Kites: know when and how to activate the quick-release system | Photo: Shutterstock

Safety systems allow kiteboarders to quickly depower their kites and enter emergency mode. Learn how to detach a kite from the harness in case anything goes wrong.

It happens a lot to beginners, but it can also happen to any advanced kiteboarder. A kite that is out of control can have serious consequences, so you must know what to do and act quickly.

That is why it is so important to train your brain to take decisions when you've got a problem with a flying kite. The first thing you have to have in mind is that you must be ready to quickly release tension from the kite lines.

When you do so, the kite loses its shape and won't fly. There is only a non-emergency situation when you activate the kite's quick release system, and that is when landing a kite by yourself, with no one to help.

And there are two classic moments when depowering and releasing a kite is the only option - a sudden wind speed increase, and tangled lines. In case two kites fly into each other, pilots should separate themselves from their gear completely.

In other situations, you're simply forced to make the kite powerless before entering kite rescue mode, and swimming back to shore. That is why it is very important to train your kite in comfortable conditions, for example in knee-deep waters.

You can also sit on the sand and test your kite safety system, to get used to the movements of releasing and reassembling it back together. Remember that each kite brand has its own release system. So, here's what should you do to your kite in a moment of stress:

1. Twist, push or pull the quick release system above the chicken loop;
2. Let go of the kite bar;
3. Watch the kite depower;
4. Let the kite fall into the water;
5. Grab the safety leash;
6. If needed, completely release the safety leash;
7. Decide whether to abort the session or reassemble the quick release to resume riding;

A working quick-release system can save lives, so get used to yours before riding overpowered or in a crowded sailing beach or lake. You should be able to pull/push it without looking.