The Blade. Open Cell Foil.
Launching and Landing 
on 2 lines & Self Rescue.
by Chris Calthrop


SELF RESCUE Technique:

Kite in water: Wind up your lines, stay with the board. Sit on it if possible. Keep the lines clear of your legs and arms etc: If a wave tries to pull your kite - LET IT ALL GO - and then swim to catch the bar again - holding on will tear the kite. It will not sink  - it is basically plastic. If a wave pushes it down it will come up again. 
With lines wound in wrap up the kite: Pick it up from the tip on the back edge and drain it as you wrap it up - bridle inside. Stuff it all up your rash vest (wear one outside your wetsuit if you go any distance off the beach often). If no rash vest, wind the lines around it once or twice - carefully - and put the kite on the board. For a very long paddle make sure it's in a tight ball. You can wrap the lines around the kite and board but it causes drag. Rash vests are best though as you can even stuff a whole 10.5 up your tummy and it floats you safely while warming your core. 
Now lie on the whole lot face down and paddle home with the current - not against. 
This technique works even with bindings - you stuff the bulge of the kite between the bindings and lie on the whole lot. Clip the bar over the nose of the board to hold it tight to you and have the nose of the board just out of the water. A floating bar is always a good thing.
If it's all tight you can hug the board in waves. Keep legs free of lines in case. Energy is saved by not dragging lines. Hydro Lines detangle quite easily so don't worry too much about tangles with hydro line. For a short swim (100yards) in onshore winds on an empty beach you can leave the bar and lines out, swim straight to the kite and drag it up the beach... LIFT by the BACK edge so water drains or you may rip the kite. You can then relaunch almost immediately after draining if its windy -  the kite will dry up there quicker. Wait until it's dry to save another possible collapse/ dipping..

Tips: During your paddle, think what you did wrong....  and store you kites dry.


SOLO LAUNCH

Launch the Blade on the edge of the wind like this:

With lines attached I unwind the lines a bit and put the bar in the direction of where I will stand on launch: across the wind. While holding the upwind tip to the ground I then unroll the kite on the beach downwind of me and let roll/ flatten off, pushed by the wind,  The kite is on it's back with the leading edge away from the lines and bar. (For example: If the bar is to my right the leading edge is too my left).




Now: Still pinning the  kite to the ground I weight the upwind tip down with sand quite heavily and also throw some sand further down the trailing edge. (Not into leading edge vents!) I then slide the kite a couple of degrees off angle away from the bar so that the wind naturally pins the kite down and holds it open perfectly flat. I then go and make sure the kite bridle is all ok and put a little more sand on the trailing edge making sure the kite is ready for a clean take off but leave the downwind tip sand free. (Tip: tug on the downwind bridle a bit to check all is ready for launch. This is the side of bridle you will be pulling on for launch.) 
Next: Making sure there are no tangles and that the kite is settled with all the vent clear and visible, I unwind my lines directly away from the kite - across the wind (NOT upwind). For example if you stand at the middle of the kite near the back edge and face the wind you then should turn your body 90 degrees away from the kite and walk in that direction as you unwind the lines. (Once unwound you can un-spin the lines at the bar by applying a bit of tension on the downwind line. Do not pull on the upwind line as you will mess your kite setup up. If you do mess up the kite WALK BACK and sort it out before launch or your launch may go wrong.

You should be standing with the lines fully un wound, a little tension in the downwind line, and the kite showing a little sign of life... lifting from the downwind tip and filling with air as you tighten the downwind line. Leave the upwind line totally slack until it's airborne. Don't be tempted to use your fingers on the line itself.

Launch: To pop the kite up take one step upwind and tension the downwind line more, the kite will start filling with air. If all looks good in one big motion pull hard on the downwind line and the kite will rise up and face into wind, the moment it gets airborne pull on both lines to pump the kite full of wind and keep the kite near the ground by pulling on the upwind (lower) line a bit. Now don't rush getting it above your head if it is windy. Move it slowly.  Take it easy... Once mastered you can do as I do; launch standing in my bindings in one foot of water. This makes getting on the water really quick and hassle free.
If it's really windy you can have a friend hold you from behind. 
Tip: If you never use the kite on handles you can remove the breaks from the trailing edge completely. Tangles become a thing of the past and flying is smoother, also tangles in the air are far less common and almost always recoverable. 
Remember to let the wind fill it as you pull the downwind line on launch. You cannot rush that, in high winds it will do it all on it's own so be ready..

SOLO LANDING

This is easy, your options are:

1: Lower the kite to the ground on one side and dump it upside down in front of an object and let the bar go or run forward to let the lines go slack. Objects: e.g: Groyne, Sea wall, Rock, low bush. If the kite rolls don't grab the bar or lines again but run for the kite. In light winds hold one line.

2: Lower the kite to the ground on one side and dump it upside down in a no wind zone, e.g behind a high groyne, sea wall etc and then let the lines go slack. If the kite rolls don't grab the bar again but run for the kite.

3: Put the kite in a puddle upside down, e.g on open beach. Run to kite.

4: Put the kite in the shore dump. Don't hold the bar if a wave takes your kite away from you as you will rip the kite. The load on the bridle is finely designed to be spread evenly when in flight. In the water one bridle line will be loaded and consequently damage can occur. I have never lost a blade in surf, they don't seem to want to sink that easily. Cape Verde in 16ft face surf was the closest but that was because the bar sunk and caught on the reef. (Use a floating bar on all kites).

Blade LEI comparisons...


Copyright © 2004, Chris Calthrop, Last Updated - 8/04/04
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