Pinch of Salt™ Print

Steering the Kite with One Hand

**Pinch of Salt™

The idea behind "pinch of salt" is to allow the pilot of the kite to steer the kite one handed, and to get pressure off the lower most line when launching, parking or relaunching the kite.  The name comes from the manor in which the pilot steers the kite, the method is simple yet quite effective.  By only grabbing the upper most line it is possible to fly the kite on one side of the wind window.  Below we take a look at four instances that lend themselves to this steering technique.  But first lets look at what not to do.

 

What Not to Do 

Pulling to hard on the top line will cause the kite to loop through the power zone.  Even though the kite is depowered it can still generate power and potentially throw you down wind.  Just a little bit of tension on the upper line is all you need or want.

Remember this is a ONE HANDED steering technique.  Avoid holding the bar in with the second hand.  This tensions the lower line and powers the kite up. 

 

Initial Kite Launch

Launching the kite for the first time each session is one of the most dangerous times.  If something goes wrong any instructor will tell you to pull your safety release on you chicken loop.  The reality is that often times when something goes wrong it is all over before one has a chance to reach for, find, and engage this safety.  Things simply happen too fast.  By learning to launch your kite one handed using this technique one can greatly increase the safety of the launching process.  Firstly since the bar is all the way out, the kite is fully depowered.  Everyone should know by know that pulling the bar in, generally speaking, powers it up.  Secondly, by launching one handed the pilot can have his second hand on the safety release ready to pull it if something does go wrong.  This greatly deduces the reaction time as we don't have to reach for nor find the release.... we are already holding on to it, get it?

After doing a final check that the lines are hooked up correctly, and then finding the correct launch angle.  The idea is to grab the upper most line with the corresponding hand, and grab the chicken loop release with the other hand.  Pull the upper line until there is about the same amount of tension as the two front, or center, lines.  When you are ready signal thumbs up for the launch and focus on the center strut trying to keep it nearly parallel with the horizon, or horizontal.  This is especially useful in light and variable winds as in the case of light winds the available power is limited and bringing the kite up wards the weight of the kite is moving against gravity.  So the more slowly you bring the kite up the less the kite is working against gravity.  In the case of variable winds if one were bringing the kite up swiftly and a lull or hole in the wind comes the kite will stall and fall back wards.  Whereas if the kite is being brought up slowly and a lull comes the kite starts to slowly drift or flutter back down tweeds the water.  Even if it goes all the way to the water it will still be in a "C" position, or up on a wingtip and ready to relaunch once the wind comes back.

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Water Relaunch

The new SLE kites are a huge step forward for ease of learning this new sport.  And greatly reduce the amount one gets thrown around by the kite during the learning process.  For all the pluses the new kites offer they also present some new challenges.  One which stands out involves relaunching the kite off the water from the edge of the window.  Stalling is the problem and it is especially a problem in moderate to light, and variable winds.  Bringing the kite off the water too fast often causes the kite to stall and this is usually worse if there is tension in the lower most line.  By using the pinch of salt technique and bringing the kite off the water VERY slow you will find this to be much less of a problem.   

Getting to the Water with Your Board, and Back Again

When moving from the launch area in to the water with the kiteboard you will need to carry the board with one hand.  Leaving only one hand to steer the kite.  Thats OK since we have a technique to steer one handed.  As with anytime you are flying a kite, focus on the kite.  Sure we always see people flying the kite and not looking at it or paying the slightest bit of attention to it.  Remember they have most likely flown kites for thousands of hours and you have not.  Focus, focus, FOCUS! 

Getting out of the water after a session you can use the same technique. 

 

Walk of Shame 

This is the same idea as above yet unfortunately you are coming in down wind of the launch.  If it is safe , and you choose to walk back upwind with your kite in the air.  Try ;inch of salt to park the kite leaving an extra hand to carry the kiteboard.  

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