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Kite U.S. Forums _ Knowledge Center _ I Plead the 5th

Posted by: KyleK Sep 30 2004, 11:04 AM

Ive now ridden the North 5th Element system for a month and a half and have made up my mind - it is the way to play. Everytime that I have crashed the kite using this system I have quickly rolled it onto its back with only a tug on the 5th line, once on its back it moves to the edge of the window and is ready for relaunch. Major time and energy saver - No swimming, I have done it with both feet in the board straps. I use the 5th on Vegas 10 and 18.

Another huge advantage that came into play in this past Tuesdays 30+ winds is the extended depower range. Unable to walk up wind with the kite low or high cuz it wuz blowing so dang hard, I pulled in a foot or so of the 5th and the kite totally changed from a rapid wolf to a docile labradour while floating in nuetral.

Oh yeah, the 5th is also your safety leash and never gets rapped on spins and rolls and can accomodate handle passes. If you let go of the bar it does not travel far to the stopper and you have a very high likelyhood of regaining the bar with clean lines and continue riding.

There are a few cons. From a convenience standpoint it can take an extra run or two down your lines when setting up. From a performance standpoint if winds become very very light and the kite luffs and inverts the wingtips become distorted to the point that the kite does not fly properly. This has not happened to me, the Vegas' are super stable and have not once fallen inside themselves while Ive been riding them. Only once with a student in very light wind has this happened. I think the safety and convenience of the 5th Element make these drawbacks insignificant.

I am excited to see the new Shift system from Naish. It is a 5th line that will be coming with the new Torch and will retrofit to work with all Naish kites.

Posted by: Steve Martin Sep 30 2004, 02:33 PM

Looking forward to trying North & Naish's 5th line systems sometime in the future.

Posted by: kiteboarder Oct 6 2004, 02:00 PM

umm can u rig the 5th with other kites like RRD and Slingshot?

Posted by: KyleK Oct 7 2004, 10:34 AM

You can use the 5th E with any kite with a pump leash loop. The key is determining the appropriate 5th line connector length for the particular kite. Each North kite comes with a specific length connector that attaches to the pump leash and runs to the 5th line coming from the bar - the 5th is the same length as the front and back lines. This allows you to use one bar with all kites.

Posted by: JoeBidawid Oct 9 2004, 12:55 AM

I shot this video of Kyle using his 5th Element at Metro Beach, looks remarkably easy and safe.

Posted by: KyleK Sep 1 2005, 01:43 PM

Ive now ridden the 5th Element and the Shift for over a year and can say with conviction that these are superior control systems. Admittedly there are the afformentioned hurdles that 2/4 lines do not present but these are far outweighed by the advantages.

One huge advantage is the lack of load on the 5th line. I have had the leash line break on a four line bar and have seen it happen twice to other experienced kiters in the last month. With a broken leash line and an out of control kite what do you do? Cant steer it, cant let it go upwind of other kiters or beachgoers. Bad situation that does not present itself with the 5th. But I guess anything that can happen will so even with the 5th you can never be too comfortable riding upwind of others.

A couple of tips for those getting used to riding with a 5 line system:

When relaunching the 5th line is only a substitute for running/swimming at the kite. Once the kite moves from face down on LE to rolled onto its canopy with LE facing you the 5th has done its job. Stop pulling and throw line in front of you as not to get wrapped on the bar.

Throw your tricks in both directions. Spinning in the same direction always will create more wraps of the 5 around the flying line creating more friction and decreasing performance.


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