HIGH WIND KITING
Its blowing a gale (literally ) outside and everyone is going kiting . You haven't experienced conditions like this yet so what steps can you take to ensure you and everyone around you is safe ?
Approach new conditions and locations as you would any new skill or trick . Assess, understand and practice. Strong winds can deliver some awesome sessions so don’t be put off, just be knowledgeable and prepared
BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS
This is basic stuff really but we all know how we can lose our head when we are excited to get out! In strong winds though if something is gonna go wrong, its gonna go really, really wrong. Double and , triple check your lines are set up ok , pre flight check from the bar end is also essential (although you should do this instinctively anyway ) , find someone to launch your kite who is used to high wind conditions , never self-launch and don’t hang around on the beach with a kite in the air .
Lots of sand on your board to weight the kite down and always stay with, and hold down any kites you have landed until the person flying it arrives to secure their kite.
Reduce steering speed , use smaller gentler movements , move your hands towards the centre of the bar . Consider shorter lines if its an option on your bar and lines
Sometimes you can feel overpowered on the beach but will fine on the water so get out as soon (but as safely) as you can.
(Courtesy of #nologophoto)
KEEP THE KITE LOW
You want to be in control and in kitesurfing, control is all about your edge. It might feel natural to keep your kite high and out of the power zone when its super windy, but this will pull you up and off your edge making it hard to resist gusts. Keep your kite low at 45 degrees or lower !, that way you’ll be flying the kite and not the other way round.
If youre riding along with the bar already pushed fully away then trim the kite (pull the depower strap ) to move the bar closer to you . If the kite is fully depowered and the bar is still nearing the end of the depower then its time to change down or size or land and wait for wind speeds to reduce a bit
Pushing hard with your back leg, push your board edge deep in the water. Not only is edging about staying in control but it’s about keeping your speed low. By edging hard you also drive your kite to the edge of the window which again, will allow you to reduce power and stay in control.
When a gust hits push the bar away , keep the kite low and edge hard , pushing with your back leg . This combination pushes the kite forward to the edge of the window where it dumps some power . Not lifting the kite higher prevents it from lifting you off the water and off your edge . This allows you to keep your weight really low and drive effectively with your back leg
Sit back down in your harness so your hips aren’t so forward as normal but still keep your shoulders back and arms slightly bent.
(Courtesy of #nologophoto)
ASSESS THE RISK FACTOR
In new places you should do this all the time but you need to do this at your local spot if the winds are strong. Hopefully others will be out or rigging up so first up see what sizes they are on, but importantly also consider their size, weight and ability in comparison to you.
If you only have one size of kite and it’s not right then don’t just risk it – you wouldn’t drive a car in a town centre if it can only do 60mph!
Don’t Google the kites specifications and wind range and assume you will be fine - These are a guideline only don't rely on them !