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Light wind kite advice

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Michaelr123
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Light wind kite advice

Postby Michaelr123 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:08 pm

Hello there,

So after joining my local sail club and learning how snow kite this winter with ozone foil kites, I realized I've come down with a bad case of kite fever, and found myself a twin tip kit with a 12m NV V8 as my first lei.

I've been out a few times over the last few weeks with varying degrees of success. I will say each time I'm having more luck relaunching my kite, but I've spent a few sessions in spotty ~10-12mph wind watching my kite slowly get eaten alive by weeds over an hour or so of trying to get it launched. I am fully aware that I'm a beginner, and jumping into the sport with warm, light summer winds in Madison Wisconsin where we have to drift launch most beaches.

So now that you know my background, my real question is this, would I find more success with something like a 17m turbine or contra? Though the wind range on my NV is technically 9-22kts, I've had a lot more luck in more like a min of 12kts. I've been reading up on the two light wind kites I mentioned and the turbine states a wind range of 9-15kt, which technically is the same starting point. From what I can gather, in reality, a turbine will perform better throughout it's smaller wind range, and more standard all around kites really perform better towards the middle of their much larger stated wind range.

The contra is listed at 6-15kts, which is a significantly lower ended. If my goal is to get out and cruise around when it's nice out in the summer to develop my skills and eventually get into foiling, is this a better option? That being said, there are some sweet deals on turbines right now.

Thoughts? Recommendations? Sorry if this is topic that's bearen't to death, I didn't see any similar topics based on a quick search from my phone.

Thanks,
-michael

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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby grigorib » Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:18 pm

Cheapest lightwind upgrade option to your 12m - 10m line extensions.
Next step - long and wide door board (unless you’re ready to learn foiling)

Numbers your read from manufacturers are relative. One thing is ability to keep kite in the air, another os to be able to ride it and experience/waves/currents/chop/gradient/obstructions/board/lines contribute to end result.

At 200 lbs the 15m Turbine flown on 37m lines paired with 170x50cm Flydoor5 board was my best lightwind setup I ever rode. The Contra is very similar wing. Just pick proper size depending on your weight and conditions but start with long lines and door board - the cheapest option for you to ride your 12m in 10knots

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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby jumptheshark » Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:28 pm

As the wind drops, so does the fun, in logarithmic fashion. To get going well on anything but a hydrofoil in those winds.... your probably going to need all three.... a bigger kite, a bigger board, and maybe even a set of line extensions. They all help, but sadly its not really enough... don't worry, get it figured out and you'll likely be foiling sooner than later.

Michaelr123
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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby Michaelr123 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:08 pm

Great advice on the line extensions, thank you!

I've got a 143 lf edge at the moment, I could look into a bigger board as well, but ill definitely add the line extensions. Sounds like I've 3m in the bag with my control bar actually. I don't remember seeing them but I'll have to look again! That would take me from 20m to 33m.

Let's say you found a deal on a 17m turbine for $600, worth a shot or nah?

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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby Greenturtle » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:45 pm

A turbine 17 would do right by you. Especially if youre drift launching in weeds etc. Relaunches great, and its powerful. Youll be riding with plenty of power on all the days your 12m isn’t cutting it. and thats a lotta days.
Youre board is a good size if you’re going to have just one.

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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby FLandOBX » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:46 pm

Hey, Michael. Are you crashing the kite a lot? Or is your 12 m NV in the water primarily due to lack of wind? Since you know how to snow kite with Ozone foils, I'm guessing you have good kite control. IMHO, it would make a difference in the following way.

If you are still developing kite control skills, then I'd steer you away from a 17 m with line extensions. You might consider shorter lines on your 12 m, but don't go bigger and longer. The reason is that losing control of a 17 m on long lines will work you over pretty good, even in light to moderate winds.

However, if your 12 m NV is in the water because the wind isn't strong enough to relaunch (you will improve your relaunch ability with more experience), then a larger kite might be a reasonable step, maybe with some extensions if you need more power. Your weight and skill level are important considerations in making the decision. For example, 200+ lbs and good kite control = bigger kite; 150 -180 lbs and still learning kite control = continue working with your 12 m.

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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby Matteo V » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:13 pm

Michaelr123 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:08 pm
I will say each time I'm having more luck relaunching my kite, but I've spent a few sessions in spotty ~10-12mph wind watching my kite slowly get eaten alive by weeds over an hour or so of trying to get it launched. I am fully aware that I'm a beginner, and jumping into the sport with warm, light summer winds in Madison Wisconsin where we have to drift launch most beaches.

So now that you know my background, my real question is this, would I find more success with something like a 17m turbine or contra?
The NV V8 is a superb relauncher if you use the "outside line (steering)/opposite inside line" method. It takes some time to figure out that you have to pull lots of the inside line in, then release it at just the right moment, but you will get it eventually.

And the bottom line is that with this technique and most other techniques to relaunch, kite size does not matter from about 8m to 18m. So if you are having no luck using the "outside line/opposite inside line" method, the wind is just too light for any size kite to relaunch reliably.

As to the last part above, you will be guaranteed more power/speed/upwind with the turbine, but not necessarily an easier launch than your other kite, though Turbines do launch very easily.

Michaelr123
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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby Michaelr123 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:44 am

FLandOBX,

While I won't say I'm an expert, once I have the kite in the air, I'm able to water-start no problem work on my gear while flying one handed, etc. I'm still learning that you need to keep flying the kite even when you're under water though lol. One big difference between snowkiting and kiteboarding (in the water) is its super important to keep the kite in the air. 5 line foil kites launch so nicely off the snow. I would say I'm mostly struggling with launching with super light winds. The next step for me on the kites is working on improving my technique generating power in low winds and getting up wind faster so I can have fun on more days!

Matteo V,

I've seen that method done on youtube a few times, I'll have to try it next time I'm out which will most likely be in light winds again... Thanks for the recommendation, I was trying the "run/swim at the kite then pull method" last time I was out, but its definitely not as graceful as fiddling with your lines. I'm sure the foil guys that are getting their 17m apollo's up in the air next to me while I'm struggling are using this method.

Sounds like i probably need to learn some better light wind launch methods and try some longer lines, but hey new kite :)

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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby Matteo V » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:53 am

Michaelr123 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:44 am
but hey new kite :)
Big kites & light wind will make you good at big kites & light wind. In your area, that may be your focus, and very beneficial to you to pursue it in the long run. So if you have the means/obsession, buy away! You are on a good path no matter what and I do not think anyone is telling you "you are doing it wrong". But we have all been there, and things are sometimes not what they seem to be - at least not to a beginner.

I would advise you try that "outside/opposite inside launch" somewhere you can stand (knee to waist deep), with the kite on the water. It makes more sense that way and you can play around with how each kite likes to have one line tensioned, and when to release the "opposite front", then release the outside line. I, unfortunately, have never been able to get my main kites to successfully launch with this method. But I do know the NV's and they are one of the best to use this method. Just something with their design. But also watch out for getting a line wrapped around your hands or fingers. I once taught a guy this method, and he learned it well. Then he told me he was a surgeon. I promptly let him know that his career could be compromised if he used this method and had an "accident". So please be careful.

And the thing that beginners always have trouble with is not pulling in enough of the "opposite front line". It takes a few meters sometime, and pulling in on the steering line can reduce the effective amount you have pulled in. So get ready to learn a real balancing act.

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Re: Light wind kite advice

Postby Flyboy » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:21 am

Michaelr123 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:08 pm
I will say each time I'm having more luck relaunching my kite, but I've spent a few sessions in spotty ~10-12mph wind watching my kite slowly get eaten alive by weeds over an hour or so of trying to get it launched. I am fully aware that I'm a beginner, and jumping into the sport with warm, light summer winds in Madison Wisconsin where we have to drift launch most beaches.

So now that you know my background, my real question is this, would I find more success with something like a 17m turbine or contra? Though the wind range on my NV is technically 9-22kts, I've had a lot more luck in more like a min of 12kts. I've been reading up on the two light wind kites I mentioned and the turbine states a wind range of 9-15kt, which technically is the same starting point. From what I can gather, in reality, a turbine will perform better throughout it's smaller wind range, and more standard all around kites really perform better towards the middle of their much larger stated wind range.

The contra is listed at 6-15kts, which is a significantly lower ended. If my goal is to get out and cruise around when it's nice out in the summer to develop my skills and eventually get into foiling, is this a better option? That being said, there are some sweet deals on turbines right now.
You don't mention your weight, but quite honestly, unless you are a super light weight, it's unrealistic to get going with a 12m in spotty 10-12 mph wind. I would expect 12mph to be the minimum wind you will get going in ... & for that you would need to be on a surfboard, or a large, light wind twin tip. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the claimed low end wind for any kite.

A bigger kite, like a 17m Turbine or a 15m Contra might add about 2-3 mph to your low end, which means - with a good light wind board - you might get planning in 9 or 10 mph. However ... big kites will not make up for lulls in the wind. If the wind drops below 9 mph for any length of time, there's a possibility that you may drop the kite & be unable to relaunch it. If you kite on the ocean, you may be able to take advantage of light, but consistent ocean breezes ... on the lakes around Madison it's unlikely the light winds will be consistent.

So ... a big kite offers a diminishing return - a relatively small additional low end & a lot of extra bulk & weight. Also, if the wind picks up significantly, you may find yourself uncomfortably over-powered quite quickly on a large kite.

You should talk to the local kiters & see what kite sizes they use in their quivers.


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