Re Launching a Bow Kite (or Supported Leading Edge Kite) After Crashing it on the Water

Water re launching a bow kite is an easy thing to do – thankfully!  Compared to C- kites, re-launching any SLE kite is a breeze, which is what makes them preferable to many beginners.  The entire process is covered in this page, including:

  1. An Overview of the Entire Process.
  2. How to Do It
  3. A Few Extra Pointers
Note: This method only works for Supported Leading Edge kites (Bow and Hybrid), and will not work for a C- kite.

The Big Picture

Below is an overview of how the kite behaves as it re-launches.  After a crash, the kite is generally downwind of you, lying leading edge down on the water.  As you begin to re-launch it, the kite rotates in the water and drifts towards the edge of the wind window – this is good since we always want to launch kites near the shoulder of the window, and not through the power zone.  Once the kite is turned sufficiently into the wind, it can be flown out of the water.

water re launch a bow kite sequence relative to wind window

How to Do It

All you need to do to water launch a bow kite is:
  1. Relaunch a SLE (supported leading edge) kite step 1Keep tension in the kite's lines. If the lines are slack, swim upwind to tighten them.

  2. How to relaunch a bow / sle kite step 2Grasp one of the rear kite lines (the lines on the outside of the bar) and pull.  Grab the line as far away as you can, but be sure to never wrap it around your fingers!

  3. Note:  If you grab the left line as shown in the picture, the kite will drift to the right.  If you want the kite to drift left, pull on the right line.

  4. how to water re launch a bow kite step 3Keep pulling on the line.  The kite will rotate in the water and drift towards the edge of the wind window.

  5. how to re launch a bow / sle kite off the water step 4Once the kite begins to catch the wind, release some tension in the line that you are pulling.  Try to steer the kite 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.

  6. How to water relaunch a bow kite step 5As soon as the kite comes out of the water, push the control bar away from you.  Fly the kite up to 12 o'clock.

    • Pushing the bar away from you gives the kite a more aerodynamic shape and helps it lift off the water.

  7. Untwist your lines (if needed), find your board, and ride away!

Extra Pointers

  • It is possible to re-launch the kite quickly, and right through the middle of the power zone – if this happens you will be pulled very forcefully downwind, which can be dangerous.  Aviod this by taking  your time and allowing the kite to drift towards the edge of the wind window before re-launching.

  • The more tension in the kite's lines, the easier the re-launch.  Instead of drifting downwind with the kite, use your body to create as much drag in the water as possible.  If you have your board, get into the water-start position and use it to counteract the downwind drift.

  • Always keep the left side of your bar in your left hand, and the right side in your right hand.  Even though the kite looks backwards from your perspective, if you reverse the bar the kite will respond oppositely to your steering when you try to fly it out of the water and will crash repeatedly.


That's all that is required to re launch your bow kite out of the water – remember, this method works for any Supported Leading Edge kite (what's this?), but does not work for a C- Kite.  If you fly a SLE, just follow these steps and you should have no problems at all!

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