Kitesailing for self rescue kiteboarding technique 2015


Kitesailing the kite is a technique to use the kite’s power to get a kiteboarder to shore when flying the kite in the usual way is no longer possible. Examples: if a line breaks, or if the safety system malfunctions, or if there is not enough wind to fly the kite, or too much wind to fly the kite.

*After climbing to the kite, the pilot holds the kite in a specific way to catch the wind and provide movement to help them reach safety (usually on shore).


Added benefits:

Staying with the kite increases the visibility of the kiter to rescue.

i.e. a large kite is easier to see than a solo swimmer.


Correct technique must be learned as this technique is not intuitive. Kite sailing should be taught by a trained certified professional kiteboarding instructor.

This technique should; be taught and mastered in non-emergency situations.

Learning this technique contains actual risk. Risk should be adequately managed during any training exercise to reduce chances f injury to participants.


Possible injuries include injuries from mishandling lines (cuts, line-burn, evulsions, crush injury, amputated digits, chocking and drowning.


To mitigate risk during training exercises, smaller kites that are easier to manage can be used. Smaller kites also give the student a better overview of the task. Small kites will cause less damage/injury when out of control.

This technique should be attempted without kite lines attached until the kite handling is mastered.


Safety Tips for kitesailing:

  • Do not wrap the lines around your hands or body parts.
  • Hold the thickest part of the kite’s bridles, avoid holding the thinner kite lines.
  • Do not let the lines slip through your hands.
  • Control the shape of the kite to control the power.
  • Keeping a smaller shape will reduce the amount of power in the kite.
  • Do not climb inside the kite,.
  • Do not put your legs inside the kite.


Tips for efficient Kitesailing:

  • Use your body to provide lateral resistance.
  • (Same body position as the upwind bodydrag).
  • Position your body parallel to the kite’s leading Edge (LE).
  • Point the kite in the direction you want to go,.
  • Rotate the kites angle to catch the wind.
  • The wind should fill the intrados.
  • Hold the kite’s front bridal on the upper wing tip.
  • Hold onto the front bridle’s line connection point. This allows the kite to have an expanded shape to catch the most wind.
  • Do not hold onto the kites rear bridle.
  • Do not hold onto the kites rear corner/wing tip, as this will cause the kite to have a bad angle and go downwind.
  • When transitioning (turning) from one tack to the other, pass the extrados canopy along the water, so that the kite changes from a c shape to a u shape back to a c-shape on the other side. This helps to keep the kite under control.


During Training Exercises:

  • Use a smaller kite.
  • Start the first training exercises without kite lines attached.
  • Always use a kite leash.
  • An extended (double) kite leash can be attached to the kite’s pump-leash  attachment point.
  • Avoid excessively high winds.
  • Avoid waves and shorebreak.
  • Do not kick or swim, concentrate on using good body posture.
  • Try to body-surf, rather than swim.



For more information contact

David Dorn

(808) 283-7913


Kite-sailing training class – David Dorn