MPWS Kiteboarding Tips: "Bar Juggling" - What is it and how to do it. Tips for untangling your lines without unhooking them from your kite.
You may have noticed your kites get inexplicably inverted or tangled even though they were setup just fine, well there actually is an explanation. Lines can get tangled anytime your kite gets flipped around on inverted. This can even happen if someone lands your kite and flips it away from you or if you land it cleanly but then wrap up your lines a certain way. Then when you go to relaunch you notice the tangle where there was none before, so how do you fix it.
The safest way is to always land the kite and re-walk out your lines. This also gives you a chance to r-inspect your lines which is never a bad thing. But this process, while safe, can be time consuming. Another way is to have someone fix your lines while holding the kite. The problem with this is you are trusting your safety to someone else whose skill level and attention to detail may not be where it should be. Personally, when it comes to safety systems, I prefer to do my own checks and adjustments.
One way to fix tangled lines is through a process called bar juggling. Recently Damien LeRoy and Evan Netsch, two amazing team riders and some of the nicest guys I've ever met, posted a tutorial video on how to bar juggle. There are lots of similar videos but I like the way they covered this topic. Have a look and see for your self.
One point I want to make is when you notice your lines being tangled it is often when someone is holding it ready to give you a launch. If you decide to bar juggle the process might take a while and if the person holding your kite is waiting to kite themselves it may not be the best etiquette in the world to see them standing there while you figure things out. That is why you should have practiced this technique before hand. If you find it is taking you more than a few minutes then the right thing to do is to signal to land the kite and then re-walk the lines.
At some locations, especially in Ontario, solo drift launching is the norm. Attempting to bar jungle in this scenario can be unsafe. The maneuver requires you to unhook your safety and untwist lines while the kite is directly down wind of you and fully powered up. Needless to say it should not be attempted unless you are a seasoned bar juggler and the conditions are within your skill set, otherwise the kite could go into a spiral and be ripped out of your hands, and if you are lucky your arm will not be tangled in lines when it happens.
As you grow in skill level and experience, bar juggling is one of those things that you will eventually want to learn. As always practice and be safe, but if you do learn it, it can mean less time untangling lines and more time kiting and that is something we all want!
Thanks for reading, I am Ivano Stellato, a PASA certified kiteboarding instructor and founder of www.MysticPointWaterSports.com, wishing you happy and safe kiting.
Video Credit: Damien LeRoy