One of the hazards of kiteboarding is becoming entangled in your kite’s lines or another kiter’s lines during an “incident”. If the kite powers up the thin spectra lines will cut through flesh like a razor. The only way to quickly free yourself is if you can cut the lines wrapped around you. That’s where a hook knife comes in handy. The Dakine knife shown above costs $10 and is small so it can be stashed on your person for quick access in an emergency. The hook knife blade is designed to cut lines easily while keeping fleshy bits away from the blade. That’s good because in a panic situation you are likely to be flailing around like a drunk octopus!
The real trick is how do you carry a hook knife with you while kiteboarding so it’s easy to access, doesn’t get lost and isn’t a hassle?
If you are using a Dakine spreader bar and pad you’ve got a built in pocket on the pad pointing down. The pocket is big enough for the hook knife and there is some velcro to mate up with the knife’s pull tab so it stays secure until you need it.
This setup is good, but has a couple issues:
- The knife can fall out of the pad’s pocket in use or when being transported. That’s not tragic as it only costs $10 so the occasional replacement knife isn’t a financial burden. You can help avoid lost knives by pushing it deep into the pad’s pocket and making sure the velcro is fully engaged with the knife’s pull tab. This makes losing the knife less likely at the expense of making pulling the knife out slightly harder. To my way of thinking that’s a reasonable trade off to ensure the knife is there when you need it.
- The pocket under the pad isn’t ideal for emergency access because it’s going to be underwater, the knife’s pull tab is small, you may be wearing gloves and the bar area could be tangled in kite lines.
I think the best place for the knife would be on the breast of my impact vest where I could see it and easily access it in an emergency. I don’t know of any impact vests made with a knife pocket. However, the Dakine knife comes with nylon sheath that a crafty person could sew onto their impact vest. I haven’t bothered because the pad pocket solution is good enough for me given that a line entanglement is not a frequent occurrence, but if someone made an impact vest with a knife pocket I would buy it.
If you ride in surf shorts most of them have a side pocket for a wax comb/wax. You can put your hook knife in here. The access isn’t quite as convenient as the Dakine pad pocket, but it’s very secure so the knife won’t get lost.