Tangled Lines Why Do i have a handlepass leash when i don't UNHOOK?

Until recently I have always used the kite leash that came with my kite. It was just like all the others I could see at the beach, about 3 feet long with a clip on each end and a "final" safety that I hoped to never need to use; bye bye beloved kite 😥.

When I first started kitesurfing I attached it to the rope on the rear of my harness, and it was only about two years later that I saw a video by Always Windy on YouTube about the dangers of this connection.

After watching that, I moved my leash to the side of my spreader bar. An easy fix with no drawbacks for my intermediate level of riding. It would seem from watching the professionals that they have come to this connection point as well, just look at Aron Hadlow.

"Some people put it on the back and think that this is a best place, but when you are dragged backwards you have little chance of releasing it".
"Keep the leash connected to the front of your harness. You can ride out even if you you missed the bar during the handle pass".


Manufacturers have realised the safety benefits of this attachment too.

Mystic Spreader Bar.

Many leashes that are produced have a carabiner at either end. This is very useful to allow easy attachment to the flag out line at your bar, but the harness end rarely requires removal and could snag a line if you became tangled after a wipe out. Worse still, a snag at this end will mean you cannot detach from the kite!

I have mistakenly managed to attach my leash the wrong way around, with the final release at the bar end. Easy to do at the start of the season when you are in a hurry to get on the water. Luckily another kiter noticed my mistake and corrected it for me. If I had used my primary safety and flagged out my kite, my final safety would have been out of reach up towards the kite.

It may require a little work, but attaching the harness end with a loop of Dyneema line made with a Brummell Lock-Splice will prevent line snags and ensure that you can't connect it back to front.

Now that the leash is attached in the safest manner, for most of us it becomes overly long and dangles around our knees when we kite. It is only there to link your harness to the kite's flag out system. Any extra length is required only when performing unhooked tricks and holding the bar at arms length; so as not to partially activate the flag out line.

There are reasons why some kiters need a longer leash.

Recently I have noticed another type of kite leash has turned up on the beach. This one is shorter at about 20cm long and attaches in the favoured, off centre front, location. These are neater, with no leash to dangle about your legs and, for the majority of us who do not unhook, are a smarter connection to the kite safety. The shorter connection ensures that the flag line is activated earlier when you need it.

Other brands of short leash are available.

.Three changes to make you safer.

  • Connect your leash to the front off centre of your harness.
  • If you don't unhook then consider a shorter leash.
  • Replace the harness end carabiner with a looped line.

When looking for a new short leash, bear in mind that it may not be you that needs to release it. If you have been dragged up a beach after a kite tangle or are knocked unconscious, then it may not be a kiter who is first on the scene. Would a dog walker know how to detach you from the kite? Safety releases should be obvious enough for a rescuer to be able to activate them, the final release should be a bright contrasting colour and with obvious instructions on it.


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