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> Drift Launch
post Oct 17 2006, 12:28 AM
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Hi Guys,

90% of the kiting I do is riding solo.

I have learned to drift launch with four lines and have now got it down with the fifth line.

Here's my technique,

1. After laying out the lines as per the standard setup and making sure all the lines are correct I then wrap my lines back around the bar almost all the way up to the kite. Leave the bar and wrapped up lines about 5-10 feet in front of the kite on the ground.

2. On land, flip the kite over to the inverted position. Once you flip the kite over usually you will have two lines coming from the wingtips towards the center of the kite (this would be the lines that are attached to the wingtip that was raised highest when turning the kite over to the inverted position), the other two are usually trailing from the other wingtip(one that was just clearing or dragging on the ground as you flipped it over to the inverted position) to the outside of the kite. The fifth line can be either laying in the center of the kite or running off the leading edge and laying on the ground.

3. HERES A CRUCIAL POINT, adjust the lines so that all five are laying in the center of the kite. After I flip the kite over to the inverted position I will grab the 5th line and toss it back through the center of the kite, meaning its laying on or next to the center strut. I then work my way to the wing tip that has the two lines laying on the outside of the kite and flip them up and over the wing tip so now all five lines are laying down the center of the kite on or next to the center strut and trailing off the back of the kite.

4. Grab the bar on the ground with one hand, hold the kite under your elbow and wrap the lines another turn or two so that when your walking with the kite they don't drag on the ground. I do this so that when I'm walking to the water the lines don't snag anything and then when I'm in the water they don't pick up seaweed as I walk out.

5. Use your leash to attach to the board and drag it out if you want. Once you get out far enough, at least 300 feet from obstacles for me, unwind the lines from the bar while at the same time walking backwards upwind.
Take a look upwind before starting this to make sure your not walking into a seaweed bed. CRUCIAL POINT 2. Make sure that as you unwind the lines they start to trail back from the kite and are not getting caught or tucked in next to the center strut. This is especially important to make sure the 5th line is trailing out freely and not bunching up next to the center strut. Keep walking upwind as you unwind the lines as this will keep them untangled. The more line you get out the more drag from the water there will be which will keep them free and untangled as you let them out.

6. Once you have all the lines out , tuck the chicken loop behind your harness hook (in between hook and harness) which will hold the bar for you. Now with both hands free, flip the kite over so that the leading edge strut is on the water (normal position). If you can, keep moving slowly upwind as this will keep the lines untangled. Check on the top of the kite to make sure that all lines are off the canopy and not caught on a strut. Sometimes you will find one set of lines (the side that went highest in the air when you flipped the kite over) lays over the top of the canopy. Usually a tap on the strut will release them into the water off the back of the canopy.

7. Take a look at each wing tip by lifting each side (one at a time) of the kite up while your still standing in the middle of the kite to make sure the lines are free and running back and not caught on one another.

8. Undo your leash off the board and attach it your 5th line or however your safety normally operates. Decide which side, right or left, you are going to end up launching the kite from and slide the board 90 degrees from you out in that direction. Turn the kite about a 1/4 rotation (still laying in the water) so that it is pointing in the same direction as your board. Push the leading edge under the water so that water is on top of the canopy and release the kite. Walk upwind as the kite floats downwind, again this gets some tension on the lines so they won't tangle. It also shortens the time the kite is drifting with no tension on the lines.

9. The kite fills with wind, the lines tighten and now your in the standard water launch position. Check your lines once more, flip your bar around so that the trailing edge lines are not twisted. If you have a tangle or snag at this stage often pulling on the fifth line a foot or two will untangle them.

10. Launch and rock out to a great session.

Landing the kite solo,

1. Put the kite at 11.00 to 1.00 o'clock and ride straight downwind, so that kite drops back in the power zone.

2. Let go of the bar so the fifth line activates, kite will invert and depending on the wind, drop into the water or just sit inverted in the air off the water. For me this works much better than stopping and bringing the kite down at the front of the wind window, since depending on the wind it will roll over and travel down wind, sometimes with a nasty uncontrolled relaunch.

3. Get a good grip on the 5th line, undo the leash, pull the fifth line in 10 of 15 feet, throw the bar out to one side, walk back slowly to get away from the lines while pulling the kite in quickly to you using the 5th line. If you lose your grip on the 5th line and let it go the kite is now free, thus don't lose your grip.

4. Once I've got the kite in hand, I then quickly find the bar and wrap the lines up, usually with no or minimal tangles. Hook the board back up to your leash while wrapping the lines back up.

If anyone has anything to add please do. Questions, criticisms, and suggestions are welcomed.

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