Voice of Experience
Sent in from an anonymous local:
I purchased a used Cabrinha 14 meter CO2 kite last fall and watched hours of youtube videos seeing how things went WAY wrong. I did 2 sessions of dryland flying before the snow flew in very light wind 5-10knots learning to manuver the kite. It was very worthwhile albeit a little frustrating in that light of wind.
I was chomping at the bit and wanted to go out on the lake to give it a go on my snowboard. I chose a day that the wind was a little bit stiffer on maybe 15-20 figuring I needed more to fly consistently. I reviewed my safety release system video on youtube another 10 times before setting out. I treked out on my own after my neighbor decided he had something better to do.
Once out on the lake I quickly noticed patchy snow cover. Oh well. Red flag #1. I set my lines out and attached them to the kite. Positioned my kite at a 90 to the wind. Based on the instructions the previous owner gave or something like that anyhow. I inflated the kite, walked back to my handle that was secured, and picked it up before having my board on. Red Flag #2. The kite blew from it position directly into the wind. From there I played tug a war with the kite to struggle to my board. I made it to the board and was up and riding in no time. Sliding along at around 10 mph was fun. It was a little dicey like windblown powder fast and slow. No worries I was having a great time!
Now that I had made it one direction across the lake I chose to bring the kite to 12 o’clock and take a rest. The kite was bobbing me up and down trying to lift me. Thought it would be a good idea to get flying again when I brought the kite around to tack I was pulled over and being dragged across the lake on my back. Thankfully I was familiar with how to de-power my kite with it’s safety system and was only dragged 100 yards in no time. Red Flag #3. I should have had enough at that point and went to deflate the kite. I just could not let it go. I attempted to pull in my safety lines for about 30 minutes to reattch the system only to shred the new gloves I got for Christmas. That was enough for the day and deflated the kite and lived to write this today. I did take one more venture out on a very light wind day hardly enough to keep the kite aloft, yet enough to have me learn safely taking the lessons from my previous failure.
I have talked with a number of shops around the Milwaukee area and have settled in on one that I had a great conversation today. I am taking a lesson or two and investing in the proper harness, board and will sport my helmet despite 25 years of snowboarding and 15 years of wake boarding. The money spent on lessons will be well worth it and far less expensive than an emergency room visit. The kite and wind do not care who is on the end of the line so take your time!