Self rescue kitesurfing

The self rescue is a crucial technique for your safety. Still we see many kitesurfers out there that don’t know how to do a self rescue. In our kitesurfing lessons we always try to practise this technique is the conditions are right. In this article I will explain how to self rescue step by step.

When to self rescue?

  1. In case the wind drops and you have to get back to shore
  2. In case you have material failure
  3. In case you get into a dangerous situation

4 options for a self rescue

  1. Activate quick release
  2. Get back to the bar and relaunch the kite
  3. Activate the quick release, roll the lines on the bar and use the kite as a boat
  4. Activate the quick release and do a full back down

In this step by step approach I will explain option number 3. This is just a short explanation of the technique and it’s definitely not a substitute for real life practice as we would do during a kitesurfing lesson.

Self rescue step 1: let go of the bar

Before activating the quick release, first let go of the bar. The kite will lose it’s power and the bar will be able to shoot away from you.

Self rescue step 2: activate the quick release

Push the button of the quick release away from you to activate it. When you do so, keep your hands of the bar. The kite will now flag out and fall into the water with the leading edge facing against the wind.

Self rescue step 3: get back to the bar by wrapping the leash line around it

Now you have to get back to the bar. NEVER wrap lines around your hands and make sure you don’t get tangled in the lines. To get back to the bar you want to start pulling in the leash line. As soon as you get back to the bar, quickly wrap the leash line around the bar a couple of times and then secure with a knot.

Self rescue step 4: roll up your lines to het back to the kite

Now take all 4 lines and start wrapping them around the bar like your would normally do when packing up. If the wind is strong try pulling yourself towards the kite by using the bar as a fishing rod. Make sure to stop wrapping the lines about 1.5 meters from the kite and pull the kite towards yourself. Now you can take a rest from swimming by leaning on the leading edge.

Self rescue step 5: secure the lines on the bar

Now wrap the lines around the bar a couple of times and secure with a knot, the same as with the leash line. Now you’ve safely made it back to the kite and the lines are wrapped, it is time to get back to shore.

Self rescue step 6: turn the kite over

Flip the kite over by taking the kite on one side until the kite is in s ‘’smiley’’ position.

Self rescue step 7: make a boat

Put you board in the kite and grab one on the self rescue handled. Doing so creates a kind of boat. Position yourself on the leading edge and use the lines of the kite to pull the kite into the wind.

Self rescue step 8: drift back to shore

Use your free hand to determine your direction, similar to body dragging upwind.


Want to learn how to do the self rescue?

This technique is something you really need to practise with an instructor. In our kitesurfing courses we teach you exactly how to perform this technique, as well as the full pack down.