There are many ways to self launch a kiteboarding kite. This article will focus on two ways to self launch that we recommend. If there are other kiteboarders on the beach, we recommend asking one of them for a launch. Even if you have another person that is a non-kiteboarder, we recommend instructing them on how to hold the kite and the appropriate launch signals.
The two self launch a kiteboarding kite methods that we recommend are:
- Drift Launch
- Fixed Anchor Point
Situational Awareness: What Self Launch Method to Use?
The first question that should be asked is “why is there nobody else kiteboarding here?” Is it because it is early in the morning and other people are still sleeping? Or is it that the wind conditions are not suitable for kiteboarding at that spot?
Before attempting either technique, figure out the technique that would be safest based upon the wind and the environment of the launch. Start with the wind. Is the wind blowing straight onshore, side shore or offshore? Here are a few scenarios and our recommended technique.
|Onshore winds||Fixed Anchor|
|Cross onshore winds||Fixed Anchor or Drift|
|Cross shore winds||Fixed Anchor or Drift|
|Cross offshore winds||Drift|
Other Variables to Consider
What is the beach like? Are there sharp objects that could potentially puncture the kite? Are there a lot of beachgoers? How deep is the water? Can you walk a safe distance (two or three kite line lengths) away from the beach? Try to think of both scenarios and which one is safest. An extra five minutes assessing the launch is worth preventing a bad situation from happening.
The majority of the time we use the drift launch method. Most places where we kiteboard have shallow waters that make it possible to walk a safe distance away from the beach. Once away from the beach and with the kite out, it is like doing a water relaunch. Check out our video and other blog post on how to drift launch for more specific information. The key points are to set up the kite like normal and to make sure the lines are completely out before letting go of the kite. Another two key points are to make sure there’s a safe distance from the beach and that the kite drifts away from the beach when let go.
Fixed Anchor Point
If a drift launch cannot be done to to a variety of situations, we recommend using a fixed point to launch a kite. For this method it is important to know and understand the wind window. If you do not know the direction of the wind or the wind window then take a lesson. This could be dangerous for other people, yourself or your kite. A lesson is much cheaper than a new or used kite.
Examples of Fixed Anchors
Over the years we have seen many different contraptions created for this method. Some of them are not efficient nor safe. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. Here are a few examples of what can be used:
- Extra safety leash
- Carabiner Clip (make sure it is durable enough to not break)
The next step is to figure out a fixed point to attach the clip. If it is possible to drive your car onto the beach, use the spot on the vehicle that is used to tow it. Make sure this spot is angled directly downwind to prevent any lines from getting tangled. If cars are not allowed on the beach, try to find a fixed anchor that already exists. In many places garbage cans are secured down by a chain that is connected to a cement block in the ground. Attach the extra safety leash to the chain, as long as the wind is favorable for a safe launch.
Visualize the Wind Window
This section is important! The kite will not sit perfectly perpendicular to the direction of the wind. It will technically sit at the point where the kite is engaged with the wind. This may be 5 degrees or 20 degrees down depending on the strength of the wind and the kite size. The important part to know is to start perpendicular and walk the kite downwind until it stops fluttering. The kite’s canopy will stop fluttering once it is deep enough in the wind window to sit comfortably on its side.
To help visualize the wind window, draw the direction of the wind next to the fixed connection point. Take a second to assess if the arrow is the true direction of the wind. Using that arrow, draw the half circle wind window. Draw a line perpendicular to the wind window and visualize where that line goes out. Refer to the video above for more details.
Take an Advanced Lesson
The safest way to learn how to self launch a kiteboarding kite. In this lesson we would work with the rider to go over every little detail to assure repetitive and safe procedure. Send us a message below to inquire more.