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the right sized kite

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slowboat
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the right sized kite

Postby slowboat » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:13 am

People talk about having just enough kite to waterstart and then once on foil, "you are good to go". I am finding that that is not always the case. When I select a kite small enough that I have to work at the waterstart (lots of "sine-ing" back and forth, etc), I still feel underpowered once on foil. I have to move the kite around just to maintain enough power to cruise upwind for example. Am I trying to go too small? What's your gauge for knowing you have selected the right kite size?

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Pedro Marcos
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Re: the right sized kite

Postby Pedro Marcos » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:27 am

slowboat wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:13 am
People talk about having just enough kite to waterstart and then once on foil, "you are good to go". I am finding that that is not always the case. When I select a kite small enough that I have to work at the waterstart (lots of "sine-ing" back and forth, etc), I still feel underpowered once on foil. I have to move the kite around just to maintain enough power to cruise upwind for example. Am I trying to go too small? What's your gauge for knowing you have selected the right kite size?
If your target is to ride underpowered then the size is that one that gets you going without having to move much the kite once on the foil, an example would be: a 75kg rider on a 8m LEI in 12 knots.

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Re: the right sized kite

Postby Kamikuza » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:49 am

Yeah, go up a couple of meters on the kite. 10m is my sweet spot these days; if I need a smaller kite I can ride the TT, if I use a 12m it's too slow, heavy, powerful when foiling.

If your thing is riding that way, that is. Some people want to crank it with power.

My personal gauge for if there's enough wind to use my 10m and foil, is if I can just park the kite at 11 or 1 and not have it fall out of the sky. At that point I usually have to work the kite to get up speed, but then I'm off on apparent wind...

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Re: the right sized kite

Postby evan » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:04 pm

What foil? Some foils are too slow and/or have too much drag to create enough apparent wind from an "underpowered" kite so you need to ride bigger than someone on a higher performance low-drag foil.

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Re: the right sized kite

Postby codifilo » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:25 pm

evan wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:04 pm
What foil? Some foils are too slow and/or have too much drag to create enough apparent wind from an "underpowered" kite so you need to ride bigger than someone on a higher performance low-drag foil.
I thought it was the other way around. The bigger the wing, more lift so you can ride with a smaller kite.

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Re: the right sized kite

Postby herbert » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:36 pm

codifilo wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:25 pm
evan wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:04 pm
What foil? Some foils are too slow and/or have too much drag to create enough apparent wind from an "underpowered" kite so you need to ride bigger than someone on a higher performance low-drag foil.
I thought it was the other way around. The bigger the wing, more lift so you can ride with a smaller kite.
And that is the irony. A foil with more lift may indeed start you flying at a slower board speed, but with added drag of a higher lift wing, you may need more kite to even get you up to that speed and to maintain that speed.

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Re: the right sized kite

Postby jumptheshark » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:46 pm

There are a lot of different foil wings out now.

The big thick surf wings that are not specifically designed for kiting are designed to go slow. Examples being the Takuma or Cloud 9 wings. They have a lot of lift and surface area, but thick profiles have more drag and require a certain minimum kite power to get back upwind. While on a wave, they don't need the kite at all.

There are quite a few kite specific foil wings that also have larger area, but much thinner profiles with minimal drag. Examples being the carver wing from Zeeko or the Ketos XL wave wing. These are better for getting a lower wind range out of your kites.

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Re: the right sized kite

Postby plummet » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:18 pm

The kite you choose is hugely determined by your style. Some people want minimum kite power and want that work the kite underpowered feel. They are typically the ex surfboard wave riders who want to drift and ride swells/waves with minimal kite input. Then at the other end of the spectrum is the racers and boosters. They will choose the biggest kite they can hold onto for max speed and boost. The difference is significant. in 15-16 knots the racer/booster is on a 12m or bigger and the drifter is changing down to a 6m and starting to think about a 4m....
I am somewhere in between, I like power and speed but I also like to ride swell and waves. So I will choose a kite a size or two up from the purist wave rider and a couple of sizes down from the purist speedster/booster. In the 15-16 knot range i am either on my 8m or 10m depending on how i feel.

Choose your style and select the kite accordingly.

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Re: the right sized kite

Postby nismo98 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:46 pm

As others have said I think it will depend highly on the wing style you ride on but also your body weight. I have flown a 5m in 12-14 knots on a medium aspect and had no problem going up wind but I am a lightweight. I actually had to loop the kite twice at times to get up(once to get on the board and a second to get speed and on the wing.

That being said, as much fun as going out way underpowered can be fun and different my favorite foiling conditions are 15-20knots on my 8m. Its small enough that it loops fast and easy but has enough power at 18 knotts for some fun jumps.

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Re: the right sized kite

Postby Peter_Frank » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:22 pm

slowboat wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:13 am
People talk about having just enough kite to waterstart and then once on foil, "you are good to go". I am finding that that is not always the case. When I select a kite small enough that I have to work at the waterstart (lots of "sine-ing" back and forth, etc), I still feel underpowered once on foil. I have to move the kite around just to maintain enough power to cruise upwind for example. Am I trying to go too small? What's your gauge for knowing you have selected the right kite size?

If you ask how WE know we have selected the right kite size, I think the answer is useless for you, as it is a no brainer: You have selected the right kite size when you DONT wish you had taken a size bigger or smaller :lol:

But I get your point...

And it seems like you ARE trying to go too small for some reason ?

Pedro is spot on, that you can ride an 8 m2 LEI when average weight no problems in 12 knots, not even on the light side always, but close.

Plummet also nailed it, extreme individual differences.

It also depends on what YOU want to do on a given day, as you might want to rig a bit on the big or small size, depending on your liking and aim for the very session.
T.ex practising flying jibes the hard way, meaning very low powered so more difficult but will give you excellent touch and control. Or the opposite, to make it easy when learning stuff, rig bigger.
Or if you like to practice flying 360s at higher speed and successrate, you rig bigger, and if you want to finetune your "everything" you rig smaller, and practice these 360's for the perfect touch.
And so on and so on...

Having said that though, my observations is that most dont change at all, and they find the niche they like (after some years) and stick to this "powerlevel" for everything.


For me, as I dont like to ride underpowered at all - but definitely better to be on the light side than the "too much" side, my gauge is:
Never having to work the kite when riding - if, you are WAY too small IMO.
Being able to ride toeside on any course, upwind or halfwind or downwind, and with the kite high OR low, without getting out of control (= not accelerating too much), as if, you are too big.

For my typical preference that is, but it will always be extremely individual :wink:

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