Lightwind vs Highwind - Versus EP 12 - MACkiteboarding.com
Newer riders are often confused when they encounter all the variables that come with different wind directions, currents or tides.It can be overwhelming, aside from learning how to fly a kite and ride a board, you have to consider all the varying conditions and weather that you’ll be riding in.
From different wind speeds, different wind directions and on top of that, there are currents, waves, and tides to consider. The first and easiest thing to start with would be the wind speeds and how they relate back to you and your progression. I’ll start with the wind speeds and work my way into the other variables to consider after that.
There are three skill sets to be learned. Light, moderate & heavy wind skills.
When taking a kiteboarding lesson, no doubt, you encountered one of these. If you were lucky, you had the chance to fly in at least two of these.
This could be anything from 13 knots or roughly 15 miles per hour and under. They are the most forgiving when practicing, be that for a newer rider practicing kite skills on the land or an advanced rider trying new tricks. The kites not going to pull very hard and chances are falling isn't going to hurt too bad.
On the other hand, while they're forgiving, they’re equally frustrating. Keeping the kite in the air, riding upwind, launching and jumping especially getting up on the board for the first time, can be difficult.
I don’t recommend learning board starts in extremely light wind, Once you are riding, I do recommend getting out every chance you get. The good news is that if you put in the time, you’re going to be a much much more well rounded kiteboarder.
These would be 13 knots to 20 knots or roughly 15 to 23 mile per hour.
These are what most kiteboarders aspire to ride in. The kite is going to be stable, it’s easy to pick up speed and jump. Riding upwind takes minimal effort provided you know how to. While it’s actually easier to do everything, the trade off is there is slightly more consequence if you crash albeit not much more. Definitely take advantage of these days and have fun, and don’t worry about falling. If you’re not dropping your kite, you're probably not progressing.
This is anything 20 knots or 23 miles per hour and up. These days tend to be characterised by gustier and rougher wind. A lot of time what happens to new riders is they learn how to fly in light winds they get up on the board in moderate winds and they are going pretty good. That is until their first highwind day. These days can be frustrating as well. If you’re new to strong wind, It’s almost like starting all over. You’re flying a smaller more reactive kite, the gusts are that much more noticable and the falls can be more critical if you’re not careful.
These sessions are what a lot of experienced riders wait for. From massive air to mega loops.
Something kind of of fun about these sessions is the elevator effect. I’m sure a lot of you know exactly what i’m talking about. You go for a huge jump and all of a sudden, the wind picks up and you go even higher.
A few tips for riding on these days again it’s all about putting your time in. If you pick the right size kite, progression is still possible just be more careful as there is less room for error on these days. To tell you the truth, For the longest time I avoided strong days as it’s often colder and more difficult. And because of that, I’m not the most balanced rider. There are trick I’ll do on a 15 meter that i just can’t land yet on an 8. So do yourself a favor and put the time in.
Tide & current
If the current is pushing you at say 5 knots in the same direction as the wind, a 20 knot day will feel more like a 15 knot day.
If the current or tide is moving against the wind you’re going to have that much more power. So if the current is 5 knots against the wind on a 20 knot day, it will feel more like 25 knots.
Rather than saying one wind range is better than the other, I encourage you to learn these concepts and become proficient at riding in all the wind conditions you might encounter. Try and work out a strategy for yourself to make the most out of all the various conditions that you’ll encounter.