Over the years I have become lazy with clamping my struts, but recently 2 incidents made me realize that I was being stupid! And here is why!

  1. If you crash your kite in the sea and burst a leading edge/ pop the valve out, then your whole kite will deflate. This can make it impossible to swim back to the shore with your kite. If your kite goes under water, there is little chance that you will be able to move it in the water. If your struts are inflated your kite will remain on the surface and it remain afloat, thus allowing you to swim it back to shore.
  2. If you have not sealed you valve tight enough you could slowly lose air. If you see your kite starting to jelly fish or act strange and buckle in the air then get back to shore as soon as you can and check that it is not leaking. I was on a downwind the other day with my mate, when I saw him on the beach. His leading edge was soft and upon inspection, we found that he had not inserted his deflate valve deeply enough (NOTE – VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO CHECK THIS!!) but we pushed it in and then unclamped the struts and pushed the air from the struts to re-inflate the LE. We then re-clamped the struts and this gave him enough pressure in his leading edge to finish the downwind.  A kite can fly with soft struts but you will battle to fly one with a flat leading edge.