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Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 11:03 pm
by rtz
Since I wasn't there in the early days I missed out.

98/99 - 2 string type kites?

Early 2000's - C Kites?

2006 - Bow kites?

Kites have pretty much remained unchanged for the most part since 2008?

During the height of the C kite days; did it seem like or feel like the kite tech was topped out and c kites were all there ever were going to be? Did the sport feel at it's peak?

What kind of changes happened in 06/07/08?

And what was going on back when there were 25, and 30+ meter kites?

Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 12:14 am
by Bain
Between 04 and 08 kites and control systems were getting better and better every year. Never felt topped out during those times.
Now however, in my personal opinion, kite company's should start moving away from a new model every year, or in some cases 6 to 8 months. Spend a little bit longer on r&d until they come up with something that actually is better instead of changing for change sake. In some cases seems like they get worse, rather than better.

Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 1:01 am
by edt
rtz wrote:And what was going on back when there were 25, and 30+ meter kites?

welll this is what i've been told, correct me if I get it wrong here.

back in the day riding in nuking winds was only for heros, even if you had safety equipment it often failed. Kites had to be mega because everyone was riding in light winds. Plenty of 20's or bigger. When bow kites came out it was so much safer you could depower by throwing the bar and they also fixed the control bars everything was much much safer. People quit riding light winds because now the good winds were accessible to most riders. So from 2008-2009 manufacturers sort of gave up on light wind kites. But it's boring to stand on shore on light wind days, so from 2010 they started coming out with mega kites again. An 18 meter light wind kite today has the same power as the 25 from back in the day because it's a lot flatter.

So really what is weird are not the 25 and 30 meter kites, they are equivalent to today's light wind kites what is weird is the funky period from about 2008-2009 when nearly every manufacturer gave up on the light wind experience. Thank goodness that didn't last long.

Also back in the day gear was improving week by week, remember people were flying with wrist leashes board leashes, kites that couldn't relaunch, chicken loops without a quick release, from 2000-2006 progress was phenomenal even C kites were much better but even before bridals got invented in 2006, you could see people riding tensioned 5th lines which is almost a bridle. Not much has happened since 2006.

Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 2:28 am
by L0KI
This is how I remember things, but I don't remember dates really.
There were definitely people riding in nuking winds from the beginning.
Lou, Elliot, Flash and the rest of the Maui crew were on Flexifoil Blade two line non sheetable foils in strong winds, boosting monster air and doing tricks most of us still can't do.
We flew small foils in higher winds, a buddy of mine (265 lbs) used to use my 3.3M non sheetable foil in 40+.
After the first Wipika Inflatable kites led the way, and LEI kites took over, the available sizes were from 6-7M to 15M and then the really big ones started turning up here and there.
Most people were on 9-12 meter kites for their main kite, just like now.
Some kiters wanted to go out in really light wind and companies started making bigger and bigger kites.
Unfortunately, the kites depowered crappy (all kites) and big ones did not go upwind well.
Twintips (and wakeboards) did not go upwind that well yet (or I couldn't)
So, good upwind on 11M C kite, hold ground on 13M C kite, but 15M & 17M were really hard to go upwind on.
So people bought the first round of big C kites, but they were not great, so they did not sell tons so companies made less (or none) of them for a while.
After bows and sle's came, they obviously depower well and go upwind easily, big kites were back on the drawing boards.
The 2005 Slingshot Machine 25M kite we had was super powerful, a buddy had a Naish 25M Boxxer, another buddy had a Fuel 19M, they pulled like a freight train!!
The big kites now obviously don't drag you around like those kites did.
The big kites then were definitely very powerful, and sometimes dangerous.
The releasable chicken loop obviously changed things, my first loops did not open.
Four line depowerable LEI kites changed things.
My first Wipika Inferno LEI was awful, it was a two line kite.
Bows then SLE kites obviously changed things a lot.

Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 6:59 pm
by Peter_Frank
The "History" will be country specific, because there will typically be a delay (one year) from where the different kites R&D origins.

Also because it depends on the local "likings" in the start, and the local distributors soon after.

But what I've experienced :

1999, kitesurfing started "globally", eventhough the first pioneers had done it several years.

It was Wipika 2 lined kites, by Bruno Legaignoux, that was the "invention" and breakthrough that started everything :thumb:

In 2000 things started to really "explode" in the good sense.
Kiteschools started all over, and the kites used were the Wipika Classics, and foil kites, as they were really far in development also as water foil kites.

Safety was fine as you could release to one line - but the harness line was fixed so you had to hook out yourself - but you learned that quite fast.
Bigger problem with the foils though, as if overpowered you were fu.... because if you released to a sideline, the kite would go in a powered death loop :x
Beside that, there where front stall problems with these foils.

But in 2000-2001 the 4 lined kites came, with both Wipika and Naish being the front runners (the only ones).
Especially the Naish AR5 HAS to get a medal for being the first really good 4 lined kite, no doubt :thumb:
These kites changed everything by a huge margin, and kitesurfing was now "easy" and into a whole new level.

From now on, kites were from 3m2 up to 13.5 (and 15 or 15.5 were almost never used, but existed)
So we could kite in lots of wind, no problems.
These kites had HUGE low end, all of them, so big kites were not necessary.

Besides, the board were all directionals, so could go upwind easily and start in light winds.

From then, things changed because the TwinTips came (with the Wipika Olry being the first), and it really changed a lot of things.

The TT's became more and more sophisticated during the next years, smaller and smaller and actually just below 1 meter in lenght at one point.

And kites became "front line flyers", meaning, they could depower much more and you could hold the kite for many hours without getting tired, and they went upwind well.
The Wipika Airblast being the first, and soon everyone followed.

Big kites were NON existent.

But because the boards were getting smaller, and freestyle started to be "the thing" to do, big kites started as a "craze" almost, where one company after another started making kites bigger than 20m2, in the years 2002 to 2004 :o

We have all been there (those who has been there from the start), and they worked fine for max pull machines for super small boards.

But they lasted VERY short.

Because, two things happened now.

Boards changed, and suddenly R&D made bigger boards (much better upwind and not requiring a huge kite) behave just as good as the smaller ones, regarding agility and freestyle.

AND, one year later, in 2005, the Bow kite came (again, Bruno Legaignoux), which REALLY changed the world !

At first, there were many "doubters", as the kites were either slow and saggy, or too much bar pressure (Takoon and Cabrinha being the first).
And they were right - the very first "samples" had some issues, that made the now very highly developed C kites (as EVERY kite till now has been) superior in general.

But it was just a short phase, till the development changed everything for 98% of kitesurfers.

Best was the first to launch a really good bow kite, "second" generation, at the right place at the right time, no doubt at all !

And every other brand, including Wipika as the "inventors" soon followed.

From then on (later than 2005), Bow kites evolved into SLE kites, which were a mix between Bow kites (quite flat kites) and C kites, but with all the advantages of Bow kites, namely huge windrange and easy relaunchable.

HUGE kites were a thing of the past now, because the new more "flat" kites had a lot more power of course, but also because boards evolved and became waveboard or bigger still agile TwinTips, and later raceboards too :thumb:

The last years, I've seen no development worth mentioning though, just small minor changes, and often just to make something "new" in order to catch the eye and sell, and not because of any development really.

A major change is ALWAYS possible of course, but right now it is really stagnant IMO.

And REALLY big kites ?

Well, because of the development of bigger and better boards, they are not necessary.

But as kiteracing is huge now, the most efficient kites a bit bigger, maybe 17m2, are evolved to the max, so they are light, and goes upwind better than ANYTHING else.

And we, as users, can only say "thank you" - we get kites with loads of power, not too big and clumsy, and more efficient than ever before :thumb:

:D Peter Frank

PS: Maybe I've forgotten something, but I am sure I can answer :wink:

Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 7:53 pm
by loco4viento
Excellent review, Peter! :thumb:



Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 8:46 pm
by ChristoffM
Nice history there thanks Peter! Those are definitely the main points as far as large number of users are concerned.

It would be interestingt to know the pre 1999 history. I know Corey Roeseler had kiteski before that (since when, and whether he was the first person to kiteboard on water I don't know, maybe the legougnoux brothers were the first to kiteboard on water during their R&D)?

I think the kite buggy and genral traction kites added a bit of innovation during the very early years?

Some smaller developments might include
-foils kites (when did closed cell foils and depowerable foils come out?)
-Flat framed kites (kite ski and C-quads were early kites and I wonder if we will see flat kites in the future? Paraskiflex is the only current flat kites I know of).
-hydrofoil boards (I think carafino was the first back in ?)
-skis might have been around before surfboards even?

Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 12:01 am
by L0KI
Some non LEI's I had:
Foils with Dirtsurfers for speedy beach landboarding.
Peter Lynn C-Quads for beach landboarding.
KiteWing (Skimbat) for speedy beach landboarding.
Had a Mosquito 9M foil that had rubbers! (prophylactics) to close off the cells, it pulled like a train and turned like a aircraft carrier, hated that kite.
Advance Foil 14M, was more powerful than any kite I've ever flown.
Flexifoil Blade 4.9M, was awesome.
Windwing Foils 3.3 & 5.5M, great for landboarding and used 'em in the water too.
Peter Lynn Guerilla & Bomba, fun for water kiting, but tube kites got better and these went away.
Ozone Frenzy 9.5M, great on land and water, as long as you don't drop it in the drink.

Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:33 am
by jack bush
2008 was the year Fone introduced the Delta shape.
That is probably the ultimate kite shape if you are not 16 years old.

Re: Tell me about some kite history

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 2:57 pm
by cglazier
Very nice review Peter, you hit the main points as I remember them.

The only thing that I'd add is the first good race boards appearing about 2010. This allowed light wind kiting much more than the really big old kites ever did. (And kiteboard course racing itself began in San Franciso about then.) Time will tell whether this becomes a major part of kiteboarding, but around here race board popularity is growing fast.

:wink: CG