Favorite Beaches: _ Crandon - Key Biscayne, FL Sherman Island - Antioch, CA Crissy Field - San Francisco, CA Kanaha - Maui, HI Anne's Beach - Islamorada, FL Curry Hammocks - Marathon, FL Kite Beach - Cabarete, Dominican Republic Tableview - Cape Town, South Africa Main Beach - Langebaan, South Africa Mui Ne Bay - Ham Tien, Vietnam
My experience with big board/smaller kite vs big kite/smaller board is that the big board/smaller kite combo can handle higher variances and will provide a smoother experience in LW, but the bigger kite/smaller board will let you do more aerial tricks during gusts, albeit leaving you in a tight spot during lulls sometimes. If you just want to cruise around mowing the lawn or doing surface tricks, then big board/smaller kite is the way to go. Simply buy a large LW board to pair with your current largest kite and start there. Big board/big kite is essential for anything under 15 mph in my experience, but it can become abit unwieldly and just slow.
Went through same thoughts a few years back, here is my conclusion with hindsight (75kg) :
LW was only to be occasional use and I was keen to get into strapless but didnt want to spend alot trying it out. Bought a second hand EVO 12m for its excellent low end, an F-One fish (the middle one, think its the 5'10), and rented the nugget and a few other boards.
The F-One fish and EVO matched very well. That board is super-flat, almost skimboard. Created its own wind very quickly, shot upwind, big carves. Just needed enough wind to get the kite up and be able to move it around in the sky and they worked. Stable (both kite with 24m lines and board) = great way to learn quickly how to ride a surfboard strapless, jibe etc in lighter winds. Very easy access, a reassuring ride. I dont think I ever did the walk of shame with it, although I did with other rides. EVO style 'do it all' kites work well during the strapless learning phase as they relaunch easy, are forgiving with broad wind range and can be set up to be reactive for loops. Nugget worked well, a bit more reactive - I didnt like it to learn with but appreciated it later. Not sure what the latest equivalents are if you buy new. With second hand stuff, I was less afraid of trashing the kit in waves whist getting my skill level up.
Regarding surfboard + kite size, seems to me they have to work together, in terms of turning speed, wind range and what you're asking them to do. If the board is too zippy a big slow kite cant keep up, and vise versa. Get the match right and you can get on with enjoying the ride rather than trying to force them together.
I dont enjoy TT in lightwind anymore.
The downside to all that was it added alot of extra baggage. I have now invested a bit more cash into simple lightwind sailing as it was doubling my time on the water - and downsized to the shinnster and a 12m cloud kite. Lightwind or flatter water fun, and takes up less space so I can travel easily now with that plus dream conditions surfboard + quiver. The combination gives a nice variation to strapless riding in a wide range of conditions. May even get the 17m cloud.