If you want to be autonomous and practice kitesurfing, knowing how to properly set up the equipment is not a step to be underestimated.
I often get people in my school who sail and don’t know how to tie a knot to connect the lines to the kite, or have never checked the safety, or don’t know how to inflate the kite or how to move it on the beach, etc…
Unfortunately, this is unacceptable for a person who wants to consider himself autonomous, especially if he knows how to ride upwind.
Preparing your own gear requires method and attention. The objective is to acquire gestures that, if repeated, will become habitual and will take only a few minutes.
When preparing your equipment, you should always start with a more general analysis.
Observe the spot and the take-off area, to determine the best place to inflate your kite and roll your lines.
There is no hard and fast rule that says which action takes precedence over the other. The only thing to keep in mind is that an inflated kite moves easily, an unrolled bar does not (otherwise you risk many knots).
Once you have located the right area, free of obstacles and possibly away from other kites, you must start preparing the equipment.
To inflate a kite, you need a pump. If you don’t have it with you ( you forgot it in the car or you share it with someone), wait with the kite folded to reduce the surface exposed to the wind and the risk of it escaping from your hands and causing damage (to you or to those around you).
Once you have the pump, attach the pump leash to the kite. The leash will allow you to have both hands free to inflate properly (it helps not hurt your back too).
Check the inflation system, which may differ from one brand to another (it is always best to check in advance to make sure you have the right adapter).
Inflate the kite and make sure that the bridles do not get tangled at the ends (ears) of the kite. If necessary, unroll both sides by hand.
Inflate the kite correctly, following the brand’s instructions. With experience, you will easily recognize when the pressure is correct. Under no circumstances should a kite bend easily, otherwise it may become distorted in flight. If this happens, the handling of the kite will suffer because it will not fly properly. The damage caused can be significant (e.g. if you loop the kite and it deforms, the fall is almost certain and will not be pleasant).
Once you have finished inflating your kite, you must turn it over (do not leave it with the bottom surface up), put it with the nose (central strut) towards the wind and, in case of strong wind, place a ballast (sand or other non-cutting element) on each side of the central strut.
Check that the bridles have no knots.
Let the tips (4 or 5 lines) near the kite and unroll the bar.
For safety reasons, it is advisable to unroll the bar downwind, or across the wind, but not upwind.
This guarantees you greater safety on two points:
- it is easier to check that the lines are not tangled;
- when you take off, the wing will not be under any tension and you will be able to position yourself correctly without any risk (for you and your assistant).
Once the lines are unrolled, in order to untangle the knots you should always start at the bar and walk towards the kite (not the other way around).
Check the endings and connect the corresponding colors. If you are using the same brand of bar as your kite, this is obvious, if it is a universal bar, or a different brand, check the colors in advance to avoid problems, or unpleasant surprises. If in doubt, ask.
The technique I recommend for untangling knots is to use your legs to separate the front lines from the back lines, and to use one hand to pull the cables taut and the other to separate the front lines. If the bar lines are too tangled, the front lines can be done afterwards, or even with the kite in the air (if you have a recent bar with a proper mechanism).
Connect the lines to your kite, making sure that they are well separated.
Check that the knots are properly tied and tight.
Have you lent your board to someone, ridden with booties or made any other modifications to your board?
For all these reasons or others, never forget to adjust the pads before you launch your kite.
Even if you have good control of your kite, it is easier to adjust the pads if you don’t have to manage your kite.
How to adjust them is a different issue, as it depends on the level, the rider’s preferences and the chosen discipline.
In general, if you are a beginner or if you train on the board off, it is preferable to have the straps a little more open to facilitate the putting on and taking off of the board and/or not to risk distortions. If, on the other hand, you’re freestyling and need an aggressive pop, it’s better to have them tighter.
The choice is yours.
The important thing is to think about it before you take off.
The important thing is to think about it before you launch.
Once everything has been checked, you will be ready to launch.
Remember that most accidents happen at this point, and often because of gross errors in preparation.
A “double check” is always a good idea, especially at the beginning. As you get used to it, everything will become natural and you won’t have to ask yourself any questions.
If you think there are details to add, don’t hesitate to share your practice in the comments, it will certainly help the community.
Get ready and ride.
THANKS FOR READING