Patent application title: KITE SURFING SECURING DEVICE TO HOOK AND UNHOOK THE KITE TO THE BODY OF THE KITER
Gherardo Flaccomio Nardi Dei (Firenze, IT)
IPC8 Class: AA44B2100FI
Class name: Buckles, buttons, clasps, etc. strap-end-attaching devices end clasp
Publication date: 2009-08-20
Patent application number: 20090205173
A securing device for kite_surfing for hooking and unhooking a wing from a
kite surfer's body, comprises a connection bar intended to be fixed to
the surfer's body and a hook protruding from the bar for engaging the
ends of a couple of cables coming from the front comers of the wing. A
clasp protrudes from the bar in correspondence to the hook which can be
placed on the hook to assure the closing of the hook. The clasp is
movable to allow the unhooking of the couple of cable ends from the hook.
At least in the engagement position, the clasp is stably locked on the
hook by a moderate force due to mechanical interference.
1. A device for detachably securing a kite surfing wing to/from a kite
surfer's body, the device comprising a connection bar to be fixed to the
surfer's body and a hook extending from the connection bar for engaging
the ends of a couple of cables coming from the front corners of the wing,
a clasp extending from the connection bar in correspondence to the hook,
the clasp being engageably positioned with the hook to insure closing of
the hook itself and displaced in an opening position to allow the
unhooking of the couple of cable ends from the hook, the clasp being
firmly locked on the hook by a moderate force due to mechanical
interference at least in the closed position.
2. The device set forth in claim 1, wherein the clasp comprises a pair of arms and an hook-shaped portion at one end of the arms, the arms at their other end ending with a connecting portion for pivotally engaging the arms with the bar with a moderate strength, whereby the clasp can be rotated with respect to the bar only on applying a force to the arms to engage or disengage it from the hook.
3. The device set forth in claim 1, wherein the clasp is formed by a pair of arms and a hook-shaped portion at one of their ends, the opposite ends of the arms being pivotally engaged in a seat longitudinally formed on the bar, the length of the clasp being enough to generate a mechanical interference with the end of the hook, whereby the engagement and disengagement of the clasp to/from the hook occurs only as a result of a moderate force applied thereto.
4. The device set forth in claim 1, wherein the clasp is formed by a fixed part protruding from the bar and arranged along the hook, and a movable part that can be positioned on the fixed part by a moderate force and reversibly locked on it to open and close the hook.
5. The device set forth in claim 4, wherein the fixed part of the clasp has a hole extending in correspondence to the end of the hook, the movable part comprising a stem that can be inserted with a moderate force in the hole to close the hook, reversible connecting means between the fixed part and the movable part being provided to secure the movable part to the fixed part while the hook is in its closed condition.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to the field of equipment for kite surfing and in particular relates to a securing device to hook and unhook the kite to the body of the kiter.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
As known in the practice of kitesurfing, the user, hereinafter referred to as the kiter, stands on a board, generally made of thermoplastic material, and is connected through cables to a special wing (the kite) that, when inflated by the wind, allows the kiter to ride the board and to make special manoeuvres, raising him/her off the surface of the water and allowing him/her to perform jumps and acrobatic evolutions. In particular, the wing is made of a layer of fabric, generally of a rectangular shape, wherein from the corners of its back side, with respect the forward direction, there extend two flexible cables fixed to the ends of a driving bar manoeuvred like handlebars by the kiter to drive the kite. From the corners of the front side there extend two additional cables that are collected in the centre of the driving bar and passed through it to be secured to a rubber ring, known as "chicken loop", intended to be fixed to a hook projecting from a connection belt, named "harness", which is weared by the kiter. When the driving bar is moved along the central cable connected to the harness, it is possible to adjust the lift of the wing.
Normally the kiter is connected to the wing through the hook to which the rubber ring placed at the end of the cables connected to the front corners of the wing is engaged.
It is important, especially during the learning phase, to firmly engage the ring with the hook in order to avoid accidental unhooking.
However it may be useful in the practice of kiteboarding to easily hook and unhook the driving bar to the hook of the harness in a quick and safe way. As the engagement of the chicken loop to the hook of the harness is not stable enough in itself, some solutions have been proposed to ensure a better fixation. For example the use of a spring-catch fixed to the harness, instead of the standard hook, gives the possibility to easily and safely unhook the chicken loop, but has the disadvantage of being difficult to hook again when riding.
Another solution is the use of a flexible rubber element radially protruding from the chicken loop. Once this is fixed to the hook, the flexible element is bent and inserted into the hook, forming a sort of latch closure preventing the ring to come out from the hook. This solution is less secure than the previous one and the rehooking operation is difficult anyhow.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The purpose of the present invention is to provide a securing device for kiteboarding practice that allows, from one side, a stable and safe fastening of the chicken loop to the hook of the harness and, from the other one, easy and quick hooking and unhooking operations.
Another purpose of the present invention is to provide a securing device of the above mentioned type that has a simple structure enabling it to be manufactured at low cost and to be adapted to existing harnesses.
These objects are reached with the securing device for kitesurfing to hook and unhook the kite to the body of the kiter according to the present invention, that comprises a connection bar intended to be fixed to the body of the kiter and a hook protruding from the bar to engage the ends of the pair of cables extending from the front corners of the wing. A clasp extends from the bar in correspondence of the hook, which can be engageably positioned with the latter to ensure the closure thereof and movable to an opening position that allows the end of the pair of cables to be disengaged from said hook, at least in the engagement position with the hook the clasp being firmly locked by a moderate force due to dimensional interference.
In a particularly preferred solution of the invention the clasp pivotally extends on said hook and it is necessary to apply a certain force to said clasp in order to rotate it or to engage it with said hook so as to close its curved end after the chicken loop is engaged with said hook.
In another particularly advantageous embodiment, the clasp comprises a fixed element protruding from the connection bar along the hook and a mobile element that passes through said fixed element to close the curved end of the hook, said mobile element being reversibly fixable to said fixed element.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Additional features and advantages of the securing device for kitesurfing according to the present invention will be apparent from the following description of embodiments thereof, made as non-limiting examples, with reference to the annexed drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the securing device according to the present invention in its closed condition;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the securing device according to the present invention in its open condition
FIG. 3 is a variation of the securing device according to the present invention shown in its closed condition
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the securing device of FIG. 3 shown in its open condition;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the securing device according to the present invention shown in its open condition;
FIG. 6 shows is a perspective view of the securing device of FIG. 5 in its closed condition.
With reference to FIGS. 1 e 2, it it has been indicated at 1 a connection bar, named harness, of a substantially curved shape, having respective rings 2 and 3 at its ends, through which it is connected to a belt to fit to the waist of the kiter. A hook 4 protrudes perpendicularly substantially from the middle of the harness 1. In the present embodiment hook 4 has a wire-like shape and comprises a couple of arms 4a e 4b protruding rigidly and forwardly from the harness 1 and linked together at the respective ends 4c curved backward in order to make an open ring 4d forming the hooking portion of the rubber ring (not shown) to which the ends of the cables coming from the front corners of the wing are connected. Between the two arms 4a e 4b, before the curved part forming the open ring 4d a transverse stiffening bar 5 can be advantageously provided. A clasp generally indicated at 6 is mounted on the harness 1 at the hook 4. In the present embodiment of the invention, the clasp 6 is made of a rigid metallic wire of adequate diameter curved in a way to define a portion 6a for the connection with the harness 1, a substantially hook-shaped portion 6b to engage with the open ring 4d of the hook 4 and an intermediate portion made of two adjacent arms 6c that links the hook-shaped portion 6b to the connection portion 6a.
The connection portion 6a has a substantially circular shape and forms a pivotable connection between the clasp 6 and the harness 1, said connection however being of the forced type requiring a moderate pushing strength applied with the fingers by the kiter on the two arms 6c to move the clasp 6 from the engagement with the hook 4 shown in FIG. 1 to the open position shown in FIG. 2, and vice versa.
In the use of the securing device according to the present invention, when the rubber ring, or chicken loop, is engaged with the open ring 4d of the hook 4 and the clasp 6 is engaged with the end 4c of the hook, the chicken loop can not by accident come out from the hook 4 as for example by unexpected or sudden movements, because the clasp 6 form a firm closure element of the hook 4 that can be opened only by exerting a moderate and conscious opening force on the arms 6c of the clasp to bring it in the open condition shown in FIG. 2. Thanks to the moderately forced connection, the clasp 6 does not rotate spontaneously, but keeps its closure, opening or intermediate position the kiter gives to it.
The embodiment of the invention described above can be advantageously applied either to new harnesses or to an existing harness. As a matter of fact, the clasp 6 can be either placed on a new harness since the beginning or can be supplied as an accessory that the kiter can insert on his/her existing harness.
In the variation shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, in which there have been used the same reference numbers for the components of the device according to the present invention equal to those of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the clasp 6 is connected to the harness 1 in a stable and freely pivotable way, the ends of its connection portion 6a being engaged with a seat 7 longitudinally formed on the harness 1 and defined by a bridge 8 fixed on the harness. The length of the clasp 6 is such as to guarantee a certain dimensional interference when it engages with the end 4c of the hook 4, whereby the closure condition is stable and the clasp 6 can be disengaged from the hook 4 only applying a moderate force on the arms 6c. An identical force, but in the opposite direction, has to be applied to engage the clasp 6 with the end of the hook 4.
According to the above variation of the invention the clasp 6 can not be mounted on existing harnesses by the user, but new harness bars can be equipped with it.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 the clasp 6 is divided in two parts 16 e 17. The clasp part shown as 16 is fixed to the hook 4 and to the harness 1 while the clasp part 17 is movably connectable to the fixed part 16 in a way to allow the hook 4 to be closed and opened. In particular, the fixed part 16 is formed by a strip 16a of a rigid or semi-rigid material extending between the two arms 4a and 4b of the hook 4 and having sleeve ends 16b and 16c through which fixed part 16 is connected to the harness 1 and to the transverse bar 5 of the hook 4 respectively. The movable part 17 comprises a stem 17a extending perpendicurlary from the end of a strip 17b, made of rigid or semi-rigid material as well. On the strip 16a of the fixed part 16 a hole 18 is formed substantially in correspondence of the ends of the hook 4. When the stem 17a is engaged in the hole 18 the hook 4 is closed. The engagement and the disengagement of the stem 17 in the hole 18 is obtained by applying a moderate pushing or pulling force due to the mechanical interference between the two items assuring the stability of the connection.
To lock the movable part 17 to the fixed part 16 of the clasp a quick-release connection device 19 is provided, preferably a Velcro® type connection device applied to the complementary faces of strips 16b and 17b. The movable part 17 is anyhow stably linked to the part 16 in order to avoid to lose it in the normal activities. The part 17b can be, to that end, be linked to the part 16b by a flexible element, generally made by an elastic strip stitched on both sides.
There are several situations in which the use of the device according to the present invention is particularly advantageous:
a) on ordinary riding, where there is the need to have a stable attachment to the wing, without fear of accidental unhooking, though ensuring the whole integrity of all safety devices (which every kite is equipped with), whose functions are not jeopardized.
b) in situations, especially when learning how to ride or in bad sea conditions, when the wing has fallen down in the water and the kiter is trying to relaunch it. In these conditions, there is no time and way to assure that the wing is permanently linked to the body, because the kiter is busy in different operations. It is frequent in fact, with presently available systems, that in these situations, the kiter loses his wing and is forced to recover it only by means of the auxiliary safety cable but with no chance to relaunch it any more.
c) when performing recently introduced acrobatic manoeuvres, in which there is the need to be unhooked from the wing. This mainly for kiters who want to try this kind of manoeuvres, by unhooking the wing from the body only for the time requested by the manoeuvre itself and, once this is terminated, going back to ride normally without the fear of accidental unhooking of the wing.
d) in moderate emergency situations, in which there is not the need to unhook completely from the wing (where for this purpose every kite has its special safety devices), but it is useful to unhook the chicken loop to restore or repair the possible damage or malfunction and then rapidly rehook stably to the wing.
Various modifications and alterations to the invention may be appreciated based on a review of the disclosure. These changes and additions are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the invention as defined by the following claims.
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