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I have some proposals to make. I ran this by on my Facebook page for a while and have incorporated comments from the view who saw it and responded. There is no kiteboarding organization at 3rd at present, so even if everyone liked these 'rules/guidelines' it would only be suggested behavior. These are site specific to the 3rd Avenue north launch and are really commonsense and kitetiquette concerns intended to improve safety and enjoyment for everyone using the site.
- Kiters should always set their kites up with the kite facing into the wind, bayward wrt the bar and lines, with lines running perpendicular to the wind. This has been our approach at 3rd for many years, but we even have instructors (Ovi's guys set up beach style) who run against the grain. If you just don't know a different way than 'beach style' please set up way in back so that no one inadvertantly sets up over your lines.
- Sand bags are for kites, not for bars. If you need a bag and someone has it on a bar, you can take it.
- When there is any chance of a southerly shift, put sand bags on the west side of the kite as sand bags placed anywhere else can be lifted off the kite by a southerly gust and then the kite has no mooring.
- It goes without saying that every kiter should have an approach to setting up their kite that is guaranteed to produce no tangled or switched lines. Every kiter should preflight their kite prior to initiating the launch sequence.
- We should have agreed-upon signals for when to rotate the kite into launch position, when to move the kite up/down wind, and when to release. The thumbs up doesn't work, because it is very difficult to see. Personally I raise one arm high into the air. I use a straight arm left or right to have the launcher move the kite. I use a 'hang loose' sign to rotate the kite into launch position. These are provided only as examples but the signals should be clear. If we have 'default' signals the kiter and launcher can still agree on others but at least we would have a baseline.
- Launching a kite is a responsibility and a skill. It should not be taken lightly by either the kiter or the launcher.
- Once the kiter signals they are ready to launch they should not move toward the launcher as the launcher cannot locate the best position for the kite until the kiter stops moving.
- The launcher should never let go of the kite when given the signal that the kiter is ready to launch. When the kiter is ready and signals the launcher, the launcher should then position the kite for the best launch, check the lines, look for traffic, and only then release the kite. What I tell everyone is to move the kite downwind until it is pushing back at you because then the kite will move forward in the window as it rises with driftback very unlikely. There is nothing anyone can do when the wind is changing direction faster than you can react, but you can at least use a technique that will reduce the possibility of a drift launch.
- The launcher should raise the kite off the ground prior to launch, because otherwise it might roll and the kiter cannot feel the load on the kite unless it is off the ground.
Launch/Landing Area Traffic Control
- Once the kite is in the air, it should be 'angled' toward launch, 10:00-11:00, not at 12:00. This will help it stay loaded in gusting conditions.
- Once the kite is in the air the kiter should move deliberately and as quickly as reasonable/possible toward launch. It is the kiter's responsibility to space themselves so that everyone else has a safety window of space. It is NEVER acceptable to define the safety window by how safe YOU feel (same on the water).
- There should be enough space between kiters entering the water that landing kiters have a chance to get in safely.
- Although kiters entering the water have right of way, and when there is traffic, they should position themselves to the south end of launch, with kites high but as low as possible, so that kiters exiting the water can come in.
- Kiters exiting the water should come in on the north side of launch with the kites as high as possible (when there are kiters entering the water).
- Everyone should be looking for kites coming in and help kiters land their kites.
- Landing a kite is a responsibility and a skill. It should never be taken lightly by either the kiter or the person doing the landing.
- The kiter should try to locate the landing site where s/he will have good, solid footing, where the kite will end up on dry land, and where the lines will not interfere with other kites/kiters (as nearly as possible).
- The kiter should bring the kite down as quickly as possible but should try to stop it before it gets to the person landing the kite. The kiter should never bring the kite down until the designated/agreed lander is in place upwind of the kite's leading edge.
- The person landing the kite must be in front of the kite LE and should grab it with both hands. I recommend one in front and one in back to maintain positive control.
- The person landing a kite should NEVER muscle it to the ground. Walk the kite toward the kiter to loosen the lines. Roll the kite so that tips are up and the kite is depowered. Then you can use the wind to roll the kite onto the ground with ease.
If everyone were to use a common set procedures we could greatly reduce problems and conflicts at the north end. This would also result in a more orderly and efficient launch and landing area, helping everyone have an enjoyable time.
too many chiefs in this tribe. its works well now. you assume all 3rd ave kiters are on this forum and will read any guidelines. heck i didn't even read them. Just apply common sense and courtesy.
Accidents will always happen. Will happen more with more people kiting just like people crash their cars all time all around you even though people spend a great deal of time actually studying laws and practicing daily. Anyone one of us can crack their skulls open and have cats eat out bones at any time anywhere in a accident. Back to common sense and courtesy.
any time i hit 3rd i end up landing and launching 5 kites before i even inflate mine.
agreed, not sure there will be much success on setting guidelines but as long as we're on the topic here's my rant on the OP rant: I don't love the launching part.
when you launch a kite you should stay in one place. don't move, don't adjust anything.
the kiter is the one assuming the risk, he should be the one deciding the angle of the kite and lines at launch, not the dude who can't feel the wind in his harness.
drives me crazy when launchers don't hold still. communication is bad enough with the distance and wind blowing. i don't need them trying to collaborate with me on the best angle of attack. just pick up the kite and wait for the kiter to line everything up how they like it, then let go on signal.
is it just me?
These are the two I'd most like to see put into place - when things get crowded, it seems to turn into every man for himself. Often it's easiest to just land in the cove to the north, and I see people launching that way too.
Hopefully this doesn't all become moot because the 3rd upper erodes away in two years.
Ok, this is contrary to everything I was taught about launching kites. I was told it is up to the kiter to move left or right to fill the kite out with wind NOT the launcher. The launcher is simply supposed to hold the kite in launch position. When the kiter, who is assuming the risk, gives a thumbs up, you let the kite go. Obviously if the kite is totally luffing or there is an obstruction the launcher can see and the kiter can't then the launcher can abort. I'm curious what school / instructor taught you the method you are recommending
Regarding landing, I was at 3rd on Wed. Kiter brought his Cabrinha down in 28-32 mph winds. The guy who was supposed to land it was half-assed about it, did not sell out to grab the leading edge, and let it drift. The kite rolled, snagging another guy and ripping across his arm. Luckily the lander punched out so the force was lessened. I've seen 3X the incidents this year as any other and seen some horrible stuff go down so I am a little jaded. IMO we've reached critical mass with all the people attempting the sport (and all the cheaper schools teaching group lessons, groupons, etc)...so I applaud the effort to standardize but I don't think we just adopt opinions on these things. Perhaps IKO has some launch site standards that can be referred to (and I am not plugging IKO, all things being equal I prefer anarchy myself, but clearly with this many people at the sites and nobody following any protocols some kind of standardization might help)
Simple thumbs up for launch, hand pat on the head for land....
Benicia Kite and Paddle Sports
4562 East 2nd Street, Unit J & K
Benicia, CA 94510
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