When you have completed your wind and site checks and you are confident that you have the skill level for your chosen location and right size kite for the conditions, it is time to set up your gear.

Walk to a clear area on the beach that is free from any obstacles and make sure that you have enough space around you to safely lay out your lines and pump up your kite without getting in any ones way or risking any damage to yourself or your equipment. 

  • Take your kite out of the bag first. 
  • Always stay upwind of your kite while handling it.
  • Most modern kites now have a single inflation point. Before pumping your kite up, find your deflation valve and seal it properly. It is very important to seal this valve properly as your kite could deflate at sea if you crashed your kite.
  • Connect your pumps safety hook to the kite to secure it from blowing away while you pump it up. The attachment point on your kite is located in the centre of your leading edge.
  • Connect your pumps air hose to the inflation point of your kite and make sure the other end your pump hose is connected to the inflation point of your pump and not the deflation point.
  • Stand with two feet on your pump.
  • Let go of your kite so it is attached by the pumps safety hook. 
  • Start pumping. Pump slowly, there is no rush. Use full, long pump movements. Keep your arms and back straight, use the muscles in your legs to pull the pump up and your body weight to push down to make pumping your kite as easy as possible.

How hard should you pump your kite? 

The harder you pump up your kite the better it will perform. 

A hard, ridged kite will turn more quickly making it feel more responsive and fly with greater stability, it will also relaunch from the water more easily. Modern kites are designed to be pumped up extremely hard. Check what pressure is recommended by the kite manufacturer and then make sure it is pumped up to this pressure. If you unsure of the pressure gauge on your pump (the can be unreliable as they get salty and sandy) then a rough guide is that your kite should be pumped as hard as a tense calf muscle so it is difficult to bend. Im my experience it is better to slightly over inflate a kite than under inflate a kite.

Once you have pumped up your kite and you are happy it has plenty of pressure…

  • Close the main valve. Make sure it is closed properly so it does not leak air or pop out if you crash your kite and forget to let go of your bar.
  • If your kite has a single inflation point, close off all the feeder tubes that run from the main bladder to the struts. These are called strut valves and you close them by pinching them until you hear them click. This will stop your whole kite from deflating if you get a puncture in one section
  • Disconnect your pump safety line.
  • Hold the center of your main bladder and turn the kite over so it is in a tent like position facing down to the ground.
  • Secure your kite immediately by putting on top either sand, a weighted bag or your board as a loose kite is a dangerous kite.
  • Make sure your bridles are untwisted and are all the same length.
  • If you are setting up in strong wind you must be even more careful when handling your kite. For example, as soon as you have flipped your kite over, do not let go of it, keep your foot on it until you have put some weight on it to secure it. Your kite can easily blow away in strong wind if you leave it unsecured just for a second.
  • The safest option for securing your kite is sand bags and your board. You can fill your kite bag with stones or sand to use as a weight. When you use your board to secure your kite, place it into the wind, resting half on the main bladder and half on the ground with the fins facing to the sky so the sharp fins do not rip your kite canopy. 
  • Loose, dry sand can blow off your kite very quickly and make your kite unsafe. Putting stones on your kite will damage the canopy but if you have no other alternative then place stones on your kite gently.
  • If you are going to leave your kite for longer than a few minutes put enough weight on your kite so it does not flap at all. A flappy kite is an unhappy kite. The flapping will damage the canopy.  

Set up of your kite made simple

  1. Remember to connect your pumps safety hook to your kite
  2. Pump your kite up until it is hard. 
  3. A lose kite is a dangerous kite, always keep your kite secured with enough weight.

Setting up your lines

When your kite is secured properly it is time to unravel your bar and lines. 

The safest way to set up is to wind your lines out directly downwind of your kite.

  • Lay the ends of your lines on the ground behind your kite and slowly start unwinding. Walking slowly while you unwind your lines will help you to prevent tangles and will also make sure you do not pull your lines away from the kite. 
  • When you have unravelled your lines, lay your bar on the floor. 
  • Lay the red side of the bar on the right or lay it upside down if there is no red side. 
  • Separate your lines by standing in them.
  • Stand with your centre lines in between your legs and have your outside lines on the outside of your body.
  • Hold the four lines together in front of you and in one hand, hold your hand out as far away from your body as you can.
  • Walk forward slowly and let your body untwist the lines.
  • Lay down the lines so your centre lines are clearly separated from the outside lines.
  • Walk back and separate your centre lines so all four lines are clearly separated.

While you are separating your lines, check for damage or knots in the lines. If you notice a knot, untie it immediately. If you see or feel any damage to your lines, can’t untie any knots or are unsure about a worn line, remember……………………

If in doubt don’t go out.

When your lines are clearly separated and free from any knots or damage, lay them out on the ground so that they are ready to connect to your kite. 

How to connect kite lines

Many accidents happen because kite lines are connected incorrectly.

Your outside lines connect to the outside of your kite and your centre lines connect to the inside of your kite.

Your lines will have either a knot or a loop at each end. A knot connects to a loop. 

A knot can’t connect to a knot and a loop can’t connect to a loop.

There are usually a number of safety systems to make sure you connect your lines correctly.  

  • A colour coding system. For example: Blue goes to blue, red goes to red, grey to grey and so on. 
  • Some kite lines are marked left and right and the attachment points on the kite will be marked the same.

The outside lines will normally have a loop at the end that connects to a knot on the outside lines of the kite. The centre lines will have a  knot at the end of the lines and the loop will be on the inside connections of the kite. 

All kites use the larks head knot because it is the simplest and strongest way to connect your lines together.

If there are multiple knots what knot do I connect to?

As a rule of thumb connect your lines to the knot furthest away from the kite also known as the end knot. Some manufacturers have high power, medium power and low power. I would personally recommend you connect to the low power which is the same as the end knot. This will help you to prevent back stalling in lighter winds plus help your kite to fly more efficiently. You will find an article on back stalling here in this guide.

How to make a Larks head knot

  • Hold the line with the loop 
  • Push the loop through the line it is attached too. 
  • This makes another loop which becomes a simple slipknot.
  • Put the slipknot over the knot on the line that you are connecting too. 
  • Pull the lines tightly so the slipknot closes and is held tightly over the knot. 

The larks head knot becomes stronger under the tension of flying your kite. Make sure it is pulled tight and so it will not slip off. 

There can be a number of different knots to connect to. Connect your outside lines to the knot that is furthest away from your kite, on some kites this may say “Low Power”. 

Connecting to the attachment point that is furthest away from the kite will minimise the chances of your kite flying incorrectly.

Setting up your lines made simple

  1. Walk your lines out downwind and separate them all before you connect them to your kite. 
  2. Connect the outside lines to the outside of the kite and the centre lines to the centre of the kite.
  3. Always perform a pre-flight check to make sure your lines are connected correctly and that your main safety system works.

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