Landing and Retrieving Your Kite From A Boat


Landing and Retrieving Your Kite From a Boat with Ryan Levinson.

This video shows various techniques for landing and retrieving your kite from a boat. In this example we are operating from a catamaran (sailboat) but these techniques also work well with dinghies, powerboats, or really anywhere that you don’t have a dry place to land your kite.

WARNING: This video shows advanced skills. Do not attempt these unless you have the experience needed to understand the risks, and you have the skills needed to mitigate them. Failure to do so could result in severe injury or death. In other words, try this at your own risk!

Performing the steps in a slow controlled fashion is key.

Rad Rope Retrieval:

1. A floating rope (for example, polypropylene) with a small float and carabiner at one end works best.

2. Approach the rope slowly and under control with the kite high overhead.

3. Grab the rope with your hand closest to the boat and use your other hand to slowly “land” the kite in the water so that it is resting on its wingtip in a stable position (just like the final position during a re-launch).

4. Connect the carabiner to the harness loop or Fireball. Note that for a Fireball system you can use a small carabiner and clip it to the bendy “stem” attached to the ball.

5. Unclip your leash and detach your harness from the bar and lines.

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Ass First Arrival:

1. Ride to the boat in slow controlled fashion with your kite relatively high.

2. As you approach the boat de-power your kite and control your speed so that you come off a plane and “sink” right at the point where you want to sit down.

3. Then sit your ass down and land/detach the kite just like you do with the Rad Rope Retrieval explained above.

Bitchin Bow Booyah:

1. Approach the boat on a slow controlled plane with the kite flying low (about the height of your helper).

2. It’s best to aim your kite 5-10 feet downwind of the person catching your kite because the kite will surge forward when you come off your plane.

3. You can use your edge to help control the kite surging forward and to control your speed.

4. When your helper has the kite swim a few strokes toward them to slack the lines so they can control the kite.

5. It is important you use a helper that has enough experience to know the proper way to handle a kite without damaging it (for example, never hold the kite by the canopy and avoid dragging it over sharp or abrasive surfaces).

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Ryan Levinson has been kiteboarding for over 20 years. He is currently on an extended sailing voyage seeking wind and waves in the tropical South Pacific. Over the years he worked as the Instructional Editor at Kiteboarding Magazine, owned a successful kiteboarding school, and was the EMS/Rescue Team leader for the Big Wave World Tour. He also worked as an Emergency Medical Technician, super yacht captain, professional athlete, and as an instructor for Kiteboarding and Sailing. You can follow his adventures at