Monday, April 05, 2004

The SKRU - Swivel Kite Release.

Here's a pretty interesting piece of equipment that solves a problem....

You know the feeling. Pump, lift, up, up, up - you're harnessed in going inverted at 20 ft. and as the kite crosses the foreward sky you go for that last pump at the peak of your boost....


invert and just as you start to control your descent and leaning back, the depower loop drops out of the hook.... YANK!!!! Unexpectedly unharnessed, and flying fully powered with no way to range your kite.... Part of the thrill of it all of course. You ALL know that feeling.... Click here..:)
We all love it or we wouldn't do this sport!!!

That said, after plenty of repeat instances that prevented me from learning to backloop, I tried using this....


I have been kiting with something called the Swivel Kite Release Unit (SKRU) from . It's awesome, and it does the job. Keeps you 'in' when you want to be 'in', and allows one to maintain control over the power range even after those moments where the line goes slack.

closeup of the shackle Here's a close up of the system. For years, my friends have been buying stainless steel marine shackles from west marine, and tying them, welding them, strapping them, etc. onto standard kite harness bars. Yes, it works, but the SKRU is a better solution. Its held on with semi flexible webbing, and it swivels to allow kite lines to stay uncrossed if you attempt any tricks.

No more grabbing at jury rigged release mechanisms and getting your fingers caught in lines when trying to get out of a hairy, unplanned rocket ride in the wrong direction. There's a well placed 'red ball on a cord' release off to the right side of the bar. Minimal chance of tangle.
Under the swivel that allows the marine shackle to rotate, there's a standard flared hook for a standard harness line or to hold the depower loop if you decide to pop the rip cord and manage to maintain control over the bar (pretty hard if you don't hold the bar EXACTLY in the center on release with your control hand while yanking the red ball with the other).

If you use this system, one thing to think about is w/n you ever want to fly unhooked (situations where you really want to extend to get great lift with the kite at full full power). If you do decide to unhook - once out of the shackle, it's next to impossible to get the loop back into the marine shackle while in the water. To do so requires one hand to bring the depower loop into the shackle and the other to close it -- meaning no hands on the bar. I have tried holding the kite down with my teeth on the depower loop and one hand on the bar while maneuvering the shackle with the other... While it's 'possible' to let go of the bar, grab the loop out of your mouth, jam it in and close the shackle before the bar goes nuts, the consequences of not quite getting it done are not great. :) )


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