You may have noticed your kite lines somehow get mysteriously crossed even though they were setup just fine. You have bit of a spill and next thing you know your front lines and rear steering lines are crossed over each other. Well there actually is an explanation as to what causes this and how to fix it.
Lines can get tangled anytime your kite gets flipped around on inverted. This can even happen if someone goes to launch your kite by flipping it away from you rather than towards you. Or if you land your kite and roll up our lines without unhooking them, if you are not careful you can you can flip your bar in such a way as to cause this to happen without realizing it. But the most common way this happens is if your kite crashes and flips over itself or inverts. If that is the case the kite is still flyable but the lines will wear at each other and can eventually cut one another, so its always best to head in and fix the problem right away, especially fi the lines are already old and frayed.
So how do we fix it?
The safest way is to always land the kite and re-walk out your lines - usually all you need to do is unhook your rear lines, unwrap them from the front lines and re-connect them. This also gives you a chance to inspect your lines for damage 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. Our home spots are drift launch only so its a hassle to come in if we don't have to so if there is someone you trust they can catch the kite and swap the lines for you. Or you can swap the lines while someone hold 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. And it can be quite difficult and time consuming to fix this problem inthis way as it will be easy to lose track of how to untangle the lines. Finally its really asking alot of others on the beach to hold your kite for 10 minutes while you fidget with your lines. Personally, when it comes to safety systems, I prefer to do my own checks and adjustments, and not be "that guy" so if possible I land, re-walk and inspect.
However there is another way to fix the problem through a technique called "bar juggling". Recently Damien LeRoy and Evan Netsch, two amazing team riders and some of the nicest guys you will ever meet, 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 have 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 to get it 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 solo 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. Suck it up, land and re-walk your lines.
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 in a safe environment before attempting in more challenging scenarios. 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