When/Where to learn Self Launching?

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When/Where to learn Self Launching?

Postby bobbyboom » Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:25 pm

I started Kiting this year and love it. Whenever there is wind I'm in the water. I've learned my "limits" and to respect the wind and water. I've had my fair share of "close calls" and feel a lot better having lived to know this important lesson.

With that being said, I want to become a more proficient kiteboarder and learn how to self launch (in case I need it). I've read it in the Mags and seen it in videos, but to play the safe game I wanted to hear how some of you did your first self launch and any tips and or advice on where/how to practice this?

If you ask "why" I want to learn this, it's simply becauase I want to learn to kite other places like Berkeley (eventually) and want to have these skills in case I ever need them. Thanks.

-Bobby
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Postby Bulldog » Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:46 pm

Self-launching is very place-specific. You need to learn it from someone who knows how to do it at the particular launch you are at. It depends on wind direction, surrounding obstacles, etc.

The biggest problem with self-launching, always, is triple-checking your lines and gear before pulling the trigger. Most, if not all, of the popular launch sites in the BA have little room for error and if you self-launch with your lines on wrong, you have only seconds to pull your QR before you are in deep doodoo.

Self-launching at Berkeley for a newbie sounds like an accident waiting to happen.
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Postby bobbyboom » Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:54 pm

Bulldog, I totally agree about self launching at Berkeley for a newbie being a "doodooo" waiting to happen. :)

That's why I'm asking around a bit before even thinking about it. I'm trying my best to be a responsible kiter. Also, I was wondering if people had practiced this in other places just for the sake of testing it safely.

For instance, on a lite wind day I practiced self rescue techniques just to make sure I can do it in the water sufficiently. I'm really just looking for the ideal situation to practice this safely.

Good tip to have someone help out. Thanks.

-Bobby
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Postby dewey » Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:30 am

Self launching beaches are done in front of boulders, and berry bushes. Is it against the rules to practice at Alameda?
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Postby panzerfaust » Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:39 am

Personally, I learned at Ocean Beach out of all places. Like Paul said, you really need to make sure that you check and quadruple check your lines because once you put tension on them you really don't have time to go back and redo. Another thing is to bring a shallow bag with you to the launch site (or use sand which I don't like because it makes my kite dirty :)). Big soft bags are a problem and I learned that the hard way because they can hang on your lines and then you are kinda screwed (I ened up walking with one line under the bag to move the bag). Also be aware of what's around you, what could snag your lines for example (I also learned that the hard, although not painful, way). Next, learn which direction to walk/run depending on what the kite is doing. One of the things that I see new people do is just stand there while launching (assisted launches), you should always be ready to move your body in either direction to adjust for wind shift, premature thumb up or launcher screw up.
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Postby Sander » Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:55 am

Try it with a spotter/instructor first, who will be able to corral the kite if the launch goes awry.
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Postby Don Bogardus » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:46 am

panzerfaust wrote: Next, learn which direction to walk/run depending on what the kite is doing. One of the things that I see new people do is just stand there while launching (assisted launches), you should always be ready to move your body in either direction to adjust for wind shift, premature thumb up or launcher screw up.


:) Brilliant observation!, will add this to my course content!
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Postby bobbyboom » Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:03 pm

This is great news! Thanks a ton. Also, I would like to know if it is "against the rules" to try this at Alameda... with someone to make sure I don't screw it up, of course. Thanks again.

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Postby jjm » Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:16 pm

At Alameda you'll have to deal with crowds (beach goers) as well as a crowded launch.

If by chance the beach is relatively empty, and there is enough space to setup for a self-launch, there won't be much if any room if something goes wrong.

You'll also likely be below the burm and not really seeing what is going on with the kite.

Be careful and check with some of the more experienced (and vocal!) guys to make sure it is cool, if they say it is, they'll likely be willing to walk you through it / spot you too.
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Postby Don Bogardus » Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:40 pm

Kite should be pointed at water, right at waters edge, (further down beach where it gets wide,
and there is NO BERM, is safest place, (providing you do not have other beach users down wind of you).
After you become proficient, then you can begin useing this method at the more difficult spots,
(when neccessary).
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