Forums > Kitesurfing   Newbies / Tips & Tricks

4 line kite safety

Reply
Created by 23cents > 9 months ago, 12 Nov 2012
23cents
4 posts
12 Nov 2012 2:40PM
Thumbs Up

Hi All,

First time poster, long time lurker.

This is now my third season kitesurfing and while I have had the odd mishap that happens when learning, what happened on the weekend is by far the worst.

Somehow I managed to get the front line hooked over one of the wing tips, causing the kite to start looping. I released the bar but the kite was still pulling so I released the safety on the chicken loop. Contrary to what I thought would happen the kite kept looping. The chicken loop did detach and the bar went down the lines but the kite still stayed powered. Fortunately the wind was only around 15kts and while the kite pulled me out of the water and up onto the beach, it eventually got caught in the grass up in a sand dune. I could have released the kite completely but as there was no one around I decided to hold off as long as I could to try and save the kite and also because I hate the thought of a rampant kite blowing down wind and hurting someone.

My question is in relation to the safety of my kite (Best Kahoona V2 with Red Line bar). When the chicken loop is released the kite goes to the two front lines and as this kite has a bridle it doesn't completely depower. The bridle keeps some of the shape of the kite and in strong winds it still catches the wind and pulls.
The bar does have OS handles. If I was to connect my safety leash to one of these than I can see the kite flagging on a single rear line and becoming almost completely depowered. The problem is I have velcro on my OS handles and it would then become a twostep process to release. Pop the chicken loop and then release the Velcro. It would also mean that if the bar spun the safety leash would get wrapped around it. I am not doing any jumps or tricks at the moment (going upwind is my only trick :) but sometimes when I crash, the bar does spin or get caught up and I think having the safety leash wrap could cause even more problems.

Most of the time the safety works well on this kite but the fact that it stays something like 30% powered when released means that it's still dangerous and uncontrollable in stronger winds. Which is generally the time things seem to go wrong and matter the most.

I am considering selling my kite and switching to a North Rebel, for its 5th line safety.

I'd appreciate experienced kiters advice on this. When it comes to safety I'm not concerned with the price but I don't want to switch kites to find that the 5th line has a whole new range of issues. I assume there is a reason that there are many brands of 4 line kites out there that go to the two front lines when released.

Thoughts ?

stuntnaz
NSW, 540 posts
12 Nov 2012 10:44PM
Thumbs Up

One problem can be the longer the lite loops the more the lines twist so when you finally release the chicken loop the lines are so twisted together the kite won't flag . So if your kite starts looping release as soon as possible .

cbulota
WA, 1207 posts
12 Nov 2012 9:48PM
Thumbs Up

I agree with stuntnaz's comment, the sooner you release, the better.

Here are some additional thoughts.
As an instructor, during lessons I release safety systems multiple times every day and I have done that on a large number of different kites, brands, types of safety systems, etc. The conclusion that I draw so far is that the vast majority of dual front line safety systems out there are not entirely safe, meaning that sometimes they flag the kite out when the safety system is activated, sometimes not. So reading your story doesn't surprise me at all as I've seen your situation happen many times on dual front lines safety systems. In my opinion this wouldn't happen as often if ever on a single front line safety system (whether a 5th line or a single front line safety on a 4-line bar). The advantage of a single front line safety system is obvious.

I would never recommend to connect your leash to one of your back lines as you mentioned, as this will cause the kite to spin relentlessly when the safety system is activated. This used to be a older type of ''safety'' system that is no longer existing on the market, because it's dangerous.

That being said, there is a ''workaround'' on dual front line safety system that don't fully depower the kite when the safety system is activated:

-Pull yourself up the center lines as quickly as you can until you can grab only one of the two center lines. Grab either of those two lines and start pulling hard in order to create slack in the other 3 lines and cause the kite to flag out. Continue pulling yourself up that line until you get to the kite. Then you can either self-rescue if in deep water or self-land if back on the land or shallow water. I know this sounds dangerous but if your safety system fails to deliver this can be an efficient option that will save you and your gear. The bottom line is as long as you have tension on only one center line and the other 3 lines are slack, the kite cannot power up and will flag out. It's either that option, or dump your gear, or as you said, get a kite with a safety system that's actually working.

Thanks for sharing your story

13 Nov 2012 10:02PM
Thumbs Up

cbulota said...
I agree with stuntnaz's comment, the sooner you release, the better.

Here are some additional thoughts.
As an instructor, during lessons I release safety systems multiple times every day and I have done that on a large number of different kites, brands, types of safety systems, etc. The conclusion that I draw so far is that the vast majority of dual front line safety systems out there are not entirely safe, meaning that sometimes they flag the kite out when the safety system is activated, sometimes not. So reading your story doesn't surprise me at all as I've seen your situation happen many times on dual front lines safety systems. In my opinion this wouldn't happen as often if ever on a single front line safety system (whether a 5th line or a single front line safety on a 4-line bar). The advantage of a single front line safety system is obvious.

I would never recommend to connect your leash to one of your back lines as you mentioned, as this will cause the kite to spin relentlessly when the safety system is activated. This used to be a older type of ''safety'' system that is no longer existing on the market, because it's dangerous.

That being said, there is a ''workaround'' on dual front line safety system that don't fully depower the kite when the safety system is activated:

-Pull yourself up the center lines as quickly as you can until you can grab only one of the two center lines. Grab either of those two lines and start pulling hard in order to create slack in the other 3 lines and cause the kite to flag out. Continue pulling yourself up that line until you get to the kite. Then you can either self-rescue if in deep water or self-land if back on the land or shallow water. I know this sounds dangerous but if your safety system fails to deliver this can be an efficient option that will save you and your gear. The bottom line is as long as you have tension on only one center line and the other 3 lines are slack, the kite cannot power up and will flag out. It's either that option, or dump your gear, or as you said, get a kite with a safety system that's actually working.

Thanks for sharing your story


The only dual front line safety that works 99% of the time that I've used and seen (and thats most kites on the market) is the Cabrinha IDS System.
Get a bar and lines that flags to one single front line.
Dont ever grab one of the flying lines on a powered and out of control kite with your bare hands, if you do you will most likely lose skin or fingers.

Trant
NSW, 594 posts
14 Nov 2012 9:58AM
Thumbs Up

23cents said...
When it comes to safety I'm not concerned with the price but I don't want to switch kites to find that the 5th line has a whole new range of issues.


In my honest opinion, the safest safety system is a 5th line that is NOT under tension. (i.e. the kite flies on 4 lines, the 5th is purely for safety)
If you do have a single line safety system and the safety line is the one that snaps, you can be a bit buggered ;)
5th lines do come with issues, but generally related to damaging the kite if it rolls in the surf.

Your OS handles are designed for when the kite hasn't flagged to the safety properly. In theory you should grab the OS handle and release your leash entirely to flag the kite. The velcro should release under the tension.
Check the Best forum to make sure that your Kahoona works well with OS handles, because I have heard that some bridled kites will simply loop when deployed to an OS handle.

You could also look at alternative bars/line systems that flag to one line instead of buying a new kite, or potentially add a 5th line to your current setup if you're feeling experimental.

However, at the end of the day, no safety system will be 100%

oceanfire
WA, 710 posts
14 Nov 2012 9:17AM
Thumbs Up

I've got a redline bar on my 2010 Waroo and have experienced a similar situation, luckily I wasn't pulled up onto the beach, I managed to wrestle the kite down with the help of the small shore break.

I think the main issue here is that a line wrapped around the wingtip creates an asymmetry in the line tensions and pretty much sets the kite up in a loop configuration, regardless of the quick release being pulled.

I'm guessing that your line got hooked on the wing tip when you crashed the kite, this can happen when you travel towards the kite as you stack, letting the lines slacken and allowing the kite to roll on itself a bit.
Relaunching in light winds and inadvertently choking the kite, can also see the kite rolling on itself, creating the same situation.

I found that as I have progressed and become more kite 'aware aware', I am able to control the kite to a certain extent when I do stack it, if only to keep an adequate amount of tension in the lines.
My main goal when stacking it is to try and keep an eye on the kite as I go down and pull on the opposite side of the bar to which the kite is flying, to try and buy myself some time to get my head above water and either relaunch having kept tension in the lines, or keep the kite flying.

Having said all that, I find that when I have needed to use the quick release and there are no lines looped over wingtips, the kite settles down on the water and becomes very manageable.

KiteBilly
VIC, 90 posts
14 Nov 2012 4:13PM
Thumbs Up


Got to be one of the major design issues with kites, second to blowing a higher wind self launch.

Had kite spiral happen twice and was freaked, the first was a cab 2010, released the safety with the kite high in the window and at around 45' up., the kite rolled back down wind and got a spiral.

second time weed got caught in the lines, circumvented the safety...got dragged so hard at first I couldn't get to the second release but managed to get control and bodydrag to safety.

And the beginner died in France a year or two ago when the death spiral drowned him.

Has any North riders reported death spirals with the trust bar.....I searched SB forums but didnt find anything.

The neg points you here from North 5 lines are slow to set up and the depower lines can stuff up.....

23cents
4 posts
14 Nov 2012 3:29PM
Thumbs Up

Thanks for all the great feedback, it's much appreciated.

Stuntnaz: Thanks for this tip, what you say makes sense and retrospect I should have done exactly that, pulled the safety as soon as it did its uncontrolled first loop. Instead of standing there and going..woohaa my kite is looping, its ok, no its not, its ok, no its not..

Cbulota: On my kite the centre lines stay together for a couple of meters before they attach to a ring and split. I understand your suggestion but I think it would be difficult for me to pull myself along the safety line to get to a single front line to pull it, especially if it was under stress. If I was in the water this might be possible but on the beach I don't think I could.

Best have released a new Red line bar that now has a mini 5th line system, so as I understand it, it now releases to a single front line. Based on the feedback in the above posts this is a lot safer. My concern with this is that coincidently on the same day I experienced uncontrolled kite looping, a friend of mine also with a Best kite snapped one of his front line bridles. It didn't snap at the pulley, it snapped where the line passes through a metal ring. Inspecting the other front line bridle on his kite, the thick line looked a little flat and fury but not to the point I would of thought it needed replacing. This could be our inexperience on reading line wear but I have also inspected my other kites, one of which has only been used a couple of times and it shows similar wear but given its lack of use I have to assume that the line is still good and this is just superficial.

So to drag this issue out further. If I was to continue using these Best kites and get the new Bar and lines which now provides a single front line safety system. If the bridle was to snap on the line used for the front line safety, then this would effectively mean you no longer had a safety at all and if pulled there would be nothing connected to the kite.

If I hadn't witnessed the bridle line snapping first-hand I probably wouldn't have been too concerned as I would just say that the rider needed to inspect their bridle lines carefully. But after looking at the wear, if it's that hard to tell when a bridle line needs replacing I will basically have to replace all the lines at the start of every season to be sure, which is expensive and not that comforting.

I realize that with a true 5th line system (North Rebel, correct me if I'm wrong..), the 5th line could also break but as the kite doesn't depend on this line to fly the kite you should be able to land it with assistance in the event this happens. It also doesn't have any bridles so this is one other less thing to go wrong…

I'd also be very interested to hear of problems with the North Rebel's 5th line, if anyone has firsthand experience.

cbulota
WA, 1207 posts
15 Nov 2012 9:41PM
Thumbs Up


I realize that with a true 5th line system (North Rebel, correct me if I'm wrong..), the 5th line could also break but as the kite doesn't depend on this line to fly the kite you should be able to land it with assistance in the event this happens.


North uses a loaded fight line which means that it's an important part of the flying of the kite.

With a 5th line you may rarely get the 5th line wrapping around the kite when the kite inverts. Happened to me once in 2 years+ of kiting. Still even with the 5th line wrapped around the kite you'd be able to fully depower and recover it safely.

16 Nov 2012 9:07AM
Thumbs Up

cbulota said...

With a 5th line you may rarely get the 5th line wrapping around the kite when the kite inverts. Happened to me once in 2 years+ of kiting. Still even with the 5th line wrapped around the kite you'd be able to fully depower and recover it safely.


Not true, 5th line is not the answer some brands and people have tried to promote, otherwise all brands would be using it, wouldn't they?
I agree in the hands of an experienced flat water kiter it is a system that works quite well - most of the time.
In the waves, forget it, as almost all serious wave riders and brands have.

For beginners, I've seen dozens and dozens of incidents over the years, where due to lack of skill, maintenance and inexperience, the rider crashes, rides towards the kite, then the kite rolls though and the fifth then wraps the kite and it starts death looping, or will not relaunch, or the fifth line breaks, etc.

Makes no difference if the 5th line is loaded or not. Loaded 5th line is now being used to give those kite designs more wind range and trim ability, similar to what a bridle does (loaded 5th is a type of bridle).

cbulota
WA, 1207 posts
16 Nov 2012 9:38AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote


The only dual front line safety that works 99% of the time that I've used and seen (and thats most kites on the market) is the Cabrinha IDS System.





I guess you're lucky to have the IDS system flag out 99% of the time for you because I can't say I've experienced or seen similar results. Just like they mention in their own video: ''we recommend walking towards the kite to achieve full depower'' which means it doesn't systematically flag out when the safety is released, just like it happens in the video....now what if you are in deep water and the kite doesn't flag out ? Are you supposed to ''take a few steps forward'' or maybe swim faster than the wind to achieve flagging out and be able to retrieve your kite safely? Seriously if I grabbed a couple of different IDS kites from the last 3 years or so and pull the safety system in various winds conditions they wouldn't flag out completely half the time.

16 Nov 2012 1:23PM
Thumbs Up

cbulota said...

I guess you're lucky to have the IDS system flag out 99% of the time for you because I can't say I've experienced or seen similar results. Just like they mention in their own video: ''we recommend walking towards the kite to achieve full depower'' which means it doesn't systematically flag out when the safety is released, just like it happens in the video....now what if you are in deep water and the kite doesn't flag out ? Are you supposed to ''take a few steps forward'' or maybe swim faster than the wind to achieve flagging out and be able to retrieve your kite safely? Seriously if I grabbed a couple of different IDS kites from the last 3 years or so and pull the safety system in various winds conditions they wouldn't flag out completely half the time.


Ok, I've made some comments that disagree or contradict some advice you have been giving beginners in this section of the forum. I do not know you and none of my comments are directed towards you personally.

The Cabrinha video above is from 2009, its now late 2012 and there have been 3 later versions of the IDS system, each one has seen improvements and refinements to the system, but the video is still relevant and provides some excellent information.
The section of the video about self landing assumes you are on land as shown in the video, so you can walk towards the kite.

In the water the kite will of course have some residual drag, simply because there is a large kite hanging off the end of the 2 front lines, but due to the way the bridle is constructed the kite cannot actually power up and a rider can either swim up/pull up the centre lines and achieve the same 100% depower and then self rescue.
Sometimes I have seen issues with the IDS, when its deployed, but its very rare and in most cases it was deployed unnecessarily, by beginners who have panicked when the lines are all slack.
Like I said there are a range of things that can and do go wrong with 5th line systems too, and that I've frequently seen especially when in the hands of beginners.

23cents
4 posts
15 Jan 2013 6:59AM
Thumbs Up

In the end I purchased the new 2013 Best Red line Performance V3 bar. This bar now supports a single front line safety system.

After testing it out on my kites, it definitely does pull a lot less when releasing to a single front line. Probably the only concern is the amount of line left floating in the water when the bar runs up on release but I cannot see how you can avoid this unless you tune the stopper ball location each time you connect to a different size kite, which would be way too much effort.

I think the most important thing I have learned is that as soon as 'death loops' start happening, to release straight away and if possible when purchasing look for a bar with a single front line or 5 line safety system if compatible with your kite.
Apart from the safety improvement I find the new Best bar an improvement on the old 2010/11 models. The grip has more padding, they have removed the OS handles which cleans up some of the clutter. I had never used the OS handles previously so perhaps that is a negative for some people but for me it's an improvement.

I find that the sacrificial insert system to eliminate centre line wear seems to cause some added friction on the bar movement. It's not much but if the bar is on an extreme angle, like when you are walking along the beach with the kite fully depowered the bar tends to grip to the lines and not slide up and down so freely.
All in all though I am so far happy with the outcome and feel somewhat safer.

Thanks for everyone's advice, much appreciated !

wac82
1 posts
15 Jan 2013 10:43AM
Thumbs Up

cbulota said...

I would never recommend to connect your leash to one of your back lines as you mentioned, as this will cause the kite to spin relentlessly when the safety system is activated. This used to be a older type of ''safety'' system that is no longer existing on the market, because it's dangerous.



Sorry to Hijack the thread, though looks as though the OP has been resolved.

In the 4 line setup below, would it better to always connect to point D rather than point A then? contrary to what the manual says? (kite is older, 09)



Cheers

cbulota
WA, 1207 posts
15 Jan 2013 11:46AM
Thumbs Up

wac82 said...
cbulota said...

I would never recommend to connect your leash to one of your back lines as you mentioned, as this will cause the kite to spin relentlessly when the safety system is activated. This used to be a older type of ''safety'' system that is no longer existing on the market, because it's dangerous.



Sorry to Hijack the thread, though looks as though the OP has been resolved.

In the 4 line setup below, would it better to always connect to point D rather than point A then? contrary to what the manual says? (kite is older, 09)



Cheers



Position C is for unhooked riding, meaning it won't depower the kite much and allow you to relaunch without the kite flagging out. The most unsafe option.

Position A Is the second most unsafe option, it will not depower the kite easily unless the winds are very light. Flagging the kite on the rear line in anything above 15 knots or so will cause the kite to loop vigorously and sometimes without ever stopping. I would never recommend anyone to use this safety system under any circumstance.

Position B looks like an optional fifth line that you can add to your kite. This would be an even safer option that position D, but without the inconvenience of the leash dangling in front of you and twisting around your bar. So safest and best option for a beginner in my opinion.

Position D is the safer option (if you don't go with Position B) being that the leash is directly attached to one centre line, but has the inconvenience they mention.

If you find a spot with lots of clear space downwind and in shallow waters, just release the safety system from various Positions and see/judge for yourself.

Gateman
QLD, 288 posts
15 Jan 2013 3:05PM
Thumbs Up

I agree with cbulota, point A is the last place I would use.

My first kite was a 2003 Cabrinha CO2, back then the leash attached a little further up the line to A (left hand steering line about 1m up).
When the safety was "activated", the kite always started looping (not too much power) and the other 3 lines shot up towards the kite.
Results were always:
1) no chance of relaunch (self rescue the only option)
2) Birds nest of lines that took at least an hour to untangle
3) A very unhealthy RELUCTANCE to deploy the safety due to the above.

Because of the time it took to untangle lines (session ending in most circumstances) the instinct was always to "hang on" at all cost and try recover, resulting in most beginners flying 40 plus meters through the air out of control at least once every session.

It took a few sessions for me to unlearn this instinct but after 6 years away from kiting the depower and safety system are mind blowing. Well done to the R&D guys.

terminal
1421 posts
15 Jan 2013 6:36PM
Thumbs Up

There is mention of having to swim toward the kite on a 2 front line depower, to get it to drop on its back.

I have some kites that drop on their backs OK all the time and another that can get stuck on the LE.

One thing that is worth trying if your kite is prone to not drop on its back every time is to pull in about a metre or two of the flagging line if the kite is dropping almost directly downwind and release the flagging line as soon as the kite hits the water.
That may allow it to drop on its back without you having to swim towards it.



Subscribe
Reply

Forums > Kitesurfing   Newbies / Tips & Tricks


"4 line kite safety" started by 23cents