Kite Setup Print

Kite Setup

There are many ways to set up a bar, lines, and a kite.  For the most part, you can do things in nearly any order or way, as long as the final result is that you have connected the proper parts of the bar and lines, to the proper parts of your particular kite.  We will go over several different methods and several different kite types.  All methods will work for each type of kite.

Methods

1. Lay kite out, inflate kite and put in holding position, walk lines upwind, straighten and attach lines

2. Lay kite out, inflate kite and put in holding position, walk lines downwind, straighten and attach lines

3. Lay kite out, walk lines perpendicular to the wind, straighten and attach lines, inflate kite


Lay Kite Out

Find out which side your strut valves open too.  If your strut valves open to the left side of kite, then grab the right wingtip.  If your valves open to the right side of the kite, then grab the left wingtip.  The reason for making this distinction is to prevent sand from blowing into your strut valves and into you strut bladders.
Grab one of the wingtips and lay the kite out "downwind" of you, parallel to the wind.  Put sand on the "upwind" wingtip.  


Inflate Kite

 

Normal Multi-Valve

Start at one end of the kite and pump up the smallest strut.  Before you put the pump nozzle in to the valve, make sure there isn't any sand or water on the nozzle or inside the pump.  Give the pump a couple of pumps to clear out any debris that is on the inside, or on the intake of the pump.  When you put the pump nozzle into a kite valve, don't jam the nozzle in hard, this will stretch you valve openings over time, which will cause your valve plugs to pop out during kite crashes, resulting in the deflation of your kite.  Jamming the nozzle in too tightly will also interfere with your valves auto-sealing system.  Put the nozzle in lightly.  If it pops out while you are pumping, put it in a little harder every time it pops out, until you have an idea of how hard you need to put it in to keep in place.
Depending on the brand, model, and age you may have different types of auto sealing valves, or none at all.  One thing that all auto-sealing valves have in common is that if you squeeze them, the air will come out.  So, if you have auto-sealing valves, don't squeeze the valve when you pull the pump nozzle out. If you don't have auto sealing valves, when you pull the pump nozzle out of the valve, quickly seal off the valve with your thumb, then when you are ready, quickly remove your thumb and quickly seal off the valve with the valve plug.  Another method of sealing of the valve, if you don't have auto-sealing valves, is squeezing the base of the valve.  While squeezing the base of the valve, you should be able to insert the valve plug.  This method is quite difficult when snow kiting in low temperatures because the valve becomes very hard and is unlikely to react to squeezing.

When you have inflated the strut to between 5-10 psi, the strut will feel stiff and won't bend easily.  PSI pressure can be quite an inaccurate way to measure to the proper pressure in you kite.  It's better to go by feel and/or experience.  The strut should feel as tight as a foil balloon.  Tight to the touch, but not so tight that it looks like the stitches are pulling out.  You can also feel the pressure when you are pumping.  As soon as the pump becomes very difficult to pump, when you are pumping quickly, it's probably at a good pressure.
Continue pumping up the rest of the struts in the same manner.
When you get to the leading edge, you want to make sure that your deflation valve is closed tightly, before trying to pump up the leading edge.  Attach your "pump leash", insert the pump nozzle into the inflation valve and start pumping with both hands and both feet on the pump.  Once the kite starts to take shape, remove the sand or object off of the upwind wingtip, by leaving the pump the where it is, walking your hands to that end of the kite, removing the sand or object, then walking you hands back to the center of the kite.  As you do this, the wind will try to force the kite to rotate so that the center strut is parallel to the wind direction; allow this to happen and facilitate if necessary.  Continue to pump the kite up to full pressure.  The kite should now be in a U shape, downwind of you.  Disconnect the "pump leash."

One or Two Pump Designs

One or two pump designs have an air delivery system that connects all the struts together, connects the leading edge to the struts, or both.  If you have one of these systems, you won't have to inflate the struts individually.  On a one pump design, you can inflate the whole kite from just one valve on the leading edge.  For two pump designs, you can inflate all the struts from one valve, and then the leading edge separately.  You will have to identify your particular kite's system and adjust your actions accordingly.

Holding Position

Once you've inflated the kite, it's time to lay it in the "holding position" so your the kite won't blow away while we set up our lines.
From the "U shape position" or "smily face position," hold the kite near the center strut with one hand on top of the leading edge and one hand under the leading edge.  Identify where you would like to put the kite down. Roll the kite to the side of your body that has your hand of top of the leading edge, pivoting the kite on that wingtip, and continuing to roll the kite all the way over, until only the leading edge of the kite is touching the ground and the center strut is still parallel to the wind.


Walk Lines Downwind 

Once your kite is in the holding position, start by standing downwind of the kite.  Unwind the lines from the bar and drop the ends of the lines near the kite.  Continue to unwind the lines from the bar, and as you do so, walk downwind.  Make sure you unwind at the same rate, or faster than you are walking, so as not to pull the ends of the lines away from the kite.  Once the bar is fully unwound, place the bar down in the sand with the red side of the bar oriented with the left side of the kite.  Remember that a kite has a right side and a left side, no matter what your orientation is to the kite.  If you are looking at the kite from the downwind position, the left side of the kite will be on your right.  Once again, if you are looking at the kite from a downwind position, the red side of the bar should be placed on your right.

Walk Lines Upwind 

This is probably the most common way to lay your lines out.  Once your kite is in the holding position, start by standing upwind of the kite.  Unwind the lines from the bar and drop the ends of the lines near the kite.  Continue to unwind the lines from the bar and as you do so, walk upwind.  Make sure you unwind at the same rate or faster than you are walking, so as not to pull the ends of the lines away from the kite.  Once you have the bar fully unwound, place the bar down in the sand with the red side of the bar oriented with the left side of the kite.  If you are looking at the kite, red should be on the left.

Walk Lines Perpendicular to the Wind

For this setup, you will want to know ahead of time on which side of the "wind window" you will be launching your kite.  To start with, you want to make sure your kite is laid out in the orientation you will launch it in.  If you are launching the kite in the 3 o'clock position, then you will want to put the bar at the 9 o'clock position, so that if you are standing at the bar and looking downwind, the kite will be on your right side, the trailing edge of the kite will be nearest to you, and the kite will have some sort of weight on it's right "wingtip."  If you are launching at the 9 o'clock position, then you will want to place the bar at the 3 o'clock position, so that if you are standing at the bar and looking downwind, the kite will be on your left side, the trailing edge of the kite will be nearest to you, and the kite will have some sort of weight on it's left "wingtip."
Once you have your kite laid out, unwind the lines from the bar and drop the ends of the lines near the kite.  Start to unwind the lines and walk away from the kite in a perpendicular direction to the wind.  Make sure to unwind the lines at the same rate or faster than you are walking, so as not to pull the ends of the lines away from the kite.

Straightening Walking the Lines

For any type of kite, you must straighten the lines before attaching the lines to the kite.  One you have your bar laid out correctly, you may straighten the lines any way you would want, however, we will make a recommendation.
Start at the bar by pushing it in to the sand so the bar stays in place.  Put the both center lines in between your legs and each of the outer lines on the outside of each leg, respectfully.  Grab all the lines in the palm of one of you hands and start walking toward the kite with that arm outstretched.  The key to this technique is to squeeze with you palm all the line with just enough tension out in front of you to have the lines come untangled as you walk.  If you squeeze to hard, then you will start dragging the bar.  If you don't squeeze hard enough, then the tangles won't come undone easily.  If the lines tangles aren't coming undone, use your freehand to pull one of the outer lines behind you  as it passes your body.  Then switch hands, creating tension with the other hand and pulling the other outer line behind you.
If the lines are particular tangled, then you will have to work on the lines on an individual basis.  If this is the case, start at the bar and pull one line out of all the other lines until you have that line isolated.  Continue to isolate individual lines until they are all separated and not touching each other.

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Attaching Lines

Once your kite is inflated and the lines are laid out, it's time attach the lines to the kite.  This will change slightly depending on what kind of kite it is and how many lines it has.  You must be first familiar with you kite and have read the manual to understand these explainations.

 

4 Line SLE Kite (Supported Leading Edge) - Very Common

On this type of kite you will have four connection points, for four lines.  These connection points will be on the "bridle lines."  First make sure you SLE bridles aren't tangled or have any twists in them. You will have two outer connection points and two inner connection points.  The outer lines on the bar, will connect to the two outer connection points on the kite bridles, using “larks head” knots.  The two inner connection points on the bar, will connect to the inner connection points on the kite using “lark’s head” knots.

5 Line SLE Kite (Supported Leading Edge) - Rare

On this type of kite you will have five connection points, for five lines.  Four of these connection points will be on the "bridle lines" and one of these line, “The Fifth Line” will be connected to an extension line coming from the center of the leading edge.  First, make sure the SLE bridles aren't tangled or have any twists in them. There are two outer connection points and two inner connection points.  The outer lines on the bar, will connect to the two outer connection points on the kite using “lark’s head” knots.  The two inner connection points on the bar, will connect to the inner connection points on the kite using “lark’s head knots.”  Last, “The fifth line” will be connected to the line coming from the center of the leading edge, using a “lark’s head” knot.

5 Line C Kite - Somewhat Common

On this type of kite you will have five connection points, for five lines.  Four of these connection points will be connected directly to the wingtips of the kite, “the fifth line” connects to an extension line coming from the center of the leading edge.  You will have two outer-back connection points and two inner-front connection points.  The outer lines on the bar, will connect to the two connection points on the trailing edge portion of the wingtips, using “lark’s head” knots.  The two inner connection points on the bar, will connect leading edge portion of the wingtips, using “lark’s head” knots.

4 Line C Kite - Less Common

On this type of kite you will have four connection points, for four lines.  These connection points will be connected directly to the “wingtips” of the kite.  You will have two outer-back connection points and two inner-front connection points.  The outer lines on the bar, will connect to the two connection points on the trailing edge portion of the wingtips, using “lark’s head” knots.  The two inner connection points on the bar, will connect leading edge portion of the wingtips, using “lark’s head” knots.

 

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