Beginners and intermediate kiteboarders should master the art of relaunching kites. Knowing how to get a kite back up in the air will take you out of danger zones, and it will also keep your confidence levels high.
Today, with all the improvements made by the kiteboarding industry in the controllability of modern kites, relaunching is definitely easier and safer.
Getting a kite out of the water and flying once again is a process that will take a few seconds.
Basically, you can learn generic guidelines for all tube kites and specific tips for foil kites.
Which kite are you riding?
The 4-line Kite Relaunch
The modern bow, delta, and hybrid kites use a simplistic front line bridle system attached to non-geared rear steering lines.
Learn how to get the kite to go back up once it has crashed.
- Allow the kite to fill with the wind so the canopy is producing some pull and is positioned downwind of the pilot, with all or part of the leading edge lying on the surface of the water;
- Choose the preferred side to launch and take hold of the rear steering line on the opposing side, i.e., the right-hand line to launch to the left and vice-versa;
- Hold the line (without wrapping it around your hand) approximately 30-40 centimeters up the line from the bar (the top of the float is often a good place);
- Hold the line still to create tension without pulling or jabbing it. This will result in the kite turning onto its side as it travels slowly toward the edge of the wind window;
- Control speed by feathering the line as the kite travels towards the edge of the window. Be careful not to pull in too much line since this will result in the kite falling backward onto its trailing edge, and you will have to start the process over again;
- Once the kite approaches the neutral zone or is in the intermediate zone, transfer your hand from the line onto the bar and steer the kite up the side of the window to the 12 o'clock position, exactly as you would with an assisted launch;
The 5-line Kite Relaunch
The invention of the 5th line in 2005 helped C-shaped kites to turn onto their side and speed up the re-launch process, especially in light winds.
The process is still the same and is a real help when flying bigger kites in a light breeze.
- Pulling about one meter of the 5th line in at the bar angles the center of the canopy and allows wind to flow over it. This turns the kite more efficiently on its side so that it can begin traveling toward the side of the window;
- The important point to remember is not to pull in too much of the 5th line - an outstretched arm is all it needs;
- The line is then fed out as the kite travels towards the edge of the window;
- As the kite travels towards the edge of the window, it takes up its designed shape. This is similar to the technique used with a 4-line setup. By the time the kite reaches one side of the window and wants to launch, the pilot should have fed out the 5th line;
- The hands should then be back on the bar to relaunch the kite, just as with a 4-line method;
The 5-line system also offers a very safe method of instantly de-powering the kite.
Once the 5th line is released, try not to move towards the kite and produce any further slack because this can occasionally lead to the kite inverting.
This is caused when wind pressure is on the wrong side of the canopy and turns the kite inside out, preventing it from flying.
The Foil Kite Relaunch
Foil kites are less frequently used on water. However, in light wind, the "reverse launch" of a foil kite is a good method that makes foil kites even more interesting.
- Let the kite position itself directly downwind of you;
- Grab hold of the two outside lines as high as possible;
- Pull them towards you as far as you can and keep them pulled until the kite has risen up a few meters;
- Let go of the lines and, once the kite has risen up high enough, steer the kite to one side of the wind window;
- As with any relaunch, pull the kite towards the outside of the wind window and then bring it up to the 12 o'clock position;
Discover this and more kiteboarding tips and techniques in the "ISAF Beginners Guide to Kiteboarding," a book by Kristin Boese.
Learn how to use the wind window.