Kiteboarding Compilation by Adnan Soysal
- High End
- Low End
- Upwind Capabilities
- Lift for Jumps
- Hangtime Properties
- Turning Speed
- Water Relaunch
- Constant Power
- Aspect ratio
- Easy Handling
- Launch ability?
- High jumps?
- Wider wind range control
- Droping chance
- Easy lock on the edge.
- Easy edging.
- Quick response
- Easy power generation on making 8 signs
- Speed of making 8 signs
- Attack of angle?
- Aspect ratio
- A light wind kite (5 to 11 knots), a moderate wind kite (9 to 18 knots), a high wind kite (16 to 30 knots).
- SIZE: When the kite is straight above your head, you should feel that the kite is lifting a small portion of your weight. If the kite is not lifting you up at all, you need a bigger kite. If the kite is lifting you up off your feet occasionally, you need a smaller kite. ( all depends on the wind power )
- (the higher the wind, the lower AR kite one should use )
- Projected Surface Area
- Easy release
- Longer lines for less wind and shorter lines for more wind.
- Strength : MAIN LINES 2.5 times of your weight ; BREAK LINES: 1 times of your weight
- Has to be floatable
- Adjustable length
- Use longer lines (40 m and more):
1. If you are a beginner (use longer lines with smaller kite)
2. If the wind is light
3. If the wind is gusty (with smaller kite)
4. If you use a very fast kite (ram air foil kite)
- Use average lines (30 m)
1. For most condition
- Use shorter lines (15 - 30 m)
1. If the wind is strong
2. If you kitesurf in wave
- Check your line lengths periodically. The kite lines tend to stretch over time, and new lines you buy on a spool will need to be pre-stretched
- Low Wind Performance
- High Wind Performance
- Upwind Abilities
- Early Planing
- Wave Riding
- FEET: bindings or straps or loose bindings ?
- FINS : number of fins?
- FINS: location of the fins?
- FINS: fin material
- Surface area?
- Since the width of one's stance stays the same, the shorter the board, the more control one has over it.
- The sharpness of the rail affects the edging ability, as does the thickness.
- Thinner rail is more efficient than a thick rail for edging into the water.
- A longer rail is more efficient for edging
- A flat planning surface goes faster than a edging/banking surface
- BOARD: How big should be the kite board : Normally you need only one kiteboard (1' shorter than your height for bi-directional board and the same length as your height for directional board). If you live in a light wind area (5 to 15 knots) with some super high wind days (20 to 30+ knots), you may want to consider having 2 board: a larger one for regular days and a smaller one for super high wind days.
- FINS: all fins are mainly used to keep the board going straight. It is the upwind edge of the board that acts as the real fin providing lift to keep the board going upwind.
- FINS: more fins slows down the board
- FINS: Use 1 fin or maximum 3 fins. 4+ fins are overkill and will slow the board down
- LENGTH: Depends on average wind power and, your height
- SURFACE: Depends on the weight of the rider
- BINDING DISTANCE: Use a regular stance (the distance between the binding is around shoulder width) for more effective edging.
- The board should be as thin and as light as possible.
- SPEED: For the current edging/banking type of board, use a slightly longer, narrower board with the planning surface distributed more evenly (this could apply for the flat planning type also)
- To go finless, you need the following type of board
- A bi-directional board (wakeboard or twintip), due to the middle-of-the-board riding position.
- Thin rails (so you can edge sooner)
- FINLESS: Traditional kiteboards have many fins (more than sailboards, surfboards and wakeboards) and their purpose in normal course of kitesurfing is not to provide lift nor tracking but mainly to provide "water grip" (similar effect as anchors) in the water such that the rider would not drift downwind too fast. (Actually, the fins does provide some tracking if you go mostly downwind but as long as there is some edging - no matter how little - the tracking provided by the fins is not needed)
- FINLESS: A finless rider would have no such "water grip" and has to edge the board as soon as he/she gets on the board. Once the board is properly edged, the edge of the board will provide both lift to resist the downwind drift and tracking to stabilize the board. The major difficulty of a finless board is that before the rider edges the board he/she has very little control of the direction of the board (this same feeling has been experienced by numerous beginner snowboarders). Similar to snowboarding, a finless rider needs to always ride his/her board on its edge no matter how little.
- BOARD: A good directional jumping board is around the rider height and a good light wind board is around 1' to 1'6" longer than the rider height. For the same rider, a bi-directional board could be up to 1' to 1'6" shorter than a directional board.
- WAKEBOARD: Cuts deep, resists more, easier to go upwind,
- RAIL: The edge of the board is the rail. A rounded edge is a soft rail and a sharp edge is a hard rail.
- Short for easy use
- Long for railing, upwind power generation
A shorter twintip will make handling the board at speed much easier.
You really never need a board longer than about 150cm, and that is for marginally light or really gusty wind.
I think you would be better off with a twintip in the 120-135 cm range, with a relatively flat fast rocker and 38-41 cm wide. If you can you should try some of the new short fast twintip shapes, You'll be surprised at how easy they are to ride and how well they go in light wind. These short boards can handle a lot of power because putting your weight back on the tail will dig it in to slow you down a little as well as making the board turn upwind more easily.
Look for low volume and thin rails for better handling in choppy conditions. A lower volume board is going to hold and go through the rough stuff when you have it on edge, instead of trying to bounce up and over everything.
The only downside to the shorter shapes is that in gusty conditions you have to pay a little more attention to flattening the board out a bit and getting your weight more centered so you can coast through the lulls. Once you get that figured out they are a blast to ride because you can hold down so much power in the gusts.
- When winding your lines on your bar, use a figure 8 pattern rather than just looping them in a circle. It keeps them from tangling when you unwind.
- Attach the safety leash to your left wrist and the board leash to your right foot.
- Inflate the little bladders first, then the leading edge.
- Centerline is attached to leading edge
- CHOOSING THE RIGHT KITE SIZE
- If you can slide 5 to 10 m while managing your kite , and walk back, it's ok. You can go into water
- When piloting you can't stop sliding, or slide more than 15 m and you can't walk back, let go of the bar or use the quick release.
TIPS ON THE WATER
- Best combination for beginners is bigger board and smaller kite.
- BOARDING: Your harness is the best place to attach the board leash
- WIND HEAVY: Use a smaller (smallest) board.
- WIND HEAVY: Use a bi-directional board with bindings or at least with straps and bungee
- WIND HEAVY: Use shorter lines (down to 15 meters for kitesurfing and 10 meter for kiteskiing). The shorter the lines, the more control you have over your kite in heavy air
- A kiteboarder entering the water has priority. That means if you are in the water and want to stop, you must wait until the rider coming into the water has done his water-start. Don't forget that most accidents happen on land.
- I see a lot of beginners attempting to steer the kite as though the bar behaved like the steering wheel of a car. This is not the case. The bar should be pushed, or pulled, with the hands and arms used primarily.
- I used 30m lines first and felt slightly underpowered. I changed to 40m lines and thing got much better. To kitesurf in such a light wind and very long lines, I had to keep the kite moving all the times (to generate its own wind) and to anticipate the "unresponsiveness" of the kite.
- Foil kites are faster
- Once you are hooked in, it was extremely difficult to unhook during gust.
- 4-line kites can spin on the same spot if you pull on one of the brake line while shortly after pulling on the other main line.
- Wind window is 85 degrees to left and right
- Never practice without DEAD-MAN SAFETY
- If you are overpowered while trying to edge, try to fall on your back rather than go on a wild downwind run.
- I tried to lock the kite at various vertical angles and found that the more horizontally I locked the kite, the more power So to have more power, lock the kite at 15 degrees vertically; to have less power, lock the kite at 75 degrees vertically with 45 degrees vertically is the middle point. I actually felt very good at 45 degrees with 30 degrees was the power zone and 60 degrees was the relax zone.
- LIGHT WIND: In very light air (less than 8 knots), all kites are very sluggish, it takes eternity to wait for the kite to response to your command and turn. Anticipate this delay and command your kite 1/2 second before you actually want it to turn.
- Light air wind speed tends to fluctuate rapidly. You could be changing from an overpowered to an underpowered situation in a split second
- If the underpowered situation is temporarily (e.g. a lull), simply drop your body backward into the water. While in the water, edge the windward rail of the board. Your body and the board will create some resistance such that you will not be drifting downwind fast by the pull of the kite.
- If it seems like the wind will never come up again, go downwind. The only way to kitesurf in an underpowered situation is to go downwind. Don't even attempt to point your board upwind.
- Bend your knees and move your body closer to the center of your board.
- Move the kite continuously to generate power. Use the figure 8 pattern for more power and use the sine wave pattern for less downwind drift.
- Always use longer lines (40 m) if the wind fluctuates frequently in your area. Longer lines give you the needed power in an underpowered situation.
- If your kite cannot even fly, wind the lines in and hold your kite with both of your hands to use it as a sail to get back to shore.
- CROSSING: If you are down-wind of the other pilot, move your kite down and if you are up-wind try to move your kite up
You can jump a lot higher in waves than in flat water, so watch your landings. When in the air look to see when and where you'll be landing. Landing a high jump with your board flat is the easiest way to break your board or ankles. Use the kite to slow your descent, try to land on the back of the board and use your legs as shock absorbers.
- When referring to the kite position, 90 degrees will mean straight overhead, 45 degrees forward will mean halfway between the horizon and overhead in the direction you are heading and 45 degrees back will mean the same thing in the direction you just came from. Basically, you will send the kite from somewhere between 45 and 90 degrees forward to somewhere between 45 and 90 degrees back, then back forward again. The first action will pull you upwards. If at the same instant you get pulled you are able to do a quick turn with your board towards your backside, the opposing forces will cause you to be lifted off the water. Pulling the kite back forward again is the most important part of the sequence to insure a good landing. If you don't do this you will keep flying in the back direction and eventually slam into the water, usually with your body instead of standing on the board.
- Your eyes should be looking at the water in front of you for a takeoff spot but try to look at the kite out of the corner of your eye to monitor its position when you send it back and forward, then focus on the water again for the landing. This will provide valuable feedback on how far you send it back to achieve a given amount of pull off the water and to make sure it is going forward when landing.
- While moving fast, turn the kite upward. Edge the board hard on the water and when you feel the pull of the kite is strong enough, suddenly release the board edge and extend your knee to jump. Move the kite forward while in the air to prepare for power in landing.
- FINLESS: Jumping a finless board is slightly harder than jumping on a traditional board; however, once you got the feel of it, you can jump higher than on a traditional board (the board is faster creating more line tension; the edge is more effective creating more potential energy)
A finless board has no "water grip" and force you to use the edge of the board more by keeping more pressure balance between the front and the back foot. It's very easy to "loose the edge" (by loosing the balance between the front/tail edge and the pulling force of the kite) so pay more attention to your edging than your kite.
Once you know how to use the edge of the board better, it actually provides much more lift and downwind drift resistance. This would create more line tension allowing you to jump higher than a traditional board in the same condition (a traditional board will create the "water grip" illusion that prevent you from using the edge of the board to its full potential).
- To jump, you need to be in a powered up situation where you can lock the kite in at 45 degrees vertically or making a small sine wave between 35 to 55 degrees vertically.
- What exactly do you mean by "jump jibe?" If you want to jump going
one direction and land travelling in the opposite direction you need
to do the following - it'll take a bit of practice in timing the kite.
1) Send the kite back slowly at first,
2) release the edge of your board - your now jumping,
3) now straighten the kite so it is flying directly above you
4) when you start to descend pull with your old backhand and direct the kite in the opposite direction to which you were originally travelling.
5)If you want to land Hot going the other direction you should land with the kite actually diving towards the water in the new direction - this will give you a lot of speed.
If your kite is a slower kite or you are not planning on going to high you may not have to straighten the kite (point 3 above) - just pull back and keep pulling.
You need 15 knots wind for jumping
- If you release the edge too soon, you will slide down wind instead of jumping. If you release the edge too late the kite will probably yank you right out of your board.
- If you are loosing balance in a lull, bend you knee to keep your center of gravity closer to the center of the board
- If the wind is strong, you can keep going by locking the kite at 35-45 degrees vertically in a forward moving position. If the wind is not very strong (the board slows down, the pull of the kite becomes weaker), you need to move kite up & down to generate more pull. Move the kite up and down using the sine wave pattern within 15 to 75 degrees vertically
- Each time you fall, the kite will pull you around 20 to 50 m downwind.
- You press the front foot to move down wind/down hill and press on the back foot to move up wind/up hill.
- Create resistance, otherwise kite may stall
- The kitesurfer can move this center of force slightly by transferring his weight to his front foot or his back foot.
- Move the center of resistance forward by pressing the windward edge to put the board from 15 to 45 degrees to the water.
- Rider should act Act as a "universal join" to transfer the power of the kite to the board to make the board move.
- To steer the board downwind (away from the wind, leeward), flatten the board and press more on the front foot. Your body may need to be shifted slightly toward the front of the board.
- As you ride down the face of a wave you pick up speed and the kite will pull harder due to the increased apparent wind and also because, as your board speed increases the kite moves back into the center of the power zone.
- The edging pressure of the board should normally be balance between 2 feet (if you press too hard on the front, the board will sink when underpowered and if you press too hard on the back, the board will slip and slide)
- To be able to come back to where you start on the beach, you need to go opposite to the direction of the pulling force (the kite) by edging the windward rail and it's the edge of the board that offer both lift (to resist the down-wind drift) and tracking (to stable the board in the moving direction). If you don't believe that the edge of the board provide tracking, just ask any snowboarder ("always ride on the edge" is the first thing a snowboarder learn as that provides the tracking needed to control the board).
- A finless board accelerates sooner and goes faster (due to no drag, turbulence under the board and cleaner water escape at the tail of the board.
- It's less dangerous (no sharp fins to cut your face and body).
- It's less costly (no fins to buy or replace).
- It's most fascinating as kiteboard is the only planning sailing craft on earth to go upwind without the help of any fin.
- It's make the board more responsive to rider input.
- A finless board forces the rider to learn how to use the edge of the board more effectively.
- This will result in going faster, more upwind and eventually jump higher.
- A finless board forces the board shaper to focus more on proper rail shapes. This will result in more effective boards. It's more fun and more challenging riding finless.
- I noticed that knee bending was definitely the technique to absorb bump in choppy water. However, when encountering a large chop, it was easier to jump instead of absorbing the bump
- If the wind is strong, you can keep going by locking the kite at 35-45 degrees vertically in a forward moving position. If the wind is not very strong (the board slows down, the pull of the kite becomes weaker), you need to move the kite up & down (in a sine wave pattern) to generate more pull. Move the kite up and down using the sine wave pattern within 15 to 75 degrees vertically. Remember to move the kite up as soon as you are on the board.
- FINLESS: Once moving, the rider should keep a balance weight distribution on the board. The weight of the rider should be in the middle of the board for a beam reach, slightly more forward for a broad reach (down wind) and slightly more tailward for an upwind reach (close haul).
- A flat planning surface goes faster than a edging/banking surface (this is the reason why you go extremely fast in downwind kitesurfing - almost no edging).
- A planning surface with less wet surface (surface that touches the water) goes faster than a planning surface with more wet surface
- A faster kite (normally higher aspect ratio) make you go faster.
- Select a board made for speed instead of jumping.
- It can be hard to figure out which kite is fastest since the weight of a large kite makes it take longer to speed up and large kites are flown in lower wind, which makes them fly slower. Large kites also look slower due to their large size - though a large kite may cross the window in the same amount of time, a small kite travels its own length sooner, and, combined with quick acceleration due to light weight, therefore looks faster. The kite that flies at the highest angle in decent wind will be the fastest, generally speaking (Mark Frasier).
- You go faster hooking in and the kite locked in.
- Try to keep the board and kite as stable and quiet as possible with minimal control inputs (Rick Iossi). Try to keep the board as flat as possible on the water by shifting weight a bit more forward on the board and edging less while running on a broad reach (Rick Iossi).
- Get in a "tuck" position, like a skier or bicyclist, with your spine oriented in the direction of travel. Keep your elbows tucked in and your center of mass low. Try to make your body slip through the wind rather than letting it be a big drag chute. The kite will be pulling from your side rather than from your front when you are in this position (Mark Frasier).
- Fly the kite 10-20 degrees over the water. If the wind is light or if the wind is blowing much faster higher up it may help to fly the kite higher, but generally the lower the kite is the more force is used for forward propulsion. Reducing your weight on the board is not as important once you're planning fast (Mark Frasier).
- Stay in the harness and try to keep a light grip on the handles/bar. This keeps a more even pressure on the kite lines (Mark Frasier).
- Don't "sine wave" the kite once you are up to speed. If "working" the kite makes you go faster try a bigger kite (Mark Frasier
- The fastest course is slightly downwind, maybe 10 degrees (Mark Frasier)
- Try to check your speed with a GPS or board speedometer, or get someone to time you over a course. Sometimes the runs that feel the fastest actually aren't. Going fairly fast with too much kite can feel faster than going really fast with the right size kite. Going across or slightly upwind makes
the kite pull harder and therefore feel faster but you'll actually be going slower. Try to learn to judge your speed independent of the kite's pull and the water conditions (Mark Frasier).
- To go fast upwind or downwind while still using the kite that gives you top speed on the optimal course, get going fast as possible on the optimal course before changing heading, and try to keep as much speed as possible. Change your heading with fine movements, rather than edging suddenly (Mark Frasier).
- Use your legs as shock absorbers. Try to keep your body stable and let the board move up and down with the bumps (Mark Frasier).
In waves and in general a low AR (aspect ratio) kite is a lot faster to relaunch than a high AR kite.
- After the kite is launched use its power to drag you and the board out to deep water or the wind line.
- The right hand should only release the board once the right foot is about to insert into the strap
- Once on the board, press slightly on the front foot and move the kite upward once it almost reach the bottom or the edge of the wind window.
- If the board start sinking, you are loosing the balance or the kite pulls too much upward, bend the knee to move the body more to the center of the board (this will lower the center of gravity to have more balance)
- When the kite reaches a good height (70-75 degrees vertically), dive it down forward to generate pull. If you are loosing balance, dive the kite down sooner (once it reaches 55 to 65 degrees vertically). When the kite start pulling, lean the body backward (extend your knees if they were previously bent).
- Wait until wind brings the leading edge up.
- It is difficult to launch an inflatable kite at wind power of 6-7 knots OR or when the bridle is inverted (more difficult but still relauncheable).
- Dive the kite forward (the depth of the dive is dependent on the wind and your weight - the deeper you dive the kite the more power it generates). At this stage it is better to be underpowered and fall backward than to be overpowered and fall forward. Once you fall forward, you have to start the Getting Ready stage all over again!
- When the kite starts pulling, lean the body backward.
- If you are flying 20 meter line, keep the 30 meter zone free, if you are flying 30 meter keep the 45 meter zone free
- Don't kite in stormy, gusty conditions
- Don't hook in on land or near shore
- Don't use board leash
- Before launching, choose a down-wind drop point in case of problem.
- Always use kite leash
- Always carry a knife to cut tangled lines
- WIND: The obstacles modify the trajectory of the wind and create rolls, undulations and turbulence. The wind can therefore hit the kite from below or above, depending on the position of the kite in the roll.
The area that the wind is disturbed is 7 times the height of the obstacle down-wind, and 3 times up-wind.
Caution! Don't ride up-wind near mountains, hills, or cliffs, because a gust can take you up.
- Out of the accidents recorded in the KSI so far:
Light or no injury 34 or 32%
Serious or moderate injury 57 or 54%
Fatal 14 or 13%
Unknown skill 27 or 26%
Beginner 19 or 18%
Experienced 59 or 56%
Of the 57 serious accidents
Unknown skill 13 or 23%
Beginner 12 or 21%
Experienced 32 or 56%
Of the 14 fatal accidents:
Unknown skill 3 or 21%
Beginner 4 or 29%
Experienced 7 or 50%
SAFETY - 1
1. Readily help other riders with launching and landing. Whether you are starting out or are almost a pro, your help may avoid a serious incident/accident and possible restrictions. Get involved with your local association or club and with area riders to try to preserve access to kiteboard. Riders are solely responsible for their safety and that of effected bystanders. If you are new to an area or visiting, seek out local kiteboarders, shops and/or associations for local guidelines and rules before riding.
2. All kiteboarders, particularly beginners should seek adequate professional instruction. Beginners must avoid crowded areas as most bystanders aren't aware the potential hazards. Beginners should body drag out at least 300 ft. (60m) from shore prior to water starting and should always stay out of guarded or restricted beach areas.
3. Know your equipment's limitations as well as your own. If you aren't 100% healthy OR IN DOUBT, DON'T FLY! Always maintain an energy reserve while out kiteboarding. Hydrate regularly and wear adequate exposure clothing to deal with extended time in the water. Don't kiteboard alone or further from shore than you are readily able to swim in from.
4. Make sure you have proper safety equipment, i.e. a tested, well maintained kite depowering leash attached to your body, a good well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves, whistle and hook knife. Rigging a frequently tested, well maintained and reliable chicken loop or centerline quick release should be carefully considered.
5. Give way to the public on the beach and in the water at ALL TIMES. Be courteous and polite to bystanders. Complaints have led to restrictions on kiteboarding in some areas.
6. Is the weather acceptable, free of storm clouds and excessive gusty winds? If storm clouds are moving in, land and disable your kite well in advance of any change in wind or temperature. Consider organizing an alert air horn and flag signal for your launch as a warning to riders of pending unstable weather. Are seas and wind condition within your experience, ability and appropriate for your gear? Offshore and onshore winds should be avoided. REMEMBER: TWICE THE WIND - FOUR TIMES THE POWER!
7. If despite all precautions you are lofted AND have time to react, depower your kite at the earliest possible time and ideally before being lofted and still offshore, away from hard objects. Multiple gusts can hit over a short period and you may be lofted a second or third time, so ACT to depower your kite as soon as you can.
1. Make sure your launch is open, FREE OF DOWNWIND BYSTANDERS, hard objects, nearby power lines, buildings and walls, within at least 100 ft. (30 m), and preferably 200 ft. (60 m) or more. Avoid kiteboarding near airports and in low flight path areas.
2. Check to see what size kite other kiteboarders are rigging and get their input on conditions. Do not rig too large a kite for conditions and carefully consider advice of more experienced riders. Failure to act on prudent advice has cost some riders very dearly.
3. Check your kite for tears or leaky bladders. If you have leaky bladders or tears in your kite, repair them before flying.
4. Check ALL lines, webbing, pigtails, bridles, the chicken loop and leaders for knots, wear or abrasions. If the line sheathing shows any breaks, replace them. The pigtails should be replaced no less frequently than every 6 months on inflatable kites.
5. Make sure your flying lines are equal as they will stretch unevenly with use. If they have knots that can't be easily untied, replace your flight lines.
6. Solo launching and landing are NOT recommended. If solo launching make sure your kite is properly anchored with a substantial quantity of sand and is draped downwind to avoid premature launch. Rig your kite for solo launch at the last minute and launch without delay AFTER CAREFUL PREFLIGHTING as serious accidents have happened in only minutes during this stage. If you leave the kite unattended, disabled by disconnecting all lines from one side and roll your lines when not in use.
7. Walk down your lines and examine them carefully. Just before launch pick your bar up and carefully look down the lines for twists and tangles that could cause the kite to be dangerously uncontrollable. While you are holding your bar up look down the lines, shake your bar to make sure the center lines are connected to the leading edge of the kite. Be particularly careful, slow and methodical in high winds. Multiple, careful preflighting in higher winds are advised.
LAUNCHING AND GETTING UNDERWAY
1. Avoid hooking or snap shackling in while onshore or near hard objects. CONSIDER LAUNCHING AND LANDING "UNHOOKED" or not connected to your chicken loop. Pull in your trim strap or rope entirely or to a point that will allow stable kite flight with existing wind conditions, to properly depower the kite before launching and so that you can readily hold the bar and release it if necessary. Physically and mentally rehearse managing emergency situations including just "letting go" of your bar.
2. Announce your intention to launch and then launch promptly. In many cases the kite should be launched towards or preferably from the water. Assisted launches are always preferred.
3. To try to avoid lofting or involuntary lifting. DO NOT BRING YOUR KITE much above 20 degrees off of the surface, within 200 ft. (60 m) of ANY HARD OBJECT (on water or land). NEVER BRING YOUR KITE TO THE VERTICAL WITHIN THIS 200 ft., preferably more, of hard objects.
4. Go offshore at least 300 ft. WITHOUT DELAY after launch. Stay beyond 300 ft. until time to come in. If there are substantial waves where you need to put on your board consider body dragging outside the breaker zone first. Be aware of and properly react in advance of low flying aircraft coming into your area.
5. Yield the right of way to all others in the water. Riders must yield to others when jumping, maneuvering, or riding on port tack (left hand forward). Kiteboarders should not jump within a buffer zone of at least two hundred feet (60 m) of others and objects that are downwind. Incoming riders give way to those launching.
6. All kiteboarders are encouraged to master body dragging to facilitate board recovery. Use of a board leash may prove to be hazardous to the rider due to board rebound. Wearing a helmet is always advised but a helmet may not provide adequate projection against board impact as the boards can and have violently hit any part of the rider.
7. If you are in the water for an extended period of time, frequently signal that you are "OK" to the shore by placing one hand on your head, palm down for ten or more seconds every 15 to 20 minutes to try to avoid an unnecessary rescue attempt.
1. Approach the shore slowly with caution. Take care to avoid causing an accidental jump in well powered conditions by slowing suddenly while approaching the shore. Keep your kite low (ideally within 20 ft. of the surface), to try avoid lofting.
2. Arrange for assisted landings at least 200 ft. (60 m) from bystanders, power lines and vertical surfaces. Do not use non-kiteboarders for assisted launches or landings. Use mutually understood, hand and voice signals to improve launch and landing safety. IF IN ANY DOUBT, ALWAYS SAFELY SOLO DEPOWER your kite in the shallows well away from shore and bystanders and swim in.
3. Properly anchor your kite, disconnect and wind up your kite lines. The kite should be placed in a safe area well out of bystander and vehicular traffic.
Kiteboarding is an incredible new extreme sport that is sweeping around the World. The thrills and shear joy of flashing over the water and flinging yourself, spinning into the sky at will is addictive! Lot of power in this sport, it's part of the attraction and sometimes a threat as well. Riders are slammed and injured sometimes for want of just a bit more care and knowledge. Consider working the following ten points and other good practices into your riding habits. They may help to keep both you and bystanders safer and help to maintain kiteboarding access for us all to enjoy this great sport. These guidelines have grown out of the analysis of almost one hundred kiteboarding incidents and accidents. We are always learning new things about safe kiteboarding in this new sport so be aware of new techniques and updates to this list. NOTE: Even if these guidelines are
followed serious injury can still occur in kiteboarding, so be careful out there.
SAFETY - 2
1. NEVER LAUNCH OR RIDE WITHIN 200 FT. OR 60 M UPWIND OF BYSTANDERS OR HARD
OBJECTS ...land, boats, rocks, walls, buildings, powerlines, roads or prominent vertical surfaces or steep slopes that may cause uplift. Depower your kite as early as possible if trouble threatens. Waiting may remove the option to do so safely. Riders have been injured and killed by ignoring
this. In kiteboarding "DISTANCE IS YOUR FRIEND" and may sometimes help to forgive bad luck & errors in judgment.
2. AVOID STORMS & SQUALLS. CHECK WEATHER RADAR, WIND & FORECASTS & BE AWARE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS WHILE RIDING. Storms & squalls have injured lots of
kiteboarders & are a serious threat. Actual weather may differ from predicted conditions so stay alert. If you see squalls or storms, LAND, remove the lines & SECURE your kite in advance of any change in wind or temperature. Riders have been injured by reacting too late or not at all.
Avoid offshore & onshore winds.
3. TAKE ADEQUATE PRO KITEBOARDING LESSONS FROM A GOOD SCHOOL carefully build
experience in manageable conditions. Lessons cost but you should be kiteboarding faster, easier & safer for your investment. Also you could save your expensive gear & yourself from damage & our access to ride.
4. CAREFULLY PREFLIGHT YOUR GEAR, make sure lines are equal, in good condition, free of tangles/snags, are properly attached & no leaks are present. Repair gear before launching.
5. USE SAFETY GEAR ... a suitable helmet, impact vest, tested kite leash, reliable chicken loop quick releases (QR) & fixed harness line QR, gloves & hook knife(s). Practice mentally & physically reacting to emergency situations, e.g. lofting & dragging, to try to reduce critical reaction time. Test & maintain your quick releases before each use to improve reliable performance.
6. BE CAREFUL IN & CONSIDER AVOIDING HIGHER WINDS while kiteboarding, that is potentially winds much greater than 18 kts or 20 mph. Kite forces & flight speeds can be much greater & conditions far less forgiving of errors in judgment & simple bad luck & have resulted in serious injuries.
7. CONSIDER LAUNCHING UNHOOKED from your bar for rapid release & kite leash activation if things go wrong. Consider hooking into your QR fixed harness line only once you are near the water & your kite is well low over the water in order to grab your board. Connect to your chicken loop offshore.
8. HAVE AN EXPERIENCED HELPER LAUNCH & LAND YOUR KITE who understands your
instructions without error. If conditions permit, it may be safer to launch your kite near or from the water.
9. KEEP YOUR KITE LOW & NEVER BRING IT TO THE VERTICAL WHILE NEAR HARD
OBJECTS OR LAND TO TRY TO AVOID LOFTING. GET OFFSHORE WITHOUT DELAY.
10. AVOID COMPLAINTS TO KEEP KITEBOARDING FREE & AT WILL. Jump to help kiteboarders. If you see someone doing something reckless, grab your friends & go talk with him. We are all in this sport together so pitch in & be ready to help to keep riders safe and to work to preserve access.
LET GO OFF THE BAR IF
- The bar escapes your hands
- The power is too strong
- You are about to meet an obstacle
- Your kite and your lines meet an obstacle
- You lose control of the speed
- You want to land the kite alone
Some ideas about what might constitute an appropriate helmet for kiteboarding follow:
1. Good, snug, well secure and comfortable fit.
2. Close fit resulting in low drag.
3. Light weight.
4. Well padded with suitable material for impact absorption.
5. Excellent drainage/fit characteristics to reduce water retention or bucketing potential.
6. A good hard shell for impact dispersal and penetration resistance. Kevlar may offer better performance qualities that the ABS plastics commonly used but there is little kiteboarding
experience to evaluate in this regard. Kayak helmets may be the only variety to offer Kevlar shells at this time.
7. Strong, corrosion resistant fastenings.
The list could go on longer.
Gath excels in many of these areas, particularly in the areas of
points 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 .
- Move the center of force slightly backward by transferring your weight more to the back foot. Since one cannot move the center of force backward much, some kitesurfers just ignore this. Move the center of resistance forward by pressing the windward edge to put the board from 15 to 45 degrees to the water.
- Try pushing your back heel down into the board, forcing the board to edge more into the water, and then forcing against the kite. This will not only force the kite to the edge of the window, but will also slow you down and turn you more sharply upwind. At first this might stall you out to the point where you lose speed and fall over on your back. You just have to learn the balance point of edging upwind and maintaining board speed. Its an art!
- Also, look into the wind, not at the kite, and your head being turned will automatically turn your hips toward the wind. Turning your hips is an important piece of the equation to ride upwind. This will straighten your forward leg and bend your rear leg like the stance you see expert riders holding while riding. Also, your weight will shift more toward the rear of the board which is what you want, but again balance of kitepower and board speed come into play so you don't fall on your butt
- Riding upwind will create more drag at the board and eventually slow your board speed and kite speed, so you will need to work the kite if you're not well-powered up. You'll know you're going upwind when the sound of the wind is much louder in your ears
- Now I started to understand the "physics" of going upwind. Normally, when the kite pulled, it's in the middle of the flight path to the forward edge of the wind window. If you yield to the pull and go down wind, the kite and the board will travel fast (probably at the same speed) down wind such that the kite is constantly in the middle of the flight path to the forward edge of the wind window. It's a vicious circle: the more the kite pull, the more you go down wind, the more the kite will continue to pull (because the kite would never be able to get to the edge of the wind window). It's worst when you are in an overpowered situation; you will move down wind faster in a constant overpowered situation! The only way to "fight" the pull of the kite is to go upwind. Fight the kite's pull with whatever you have: your weight, your muscles and your board. Let the kite carry your entire weight; use your legs to edge the board very hard and turn it way upwind. If you fight hard enough, your board will slow down and the kite will "reach" the edge of the forward wind window. Once it's there, the pull will lessen and you can control both the board and the kite better if you keep on going in the same upwind direction. Don't point your board downwind or move your kite to get into another overpowered situation. You will be in for another upwind fight again.
- To go really upwind, you need to stand straight, lean your body 45 degrees (or more) backward, press hard on the windward rail (evenly on both feet ?).
- The moment you start feeling the board going very fast and downwind, turn the board upwind immediately. If the board has already gone downwind very fast it is too late.
- Try leaning back against the lines more, this will put more of your weight against the kite, once again you have to find a place were there is a balance. (like riding a bicycle)
- Turn the board more upwind by using pressure on your back foot.
- To steer the board upwind (toward the wind, windward), edge the windward edge of the board - keep the windward rail slightly under the water - and press slightly more on the back foot. The more you press on the back foot, the more the board will go upwind. You will need strong pull from the kite to assist going upwind. So you only be able to do this with the kite locked in at 35-45 degrees vertically on a strong wind day or while the kite is diving down.
- If the wind is strong, just lock the kite in at 35-45 degrees vertically, edge the windward rail and press slightly more on the back foot. The board will go upwind. If you are going too much upwind and the board starts loosing speed, you may need to temporarily steer the board downwind to gather speed before steering the board back upwind.
- If the wind is not strong, you need to make the sine wave pattern with your kite. When the kite goes up, you should steer the board slightly downwind to gather speed and when the kite goes down, you can steer the board upwind. The board will make a figure S, which goes downwind then upwind, where the upwind leg is more pronounced such that you will end up going upwind.
- If you are going too much upwind and the board starts loosing speed, you may need to temporarily steer the board downwind to gather speed before steering the board back upwind
- Turn your upper body to face the direction where you're going. This position helps your legs to turn the board upwind and also allows you to see where you are going. You may have to turn your head slightly backward occasionally (do not turn your whole upper body) to look at your kite.
- When you turn your board upwind, always edge the windward rail 30 to 45 degrees to the water and lean your body 45 degrees backward.
- When the wind is strong, the pull of the kite will make you go downwind. Do not let that happens. You have to
- You need at least 10 mph to water re-launch a kite with this
- Hold the kite up with your right hand over your head. Hold the control bar up with your left hand; 2 or 3 fingers should be on the brake.
- Push your feet down on the water to move your body up slightly then immediately release the kite (throwing it over your head).
- The right hand grabs the control bar and yank the kite twice down/up, down/up water launching: Release the lines 10' Yank the kite twice (down/up, down/up)
- Release another 10'. The kite should be high up right now for a control release without yanking the kite
- Helper should never hold the lines
- Helper and yourself should walk to each other to get rid of the tension
MESSAGES ON GOING UPWIND
I will put out a few suggestions that you might try the next time your out. First get the concept down. Imagine the wind is at you back, and you have the wind window edge to your right and to your left, as well as above you in an arc shape. Just like you can park your kite straight overhead, so too you can park it to your left or your right. That is what I will call the right or left edge of the
window "boundary line". Just before that right or left boundary line the kite has pulling power and just after it there is very little or no pulling ability. In going upwind you want to have the kite just inside that boundary line in the direction you are going, either to your right or left. You also need the right amount of board speed to be able to maintain that kite position just inside the boundary line.
If your board speed is too slow the kite will travel beyond the boundary line in the direction you are going and loose pulling power. If your board speed is too fast, you end up going faster than the
kite is traveling, and so the kite moves more toward the center of the power window causing you to go faster and faster because the pull is stronger there. The idea of sining the kite up and down can be two fold. One it creates apparent wind. The other is to slow the kite down in traveling to the left or the right, so that you can gain some ground on the kite, thus changing where the kite is in the window (the kite moves more toward the center of the window as you gain board speed). OK so much for the concept, I hope you got some of that in my attempt to put it into words. So what you are dealing with is kite position, edging, and board speed. There are a few techniques that may assist you in this. Practice starting the kite off more toward the edge of the window or boundary line as I called it, especially in powered conditions. Make you initial dive of the kite past center so that the kite is in front of you when you get going. You will have to practice to see just aggressively you will have to dive the kite to get going and stay going. A tip here is that if you start with the kite more toward the boundary line to your left or right, you will have to dive it much more aggressively than if you started your initial dive right through the center of the power zone. I am not saying to actually start your initial dive at the boundary line, but just to the right of center if you were going to your right. Once your up if you feel pulled really strong, bring the kite overhead until you slow your board speed a bit and then again dive the kite more toward the boundary line to keep going. Once you get more proficient, you can actually edge a bit harder in a way that causes more drag in the water, so that the kite moves ahead of you toward the boundary line and slows its pull on you. This is different than just straight edging, which can actually make you go faster, especially on a wakeboard or twintip if your weight shifts to a more even stance on the board. It involves body position on your board and resistance. Another thing that can help is to stay square
with the kite and don't twist your body. In other words keep your hips parallel with the kite. Stance can help that if you use a wakeboard or twintip. Don't duck the bindings out too far, maybe 5 degrees max. These are all things that will eventually come naturally, but for now realize the following. If you are going too fast blazing down wind, it is because the kite is too far toward the
center of the wind window, which means your board speed is too fast also. If you are loosing power and there is adequate wind, your board speed is too slow and the kite is too close to the boundary line. Stay quiet and steady with the kite as much as possible . Avoid sudden and irratic changes in sining the kite. Make nice smooth wide turns. Do the same with the board. Try to settle in and keep a decent edge, but don't try to force it so much. You don't need to fight pull of the kite or the board, just to go upwind. As you have already experienced in the light wind conditions, going up wind is not dependent on speed and strength. Find the balance in board speed and kite position relative to keeping the kite close to the boundary line, and you will go upwind.