I would have very much agreed with you even before I started strapless kitesurfing, and still would have for a portion of the time while I was comparing strapless to strapped. And yes, "it is all in what you have the most fun doing" - personal choice and so forth. This part goes without saying, though many have felt the necessity to say it.
Looking at the extremes of kitesurfboards:
This is what my experience says. But more specifically: when you're actually on the wave, straps are not all that relevant because of the smoothness of the water on the wave face. It's all the rest of the time you're riding where straps help: going through chop, getting over white water, gybing over rough water, driving upwind - straps allow you to ride more aggressively. Unfortunately, unless you ride in a wave paradise - like One Eye, or a few other select spots - most of the time in a "wave session" is not actually spent on the wave face.Matteo V wrote: What is debatable, is where performance of the "kite/rider/board" system is maximized. Connection to the board (strapped) is irrefutably linked to going faster, jumping higher, turning harder, and even pressuring the board with higher forces and in more directions faster than you could ever do when not connected to the board. Shifting your weight, then moving your feet around strapless is a distant second in performance. Straps win out for pressuring the rail, nose, tail, and individual foot twisting moments - instantaneously - without ever moving your feet. Only when I came to realize this, did I make the connection with strapless being a way to "simulate" the limitations of prone surfing a shortboard.
This is an very old debate you state as a fact here.Matteo V wrote: ↑Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:14 amLightweight strapless surfboards/kitesurfboards (4'-9" to 6'-0") - ...
2. Great for jumping and rotations as the wind pressure is enough to keep the board press up against your feet
BUT!!! they bounce out in chop and the board's lack of inertia means most instances of loss of contact with the board due to a lift from the kite in chop, will result in being pulled away from the board.
This argument is completely flawed.Matteo V wrote: ↑Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:14 amWhat is debatable, is where performance of the "kite/rider/board" system is maximized. Connection to the board (strapped) is irrefutably linked to going faster, jumping higher, turning harder, and even pressuring the board with higher forces and in more directions faster than you could ever do when not connected to the board. Shifting your weight, then moving your feet around strapless is a distant second in performance. Straps win out for pressuring the rail, nose, tail, and individual foot twisting moments - instantaneously - without ever moving your feet. Only when I came to realize this, did I make the connection with strapless being a way to "simulate" the limitations of prone surfing a shortboard.
My interpretation of the situation, and experience from using lightweight "egshell" boards that I trashed in one season, is the opposite in chop. One of the heaviest boards on the market, that I use almost exclusively now, is the best chop eater I have ever ridden. Windsurfing with "glass" boards vs lightweight epoxy boards yeilds the same conclusion. Given that prone surfing happens without sideways pull and at speeds much lower, I believe my experience there is not relevant. Physics also is against the interpretation that lighter weight is better in rougher conditions.
What is going on with your experience here is that you are depowering the kite more, going slower through choppy hectic conditions, and using a "wave kite" to minimize the pull you get from the kite on and off the wave in order to simulate the limitations of prone surfing. That is ok, plenty of fun, a noble pursuit, and likely just what you want to do. But it is not the maximum performance you can get out of the kite/rider/board system.
I am unsure of what the world speed record with a kite is for a hydrofoil. I also do not consider a hydrofoil wave surfing capable except in special conditions. Swell, is fun with my hydrofoil, and breaking waves are fun too so long as the waves are breaking in deep enough water. But this is getting off topic as kite hydrofoils do not surf, nor do they closely simulate prone surfing. They are demonstrably a incomparable device to a planing hull that is a prone surfboard or a kitesurfboard. Given that the strapless crowd is focused on prone surfing simulation purity, there is simply no comparison. This line of thought would make a great new topic, and I would be willing to debate this under a new thread.
By jumping, I mean the ability to jump instantaneously, without a pre-planned setup and hangtime limitation. Jumping strapless is fun, as it is a challenge. You can also grab the board to stay up for a bit longer. But a strapped board can be "chop hopped" with no intention to use the kite for lift, then mid hop you can decide to include the kite's lift to keep you up. That is not possible without a planning and setup process when strapless.
Wave kites make great beginner kites and allow strapless kiters to simulate prone surfing within the limitations of prone surfing. Good wave kites exhibit very little lift, drift with very little pull, and and good steering reaction with almost slack lines. There is nothing wrong with that approach. It is simply the feeling that kitesurfer wishes to pursue. I think it is great if you like that and I like to even watch that almost as much as I like to watch a good prone surfer ripping up a wave that he waited for in the lineup for 30 minutes. But it is a limitation nonetheless. And the goal of wave kite design which IS "very little lift, drift with very little pull, and and good steering reaction with almost slack lines", gives absolute confirmation of this. It is limiting the lift, pull, and allowing steering without line tension. A wave kite is an engine with a governor. And that governor is needed to simulate prone surfing while kitesurfing.
You are correct in this statement and this is irrefutable. I have no problem with that. I appreciate your post pointing out the lack of clarity in my post, along with the chance to correct it. My goal is to clearly lay out the "reality" vs the "hype" surrounding strapless. I do not want to ruin anyone's fun. If anything, it seems that debate tends to make current/longtime strapless riders more set in their mentality regarding the superiority/need of strapless kitesurfing. Given the investment of time in those beliefs, doubling down is understandable. I used to even fanatically believed the way they do. But by good luck, and good management, I was able to break free of my own hyped up strapless mentality. And hopefully, I can present the reality to those who approached kitesurfing with the same incomplete picture that I approached it with. My goal is to just present a way (learn strapped jibe first) to not get trapped in a limitation, if that limitation is not truly more fun for them.
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