Kiteboarding Self Rescue

why rolling your kiteboarding bar this way can save your life


Self rescue is the most important skill as a kiteboarder

Kiteboarding has been the worlds fastest growing water sport in the past years. Eventually, during your kiteboarding journey you will encounter a “kite mare“, a situation that can go really wrong or just be something to consider in a few years next time you go kiting. It can be a line snapping due to not taking care of your equipment the proper way, your harness hook breaking from years of use and rust, or your kite ripping in the middle of the ocean leaving you stranded. All of these problems will lead you to complete a SELF-RESCUE PROCEDURE, this will allow you to get to your kite and use it as a flotation device, or, safely return to shore if the wind direction is right.



Let Go The Bar

This will depower the kite to its maximum (considering wind strength).


Activate Your Safety System

Activate your safety system (your kite has no power and is either on the N or U flagged position).


Lines Go Downwind

Make sure your kite lines are downwind of you and go with the current keeping your arms and legs in a controlled way, we don’t want to get tangled with the lines.


Over Hand Grip

Do an overhand grip keeping your palms facing down on your safety line and start moving towards your kite bar, remember never wrap your hands, fingers or legs on the line.


Half Hitch

Once you reach your bar keep the safety line under tension, the one your leash is attached to and do the MOST important step. Make 2 half hitches as shown on the how to button. This will ensure your kite is always flagged and remains this way, keeping you safe.


Breath & Stay Calm, You Got This

Grab all the remaining lines with an overhand grip and continue wrapping them in a figure 8 pattern.


Half Hitches Again

Once you have 3-5m from your lines to your kite bridals do 2 more half hitches around your lines and bar. This will keep your bar secure. Once you´'ve pulled on the line to reach the bridal, ensure one more time the total depower and flagged position of the kite by doing another half hitch knot. Remember this way the kite can’t drift away from you and reduces considerably the chance of the kite powering up again.


Let Go The Bar

Don’t disconnect your kite leash, you can let go the bar now.


Option A/B

You have 2 options, option A, if you are getting rescued by a boat do the following: if your kite is in the "N" position flip it over by going to the wingtip and sinking it under water, using your leg press down and fold it this will make leverage. The combination of water pressure and wind will flip the kite over for you.


"U" Position Rest

With your kite in the "U" position grab your bar and place it over your center strut. You can rest over your leading edge and wait for the boat to arrive. If you are getting rescued by a boat ONLY deflate your kite when you SEE the boat, otherwise use it as flotation. Once you are within reach of the boat proceed to step 12.


Option B

Option B do a self rescue. You will do a body drag back to shore holding the bridals instead of the bar. Grab one centerline bridal and give tension to the line, place your body over the leading edge, you will start to move back to shore. Make sure you grab the bridle with an overhand grip. When you are a few meters from the shorebreak start the packdown procedure as detailed in Step 12 . This is only viable on ONSHORE, SIDE ONSHORE & SIDESHORE wind conditions.


Pack Down

Packdown procedure, if you are getting close to a shore break or the rescue boat is close do the following: Close all your struts by clipping down the connection tubes, open up your deflate valve making sure your leading edge is facing up and out of the water. Simultaneously fold the kite from wingtip to wingtip, hold the 2 wingtips and start rolling the kite.


Continue The Pack Down

Roll the kite until you reach the center strut and squeeze any remaining air with your hands then close the deflate valve.


Harness Hug

Place your bar in the center of your kite and secure it by putting your harness around it.


Leading Edge Up

Start swimming, if you get to the boat, place your kite facing leading edge first into the boat, this will make water rinse off the kite easier and make it lighter to pickup.


First The Kite

If you are swimming into a shore break push your kite in front of you and keep swimming, the waves will push you and your gear back to shore safely.

Important: Remember, never enter a shore break with your kite fully inflated , always ensure your kite is packed down and in the "harness hug" as described in step 12-13.


To make the half hitch knot have your bar in between your legs to avoid it from getting sandy, follow steps 1-8.
When making the half hitch during a self rescue, avoid getting your hand inside the line , try to keep your hand as shown on step 4 and 5.


The most important step of the self rescue procedure is doing the half hitch around the bar  with your safety line, this will keep your kite in a flagged position and will ensure it stays this way  keeping you safe.


Every time you finish your kite sessions wrap your lines like usual .At the end of your pigtails finish them by doing the half hitch knot. This will keep a much tighter bar and will help muscle memory for when you kneed to use it. If you make a half hitch knot at each of the bar ends you will have a super secure bar.

Keep on kiting.

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