Respect! „AKA 3“ Chickenloop

A search of more than 20 years comes to an end.

In 1999 when kitesurfing started to slowly pick up, many as me started to made first thoughts if blunt fixing themself to a kite that can pull like a truck and can accelerate like a rocket might be a healthy idea. Sadly, it took some casualties till also the kite industry started to develop emergency release systems, later installed into chickenloops. Till then kiter helped themselves with self-installed releasable wichard hooks which in some configurations kept some deadly potential as also the first manufacturers solutions did. It took till around 2007 that a central push out release has become standard. For sure the French standard NF S52-503 from July 2005 helped a lot to push the kite industry into this direction.

(This text has already been prepared in summer 2021, hopefully to be released with mor practical experience, which didn’t happen also due to winging, so before deleting it, I decided to publish it as it is.)

Honnoeur á la France!

By the way, since at minimum 2020, what started France became an international standard: ISO 21853:2020-02. So today should be named on every chickenloop you buy, including allowed riders weight, other way better keep your hands off, or think twice. But before we come to a clear buying recommendation, once again back into kite history:

Handles and Chickenloops from 1999 till 2021

Since 2000 I build about two dozen of releases, chickenloops, bars, not just for the fun of constructing, but more due to the lack of proper equipment in the industry, also still after 2007, but always with an eye into the industry awaiting the moment to buy something of the shelf without limitations for the ride. While in the first years basic functions as safety release and winding up lines on a handle system (1) has been on the list, later more advanced demands like wear free safety line inside the depower line (2) or a ball bearing (3) but still short release, etc. gets on the wish list. The only constant has been. Kite industry was always some years behind and talking to industry designers too often resulted into the answer: “We don’t think it will work”, which for sure also has been a bit of the motivation to prove the opposite a year later. But also the industry after some more years has then come up with something similar. With respect to industries designers, knowing it is always easier to tinker a single prototype in a garage then have a serial running without issues at an acceptable price, for sure.

The first light I have seen in about 2018, when 3D printing allowed a one-man start up in Netherlands to build his own dream of a just one “infexion” release (5) that also solved the problem to have for example 8 chickenloops for 8 bars, but then just one infexion release on the harness and just a cheap steel rings on the depower line of every bar instead of a chickenloop. I bought one of the first pre-serial versions and have been happy for a short while and still would recommend the release for all > 90% of kiters who never hook of. Just buy it, it is a no brainer:

Unfortunately, exactly at the same time I restarted to ride unhooked again after many years, which is possible with the infexion as well, but not the best at the actual stage. So back to the old hook with chickenloop system, which means I was back to zero, till early summer of 2021:

Mischa found in the darkness of his shop an old KiteAttitude order of AKA 3 (8) releases. I already ordered and used the first KiteAttitude AKA 1 loop (7) with one of their cheap “Totem Bars” in about 2016, not because they have been the best in this time, but already had a good price to value and an open system that didn’t require special parts on every corner but was constructed open to see the wear allowing to replace parts easily instead of hiding them with extra fancy, but unfortunately dangerous covers, like many manufacturers do today.

I already liked the AKA 1 and also KiteAttitude’s mentality to give small upgrade parts but just those that are needed for AKA 2 (2 plastic parts changed by metal ones). Also, the completely redesigned AKA 3 can be upgraded starting from AKA 1 or 2 even if in this case just the loop and the screws remain.

The following assessment comes quick and dirty without a real test:

On base of my named experience but without having used it till now a relevant time, I think:
The AKA 3 is not the best chickenloop that have and will ever be constructed, but it is the first I have ever seen that has no mayor visible issues till now. Contrarwise it is an extremely compatible to nearly all bar system great base for any chickenloop bar constructions, you may want to start. It has a ball bearing and a very wide 13 mm diameter center breakthrough that can support a single depowerline with a loop on the end (> 20 mm) or a double line that can be looped in at the bottom. Even a double line can have easily 6 mm diameter, even a bit more, so can also have a cover, even if I don’t recommend that. At the same time a safety line with a 6 mm diameter stopper knot can run through, so a V-front line safety without extra line can be used easily. The last infinity FS chickenloop (6) for example has just a 4,5 mm safety line hole, which is the reason that you can’t construct a V-front line safety without extra a bypassline with this loop. To release the depowerline you just have to open two little screws by two turns and then for example swap over to a ring for an infexion system in case you use both. Also the loop is not too hard to change and has just the small metal part on its end inside the release which again can be looped out without the need to sew the loop. On top, if your loop wears or crashes or you want to change size during holiday, just go into the next hardware shop buy a 4 mm quality rope with cover and a tube, cut both on the right length make a knot and reinstall your new loop size. The AKA 3 chickenloop just does not try to tell you: “No you can’t, it just works with original extra expensive special parts.” It says: “Keep it simple, compatible and functional”. And the best for sure for small people and those who doesn’t accept their depower being limited by a too big chickenloop release: There is just the infexion that is shorter on the market, but no other chickenloop.

So again: France: Two points!

But as with the named building experience I realised to build in the ball bearing the wrong way, I recommend to read the also very good written manual before usage:

Have a good and safe ride,

… no more need to get trapped by marketing bullshit of some brands, as: “… seat belt easy click in system, etc.” There is just no loop that can really be reinstalled without another hand holding it. The only difference for most systems is: their costs are double and they steel you more depower way and cost you again time and money, trying to find specialised spare parts.

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