Have you ever headed out to go kiteboarding, launched your kite and everything was looking good, then suddenly the thing starts hanging limply in the air followed by plummeting backwards back to earth. Yeah, we all have and it can be frustrating, but it also can be dangerous to your self and others. Therefore an understanding of why it happens and what to do when it happens can help you out of a potentially bad situation. Knowing how to prevent it can keep you free from the situation all together.
If you watch movies you probably remember seeing a pilot sitting in a plane, an alarm starts going off, pilot says something about stall, stall alarm, or stalling. This is the same thing. Your kite is a wing and works like a plane by producing lift as air passes over it. A sail works in the same way. By definition a stall happens because the angle of attack it too great for the given conditions. Another way to think about the issue to to say that there is not enough air flow. In aviation the minimum air flow rate for given conditions is referred to as stall speed. So the simple problem is too much back line (trailing edge tension) or not enough apparent wind.
The second part of this discussion assumes that your kite has stalled. Knowing what to do helps a lot, but reaction time is critical. So it may take some time to master all these techniques. The more you fly, the more in tune with your kite you will become. It is all about feel, feel of the pull of the kite, if you don’t feel any pull that should be a BIG red flag. Lets take a look at some things you can do to bring your kite out of a stall depending on the situation.
In the situation where the kite is turned upward to move from low in the wind window to a higher position you can quickly level off the kite as you feel the pull disappear. By level off I mean make the struts parallel with the horizon. By doing this you only asking your kite to maintain its current height or hold up its own weight. When you fly your kite upwards it requires more lift or power just like climbing stairs is harder the walking on flat ground.
So you leveled of you kite and in a fraction of a second you realize that this is not enough. If you do nothing the kite might fall backwards into the powerzone, not good. You could try to bring the kite back down. This requires less power than flying leveled off. Just like walking down stairs. I would rather have my kite on the water on its wing tip ready to relaunch than in the water down wind of me. After you bring the kite down you can wait for the wind to gust a little higher, wait for the pull when you do bring the kite up slower this time. If you don’t feel the pull don’t try to bring the kite up.