Self-launching a kite: for advanced riders, only | Photo: Kitesurf Tour Europe

Self-launching a kite can be dangerous, especially if you're a beginner or even an intermediate rider, and in winds over 15 knots. If there's nobody available to help launch your kite, then learn how to do it safely by yourself.

An assisted launch is always the best way to get your kite flying in the sky. However, advanced kiteboarders may launch their own kites, as along as they follow basic safety rules. You may be forced to abort launch for multiple reasons.

If you're self-launching for the first time, try to do it when the wind is light, and with someone next to you, in case anything goes wrong. Remember this:

1. Check the weather forecast;
2. Different kites have different launching techniques;
3. Make sure not to drag the leading edge of the kite along the beach;
4. Check the presence of obstacles, power lines, animals, seaweed and beachgoers in the surrounding area;
5. Find a clear 200-meter cone of airspace where you'll self-launch;
6. Never self-launch if you're upwind of the kite;
7. Know how to pull the safety release;
8. Don't grab the lines - you may lose your fingers;

Ready to self-launch without assistance? Follow these steps:

1. Lay out your kite on its back on the sand, with the trailing edge facing the wind;
2. Put sand on the kite to hold it still;
3. Pump up and rig the kite with lines positioned upwind;
4. Turn your kite, leading edge down so that it points about 45 degrees across the wind;
5. Double-check the kite lines for tangles;
6. Connect the safety leash and hook your chicken loop into the harness;
7. Turn the kite bar 180 degrees;
8. Walk backwards slowly;
9. Tension the lines and pull the high tip of the kite to catch the wind;
10. When the kite takes off, ease the bar and let it reach the edge of wind window;

Whether you think of a kite as a wing or a sail, you want it to be lightweight, resistant, waterproof, but also stiff and flexible at the same time, so that they could respond to all flight requests.

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