I need some help on this one. I had an interesting session of kiteboarding yesterday. Winds were about 14mph when I started setting up. I ran my lines upwind with the leading edge face down facing me. I checked my lines and they looked good – nothing was tangled or out of alignment. So I pulled the kite around into the wind and then it started – the death spiral (see the video below). What I am looking for is someone to tell me what happened. What I think must have happened is my right steering line must have gotten caught on the pulley for my right brake line and couldn’t get unstuck until it crashed in such a way as to jar it loose. But I am hoping someone with more experience can tell me if I am right. Let me know in the comments below. Thanks in advance.

This was a freaky situation. The pull was really strong even though the wind wasn’t. Notice I end up laying down to dig my skis in as much as I could. After the kite lines untangled themselves the kite crashed and all was good. I reviewed the situation, checked the lines and everything looked good. The kite was now responding as usual so I started up again as if it never happened. The spiraling happened so fast I didn’t really have time to think about what was going on until after the fact. After thinking about it and getting the comments below I see there were some things I could/should have done differently and will next time I hope. Read the comment below and pay attention to what he says about the shape of the kite before launch. I think that would have been my clue to a problem and had I noticed it may have been able to remedy the situation before it happened.

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One thought on “Death Spiral

  1. Here is a note I got in an email from a trainer. Since he didn’t post his comments himself here I am not going to post his name to preserve his privacy. But I thought his comments might help someone so I am posting the pertinent information this way…

    “Yep, the center side bridal got hung up on wing tip at time of launch. Looks to spiral then became un-stuck. Lucky. If you or you encounter this, safest bet is to release the QR and flag it. The power intensifies because of the spiraling. The person launching it appeared to be pulling on the side that was stuck while trying to launch it. I would have first and foremost used an assisted launch if another person knows how to do this. That then becomes their job to verify all is clear with lines and bridles on the kite end. Without assisted launch I would have pulled the other steering line furthest from camera view to bring the kite straight down wind before launching. This gives you a chance to better view if lines are clear. The kite wasn’t shaped properly for launch. When pulling the line to launch the kite, it shouldn’t lay flat like that. Because it did that tells you your line is some how not right. Always walk your lines out to verify they are right; no twists or tangles. Always verify bridle isn’t tangled or otherwise hung up. This can happen at launch regardless but pre-flight check is key to flight success.”

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