Unexpected a post from 2018 about using Flysurfers “PEAK4” land kite on the water became one of the most popular in a surf forum. But expected, the Peak4 in 3, 4, 5 and 6 m² became my main hydrofoil kites, but also many other (wave) hydrofoilers shared the joy of its unique flying characteristics. After now two years I still fly the kites without too much trim correction most time unhooked on short 9 – 12 m lines, if I am lucky in a relevant wind wave. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7QD_OI4l5Y
But even if the water relaunch ability showed to be pretty good for a land only kite design, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtjjbIt3o1A it happens that the kite keeps stuck to the water or even sinks, which may worry some users. So, after 1,5 years with lots of freestyle experiments, open sea boat drops, water launching from 10 -30 knts. I want to share what to do if it does not relaunch or how to start it directly from the water which is the same technique. Hope even more hydrofoilers will share the joy of this kite. Here is the video and following the description:
The following pictures have been made in around 12 knts with the 5 m², which is the low limit to perform the start the shown way and is also the low limit to start my Groove XS on the Levitaz Cruizer Foil.
1. The first step doesn’t differ from launching closed cell foil kites from the water. Unroll it and hold it into the wind to reach the bar in a way that the main part of the kite stays over the water surface.
2. Again, the same, open the clove hitch knot that fixes the upper bridle to the bar as hopefully prepared, well after the last pack down, no matter if done on land or water before.
3. Separate the halfs and unwind till the beginning of the Speed system / mixer / pulleys
4. The following is a very important technique that works again similar as with closed cells: Grap both sides center A main lines and pull them in to depower the middle of the kite and lift it. You should train this technique a lot on the beach not in the deep water. If the kite is stuck to the water you may have to wind up lines again close to the canopy and lift the center A mains here to pull the canopy up out of the water and then unwind while keeping the A tensioned.
If you don’t have enough control sitting on a volume foil board or handling the bridle this can get dangerous for life. So while swimming close to kites bridle with your legs and foil it is important to go step by step and always have 100% control, what you are doing, if not sure, first learn it with a surf board in the shallow water.
5. Now the first relevant difference to closed cell comes: Don’t just open A line tension and let the kite sit on its back sorted and drained but …
6. .. immediately after it sits on its back release all line tension by fast winding off. Just keep as much tension that the mixer will sink under the water by round about 1-2 meters. This will lead to the following: The kite nose will invert the way that the wind grabs it from the backside and pulls the kite downwind. The minimal line tension will stabilize it during its drift which will continuously pull the canopy out and over the water surface. It is important to have the tip cells drained before and have the kite quite symmetric downwind otherwise it would turn around a heavy sunk tip cell.
7. If you come close to the end of the lines hurry up to clean the bar and hook in before the lines start to tension.
8. In the moment you get line tension you should be ready to pull up the kites leading edge with a grap one hand on the trimmer. If the wind is less than about 12 knts this can get wrong and the nose doesn’t catch enough wind to start lifting the canopy and you have to go back to step 4. It can be that the normal method for closed cells could work better for around 10-12 knts but I just want to concentrate on the easiest, works in 90% of the cases, method.
9. If you once see the dark lower part of the canopy it is quite likely that you made it, just keep patience while the kite starts to rise out of the water and most important, keep the bar under control with the second hand to prevent that one tip starts first and the kite will flip over. Try to rise and drain the kite as symmetric as possible.
Happy ride with your PEAK4
And don’t be worried even if you get over the peak, you will always be able to relaunch it, if keeping line tension, it will mostly flip around and start by itself anyway.
About normal relaunch of the PEAK:
I do not recommend to fix the bar to the board and then swim to the kite to correct the canopy. I have made a lot of experience with this maneuver 15 years ago, but in comparison to sitting on a floaty foil board and winding up lines, to swim around free floating half sunk bridle lines can be extremly dangerous to tangle here with your legs and to be drowned, please don’t try and also don’t even mention this risky and also ineffectiv method. Just learn to sit stable on your floating foil board and to wind up and off lines and the rest will get easy without to much risk.
As already said, if you drop yourself and the PEAK4 the most important
- first reaction is to pull in the bar and keep it pulled in all the time
- keep all line tension and bring the kite as fast into a downwind postion, by swimming around it
- if there is just 10-30% of the kite out of the water, most time then it will be possible to relaunch
For relaunch itself it is important not only with the Peak4 to first bring as much canopy into the wind as possible, mostly pulling in both back lines.
The most typical error done here is to sheet in to fast and to wide till the canopy collapses due to this. It is important to find slowly the point of maximum back line tension and maximum upwarts pull for the kite but not having the canopy collapsing.
If you made it till here but the PEAK4 often will not start due to water inside the leading edge, try to make some carefull movements to pull the lighter half of the kite upwards and to slowly turn it around in place. This can need some caution and 1-2 minutes but if you trying to fast oversheet to much it will be more likely to have the canopy collapsing and to bring it into a not relaunchable position, means:
go back to step 4