The Anatomy Of A DeathLoop

If a kite can fly, it can deathloop.

I thought it might be helpful to share an experience I had on Saturday – my first proper deathloop. It took 3 years of kiting but I got there in the end!

It was a pretty average session, gusty crossshore Vazon – in fact it had seemed like there wasn’t going to be enough wind to even kite for a while. I met Anthony down there and the sense of shared futility prompted us to pump up the 12’s for a bash.

As it turned out, by the time we got the kites in the air, the wind had increased from a lacklustre 12knots to a respectable 18.

I was only on my second run and went for a relatively simple inverted backloop out of a little wave. As I landed I realised I’d managed to wrap the depower line (section usually below the bar) over the left side of the bar, which forced it into a percect 90 degree fish pole, under constant tension, and unable to be released.

I kind of knew what was happening pretty fast and popped the QR after only two loops but I was eating up distance towards to north rocks at vaz by this point. Worst of all – releasing the primary safety made no difference to the looping, simply taking the impetus of pull away from my spreader, in favour of my safety leash. Because of the line wrap, the bar couldn’t travel up the lines and depower the kite and what little depower I achieved just widened the loops and make them more powerful.

what little depower I achieved just widened the loops and make them more powerful.

What was worse, even though I leash to a fixed point (rather than my handle pass slider ring) I was still flipped around basically being pulled backwards with very little idea of what was going in my path.

The fixed point I chose was the end of the handle pass runner cable, which I had really thought would be OK when considering this exact situation… It wasn’t.

Thankfully, as I reached down (behind me) to part company completely with my kite (after about 3 more loops) it had the decency to crash itself into to water, so I didn’t have to.

I could then unravel the wrap, unspin the bar, and get my QR reset with shaking gloved hands before relaunching.

I feel like this is worth writing about because I guess I thought it couldn’t happen to me… Also because I was doing a very simple and easy trick when it did, not pushing myself at all.

What I learned:

  1. I am glad I wore a helmet, OK I didn’t get to the rocks, but two more loops would have done it.
  2. Leash to the front of your harness, like the actual front – right next to your hook ideally (not to any other point) – unless you really must do handle passes! (Thankfully I am not that cool).

I feel a bit wiser now – and a bit less cocky – so I think this was a positive experience for me. Please do take all the necessary precautions to be ready for this eventuality. It doesn’t matter how good equipment get’s, if a kite can fly, it can deathloop.

Be safe!

Written by: Adam