Every kite uses a control bar, also referred to as the bar and lines. The lines (typically 22 – 24 meters long) stretch out from the control bar to the kite. Each control bar has a safety system (also called quick release or eject) that lets you quickly detach the bar from your harness. When you pull the quick release the kite also loses power and falls out of the sky.
Some control bars’ quick release works different than others so make sure you know how yours works. You should also try to avoid getting sand on the quick release. The sand could get inside it, make it sticky and harder to work. And check the quick release frequently to make sure it works properly.
Anatomy of a control bar
The two outside lines (attached to each end of the control bar) are called the steering lines (also sometimes called the flying lines). They lead up to the kite’s wingtips. When you dive the kite (or steer it) to the left or right these lines take a lot of that pull and help to move the kite in the direction you want it to go.
The center lines (also called bridle lines) connect to the kite’s bridle attachments. These lines work with the control bar’s power/depower strap that lets you make an adjustment to the kite, on the fly, if the wind picks up or drops off.
If the wind gets stronger you can pull down on the strap and secure it in place (most use a cleat). By pulling down on the strap you’re shortening the bridle/center lines. When these lines shorten the kite’s leading edge angles down a little and the kite catches less wind, helping to prevent you from being overpowered.
If the wind drops you can release the strap from the cleat to lengthen the lines. The kite’s leading edge tilts up a bit, the kite catches more wind and gives you more power. The power/depower strap is a great feature but if the wind gets too strong or too light you will have to go back to the beach and get the appropriate size kite.
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