Water re-launching a kite

Page at a glance

How to re-launch a Bow, Hybrid or Delta kite after it has crashed onto the water.
Bow kites, Hybrids and Delta kites are easy to re-launch after they have crashed onto the water - if the lines are not tangled.  

Note: this information does not apply to C-kites

After a crash, the kite is usually downwind of you, lying leading edge down on the water.  You re-launch the kite by getting it to move to the edge of the wind window, then  using a rear line to steer it up.

Once the kite is turned sufficiently into the wind, it can be flown out of the water.

Water re-launch procedure (simple)

  • Tension the kite lines. If the lines are slack, swim upwind a little to tighten them.
  • Grab one of the rear kite lines and pull.  Do not ever wrap it around your fingers or hand.
  • Note that you can get the kite to move in either direction by pulling either the right or left rear line.  It is often best to choose a direction that takes you towards the shore.
  • As you keep pulling on the rear line the kite will drift towards the edge of the wind window.
  • When the kite begins to catch the wind, release some tension in the line that you are pulling. you may need to swim toward the kite briefly at this point.
  • As the upper wing tip catches the wind it will start to lift the kite off the water.  Use the upper rear line to steer it up and out of the water.
  • If it starts to fall back into the water, keep pulling on the line until it comes up and out of the water.
  • As soon as the kite comes out of the water and begins to fly, push the control bar away from you. This changes with kite angle so that it flies best.  If you keep tension in the rear lines you will stall the kite and it will come down to the water again and not relaunch.
  • One its flying, bring the kite up to 12 o'clock. That it!
Check your lines, get your board, then get kiting again.

It is much harder to re-launch a kite in light wind.  It is worth practicing this.


Keep the left (coloured) side of your bar in your left hand, and the right side in your right hand.  Even though this appears to be the reverse of what's needed, it means you will apply the right control inputs when the kite starts to fly.

You can use your board in the water-start position to counteract downwind drift and maintain pressure on the kite lines.


See Also