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Tim Blanchard
During our lighter wind months I see alot of sketchy launches and landings that do not result in disaster for the simple reason that the wind is light. As we will soon be back into our stronger wind season it is time for people to start making intelligent decisions when it comes to landing and launching. In high winds there is ZERO room for error.

No-Brainer guidelines:

1. If you consitently ride, launch, land with solid objects downwind of you closer than 2 line lengths at anytime, it is just a matter of time before you make a small mistake, or the kite luffs out on you and to get dragging into a solid object. I am sorry but I will not feel sorry for any kiter that gets hurt in this manner that has put himself into this situation intentionally by not taking 30 seconds to walk upwind to give themself a buffer zone of ABSOLUTE MINIMUM OF 2 LINELENGTHS

2. Never have a beginner or non-kiter launch you. At every beach on lake st.clair due to the shallow water you can walk your gear out into the water and drift launch. If you are not fimiliar with drift launching, ask at the beach any of the experienced riders and they will give you a hand and show you how.

3. If there is no one to catch your kite there is a very simple, tangle free way to land your kite. Bring you kite to the side of the wind so that the line with you safety attached is farthest away from the water (safety on right front line, lower kite on left side of wind window). With the kite 15-30ft above the water, turn the bar hard so it slams into the water. Just as the kite is about to hit let go of the bar and the safety will release and the kite will be dead and floating leading edge down and should just sit there. Now walk up you safety line all the way to the kite and pop the leading edge valve to completely kill it. Practice tis in light winds so that when the situation happpens in high winds and you need to dtich your kite you are confortable with this technique. Everyone will have to do this at some time in there kiting career.

That is all for now. Over half of all kiting accidents happen on landing and launching. The last thing I want is a local kiter to get hurt. I am starting to get pissed with the some of the things I have been seeing at the beach and I will let you know if you are being a danger to yourself and others.

The situation at other beaches in Ontario is getting to the point where the locals are almost to the point of cutting the lines of newbies that are showing up with attitude and not following simple safe kiting guidelines and the advice of the seasoned kiters. I hope that never happens on St.Clair.

Following these simple guidelines will eliminate almost every potentially dangerous situation you will encounter in kiting. Use your head, don't lose it.

Tim Blanchard
Excellent Info!!!!

Beaches are getting more crowded then ever and especially in the busy summer months.
Between the increased number of kiters and all the tourists on the beach, it's really important to keep safety and common sense in mind. Just take 5 minutes everytime you get to a beach to analyse the spot.
Where are the crowds? Where are the dangerous objects?
What happen if I end up riding downwind? Anywhere to stop safely? What if my kite luff? Will it hit anyone? Will my lines get tangle with anything or anyone? Do I have room for my kite to go down and then relaunch before hitting anyhing or anyone?

We're seeing lots of incidents at our beaches that could be avoided with commun sense. Don't leave it at home!
Steve Martin
I witnessed an ugly landing that could have ended real badly.

Not sure of the rider's name, but he is an excellent rider, comes in, walks on land at Metro and lands the kite just over a windsurfer setting up where two of the kiters lines were at the windsurfers left arm and the other two lines were at the windsurfers right arms. If the kite unintentionally launched the kite's lines could have cut an arm, leg, etc. The guy was in a rush to land the kite, but I would like to believe that I wouldn't have done it. I had just landed myself and was holding him down while he was landing. Usually the windsurfers aren't in our area, but the windsurf area was really busy. The wind at the time was gusting to 30 mph.

I was shocked at the landing, but didn't say anything to the kiter. I thought about apologizing to the windsurfer, but didn't do that either.
Tim I'm with you in hoping that problems on the launch never lead to a kiter having his lines cut. I cannot see anything good coming from those actions because lets face if he was not willing to listen to some advice he is not going to let it end there. I think a better approach would be to call the local authorities and explain the situation and let them decide what to do.

I think Steve's post brings up an interesting question. What should a beginer do when a experienced kiter chooses to put them in danger by not using common sense? Will the experienced kiter listen or will he blow him off? I ask this question because It has happend to me on three seperate occasions this year.

Tim Blanchard
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the response as it brings up the other issue of experienced kiters becoming over confident in their ability and acting even worse than than a newbie. Let them know, if they give ya attitude let the other experienced kiters at the beach know what you have witnessed and they will put him in his place. We are pretty lucky that we dont have any "showboaters" in the local riding community like others have to contend with. Most local beachgoers here are not all that impressed by your 5ft jump with a grab. Get away from the swim and beach area and find a shallow spot well offshore to practice your new moves.

My spot to practice stuff at Mitchells Bay is either across the boat channel in the shallows where there is just marsh downwind of you (and no metal breakwalls) or downwind of the marsh islands at the mouth of the bay. At these spots and can get worked without the danger of boats, breakwalls, swimmers or getting in the way of other kiters and the water is waist to chest deep (beware of really shallow water or risk a broken ankle or worse).

There are many secret riding spots at Mitchells Bay. As you get further away from the launch the water actually gets nice and shallow again. Ask me where the good spots are and I will point you to them.

Tim Blanchard
Yes indeed it is sooo much safer to take the time to launch out in the water. I make this reccomendation to all kiters that will listen.

This is especially true at Harsens Island when the wind is not due SW. I have seen and heard about several close calls resulting in freaked out kiters and damaged equipment due to land launching on S, W, NW directions which are typically very gusty here.

If you have educated yourself via qualified instruction you need to be responsible for yourself and recognize the dangers of land launching in gusty onshore winds despite recomendations that is okay to do so or because other kiters are doing so.

It is also recomended that you get comfortable flying your kite unhooked so you can launch and land unhooked which is generally much safer. This requires a properly tuned kite, consult the shop where you purchased your kite if you're not sure about tuning.

Error on the side of caution. If you are'nt sure take your time and be conservative. Launch in the water.

Have Fun, Fly Safe!

With us heading into the fall wind months I think it is a good time to bump this thread back to the top. It probally would not be a bad idea to discuss other saftey issues.

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