Senario: Riding 12 and a surfboard on a nice sunny day at Watertower. Nothing really exciting but a nice day. Jeff and I are out and there are a few windsurfers out at Jetties.
A decent way out I turn back towards the shore and suddenly my spreader bar hook is just gone. I think I’ve unhooked on my gybe but when I look down there isn’t any hook. I hang on for a minute but eventually my kite is down. Its North West so it is blowing kind of side on towards the Jetty but it is so far away that that doesn’t even enter into my mind.
I think I started wrapping up my lines a bit but at some point I had the idea to leave the bar and swim over to my board. I got to the board but then returning to the kite was becoming difficult. I never did get back to it and paddled the board in. Jeff directed the kite towards the beach as much as possible. I got to the beach and ran down towards Jetties and I just got out in front of the kite before it went on the rocks. Luckily it was very low tide so I was able to run out a long way on the sand and get in front of the kite. It never came on to the beach.
Lesson Learned: Don’t leave your kite unless you absolutely have to. The kite is your most valuable piece of equipment and can be very helpful in a self rescue. Also it can move faster than you can swim back to it if you let go of it. Your friends can more easily manage your board than they can a run away kite. I’ve seen guys sail in with a kite under their arm but most people can’t manage that.
I guess the exception would be if your kite is dragging you away from safety. Riding with Mark at Tom Nevers on an East and he had to let go of his kite because it was dragging him off shore. So obviously you have to make your own decision but in this case, and many others I can think of, I would have been much better off sticking with the kite.