Since the point of this blog is to help others avoid mistakes while getting started in the sport I’ll talk about some of the things I noticed while helping a friend on his first day. I had (and still do have) some of these same problems so they are probably worth mentioning. The hope is you won’t make the same mistakes or have the same problems.

First, if you buy a used kite make sure you get the manual. My friend did get the manual with his and we had to consult it. I wouldn’t buy a kite if you can’t get the manual from the seller or online from the manufacturer. The manual should explain how to rig the kite. Things can get real hairy if you don’t properly rig the kite and you don’t want to have an accident on your first day out. My buddy was excited to get his new kite in the air so he didn’t have much patience for getting it rigged properly. This is one area I have found you need to take the time to get right. His first attempt to rig the kite ended up with tangled and crossed lines. This would have been a bad way to start. I suggested we re-run the lines and we did. Don’t worry if you don’t get the lines right the first time. I still get tangles in mine when I’m in too big a hurry and not paying enough attention. As long as you double-check them before you try to launch it isn’t a big deal. Have patience and re-run the lines as many times as it takes to get it right. It is a lot easier to re-adjust when the kite is sitting nicely on the ground than when it is flailing uncontrollable in the air. Remember the lines are your control so if they aren’t set up  right, you might not have any control.

Now back to that manual. My friend started rigging the kite with the steering lines attached to the leading edge of the kite. I thought that seemed strange so we double checked the manual and realized they should be attached to the back or trailing edge. The leading edge is the one with the air-filled bladder or vents if it is a foil kite. The bottom line is if he hadn’t had the manual as a reference and checked it he may have tried to fly the kite with the lines set up improperly, attempt to fly it for a while, get frustrated and sell the thing on Ebay thinking it was defective. Instead, he got it set up right and enjoyed his day.

Takeaways:

  • Have patience – don’t try to launch until you are certain you have everything set up properly
  • Each manufacturer has their own systems so don’t assume the way you saw someone else’s kite rigged will be the way yours should.
  • It is possible to launch a foil rigged upside down and backwards (I saw it) but I wouldn’t recommend it
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