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Trying to understand kite quiver

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Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby DariKite » Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:20 am

I’m a beginner and I’m looking for advice on building my kite quiver. I already have a 12m kite. I will travel to Brazil this year and I need to buy a smaller kite to be able to ride in more windy conditions.

While doing research I see that most people rarely have a gap wider than 3 meters (maybe 4m at the most) between each kite. However, I see that some kite models supposedly have a huge wind range.

I was looking at the official Cabrinha Switchblade wind range chart based on a 75kg rider.

2017 Switchblade 75kg Wind Range Oficial.jpg
2017 Switchblade 75kg Wind Range Oficial.jpg (56.23 KiB) Viewed 5140 times

If I read this chart correctly, for a 75kg rider, a 12m and a 7m Switchblade might be able to cover a range of maybe 9kn to 32kn with only two kites?

The 12m starts with gray color at 9kn and ends at almost 20kn. The 7m starts with gray color at maybe 18kn and ends at maybe 32kn.

There is a 5m gap between them. Does the gray color mean that the rider may feel underpowered/overpowered or uncomfortable at that wind speed? If I wanted to build a quiver for wind speeds between 9kn to 32kn would I be able to accomplish that with 2 kites?

I understand there are endless variables like what board you use, what style of kiteboarding you will be riding, your actual weight and body type, skill level (I don’t plan to be a beginner for ever and will ride above 25kn at some point), etc. But I’d like to know , in general terms, if with current technology it would be reasonable to expect to cover the above wind range with two kites or if one would feel uncomfortable at some point in the above wind range.

If I needed to buy a 3rd kite, should the quiver be 12m, 9m, and 7m? Or maybe if I’m on a budget just get an 8m for now and cover the 9kn to maybe 28kn range without uncomfortable gaps?

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby ShaveTheWhales » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:23 am

I took my 7 & 12m to Ireland for holidays. The gap was fine, if you can't hold the 12 down the 7 will be in its full control range.. better to have max control than max power at your experience level...
Your board size makes a big difference too. I took my medium wind TT to make sure I could ride both ends.
You could then spend the extra money on living it up enjoying your holiday rather than tight ass it :)

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby Foil » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:39 am

A highly skilled well practiced kite surfer will be able to exploit the full range of winds shown in light grey to light grey, that is something that comes with time on the water, at 75 kg you will need a smaller kite kite sooner than you may think as you will not be able to use your 12 to good effect in the lightr grey range untill your skill level stretches to either end of the range spectrum, try the first kite you buy and very soon you will know what you might need, and at 75kg maybe a 12 would be a little too big to start with, that's a big size for a 75 kg rider.
If you were a 100 kg rider then the 12 may be a good 1st kite.
And yes to answer your initial question, you can get away with a 2 kite Quiver, but it will limit your sessions and you will want to expand your quiver at some time in the future, but you will have plenty of time to save up for when that time comes.

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby RalfsB » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:45 am

Regarding kite sizes in the quiver, it works when kite sizes are roughly 1.5 times different from one size to the next larger size. If one has good skills and needs less kites (e.g. to be light for travel), the difference can be larger, if one needs more fine tuning to the conditions the difference can be less.
I would say that a quiver like 8 - 12 - 18 is ok, may add 5 or 6 for strong winds.

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby nothing2seehere » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:55 am

Bear in mind that the wind range and sweet spot are going to be less for a beginner. Also don't assume that just because you can hold the kite down in that wind range that the water state will be appropriate for a beginner.

Flat water is fine for most wind speeds if you can find it but 30 knots of ocean chop can be a frustrating time if you don't have the board skills already. I suspect the reason many people (of average man weight) start with a 12/9 combination is that once the wind picks up beyond 25 knots then the water state can become less fun to ride. As a beginner, the offshore flat water isn't advisable so you are often left with the massive shore dump and chop between the waves to contend with. None of that is ideal learning conditions so consider watching on the days when its really windy and sticking to the good progression conditions?

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby Strekke » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:10 am

Where in Brazil are you going, and when? If you're going to Cumbuco in the windy season, 12 and 9 would be good. If you're heading further North to Jeri, you need a 9 and a 7. The ideal quiver for your weight is 12-9-7; maybe try and get a deal on a 7-9 combo of a few years old to save some cash? Contact Cabrinha dealers in your area to see what old stock they have got left, or get something secondhand that is still in good condition. Riding kites on the extremes of their range is no fun imo, got to get that sweetspot!

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby Peter_Frank » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:15 am

Get a 7 now, to go with your 12 - and then later you will definitely buy a 9 also, the "best" size for everything, and you will find out you need it if you got different winds.

Dont got with an 8 m2, as then you are locked and can not get a 10 as pretty close to the 8 and 10, and you will still miss a kite for high wind days.
If you know 100 % you are never gonna get three kites, okay, the 8 is the size :D

12-9-7 is the classic quiver that suits almost everybody, and whether you get the 9 or 7 first is your choice - but as you only want one, and are going to travel - you could go with 7-12 now, just be careful that you dont go out too overpowered (risky) with the 12, because the 7 is too small...

The windranges shown is just what each brand want to show - they can be really different and NOT comparable at all, but will give you an idea where the sweetspots are for the average rider and gear.

You will be much wiser yourself when you got another kite.

8) Peter

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby jumptheshark » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:33 am


Grab a new 7m now and head on down there to jump sharks!

5m gap is too much. Maybe fine between your extra large kite and your big kite, but not when going down from a 12m. 3m is the right call unless your going to stick with a two kite quiver in which case you can stretch to a 4m gap max. Peter has kites in 1m increments! There is so much wrong with a 12/7 quiver for any kiter let alone a novice. First, a 7 is a super fast kite that can kick your ass in a heartbeat compared to the sedate pace of your 12. You set yourself up for a spanking by jumping straight into small kites in high winds. I have known pretty good kiters who took a few years to get down to that size. The water conditions alone are often intimidating to novices. Second and perhaps the most important, is that a 12/7 quiver will never see you on the ideal size for the sweet spot of the sport.........20-25 knots aka 9m weather. Super fun, but not off the chain....... 12/7 and your either hanging on poo stanced, kite trimmed in all the way and flying like crap, or having to whip the kite around like a mad man struggling just to hold your ground and unable to jump.... Either way, frustrating and potentially unsafe, especially in waves.

The next logical step for you is a 9m.... I know you wanna cover a certain range..... all the way up to 32 :roll: but you are falling for the silly game the marketing department has devised. Lets just say its not really worth going over graphs compulsively while you fall asleep. What matters is comfort and safety. better to miss out on 7m weather until you are comfy on a 9, than to go with a 5m gap and set yourself up for frustration or worse in the best conditions your trip will offer.

You already own a large, your next kite down should be a medium, not a small. You need to spend some time on the medium in its associated conditions before you'll get any utility from a small. Maybe your really talented and will move on to a small in no time, maybe not, but if your asking questions about a 5m gap, referencing graphs and what the light grey really means, you have little practical grasp of what 32 knots is actually like.

Get a 9 and go down there and see what you can do and learn. If you feel your missing out, you can likely rent or score a used small kite down there.
Last edited by jumptheshark on Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby tomato » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:55 pm

another beginner here, riding 3rd year, but still progressing :) I am 80kg, riding 137X41 TT

You want really 12-9-7 or 12-10-8 quiver. Small kites will be used so little that you will wonder why did you get them in first place.

I have 12-9 at the moment and 12 is most used, size 9 I ride maybe 5-7 times a year. Because, as a beginner, you need to be at upper part of power, newbies are very inefficient. I went to Tenerife- I see all riders surf with 7-8m kites, my smallest size was 9m. Decided to try with 9m and I felt quite underpowered! Probably I should have 10m then. Plus that time I did see that many guys with 7m kites ride surfboards.

If you buy 7m- it will be too much underpowered and not be able to ride. And trying to ride 12m, in 9-8 size wind will be really bad- no possibility to go upwind- just dragged down, keeping kite low and fighting to stay on water not to become airborne, lost board will become big deal- no bodydrag possible upwind in too high wind. Plus a fully depowered 12m kite at higher wind will not respond well to control- will delay reaction, turning into moody cow. Did I tell bigger waves at higher winds? Do not buy 7 if you are riding TT, your next size is either 9 or 10m. And you just skip real 7m wind day until you get one.

Get 9 or 10 as next size. and plan 12-9-7 or 12-10-8. Graphs that kite brands are showing windrange are useless, no one on earth can explain them. Do not trust them.

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Re: Trying to understand kite quiver

Postby dylan* » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:10 pm

The first thing to do is to throw the wind range charts in the garbage can, because they are very unrealistic. You need to find out what wind ranges the kite will work for you, and it will be totally different based on your weight, what kind of board you're riding, and what the actual quality of the wind is: 20 knots in one place is not the same as 20 knots somewhere else.

The main 'problem' is that kites all have a sweet spot in the middle of their wind range, or sometimes slightly higher or lower depending on the kite design. To make sure you always have a kite to ride that will be perfectly powered for the wind, 2m gaps between kites is the best. But it is most common to extend the gap a little bit, especially in lighter wind where the power drops a lot the lower you go - so 14/10 works well, for example. The higher you get in wind speed, the more you can get away with in terms of kite size, so they can be closer together as well, I know people that have both a 6m and 5m.

Some typical quivers are 12/9/7, 14/10/8, 15/11/8....something like that. You can add bigger and smaller kites to either end if you have the conditions for them.

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