Safety: Self Rescue ( steps + video)

The self rescue is a crucial technique for your safety. Still we see many kitesurfers out there that don’t know how to do a self rescue. In our kitesurfing lessons we always try to practise this technique if the conditions are right. In this postI will try to explain how to self rescue step by step.

When to self rescue? 

  1. In case material failure

  2. In case the wind drops and you have to get back to shore

  3. In case you get into a dangerous situation

Self rescue 

This is just a short explanation of the technique and it’s definitely not a substitute for real life practice as we would do during a kitesurfing lesson.

Step 1: let go off the bar

Before activating the quick release, first let go off the bar. The kite will lose it’s power and the bar will be able to shoot away from you.

Step 2: activate the quick release 

Push the button of the quick release away from you to activate it. When you do so, keep your hands off the bar. The kite will now flag out and fall into the water with the leading edge facing against the wind.

Step 3: recover the bar ( wrapping you safety line)

Now you have to get back to the bar. NEVER wrap lines around your hands and make sure you don’t get tangled in the lines. To get back to the bar you want to start pulling in the leash line. As soon as you get back to the bar, block the bar quickly wrapping the leash line around the bar.

Step 4: get back to the kite ( wrapping your lines)

Now take all 4 lines and start wrapping them around the bar like your would normally do when packing up. If the wind is strong try pulling yourself towards the kite by using the bar as a fishing rod. Make sure to stop wrapping the lines about 1.5-2 meters from the kite ( you need to be able to move around the kite) Now wrap the lines around the bar a couple of times ( the same as with the leash line)and secure

Pull the kite towards yourself. Now you can take a rest from swimming by leaning on the leading edge.

Now it is time to get back to shore.

Step 6: turn the kite over 

Flip the kite over by taking the kite on one side until the kite is in s ‘’smiley’’ position.

Step 7: use kite as a sail

Put you board in the kite and grab one on the self rescue handled if have them , or just use the brides.Doing so creates a kind of sail. Position yourself on the leading edge and use the brides or the lines of the kite to pull the kite into the wind. “sail you” in the desired direction.


Secure your board (optional).:Remove the board from your feet and secure it to your body to leave you free in the water. You can use your safety leash by detaching it then threading it through the board foostraps or handle and clipping it back to itself. Or you can carry another leash.

Untangling your lines( optional) :Once back on the shore, keeping your lines connected to the kite while untangling them may help as the kite can provide some tension to the lines.  You might need to disconnect lines to thread them through bad tangles though.


Want to learn how to do the self rescue? 

This technique is something you really need to practise with an instructor. In our kitesurfing courses we teach you exactly how to perform this technique, as well as the full pack down.