Total Posts: 86

Joined 1969-12-31



Hey John,

There’s an interesting thread on kiteforum about self rescues (winding/not winding lines, deflating/not deflating, etc).  It seems everyone has their own technique, and it made me realize I have no solid idea what I would do.  What I learned years ago with my 4 line bronco probably doesn’t apply anymore…even if I could remember it!

Do you guys have an “OR approved” method for a deep water self rescue in say, off shore winds…using a bridled kite and 07 bar/lines?  (I guess what I’m really after is how to wind the lines.)



Total Posts: 511

Joined 2006-01-19



Offshore wind: Wind up a FRONT line to at least the ‘span’ of the kite ... Then wind up the other lines…Deflate the leading edge…Roll up the kite…Start swimming…The difference is you don’t want a ‘bridled’ kite hanging off a rear line as it may go into a ‘death spiral’... Off shore wind sucks !!!...On those ‘wild’ days consider attaching your ‘safety’ line to a front line rather than the line coming out of the cleat @ the chicken loop…When your done, your done…I hope this helps…Here is a link for those of you who think helmets are not cool:


Big Wave Dave your one stop weather site for S. Van. Island…


Total Posts: 467

Joined 2006-06-15



Ok I will try and explain the IKO method which all IKO schools should teach. The best bet would be to see your IKO instructors and get them to explain / demonstrate.

There is a difference between a 5 line kite and a 4 line C or SLE but the principle is the same, you first you need your leash in the right place:

5th Line Kites ? Leash off the 5th line
SLE Kites ? Leash off 1 front line
Traditional 4 Line C kites ? Leash off any single line, front or rear

The reason for this is on a 5th line kite you want the kite to lie on its back and the 4 line kites you want them to ?flag out? down wind. Also SLE kites tend to spin on a rear line leash system (just watch a Best kite) whereas 4 line C kites don?t.

In the old days there used to be stoppers on the leashed flying line. If you have a stopper on the leashed line in a 5th line set-up it should be at least a cord width of the biggest kite flown on that bar up the leashed line away from the bar. On a 4 line system the stopper should be at least a wingspan of the largest kite flown on the bar up the leashed line from the bar.

Right,  if anyone?s still reading?

When you get into the mucky stuff let the kite onto the leash (quick release) so the kite is only held by ONE line. The kite should now be on its back or flagged out on the water.

Work your way up the leash until you get to the bar making sure that if the kite does suddenly pull several of your digits don?t go with it. (it?s a real bugger to get blood stains off a kite!)

Once at the bar keep hold of the leash line and wrap it onto the bar making sure the kite is still on the water as described. Lock off the leash with a couple of hitches so the line can?t come off the bar.

Now, the fun part. Wind in the 4 or 5 lines at the same rate so the kite remains sitting on the water. Do not be tempted to tighten the loose lines! The only line with any pressure should be the leash line. Wind until you reach the kite then lock of the lines with some half hitches. You can then, on most kites, stuff the wound bar and line set under the canopy material of the kite where the main (center) strut meets the leading edge tube. In most kites there is a section where this material is not sewn to the strut and it works perfectly for holding your bar and line set.

You now have options:
1) Hold 1 wing tip and work your way to the other wing tip, bending the kite into a ?U? shape (you may need to release some air.) Holding both corners, use this sail to get home.
2) Lie on the up turned kite, over the centre strut, and paddle home.
3) Deflate the front tube only and role the kite into a raft, get on and paddle home.

Option 1 is the easiest if it will work. Only use option 3 if you know you will make it home. If in doubt, stay with 2 because it is a lot easier for rescue craft to see a bright kite than a black wetsuit!

As stated right at the start If you have not done a deep water pack down you really should take a lesson and get it done. It is a bitch of a job but could save your life.
At IKO schools this is taught before a water start as one of the basic skills!!

Total Posts: 84

Joined 2008-09-04



Thanks Sunrise!  You’re right, I should do it once in controlled conditions.  Sounds like some, uh, “fun”, on a no-wind day…

What do you do with your board during all of this?  Whatever floatation it provides would surely help, somehow.


Total Posts: 467

Joined 2006-06-15


[quote author=“Graham”]What do you do with your board during all of this?  Whatever floatation it provides would surely help, somehow.

Ah there’s the question!

Grip it between your legs is the reply, unless you carry a spare leash on your harness in which case use that.


Total Posts: 1248

Joined 2006-01-10



And this from Ross - Ocean Rodeo head designer, specifically with regards to SLE kites flying with our SLE Bar :

- Land (crash) your kite into the water.
- Grab your trim line ABOVE your bar and unhook completely (leash as well).
- Pull your trim line towards you, reach up and grab the front line leash attachment point just above the swivel. (Some people attach small loops of webbing or a grab handle to this attachment point for self rescues or landings).
- Pull in on that front line and wind only it around bar, do about 10-15 complete wraps of the front line on the bar to render the kite un-flyable.
- Gather up the other 3 lines and wrap the excess on the bar so that you can then begin to wrap all 4 lines onto the bar and work your way towards the kite.
- Once close to the kite wrap the lines around the center of the bar to keep the lines from unwinding.
-Once at the kite you have 2 choices:

1) If the conditions are light and you are close to shore you can leave the kite inflated:
a. Roll the kite over onto its back with the wingtips pointing up
b. wind the last bit of lines and bridles around the bar and then tuck the bar under the front of the center strut where it attaches to the leading edge tube. This will keep the lines on your bar and your bar on the kite.
c. Hold the kite at the center of the LE tube and enjoy your paddle in.

2) If the conditions are strong:
a. Make sure your struts are clamped off so they?ll hold air.
b. Deflate the LE tube and roll the kite up.
c. If possible, once the kite is rolled, put the plug back in the LE deflate valve to prevent water from getting inside the LE bladder.
d. Consider taking off your leash and tying it around the middle of the rolled kite to keep it from unrolling.
e. Hold kite near the LE tube end and paddle in.

If conditions are out of control, don?t risk your life by trying to save your kite. Let it go and save yourself.

Total Posts: 7

Joined 2007-04-13



I had some fun hour long swims last year to get back to shore

wind totally shut off-
with a 5th line C kite I disconnected the leader from the main line, tied it around my waist, tucked board and bar into the strut secured with harness, and then was free to do the front crawl with all limbs- this allowed better headway than paddling with a limb draggin the kite. I took breaks by sitting on the LE, whcih I didnt want to deflate.

2- wind died -crashed kite- board up wind-grabbed my board by totally disconnecting from the kite- swimming up wind retrieving board then sprinting back down to the kite- the wind was less than 2 knots, so this to me was the only option to get board. I wouldnt try it in wind ( and if there was 5 knots or so the Goe joe would sail it down) . I stuck the bar into teh helmet which helped it float. What enabled me to swim fast after getting the board was the bungee/beaner leash I had rigged and hanging off the back of my harness. tied it to the footstrap. worked well towing it behind

Another time I hog tied my self in my lines by swimming, and wrapping the slack lines around my legs. butterfly kicks were hard, and getting up the rocks fun. that sucked…- always secure your lines well!