Shitty launch in light wind

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This forum is for new kiters/beginners to share info and experiences and to get answers to kiting questions. All questions are valid. Please provide proper answers (no sarcasm/joke replies, etc.) as we'd like to avoid any confusion or misinformation.

Shitty launch in light wind

Postby Roosterfish » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:21 pm

Hey all,

I went out at Alameda today. I'm not sure what the wind speed was, but thinking probably around 10 knots. My 12m Naish Park was feeling pretty underpowered out there, turning real slow and hard to get up on plane.

I thought of a couple questions I'm hoping some of the more experienced riders out there have some insight into. This is only my third time out, I've taken lessons and still practice with the trainer kite religiously.

So, the launch didn't go great, not horrible either, but I consider myself lucky that it was light wind and I was able to recover. In hindsight, might have been a better idea to just punch out. Had an experienced kiter helping me launch, got in the correct position, tension on the back lines, no luffing in the canopy.

Post "thumbs up" kite made it about 30 feet into the air before stalling and floating back into the window. I heard someone yell "sheet out", so I did, but at that point the kite was getting ready to power up. Luckily the ground was clear in front of me and I was able to run forward while sheeting out to absorb the power-up and stabilize the kite. I've read about things going very bad in similar situations, so it freaked me out a little.

Any advice on how to prevent this type of thing from happening? What is going on when the kite stalls like that? Should I step backwards, sheet out sooner, turn the kite more skyward? I feel pretty lucky that nothing bad happened and I'm not keen on having it happen again, especially not when it's really blowing. Of course, punch out is your safety net, but what do you do to keep from getting there in the first place?

So far that has been my only bad launch experience, but it is pretty F-in scary nonetheless.

Second, is it just because I'm a beginner, or is it really hard to steer a big kite in light wind? I feel like the kite is super slow and unresponsive. Sheeting helps some. Maybe I just need to be patient and get better kite control?

Other than that, really enjoying the sport, and super stoked to keep improving. I'm riding on both tacks and getting on plane pretty consistently. No hard wipeouts today! LOL Still haven't figured out how to transition though. Oh well, another day!

Any thoughts you guys have will be a big help!

Thanks,

Charlie
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Re: Shitty launch in light wind

Postby schwede » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:54 am

Charlie - my advice to prevent that from happening is not to fly the kite in 10 knot wind. That is on the very low end of the kites wind range. While Alameda is the best learning beach this time of year can be frustrating for beginners. The winds have for the most part died out for the season and our holier than the pope. So the combination of light wind,holes and it was probably on shore is what probably caused this to happen If you notice the people that are still kiting there are either really good at riding light wind or have big kites and big boards. Sounds like you are riding upwind so you should hit 3rd, that's what I do.
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Re: Shitty launch in light wind

Postby jwest21 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:42 am

These sort of things do happen, especially on a light-wind day. Looks like pretty much all day had lulls well below 10 knots so that is likely what you experienced. Having your self-rescue down is critical before moving to the consistent winds of 3rd Ave but you may not find many opportunities to fly a 12m kite either. As for saving your falling kite, there are a few things that can be done.

In lighter winds, keep the kite moving to generate apparent wind and keep the kite in the air. You can safely bring the kite up from launch faster in light winds and move it back and forth between 11 and 1 or 12 and 2.

If sheeting all the way out still doesn't prevent the kite falling backwards (back stalling) you may need to take a few quick steps upwind. This is one reason it's important to not only have a clear path downwind of you, but also a little bit upwind. At 3rd Ave, there are kites everywhere and you'll become public enemy #1 stepping on someone's canopy trying to save a launch.

Last option for saving the kite and may be needed in conjunction with stepping upwind is reaching up and grabbing your front lines and tug them hard. This has the effect of sheeting even further out than your bar allows and has saved me many times.
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Re: Shitty launch in light wind

Postby Bulldog » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:31 pm

Kiting in light wind takes lots of skill, and it's not much fun because you have move your kite around a lot to generate power. But if the wind drops below a certain speed (around 10 mph) your kite is just going to fall out of the sky. If this happens just once, briefly, you can keep it in the air by doing the things mentioned above. If continues to happen, there's really no reason to keep trying to kite. Even if you can keep the kite from falling out of the sky, you won't be able to go or stay upwind.

Ikitesurf is selling a $29 wind meter that plugs into your phone. Buy one and if the lulls are below 10 mph, sit it out or wait for more wind. Once you've been kiting for a while, you will eventually be able to tell the difference between "light wind" and "not enough wind".

As for turning speed, there are few kites (none?) that turn fast in light wind although some turn faster than others. Bigger kites turn slower, and you need a big kite to kite light wind. But the less windy it is, the slower the kite will turn.
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Re: Shitty launch in light wind

Postby Thor29 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:11 pm

Do you have line extensions on your Park? The reason I ask is that I just removed them from my 12m Park and it actually improved low wind speed handling. Supposedly the line extensions help with low end but I found that at low wind speeds the kite would not respond fast enough when sining the kite. Without the extensions I can whip it back and forth much quicker and generate more apparent power.

I agree with the other guys. I spent my whole first season at Alameda and learned almost nothing because the wind was way too light. 3rd Ave is tricky if you can't go upwind, but it can be done if you are careful. Basically, you would launch at the upper launch, body drag out a bit, then do your thing until you are downwind of the golf course and then try to body drag to the lower launch. You probably won't make it all the way in so be prepared to pull the quick release. Then go back to the upper launch and do it again. But don't do any of that without first talking to the locals. They are a friendly bunch and will help you get it right.
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Re: Shitty launch in light wind

Postby super_monkey » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:22 pm

Everybody said it already but I'll repeat, don't even go to Alameda unless the meter reads 18mph.
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Re: Shitty launch in light wind

Postby Roosterfish » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:52 pm

Hey guys, thanks for the helpful tips! Yeah, it is a tough time to be learning the sport. I'm jonesing to get on the water, but seems like the wind is already going bye-bye for the season.

I appreciate all of your advice. Hopefully there will be at least a couple more opportunities to get out before things shut down completely.

Charlie
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Re: Shitty launch in light wind

Postby tomerp » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:26 pm

Roosterfish wrote:Hey guys, thanks for the helpful tips! Yeah, it is a tough time to be learning the sport. I'm jonesing to get on the water, but seems like the wind is already going bye-bye for the season.

I appreciate all of your advice. Hopefully there will be at least a couple more opportunities to get out before things shut down completely.

Charlie


Do a few assisted downwinders in sherman island.
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Re: Shitty launch in light wind

Postby jwest21 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:09 pm

Downwinder for sure! You'll get tons of experience at a fraction of the cost of lessons. Have faith, I'm confident we'll have some more windy days before the season closes. You might want to check out toll plaza on days when Berkeley is blowing well. Usually works better when the direction is more west than south and lower tides are better for walking out away from the beach as well as actually having beach available to set up.
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