If you are an inexperienced kiter I guarantee this will happen a good few times.
Here is how it goes: You watch all of the sickest videos for hours. The wind finally comes and you and your mates jump in the car with all of your gear. Miraculously, there isn't any traffic. You get to the beach, no one is out, its blowing 20 knots. The sight of your spot is so desirable that your mouth completely fills with saliva. Despite this, you manage to incoherently ring your boss and tell them that you have a terrible headache. Everything is in place for this biggest shred session of your life. You might even get sponsored this session, who knows. It's now or never because everything is looking good. Almost too good.
Yup, way too good- your lines get unbelievably tangled when you are running them out. What starts as a 'its okay i'll just push it to the end' ends in a bird's nest fit for a pregnant Albatross. Tears start to fill your eyes as you mindlessly make things worse whilst your mates are on the water having the time of their lives. You make the mental note that your lines seem to get tangled by just looking at them. Your mate makes a very funny comment about how you're going to be eating spaghetti for dinner. Even the old lady walking her dog is laughing at you.
If this story sounds familiar, here are some key steps to avoiding the terrible disease of tanglitus.
So, you've got a tangle. First tip is DO NOT PANIC and don't let capital letters make you panic.
Try get someone else to do it for you. Or use another bar. If it's not that bad, try to do the lines normally but with a friend keeping tension on the lines from the other end. Hopefully they are just wrapped around each other rather than knotted.
Nope, they're knotted. Remain calm and slowly attempt to separate the birds nest by grabbing parts of it and teasing them out from the rest. Once you've got a bit of breathing room, look for the loops that are causing the problems. Take the culprit loop and ease it out of the nest by following it back to the bar. Once you've had a good crack at the loops, find the end of 1 line (could start with the red one) and start to wangle it all the way out. This involves effectively following the line back on itself, through all of the knots and twists. Once you've got it all the way out, separate it from the rest and start on the next one. Repeat until they are all are free. Then go and shred. Easy.
DISCLAIMER: this is the best way for a stressed-out kiter of average intelligence who wants a simple way of untangling. If you come from a Harvard sailing family who weirdly enjoy untangling and you've been doing it for years, I'm sure there are faster ways.
Here are a few tips on preventing a birds nest:
At the end of your session, ensure your middle lines are unwound- this may involve spinning the center lines numerous times in the right direction.
When winding in, do figure-of-eights with the big stuff around the bar center until you reach the lines, then do bigger figures over the bar ends. As you do so, keep the lines flat in your fingers, preventing line twists. The videos above shows this nice and clearly.
Leave your lines connected to the kite as you wind them up (this significantly reduces the risk of tangles) and walk towards the kite, keeping tension in the lines. Undo your lines when you reach them.
If you do get twigs/ seaweed in your lines as you are winding them in, make sure you get it all out. All of it.
Wash your lines in fresh water after your session to avoid the lines becoming sticky.