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Preflight checklist

Kiteboarding preflight checklist

Check the launch site and make sure there are no obstacles in the way. At least 200 feet or 60 meters of free space is needed (you may need a lot more if you have to regain control of your kite).

   2. Ask around and see what kite size the other kiteboarders are using (simple but efficient technique to use if you are a beginner and cannot properly asses the wind speed). Find out what they have to say about that day’s meteorological conditions. Only after you have gathered all the necessary information can you accurately pick a kite size to use.


   3. Inspect your kite: look for tears and leaky bladders. If you spot any damage to your kite, have it mended right away. Do not go out on the open water with faulty or damaged equipment.

   4. Inspect the rest of your kiteboarding gear: harness, control bar, lines, webbing, pigtails, bridles, the chicken loop and leaders. Look for signs of wear and tear, abrasion, and knots. If the line sheathing shows any breaks, replace them. As a rule of thumb you should replace the pigtails about twice per year (about every six months, but no sooner than that). Inspect and test your quick release. Wear a safety leash.

   5. Check and make sure your flying lines are equal (this is because they will stretch unevenly in time). Replace your flight lines if they have knots in them that you cannot untie (a knot can weaken your lines by more than 50%).

   6. Ideally you should not perform a self launch, especially if the wind speed is rather high. If you must do it, make sure your kite is properly anchored with a substantial quantity of sand and is draped downwind (this will prevent the kite from launching prematurely). Make sure you have gone through all the preflight preparations. Rig your kite for solo launch at the last minute and once having done so do not hesitate to launch.

   7. Walk down your lines and examine them carefully. Pick your bar up and carefully look down the lines for twists and tangles that could cause the kite to become dangerously uncontrollable. You should also shake your bar to make sure the center lines are connected to the leading edge. Do all this just before launching the kite.