As much as we love seeing kites come to us for repair, it still hurts to see your precious little babies [kites] in tatters.
Here are a few helpful hints on how to avoid kite damage:
1. Maintain your equipment
This is vital. After every session, when rolling up your kite, check for any canopy damage. Take a few seconds to feel bladders for any loss of air and take care when releasing air pressure from the bladders. If you find any damage, repair it before your next session – it’ll only get worse!
Check that any pulleys rotate freely, and aren’t full of salt / sand. Keep them clean with a toothbrush, and lubricate with good quality marine lubricant, like Lannox Inox.
Wash and dry your bar and lines after every use. Operate your quick releases in fresh water, and remove any salt and sand to ensure they function when needed most! Check all lines for knots or pulls when wrapping up. If you notice frays or damage, do not use again until repaired. A broken line can lead to other broken things… like bones.
Keep a close eye on your harness. Ever had a spreader bar go on you? It’s not fun. Check your harnesses webbing, and ensure it’s not fraying. If it is, replace it pronto. Also check your fasteners, and keep clean. Always wash after salt water use.
One of the most common faults with bladders, is the glue melting due to being left in a hot car. Always bring your gear indoors, and store in a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight. Carefully fold, or roll your kite up at the beach, trying to avoid sand if possible. Neatly place in bag, do not stuff in – as this severely weakens canopy material if stored like this. Keep kites away from cats. Their claws do awful things to bladders! No one likes patching 47 holes.
3. Use & Abuse
You’ve pumped up your kite to the recommended PSI (we strongly suggest using a pressure gauge on your pump), and flipped it to face the wind and lie on the beach. Everyone else puts their board ontop to weigh it down. Don’t even think about it! Either use sand, or keep a bag of rocks / sand in the back of your car. Fins and canopies don’t mix well.
When connecting your lines, double check your bridals aren’t twisted, or caught around anything. Also check this before launching anyone else! A twisted bridal = a twisting kite.
You’re having a sweet session amongst the waves, when… it all goes wrong and kite goes down, waves crashing around it. Riding a 5-line kite? My advice… pull the release before your precious kite gets torn in half!