water in one piece.
One of the largest safety factors stressed today is to launch un-hooked. Unfortunately, the majority of the kiteboarding population does not follow this simple step in getting out on the water safely. When I hear about a kiteboarding disaster or “kitemare”, and listen to how the accident happened, almost every time the rider would have been fine if they would have just un-hooked on that particular launch or landing. The significance for this safety concern is that during launches and landings the rider is usually close to shore, therefore solid objects. If something goes wrong due to an oversight such as crossed lines, gusty winds, or not being prepared for the launch, being unhooked allows the rider to simply let go of the bar to quickly escape harms way.
The key to launching unhooked is proper kite set-up and rider awareness. With a chicken loop set-up, pull the de-power strap in to compensate for the increased front line length. This will prevent over-sheeting of the kite. Be aware of wind strength and consistency, and be prepared to hook-in when the kite is safely released and flying low in the window. Remember to keep your kite low, hook in, and get on the water quickly. Various chicken loops on the market almost mistakenly promote launching hooked in with lock-in-loops or shackles. Practice launching your kite unhooked and show everyone at your beach how easy, stylish and proactive the process is.