How to Survive a Death Looping Kite [Tips&Tricks]

Chris Lagao
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When I first started kiteboarding in 2012. I was hooked right from the start. I loved being able to be out on the water, exploring, and just having fun. It's a great way to get away from all the responsibilities of everyday life and just enjoy some time on your own.
Survive Death Looping Kite
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Death looping is a phenomenon that occurs when the kiteboarder’s kite gets caught in a self-sustaining, spinning circle. It can happen for various reasons and it is not always easy to recover from.

This dangerous cycle can last for minutes before the rider falls to the ground.

This can happen when your kite malfunctions and you need to untangle your line. It could also happen if the ropes get tangled in your bars.

The death loop is a kiteboarding move that is not only dangerous but highly frowned upon. It’s the equivalent of a kiteboarder pulling the cord on one side of their kite and letting go of it, causing their kite to flip upside down and fly in circles.

Many people who kiteboard are at risk of getting stuck in a death loop. Not being professional enough is one of the main causes of these injuries. However, with the right precautions; abilities, you can eliminate this risk by being a responsible rider.

Kiteboarders inevitably face the risk of injury and death when maneuvering around the “Death Loop”. In most cases, even releasing your safety system has no effect. It can happen to experienced kitesurfers if they’re off guard.

I will share some helpful tips to help you survive the death loop.

Death Looping Kite – Tips&Tricks

When you experience a death loop while kiteboarding, you have two options:

  • Using the quick release system

  • Take control of your kite

Getting caught in a death loop is pretty dangerous. Riders need to let go of their kite as soon as possible, but if they are unable to do so for whatever reason (like being unresponsive): For example, if you lost control of your kite. It flew high into the sky and there was no chance to activate the safety mechanism, then you would enter what is known as the “auto-release” position.

It is a different scenario if the kite has pulled in and you are holding the handle in your hand, then you are in what is known as the “handle-hold” position.

The “safety release” or the “handle-hold” position is where you have control of the kite, and you are in the process of releasing it. This is a safe position because you do not need your hands to maintain their grip on the lines if they are pulled tight.

So you can’t activate your safety mechanism, you’ll enter a death loop.

What Causes the Death Looping Kite

One of the most common situations is when the central power cut-off line wraps around the control rod causing an uncontrolled kite loop.

You will be pulled in a circle with your kite flying above you. When this happens, the security line will also be blocked and you won’t be able to activate the security system.

According to Anton Chernyshov, “Actually activating the quick release can make the situation worse,”

When the bar moves away from you, it will make it impossible to manually fly a kite and untie the strings”

“Simultaneously the kite will have staying power. So if you can lie down and get some practice the only thing left to do is to activate the harness quick release feature.”

So what should we do?

How to Survive Death Looping Kite?

The kite seems to be out of control and you’re sure it’s going to crash into the surf. But don’t worry! It can be stopped with relative ease. All you have to do is grab the furthest rudder line and pull hard. That’s it, the kite will stop and fall from the sky. If you are struggling to reel in this string, wait for the kite to hit the surface of the water. It will be much easier while the kite is briefly stopped.

After successfully stopping your kite, you can consider your options.

Make sure your kite is completely free from twists and knots before you attempt to relaunch it. Untangle the lines when your kite is in the air for easier control.

If you get tangled or there is an obstacle ahead, use the self-rescue trick first! Wrap the steering lines in a bight around your kite bar 10 times so that you can still steer it. Then proceed with the self-rescue as usual.

If you are in shallow water, walk up the steering line towards the kite. Be careful not to get tangled in any loose lines and be sure not to wrap them around your hands or fingers if the kite does power up again.


We don’t recommend practicing these death loops on the beach or in the water- you could hurt yourself or someone else. But you can practice your technique on your bar and lines at a safe place – just like in the video.

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