Good (re)post...I read the whole thing before realizing this was 5 years old. However, it did remind me of a situation that happened last year while i was out in Montauk New York (the tip of Long Island). I thought it wise to follow your post with a reminder of the necessity to call the local coast guard / police department immediately, if you are unable to retrieve your kite. The purpose of this call is not to have them retrieve it for you, but to make them aware that there is not a "missing" kiter associated with the kite.
A situation occurred in Montauk, at the end of last season, where a kiter was enjoying the waves on a slightly side off day. The kiter was very experienced and normally would have no problems in the given conditions. Somehow, the kiter lost his kite and board. Landing on the beach, frustrated, and without gear, the guy went home to watch TV and slam beers. While he was getting slammed in the comforts of his home, the coast guard and local police get notified by a bystander, that there is some gear floating just off the shore. The coast guard recovers the kite, but without a "body" were forced to launch a "search and rescue". The search involved multiple helicopters and recovery boats, while the local police searched all the nearby beaches. After a few hours of searching, the coast guard recovered the lost board, which contained this guy's phone number. They call the number, and discover the owner of the gear sitting at home watching TV. I can imagine the coast guard was thrilled that this guy was not sitting at the bottom of Long Island Sound, but i would also expect they were pretty pissed to have been wasting their time and resources on a useless search.
Estimates I heard, put the cost of this search into the low hundreds of thousands of $$$ (that is in the 6 digit range for those who are counting). I am not sure if this guy was given an invoice for the expense he created (i hope so). Regardless, it all could have been avoided with a simple 30 second call to the local police or coast guard station.