This article is part of a series of articles on techniques for launching a leading edge inflatable kiteboarding kite without the assistance of another person. There are numerous ways for a kiteboarder to successfully self, or solo, launch a kite, however in any self launch there is inherently more risk than in an assisted launch. Therefore the techniques described should be practiced and refined under the supervision of a professional kite instructor before being attempted.
Explained in this article is how to perform the most common and widely used self launch technique in kiteboarding, simply referred to as the standard self launch. The standard self launch technique works great in most conditions and with most kites, with the exception of some kites that need to be rolled onto their backs before being able to turn onto their sides and into relaunch position (C kites), which should not be attempted to launched in this way. Some dragging of the kite on the ground is likely to occur during the standard self launch, so this technique is also not recommended if the ground is rough or sharp, as the kite can be damaged.
The STANDARD SELF LAUNCH
1) Begin with the kite positioned leading edge down, facing directly into the wind (the normal position for securing an inflated kite on the beach). In high wind conditions or on slippery surfaces it is recommended to maintain weight on the leading edge of the kite to prevent it from sliding or flipping into the air before the launch is performed. It is best to position the weight on one side of the kite only, a few feet from the center of the leading edge and on the same side of the kite as the side of the wind the kite will be launching on. (If the kite is being launched towards the right side of the wind, the weight should be on the right side of the center of the kite, and vise versa)
2) Ensure all bridle and flying lines are behind the kite (on the downwind side of the kite), and not dropped under the leading edge or other wise in front or upwind of the kite.
3) Walk the control bar to the edge of the wind. Position yourself so that the flying lines leading across the wind to the kite are almost but not quite touching or in line with the wingtips of the kite. The best angle is when the flying lines pass about a foot behind the closest wingtip of the kite to you.
4) Walk straight back in the direction the lines are coming from the kite at, tensioning the lines. As you continue to walk back, the kite will be sliding on the ground and rotating to expose the canopy to the wind. As the kite turns and the canopy becomes exposed to the wind most modern kites will roll onto their windgtip and into launch position. If the kite does not roll completely onto its side, perform normal water relaunch techniques to launch the kite off the beach (tension an outside line to lift a wingtip and turn the kite into the air).
Tips for staying safe while performing a Standard Self Launch:
1) Ensure there is nothing on the ground that can snag or tangle the flying lines of the kite during the launch
2) Ensure the kiteleash is attached to a single line point on the control bar
3) It is recommended that this launch is performed with the control bar in the full depower position, and with the harness loop not attached to the harness. The control bar can simply be held by the harness loop during the beginning of the launch. After the kite has reached launch position problem free, and while it is still resting on the ground, is the best time to attach the harness loop to the harness. If performing this self launch with the harness loop attached, it is recommended that the rider is ready to quick release the harness loop in the event anything unexpected happens during the launch.