Safety systems for kitesurfing
Modern kites have safety systems that allow you to get rid of the power when needed. Make sure you buy a kite and bar with a modern safety system. In general, there are always 3 steps to the safety system of any kitesurfing kite which have to be activated in the following order:
- Let go of the bar
- Active the quick release
- Activate the safety leash
Step 1 I Let go of the bar
In about 99% of situations, simply letting go of the bar will be enough. Letting go is very common and can be used when you crash, the wind is too hard, when you take a break or you feel a dangerous situation coming. When you let go two things will happen: the kite will lose its power and it will fall in the water. Especially when you crash it is important to let go. Holding on can cause the kite to fly trough the power zone and it can lift or drag you.
Step 2 I Activate the quick release
If you’ve let go of the bar but the kite keeps pulling you or you still feel unsafe, it might be time to activate the quick release. You can use it when you are in danger and want to fully ditch the power of your kite. Common situations when the quick release is used are tangles with other kitesurfers, sudden increase in wind and being overpowered and your kite looping out of control.
What happens if you activate the quick release?
Your kite will still be attached to your harness through the safety leash. When activating the quick release, your chicken loop will open, the bar will shoot up and away from you and the leash will pull one of the power lines. This results in the other three lines becoming slack. When the kite only has tension on one line, it can not fly powered any more. The kite will fall from the sky and automatically position itself facing against the wind. With the bar and lines and the kite now in this position, it is almost impossible for the kite to fly.
Step 3 I Activate the safety leash
In very rare situations even activating the quick release doesn’t work, your last safety option is to activate the safety leash which is attached to your harness. Activating this last option means you completely disconnect yourself from the kite. This of course can result in you losing your expensive equipment, however a couple of things are more important:
- You lose your kite and with that also the kite as a buoyance aid when you are in deep water
- Your kite becomes a safety hazard to other beach users. People can become tangled in your lines after which the kite can power up again and drag them
Tips for safety
- Buy a kite with modern safety systems
- Always check if your systems work before every session
- Make sure you know how to do a self rescue