LIFTED BY THE KITE INVOLUNTARILY
One of the most dangerous situations that may occur in kitesurfing is the possibility that the kite would lift you up suddenly and, as consequence of it, once you are up in the air, you won’t be able do anything about it to avoid the situation
Lifted by your kite
Who, on a day of strong wind, has not feared that such thing could happen?
A lofting is a very dangerous situation, generally caused by a sudden powerful wind gust which can cause the kite to lift you up vertically and most probably deriving into serious consequences
Lofting – an ugly kitesurfing situation
Most likely, this may occur when the kite is on the zenith, that is, at 12pm.
The reasons why loftings can occur are:
1 … A sudden wind gust in which the difference of intensity with which the wind what was blowing can be very large.
2 … You are using a kite that is too large for the given wind conditions.
3 … Some specific storm clouds, or other thermal turbulences caused by warm air updrafts.
4 … When a strong gust of wind meets a vertical wall behind us which may lead to a sudden updraft
If that is the case, it’s when the wind meets a vertical object, which forces it to rises upwards, creating an updraft which most probably will provoque and be the cause of a lofting.
This is why, therefore, it’s advisable not to stay close to walls of buildings or cliffs when we have our kite up on the air.
5 … Another reason of liftings may be some turbulence which may sometimes occur when strong wind upwind of where we might be kitesurfing, drops completely.
This is, mostly as consequence of a wind switch of direction, which in consequence will creating a wind vacuum.
Sometimes, this can provoque a final series of intensive updrafts or mini tornado-like turbulences along the coast right before the wind definitely goes off and retreats, sometimes, hundreds of meters or simply goes off much more distance.
In this regard, we have here a visual document in which a kiter became involved during his kite navigation on the island of Lanzarote, some time ago.
The video deserves some analysis, carefully observing all the details. The kite and its behavior, once it’s caught by the air lift comparing the gust and lulls on the water surface.
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?
To avoid a possible lifting, the standard safety precautions are:
1 … Know the weather forecast on your area and avoid storms and gusty winds which could be unpredictable.
2 … Avoid keeping the kite at the zenith, especially, in bad weather.
3 … Avoid start kitesurfing a the moment in which the wind just starts blowing and get in.
It is always better to wait at least some minutes until we see that there are not too extreme wind gusts.
4 … If we noticed some ups and downs on changes in wind strength, we should return to shore immediately or lower the kite to the sea level, as a common sense ordinary precaution to avoid getting lifted.
5 … Always we should keep vigilant of the water surface, which in turn, will allow us to see lulls, gaps and wind gusts as they approach.
6 … Observe others kiter’s kites which are around. When you see anything suspicious … get back to shore at once or if in doubt, and if you are not far from the beach, find somebody who can help you land your kite and in the last case, if no one is around, pull your quick release.
Some interesting links about it
Lifted by the kite involuntarily – luckily he could tell after the threating experience
In this last case, a merrier one; the link is not related to kitesurfing kites but to the kite festival in Vung Tau, which is usually held at the end of the year