We’ve all been there: struggling with a messy tangled ball of lines after a self-rescue or other mishap on the water. REAL’s Chris Stellato explains common mistakes and pro-tips for avoiding and undoing kiteboarding line tangles:
How to avoid tangling your lines:
1. Create a routine – Any process that requires attention to detail, like rigging and de-rigging your kite, creating and maintaining a routine will help you avoid mistakes and errors. Things as simple as always laying your lines out in the same direction, or wrapping and unwrapping your lines with the same hand, will prevent excess tangles and simplify the process of getting rigged and ready to kite.
2. Keep it low – Remember that the wind can push your lines around and cause them to twist and tangle. Whether you’re laying your lines down or walking them out, keeping your lines low to the ground will prevent the wind from picking them up and creating extra twists and knots.
3. Keep your lines attached to your kite – Even after a messy self-rescue or other line disaster, it’s likely you don’t have many true knots in your lines. If the lines are kept connected to the kite, chances are you can walk your lines back out on land and easily see the tangles, many of which will be simple twists and tension knots. By keeping your lines connected to your kite, you eliminate loose ends that can create knots, and make it easier to find the main problem creating any tangles.
How to undo tangled lines:
1. Focus on the cluster, and FLUFF – Rather than taking one loose line end and pulling as much free line out of the tangle as you can, try to get your fingers into the main cluster and “fluff” or loosen the ball of lines. Rather than tightening down any knots or tangles, you are loosening them all up. It will be easier to see the big problems once the tangle is loosened, and some of the tangle will even being to drop away and free itself as tension is released.
2. Find the loops – Find loops of line sticking out of the cluster, and try to treat those loops as if they were line ends, freeing as much of the loop as you can from other knots and twists. Loops are typically daisy-chained together, and you will find that as you loosen or remove one loop, other loops will also start to loosen and fall away.
3. Turn a 5-line problem into a 4-line problem – This refers to removing your flagging line from the tangle cluster. After a self-rescue, you could have parts of your flagging line from both above and below the bar caught in the cluster. This simulates having to untangle 5 lines rather than 4. If you can back the flagging line out of the tangle and get it pulled back through the chicken-loop assembly, you now only have to deal with untangling 4 loose ends. Keep this process going as you eliminate tangles: free another line and you’re down to a 3-line problem, free another and you’re down to a 2-line problem.
It is important to avoid line tangles and knots because they can weaken your lines or even worse, cause you to miss a great session. Now that you know how to avoid and fix line tangles, you can spend less time on knots, and more time on sessions!