Launching a kite is one of the most important moments in kiteboarding. Here's how an assistant can help a rider get his kite up in the sky.
As a kiteboarder, you need to make sure your kite starts flying as it should and, simultaneously ensure you do it in a safe zone, away from objects, landmarks, and other people.
Kites not only become extremely heavy after inflated, but they can also reach high speeds on particularly windy days. And then, let's not forget the kite lines, an always dangerous weapon that will severely injure passersby.
Advanced or experienced riders are able to self-launch the kite safely and without any problems. However, that is never the ideal option. The best way to launch a kite is with an assistant.
It doesn't need to be an expert kiteboarder or someone with kitesurfing knowledge. It can be a friend who never rode a kite, a relative, or someone you met on the beach.
The process is relatively quick, and by having two people doing it you're reducing the risks, saving energy, and improving the overall kiteboarding experience.
Here's what a kite launch assistant should do:
1. Give right-of-way to all beachgoers or non-riders: never block the walking path or ask someone to move;
2. Launch the kite near the water: the wind is less turbulent, and the kite won't need to fly at 12 o'clock;
3. Hold the kite in the middle: never do it near the wing tip;
4. Make sure the wing tip is not on the sand: the kite should already be flying in the assistant's hands;
5. Remove sand from the kite before launching: you don't want it to fall over people while starting to fly;
6. Make the kite's bridles are not tangled around the struts or twisted;
7. Be aware of the launch angle: check out if you need to move the kite more into the wind before letting go;
8. Communicate with the kiter: adjust the position of both assistant and rider;
9. Wait for the rider to give the thumbs up signal: never release the kite before the rider says he's ready;
10. After releasing the kite, move away from the launching area;
Remember that unsafe or incorrect launches will make the kite fly quickly and in an unstable manner.
Take your time and talk to each other before getting the kite up in the air.