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Self landing downwind of sewer plant in Maui

Any tips for self landing a kite downwind of the sewer plant in Maui. The wind is onshore, and the beach is very narrow, before a fence and trees. Yesterday, I had to come in by myself in this area due to a lack of wind. I ended up dropping my kite in the water.

The advice I got was to maybe self land the kite in the water, then to wrap one outside line around the bar about 5 times to shorten that side, and then roll all the lines up on the bar in the water. And if landing on the beach, if there’s space, be ready to pull the chicken loop release in case something goes wrong.

I was used to the old kites where you just pull the outside line to turn the kite into the wind, but the new kites want to self launch!

Here’s a graphic of the situation of self landing a kite at the beach downwind of the sewer plant at kite beach in Maui.

@justin 's friend Vic Conti replied to this on a Facebook post with the following thoughts:

Vin Conti justin i feel very, very strongly about this. the best way to self-land a kite, and this takes practice, is to simply grab the center two lines while the kite is directly above your head, and start pulling them down as hard and fast as you can. all the way to the ground. Here is why; a kite CAN NOT power up under ANY circumstances unless at least one front line and at least one rear line are tensioned. It cannot power up in any way whatsoever if rear lines are slack. so if you self land with the kite near the ground, think of the angle that the bottom rear lines makes with the ground, it is a very low angle. That means that you don’t have much time pulling center lines until bottom rear line interacts with the ground, ie touches it. That is when the danger begins, it can get wrapped on something and tension up. However if you pull the kite straight down, you maximize the angle that the rear line takes with the ground, and minimize the danger. You will have already pulled like 15 feet of line before the rear lines get to the ground, and have that extra space as a safety buffer. Furthermore you won’t be subject to shifting wind direction, that won’t affect the kite’s angle to you the way is maximally does when the kite is low.

finally, as you are pulling, when the kite is ~8-12 feet above the ground and starts falling fast, give one last hard tug on only the center line opposite to the direction it is falling; ie if the kite fell to your right then pull only the left center line. This will spin the kite directly against the wind. and it will stay put no matter how strong the wind.

this is a move you should practice on an open beach first. it is absolutely crucial that once you start this, you finish it, or just be prepared to totally ditch the kite, let go and unhook before it powers. But in my years of landing it this way, including landing an 11 meter kite in 60 mph gusty, turbulent wind, i have never had to do it. Commit! and there is no way anything can go wrong, or at least you minimize the danger as opposed to any other method.

oh ps, with a little practice, i can pick a spot not much bigger than my kite that i want my kite to land in, and get it there 19 times out of 20

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I’ve seen the pros usually do it as Vin describes, with some variation of pulling quickly on one or both front lines with the right strength and timing to put it where they want. That’s probably the best way, once you’re good at it. I’ve also seen people walk along their front lines, maintaining steady tension, or flag out their kite and real it in. But all of these methods scare me because in turbulent air I don’t want slack lines, ever, because I have no control when things go wrong. So here’s how I do it:

This technique is accurate, and if it doesn’t work the first time, you can try again. It is a little harder on the kite to turn it into the ground, but we have soft sandy beaches here. It’s also good for putting your kite down in the water when you need to.

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First time ending up all the way down at crackhead beach, but it dropped off to virtually nothing and I was way outside so it was a feat just to keep the kite moving and airborne and get myself back to shore. Trick is to yank the upper of the two leading edge lines while the kite is moving downwards into the very edge of the window, with about 10 feet to spare from the ground. The windier it is the faster you need to be moving the kite to make it fall into the right position. Works most of the time but it may roll and want to relaunch, in which case you need to either be ready for a hot launch or ready to pull the release.

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I got this from Brett Lickle:

For now the best method for you is to do a self rescue 100 yards from the area you are going to land at give your self plenty of time to get to the kite farther from shore is better that way nothing can go wrong.

Better a wet kite than a kite in the trees or on the fence!

Hey Justin
Good topic, all too common a scenario. While being an expert self lander will keep your kite dry, it takes lots of practice in a safe spot before that confidence is there.

Brett’s advice is the safest. On the west side we often have to drop the kite in the water with no time to wind up lines before drifting past the crowded beach. Instead we drop the kite close to beach, walk up one front line fast, which depowers the kite 100%, grab the kite, and swim in. If you’re moving, the lines won’t sink.

Cabrinha has a good instructional video on self landing IDS kites that apply to all single line release systems. Just google it!

@sjs, is this the video you’re referring to:

Would this work good at Baldwin Beach, which is quite exposed?

Hey Justin
I was reffering to Phil Sobolevs older video, but that one is great! Shows how easy it is. Still practice is required as the kite can roll downwind, possibly close to trees.

@sjs, do you have a link to that video from Phil?

I usually do the “dive the kite to the beach on the edge of the wind window, yank top front line”, and it usually works. Not always though, so you want to have some room downwind. On a narrow beach, if it’s not super windy, I’ll sometimes self land the kite on the beach while I’m still out in the water, and then swim in, after deploying the safety.

You’ll want to practice somewhere with some space though; my girlfriend (now wife!) had her lines wrap around her bar while practicing this, and the kite started looping, dragging her across the sand. She released the bar, hit the chicken loop quick release, but the kite kept looping and dragging her, as the lines were still tangled around the bar, preventing the leash from flagging the kite. She was trying to release the leash QR too, but it had gotten hooked in her harness hook and wouldn’t release. I had to chase her down the beach and tackle her twice before I managed to unhook the leash from the harness hook and ditch the kite; the kite ripped her out from underneath me after I caught up to her the first time. The skid mark on the beach was over 60 m long; we were very lucky to be wearing full wetsuits and have as much space as we did. Not the sort of thing to try between the rock groins up at Naish beach.

If it’s too windy, or the beach is rocky, I’ve used the kite to drag or kite right up to shore, then dove the kite hard into the water offshore and released the kite to the leash, and then reeled it in to shore by hand. You end up with a wet kite, but at least you can grab the kite before it’s on the rocks.

The safest method by far though is to self rescue in the water before you get to shore. Or have a friend catch your kite for you.