as a kite kitesurfing school started up in 2002 ...
based in the Calgary region. Gord Campbell
is a professional coach with over 15 yrs coaching
experience, 6 years kiteboarding. He has taught people to
perform triple somersaults with 4 twists safely in freestyle
skiing and he brings that experience of providing safe, methodical
instruction into your kiteboard lessons. For more information
contact email@example.com or
KiteSource (established 2005) is a Calgary based kiteboarding / kitesurfing school and store. Kitesource offers year round lessons, gear sales, and organized kiting trips to tropical and remote destinations. Owners Jeff Doepker and Erin Hogan are IKO Certified instructors with five years of instructing experience. Their Intro to Kiting course is held at both Nose Hill Park and Keho Lake and only costs $125!
Contact Jeff or visit www.kitesource.ca for more information.
Lets have some fun ... but be safe out there folks!
Thanks to Rick Iossi and Toby at kiteforum for
Kite Preventative Maintenance – March 17, 2007
Kite gear breaks, right? Yup, you bet it does and with the loading
and wear some bits may break sooner than others. Things like
BRIDLE LINES for instance. This article deals with this consideration
alone, there are still other aspects of kite gear that demand
regular inspection and preventative maintenance. If a bridle
breaks at a minimum your kite might stop flying or worse it might
continue to fly, spiraling out of control and perhaps even with
some power. Ideally if you sheet out the power should go if things
work as planned but who needs to experiment with this stuff particularly
in powered conditions? Short answer, no one, don't mess with
it and avoid bridle breakage.
The following ideas were collected from discussions with Paul
Menta with The Kitehouse, Garry Mink with Cabrinha and Thomas
Gaehwiler with Best R&D.
Check gear EVERY TIME you tear it down, POST-Flight inspection.
In the rush to ride, guys may not bother to take the time to
do this right during PRE-flight checks.
1. Paul says to look at bridles for fraying, change in diameter
and color loss. Compress line together and look closely at braid
for evidence of wear.
Some industry reps say based upon riding frequency and conditions,
plan to change out bridle lines every 3 to 6 months and based
2. Pull line back and forth through pulleys to check for function,
lack of binding.
3. Thomas, Paul and Garry all say to ALWAYS WASH OFF METAL PULLEYS
AND LINE WITH FRESH WATER. The accumulated salt cake, sand and
grit can severely reduce the useful life of pulleys.
4. Examine pigtails using techniques described in #1 above.
You may need to replace them along the same time schedule as
5. Look at line attachment points on control bar assembly for
wear or fraying and replace if necessary.
6. Look at chicken loop line for wear, fibers sticking out horizontally,
replace before failure!
7. Carefully examine flight lines for wear points. Regular tricks
can wear lines at specific points with repeated twisting under
Other considerations follow:
1. Consider where you ride and how. Are there rocks that can
nick or fray bridle, leader or flight lines? Do you solo launch
and land to where added wear may occur? Do you ride in higher
or lighter winds? All these factors need to be considered in
estimating wear and replacement intervals for bridle, leader
and flight lines.
2. Every 6 months PLAN on having to replace bridle, leader and
flight lines and pigtails. Depending on the above factors and
other considerations you may need to replace them more or less
3. Check flight lines for relative length at least once every
4. Examine and wiggle pulleys every session, replace if binding
or excessive wear occurs.
5. Garry suggested keeping your bar and lines attached to your
bow kite. He described carefully winding your lines up on your
bar tightly in figure 8's right up to the center of the kite.
He then loops the built in bungie over one end of the bar and
line. The other bungie is looped through the pump leash attachment
point on the leading edge of the kite. You then roll the kite
up conventionally leaving the bar inside. Garry has faster and
easier setup using this technique and if you need to you are
already setup for boat launch or assisted launch from the shallows
in areas without suitable beaches.
Do replacements cost? Sure they do but a small fraction of what
your kite set you back. Best to take care of both and the rider
too while you're at it.
1. JUMP TO HELP KITEBOARDERS. Readily help other riders with launching and landing
using reliable agreed upon visual and audible communications. Whether you are
starting out or are almost a pro, your help may avoid a serious incident/accident
and possible restrictions. NEVER grab the lines of a flying or powered kite.
Get involved with your local association or club and with area riders to try
to preserve access to kiteboard. If you see someone putting your access at risk
by poor practices, grab several of your friends and have a friendly talk with
the guy, show some interest followed by your concerns. Riders are solely responsible
for their safety and that of effected bystanders. If you are new to an area or
visiting, seek out local kiteboarders, shops and/or associations for local guidelines
and tips BEFORE riding. Don’t ruin things for the local riders.
2. GET ADEQUATE PRO KITEBOARDING TRAINING. Kiteboarders, particularly beginners
should seek adequate, quality professional instruction. Beginners must avoid
crowded areas particularly as kite control is still being developed. Beginners
should body drag out at least 300 ft. (60m) from shore prior to water starting
and should always stay out of guarded or restricted beach areas. Be careful in
your launch area selection and be willing to drive and walk a bit further to
have more ideal conditions. Build your skill and experience carefully in side
or side onshore winds less than 15 kts. ideally, you should advance faster and
more safely for your effort. Riders have been injured for choosing poor launches
when far safer conditions were relatively close by. Be particularly careful in
new conditions and at the START and END of the riding season. Many accidents
occur in these times even among experienced riders. In kiteboarding, “DISTANCE
IS YOUR FRIEND,” so use it!
3. KITEBOARD WITHIN YOUR LIMITS. Know your equipment’s limitations as well
as your own. If you aren't 100% healthy OR IN DOUBT, DON’T FLY! You should
be comfortable with conditions and your gear otherwise, don’t launch and “live
to fly another day.” Always maintain an energy reserve while out kiteboarding.
Hydrate regularly and wear adequate exposure clothing (wetsuit/dry suit), to
deal with unexpected time in the water. Cold water kiteboarding requires additional
critically important precautions as compared to warmer conditions and are beyond
the scope of these guidelines. Don’t kiteboard alone or further from shore
than you are readily able to swim in from.
4. USE A KITE LEASH, QUICK RELEASE, HELMET, IMPACT VEST and other reasonable
safety gear. Make sure you have proper safety equipment, such as a tested, well
maintained kite depowering leash securely attached to your body, a good well
fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves, whistle and hook knife. Most kiteboarding
fatalities involve head injury. A good helmet for kiteboarding, MAY aid in reducing
injury and improve the chance of survival in many but not necessarily all impacts.
A helmet is NO excuse to kiteboard carelessly. Regularly test and maintain a
reliable chicken loop or kite depowering release. Relying upon manual unhooking
alone to release your bar is UNRELIABLE based upon the accident experience. The
rider needs to understand and accept that in an emergency, this quick release
MAY NOT be accessible or function correctly in the critical seconds of the emergency.
It is up to the rider to avoid the emergency in the first place and to aid proper
function of the release through practice and maintenance.
5. LAUNCH, RIDE AND LAND WELL AWAY FROM BYSTANDERS. Give way to the public on
the beach and in the water at ALL TIMES. Be courteous and polite to bystanders.
Complaints have frequently led to bans and restrictions on kiteboarding in some
areas and continue to do so on a regular basis. NEVER launch, ride or land upwind
of nearby bystanders. Work to keep a minimum 300 ft. (100 m) buffer zone from
6. BE AWARE OF THE WEATHER. Is the forecast and current weather acceptable, free
of pending storm clouds and excessive gusty winds? Color radar can sometimes
give a clue as to violent storm/gust potential. Are seas and wind condition within
your experience, ability and appropriate for your gear? New kiters should practice
in lighter, side or side onshore winds. Onshore winds have a much higher injury
rate even among experienced riders and should be avoided. Offshore winds should
be avoided in the absence of a chase boat. If storm clouds are moving in, land
and thoroughly disable your kite well in advance of any change in wind or temperature,
if necessary depower your kite while still away from shore. Lightning can strike
many miles ahead of storm clouds. Learn about unstable weather in your area and
work to avoid squalls and storms through TV, radio and Internet information.
Consider organizing an alert air horn and flag signal for your launch as a warning
to riders of pending unstable weather.
1. USE GOOD LAUNCH AREAS. Make sure your launch is open, FREE OF DOWNWIND BYSTANDERS,
hard objects, nearby power lines, buildings and walls, etc. within at least 300
ft. (100 m), and preferably more particularly in higher wind. Too many riders
have slammed into walls, parked cars, trees with better launches not so far away
at all. Some riders have needed in excess of 600 ft. (200 m), to regain control
in violent dragging or loftings in higher winds. Avoid kiteboarding near airports
and in low flight path areas, complaints have led to restricted access in some
areas. Never fly your kite in the path of low aircraft in flight, moving your
kite low to the water at the first indication of inbound aircraft.
2. WHAT SIZE KITE ARE OTHER RIDERS USING? Check to see what size kite other kiteboarders
are rigging and get their input on conditions. Try to select a kite size for
the lower to middle part of the wind range. Do not rig too large a kite for conditions
and carefully consider advice of more experienced riders. Failure to act on prudent
advice has cost some riders severe injury and even death. If you don’t
have a small enough kite to safely launch, DON’T!
3. CHECK & REPAIR YOUR GEAR BEFORE YOU FLY. Check your kite for tears or
leaky bladders. If you have leaky bladders or tears in your kite, repair them
before flying. Check ALL kite, harness, and control bar lines, webbing, pigtails,
bridles, the chicken loop and leaders for knots, cuts, wear or abrasion. If the
line sheathing shows any breaks or knots, replace them. The pigtails should be
replaced no less frequently than every 6 months on inflatable kites. Inspect
and test your quick release. Frequently, mentally and physically rehearse pulling
your quick release in an imagined emergency situation. Make sure your flying
lines are equal as they will stretch unevenly with use. If they have knots that
can’t be easily untied, replace your flight lines. Do not casually make
changes to manufactured equipment. What ever you do must work reliably in what
conditions may come.
4. AVOID SOLO LAUNCHING. Solo launching and landing are NOT recommended and should
be avoided particularly in stronger winds. Launch with a trained assistant, using
reliable audible and visual signals. If solo launching make sure your kite is
properly anchored with a substantial quantity of sand to avoid premature launch.
Never use untrained bystanders to help you launch or land. Riders have been severely
injured by making this easy mistake. Rig your kite for solo launch at the last
minute and launch without delay AFTER CAREFUL PREFLIGHTING as serious accidents
have happened in only minutes during this stage. If you leave the kite unattended,
wrap up your lines, deflate the kite’s leading edge and roll it up. It
is best to place the kite in a bag to avoid UV and wind damage.
5. CROSSED KITE LINES CAN WRECK YOUR DAY. Launching with crossed or snagged lines
has maimed quite a few kiteboarders as the kite tends to fly up at very high
speed, dragging or lofting the rider into a nearby hard objects faster than they
can react. Walk down your lines and examine them carefully. Pick your bar up
and carefully look down the lines for twists, tangles or snags that could cause
the kite to be dangerously uncontrollable. While you are holding your bar up
look down the lines, shake your bar to make sure the center lines are connected
to the leading edge of the kite. Be particularly careful, slow and methodical
in high winds. Multiple, careful preflighting in higher winds is strongly advised.
Rigging "Kook Proof" connectors on our kite and lines is easily done
with most kites and should be rigged on all your kites and bars.
and Getting Underway
1. LAUNCH & LAND UNHOOKED WITH A GOOD BUFFER ZONE. Avoid hooking in or connecting
with your quick release, while onshore or near hard objects. Practice LAUNCHING
AND LANDING "UNHOOKED" or not connected to your chicken loop. Pull
in your trim strap or rope entirely or to a point that will allow stable kite
flight with existing wind conditions, to properly depower the kite before launching
and so that you can readily hold the bar and release it if necessary. Always
maintain minimum clear downwind buffer zones, particularly while flying unhooked.
Physically and mentally rehearse managing emergency situations including just "letting
go" of your bar. Connect to your quick release once you are well offshore.
Question: IF you have a proper buffer zone AND your kite properly depowers upon
release, WHAT is the downside of launching unhooked? That is considering you
could be spared from a real slamming one of these days if you stay hooked in
during launch and landing.
2. KEEP IT LOW & GO! … to try to avoid lofting or involuntary lifting.
DO NOT bring your kite much above 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m) from the ground and
NEVER to the vertical, within 300 ft. (100 m) of shore or any hard object. Never
launch, fly or land upwind and close to the shore or hard objects or stand on
the beach for extended with your kite in the air. This careless practice has
killed and maimed riders. This practice MAY reduce the chance of lofting but
may also promote dragging and serious injury in gusty/strong wind conditions.
So, if you are dragged be ready to depower instantly and ideally before the dragging
starts in the first place. HAZARD AVOIDANCE IS THE KEY along with rapid preemptive,
rehearsed actions. Do not fly your kite near vertical or sloped surfaces that
can cause uplift and sudden dragging/lofting (walls, buildings, hills, tree lines,
etc,). Avoid thermal generating areas as sudden thermal lofting can occur. Launch
in the appropriate part of the wind window to avoid “hot” or over-powered
downwind launches. Make sure that there are no bystanders within your downwind
buffer zone or close by in general.
3. GET OFFSHORE AND STAY THERE. Go offshore at least 300 ft. (100 M) WITHOUT
DELAY after launch. Stay beyond 300 ft. until time to come in. If there are substantial
waves where you need to put on your board consider body dragging outside the
breaker zone first. The fun is offshore, danger to the rider & bystanders
is near shore where most of the hard stuff is located.
4. YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY. Yield the right of way to all others in the water.
Riders must yield to others when jumping, to anyone on your right hand side and
to launching riders. When in doubt, STOP. Kiteboarders should not jump within
a buffer zone of at least two hundred feet (60 m) of others and objects that
are downwind. Always be aware of the position of your lines relative to others,
line cuts can be severe and tangled lines with another kite, deadly.
5. BOARD LEASHES ARE DANGEROUS. All kiteboarders are encouraged to master body
dragging for board recovery. Use of a board leash is dangerous and is generally
discouraged due to the hazards of board rebound or wave driven impact. Injuries
have happened with both fixed length and reel leashes. Wearing a helmet and impact
vest is always advised but may not provide adequate projection against board
impact as the boards can and have violently hit any part of the rider and have
penetrated helmets. If there is risk of your loose board hitting bathers, find
6. DON’T GET LOFTED! Lofting or involuntarily lifting is one of the greatest
hazards of kiteboarding. Avoiding unstable weather, keeping your kite low and
getting offshore without delay are only a few of the measures necessary to avoid
this threat. If despite all precautions you are dragged or lofted a short distance
AND have time to react, depower your kite as soon as you start to pause. You
will likely be dulled by shock so mentally rehearse depowering immediately under
such circumstances. Depowering ideally should occur before you are lofted, still
offshore and away from hard objects. Multiple gusts can hit over a short period
and you may be lofted a second or third time, so ACT to depower your kite as
soon as you can. DO NOT ASSUME that you will have a lull between loftings, sometimes
you do and sometimes you don’t. If you are air born over land, it is uncertain
how and if you will come out of things. Focus on controlling your kite with small
control inputs to avoid stalling the kite. Some have advised keeping the kite
overhead AFTER you are lofted and to try to gently steer towards the least hazardous
are to impact. Other riders have said that reversing direction or transitioning
after lofting has helped to reduce forward speed. It would be wise to accept
and plan for the fact that YOU CAN BE LOFTED AT ANYTIME you have a kite in the
1. USE ASSISTED LANDINGS BUT … SOLO DEPOWER IMMEDIATELY IF NECESSARY! Approach
the shore slowly with caution. Keep your kite low (ideally within 10 to 20 ft.
of the surface), to try avoid lofting. Take care to avoid causing an accidental
jump in well powered conditions while approaching the shore. Arrange for assisted
landings at least 300 ft. (100 m) from bystanders, power lines, vertical surfaces,
etc.. NEVER use non-kiteboarders for assisted launches or landings, as use of
bystanders has resulted in severe rider injuries. Use mutually understood hand
and voice signals to improve launch and landing safety. Riders have been killed
standing around looking for an assisted landing when gusts have hit. IF IN ANY
DOUBT, DEPOWER YOUR KITE even if you are still offshore. ALL riders should be
comfortable with depowering their kite immediately even in deep water and swimming
in to avoid being lofted or dragged in sudden gusting winds.
2. PROPERLY STOW YOUR GEAR. Properly anchor (or ideally deflate your leading
edge and roll up your kite), disconnect and wind up your kite lines. Do not allow
your kite to be accidentally launched. Kites should be placed in a safe area
well out of bystander and vehicular traffic.