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Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

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matrium
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Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby matrium » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:22 pm

Hey,

I am thinking about getting my first kite, pretty sealed on a 12m (9 and 12 are the most common kites at my local lake). The one question left is WHICH kite to get. I lean towards the Switch Element, but some people in a chat heavily unsettled me about that, saying that since I aim to go kiting at pretty low winds I should go for one-strut or strutless kite because of the lower weight.

Now I understand the arguments in general, the lighter the kite the easier it will stay up in light winds. But is that really a point for anything except foiling? I mean whats the point if the kite is able to fly stable at 7 knots, if I wont be able to kite at that little wind anyway? I weight 75kg and from what I read It's unreasonable to expect riding a twin tip any earlier than about 12 knots, probably even more for me (beginner). So shouldn't I really be looking at the kite that is most stable and has the best characteristics (beginner friendly with easy relaunch) for me at 12+ knots ?

Is there something I'm missing here?

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby jakemoore » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:32 pm

Lets say you fall forward at 4 nautical miles an hour. Or there is a longshore current. Or a wave lifts you toward the kite and pushes you downwind. Or there is a lull. Or you swing under the kite in a jump or crash. Or you want to ride downwind. Light weight is a great quality in a kite. Durability and reasonable price also matter but dont help the kite fly which is the first step.

For first traction kite my recommedation is a Flysurfer Peak4 on 4 or 5 m paired with a skateboard mountainboard or buggy. Much more accessable and super fun.

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby matrium » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:44 pm

Oh, so I DID miss a valid point here, thank you! Oh man, I read so much and my head is starting to circle. Pretty sold on Switch Kites, so would you recommend the Helium (their Lightwind Kite with 3 Struts, lower AR and less reinforcement-material) over the Element (their Allround-Kite with 5 struts which seems bomb-proof reinforced) for that reason? Also a 14m would still be a possibility, but I heard that the gain on the low-wind side is pretty small from 12 to 14...
Last edited by matrium on Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby jumptheshark » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:53 pm

Weight is not only about staying in the air, but also how responsive a kite is in low winds. Any kite will fly in 10 knots of steady breeze, but they don't all fly well. The lighter kites of the last few years are more fun to fly than heavier 5 strut kites. Most three strut kites are pretty good, but if you have a lot of moderate to lower wind conditions, weight is a big deal to the fun factor. The trade off with striping away struts is top end range and usually to some extent jumping ability. Any one strut kite is just not going to suit the top end as well as something more structured. I do think the single and no strut kites suit foil and surfboard more than twin tip. Going with one or no struts requires you rig down relatively early as the wind picks us, where traditionally a lot of twin tip people are really just starting to jump well and enjoy their kites. I would steer you toward the lighter three strut kites like the Ocean Rodeo flite, that is geared toward performance in it lower end, but is not such a compromise for jumping or when the wind picks up.

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby tomtom » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:10 pm

All things that flyes infinitely benefit from being lighter. Kites should be as light as possible. But one strut or no strut has no direct relationship to kite weight. Some one struts are heavier than 3 struts from other brands. Ozone kites are usualy very light and they 3 struts are lighter than some other monos /hint :)/

to you further question: So shouldn't I really be looking at the kite that is most stable and has the best characteristics (beginner friendly with easy relaunch)
Lighter kite usualy relauch better and its more stable - so its more beginner friendly.

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby Greenturtle » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:22 pm

Hypothetically:
If you take a kite, say the switch element 12m, and magically remove some weight without changing any other part of its design... it will drift better, relaunch easier, turn faster, fly in less wind, be more stable, and generally feel more lively and responsive.

Often this is achieved by reducing the thickness of the bladder material. Additionally, lighter cloth overall can be used, with sparse reinforcements, which in theory reduces durability, but that can be debated!
(I like that debate and side with lighter actually being more durable in many ways for kites but that’s another topic)

The reality of an answer to your question is this, assuming you have had lessons first:

For your first kite, get any used post-2012 or so do-it-all model thats still in good shape and is *inexpensive*- then go beat the hell out of it even more than the first two owners did. Trust me the only quality you will end up caring about after your first year as a true beginner is that inexpensive part, because its very likely that it will have gone through the full spectrum of weird ways you can crash a kite and you will then be ready to upgrade.

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby tomtom » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:35 pm

1+

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby jumptheshark » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:49 pm

tomtom wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:10 pm
But one strut or no strut has no direct relationship to kite weight.
Seriously? Your going with that?

Clouds are the lightest LEIs on the market by a decent margin, The Gong and other strutless are all amongst the the very lightest of lei kites.

Kiting is always a sucker for a trend and companies jump in before they actually do the work. You gotta be aware of this. Single strut was no different. The first gen of LF solo was just as heavy as many other three strut kites because they just reduced the struts and didn't trim down weight from materials and reinforcements. The Ocean Rodeo Fite is the other way round where they trimmed weight but not strut count. Helps to do a little research, but to say there is no direct relationship between strut count and weight kind of defies logic. It's safe to say that there will always be marketing over matter in kiteboarding, and it will always be buyer beware, but eventually it settles out, and by the third generation of any kite model they generally get it close to right. The current mono, solo, ultra and boxer are all lightweight kites compared to their three strut counterparts.
Last edited by jumptheshark on Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby foilholio » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:51 pm

Switch have been quite heavy kites. For surfing a lighter kite drifts in less wind. A lighter kiter flies better in less wind, stalls less, turns faster and also has slighter more power and better L/D, oh and relaunches better. Overall a lighter kite will be more enjoyable. They are less durable but then with a cheap option like Pansh that may not matter. That said the greater durability of a foil kite even if in ultralight construction would easily match an inflatable for durability.

Foil kites also have a hot air balloon effect that becomes more effective the bigger and lighter they are.

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Re: Importance of a lightweight kite for non-foiling

Postby dylan* » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:58 pm

For twintip riding in normal wind, kite weight is not really a big deal. I've always found that when the kite has enough power for me (145 lbs) to ride, the kite will stay in the air and fly just fine.

Riding with a surfboard is different, as pointed out above, it may not drift as well or hang in the air with slack-ish lines.

Foiling is when it REALLY matters.
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