Launching HQ Hydra with Kite Flier in the Water

by Jenny
(Toronto, Canada)


I am looking at a Hydra kite as they look like so much fun in the water. Can you launch them if you are chest-deep in water? With the bar, I usually step back and pull the bar down to launch and this would seem impossible unless you were just knee deep in water.

I ask as it is not shallow where I wish to kite. Maybe there is a "trick" to launching this way. A friend of mine says relaunching Hydra in the water is just for experts but I don't want to believe him, I really want this kite to work for me.

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Jul 24, 2010
It Can Be Done!
by: Glen -

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for another question! The Hydra can be re-launched in the water without too much struggle, but there's a catch (of course).

The Hydra, like any three line kite, can be easily re-launched by pulling on the third line and turning the bar. The kite will 'flip' from it's leading edge to its trailing edge. From here, you just need to give the bar a sharp tug to pop it off the water. This can be done in chest deep water, and you don't have to pull the bar down to your knees.

So what's the catch then?

The catch is that you need to have wind reaching the surface of the water. This sounds funny, but this can be a problem. As you can imagine, the higher you go into the air, the cleaner the wind becomes. Conversely, the closer you get to the ground, you have more potential to get unclean, turbulent wind. Obstacles, like trees, banks, or 10 foot high grass, create wind barriers which slow the wind and can prevent it from reaching the surface.

Say you were to go fly your kite in a lake that was surrounded by 50 ft high trees. You head out 100 feet from shore, and get your kite into the air. It might fly just fine when its up high in the wind window (on the end of your 20 m lines). But if you then crash it into the lake, I'd be willing to bet that it would be a challenge to get it off the water. Why? You'd probably be too close to the trees and the wind wouldn't have had enough room to reach the surface of the water.

On average, it takes 7 times the height of an obstacle for the effect of the turbulence to dissipate and the wind to become clean. This also means that it takes (on average) 7 times the height of an obstacle for the wind to 'touch down'. So in the example above, the wind probably won't reach the surface of the lake until 50 X 7 = 350 feet from the trees (if the lake was downwind of the trees).

So, if I were in that situation, I wouldn't be expecting to easily re-launch my Hydra until I was 350 feet downwind of those trees.

What if the wind is 'touching down'. If the wind is touching down on the water, you should be able to re-launch your kite without too much trouble. Here's a nice video clip made by HQ Kites that shows how the Hydra can be re-launched.

Hopefully this helps! If you have any more questions, just let me know.



Jul 24, 2010
by: Jenny


Thank you so much for answers to both my questions your answers make total sense and were very helpful. I have recently bought a Hydra and have only flown it in marginal wind conditions 5-6 mph. You hit it on the head when you said the wind has to be hitting the water I think I was in a bit of a wind shadow when I had trouble. Its good to know I can launch in chest deep water. I haven't tried the kayak yet but will let you know the result. I have outriggers and leeboard for my kayak which might make it even more fun.

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