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Kite racing line length + harness

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BlindRider
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Kite racing line length + harness

Postby BlindRider » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:48 pm

Hi!

What's your suggestion on kite racing line lengths. I read and see everywhere that short lines are the way to go, but how short? How does line length and kite size relate? Do bigger sizes require longer (17-18m) lines, and smaller sizes shorter lines (12-15m)? Or can it be the same? So can a racer use 15 or 12 meter lines on all of his kites?

Is there a progression/learning curve to adapt to short line? So first starting with 18/20, then 16/17, then 15, etc...

I was also wondering, is it really necessary to use a seat harness for racing? I saw many pics with riders wearing waist harnesses during a race.
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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby Mossy 757 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:16 pm

BlindRider wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:48 pm
What's your suggestion on kite racing line lengths.
12-13m for your smaller kites, 13-16m for your medium kites, and 15-18m for your larger kites (17m-21m).

That said, some guys ride 12m lines on their 21m race kites...just personal preference really.
How does line length and kite size relate?
The shorter your lines, the less "room" for the kite to turn and move in the sky. This means you need to be more direct and deliberate in fast gybes because the kite will want to finish the downloop with a wingtip very close to the water versus on much longer lines. With extremely wide kites like 15m+ this can be a factor getting used to the timing.
Do bigger sizes require longer (17-18m) lines, and smaller sizes shorter lines (12-15m)?
That's not far off. It generally has more to do with wind range; I can do more with an 11m kite on 17m lines than I can with a 15m kite on 12m lines in light wind.

For racing, you might want to have a 12m line set and 2 sets of 3m extensions. That way you have 12m, 15m, and 18m lines just by adding and removing extensions.
Is there a progression/learning curve to adapt to short line?
Coming from very long freeride lines, yeah, the timing of the power stroke is tricky and you need to get ready for the kite to be 6-12 feet closer to the water during everything you do (increases risk of dropping it a bit). That said, the feeling of the kite is much more direct and intuitive, and you can ride with more power, so you should be g2g after a couple hours practice. It's not a "skill" to learn so much as a minor "technique."
I was also wondering, is it really necessary to use a seat harness for racing? I saw many pics with riders wearing waist harnesses during a race.
Not any kind of professional racing you didn't. It's not a mandatory line item of cost, but I personally found my hydrofoil basically unrideable until I transitioned to a seat harness. YMMV.
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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby BlindRider » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:27 am

Thanks Mossy757!

I'm about to put together my first racing set, so I try to gather as much info as possible before I make the purchase, we have no pro racers around here.

Regarding wind range and kite sizes. I am going for a 3 kite setup to keep things simple at first. I am 85 kilograms, and I was thinking about a 17/19m (which one is better?) - 13m - 9m R1V2 quiver. Do you think it's going to work?

I am also a bit unsure about the wind range for these kite sizes with short lines. My initial thoughts are 19/17m until 10 knots, 13m from 10-20 knots, and 9m 20-30 knots.
Also, what if the wind ranges from 7-8 to 14-15 knot gusts? Do I take the 13 and be underpowered in the lulls or the 17/19, and be overpowered in the gusts? :D

I'm going to look into a good seat harness then, which brand / model do you guys prefer?

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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby downunder » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:01 pm

Except no one on straight 20km race was not oven remotely in first 10 on short lines.

Hadlow was in first 10 even tho riding a TT in boots ;)

So, define a race!

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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby BlindRider » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:47 pm

downunder wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:01 pm
So, define a race!
Race meaning a course race with upwind and downwind legs.

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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby Mossy 757 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:40 pm

BlindRider wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:27 am
Thanks Mossy757!

I'm about to put together my first racing set, so I try to gather as much info as possible before I make the purchase, we have no pro racers around here.

Regarding wind range and kite sizes. I am going for a 3 kite setup to keep things simple at first. I am 85 kilograms, and I was thinking about a 17/19m (which one is better?) - 13m - 9m R1V2 quiver. Do you think it's going to work?

I am also a bit unsure about the wind range for these kite sizes with short lines. My initial thoughts are 19/17m until 10 knots, 13m from 10-20 knots, and 9m 20-30 knots.
Also, what if the wind ranges from 7-8 to 14-15 knot gusts? Do I take the 13 and be underpowered in the lulls or the 17/19, and be overpowered in the gusts? :D

I'm going to look into a good seat harness then, which brand / model do you guys prefer?
For a seat harness, I ride a Dakine Vegas and love it. I've seen a lot of folks in videos riding that harness as well in races. You'll get a lot of thoughts on harnesses, my advice is always to try a couple out or get one with a return policy and test-fit it with the spreader bar before getting it wet to make sure it feels right under load.

As far as kite sizes, it's all going to depend on your skill and the conditions at your spot which really makes it hard for me to comment on what you should buy.

Most of the folks I race with can get away with a 15m R1V2 and 18m flying lines as their lightest wind combination. Keep in mind that while bigger kites can fly in lower wind, in many cases the margin isn't much lower they just produce more grunt or power once going fast. One of the other members of this forum who I race with had an 18m Sonic2 and used to lose against 15m R1V2's in light wind conditions even though he had a bigger kite. I'm about 75kg naked, probably about 100kg in full wetsuit and gear soaking wet, my biggest kite is a 15m R1V2 and at this point if I couldn't water start on 18m lines I'm not going racing. I wouldn't buy a race kite bigger than that unless I was going to travel to a regatta and expect to have a kite for ALL conditions, like if a sponsor would be pissed off that I decided not to go out in 7 knots.

My wind ranges with a Delta Hydrofoil are:

8-15 knots wind: 15m R1V2 on 17m lines
16-22 knots wind: 11m Sonic2 on 15m lines
23-30 knots: 9m Cabrinha Velocity inflatable because I don't want to fly foil kites in winds that high due to ground setup, handling, relaunch, etc. Tradeoff in performance for peace of mind, plus I have a nice light high aspect kite that's great from 13-30 knots for freeriding in the waves where I'd never take a foil. Foil kites really only point a bit higher in those sizes compared to inflatables. Much bigger performance gap between foils and inflatables in the larger sizes.

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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby BlindRider » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:55 pm

I'm 85 kg naked, so 17m as a lightwind kite makes sense for me. I also have no sponsor pressure, just starting out with racing.

Thanks for the tip on the harness, it's been 25 years since I used a seat harness for windsurfing, but shouldn't take long to readjust :)

Is it a bad idea to use R1V2s for airstyle / freeride with twintip? I am concerned about bridles going out of tune. Still it would be tons of fun with the hangtime, and I see guys boosting huge on foils with racekites. What do you think?

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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby Mossy 757 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:04 pm

You can, my buddy Dave does, maybe he'll chime in. My 15m R1V2 rips me off the water like a fucking rocket with the hydrofoil. Foil boosting is the most fun part of kiting, in my opinion. These kites are well made and won't fall apart in the sky if handled with care, but if you like to push your boundaries and progress, that means sometimes dropping the kite, which is the worst thing you can do to a race kite. These are not the kites to learn tricks on, they're great kites to do tricks on.

That said, beyond dropping the kite all the time and ruining it that way, bridle maintenance is just a fact of life. It's not something that I find really hard to handle on modern foils now that they're all tuneable. Worst case scenario you replace stuff in the bridle/speed system, but that's kind of par for the course with foil kites anyway.
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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby davesails7 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:37 am

Yeah I dont think jumping is a problem for race kites. I've heard higher level racers worried about jumping and messing up their top race kites, but I dont worry about it. I'm not winning races, just having a good time.

There is some getting used to short lines. The first time I tried 17m lines on my 9m kite it seemed crazy short. Now I have no problem 15m kite on 13m lines. (12m lines on 9m and 11m kites, 15m lines on 18m kite)

It takes some getting used to the riding a hydrofoil with power also. When I first started foiling I would ride my 10m ozone edge in 10 kts. Now in 10 kts it feels slow riding a 15m and i wish I would have rigged my 18m.

Not sure if it's the same everywhere, but most racers on East Coast US have 11m, 15m, and 18m kites now. I have a 9m race kite, but not sure I really need it. I can ride the 11m up to low 20's knots. Above that, foil kites are a handful. So I barely ever ride the 9m. Also at those wind speeds, inflatable is just as fast (or very close). I like an 18m session on mirror flat water a lot more than a hectic 9m session, so I'd go 11m, 15m, 19m instead, especially if you're in a lightwind area.
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Re: Kite racing line length + harness

Postby BlindRider » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:35 am

davesails7 wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:37 am
Not sure if it's the same everywhere, but most racers on East Coast US have 11m, 15m, and 18m kites now. I have a 9m race kite, but not sure I really need it. I can ride the 11m up to low 20's knots. Above that, foil kites are a handful. So I barely ever ride the 9m. Also at those wind speeds, inflatable is just as fast (or very close). I like an 18m session on mirror flat water a lot more than a hectic 9m session, so I'd go 11m, 15m, 19m instead, especially if you're in a lightwind area.
Thats interesting - my original thoughts were 19-15-11, but then I thought I need a smaller kite than 11 for strong wind racing, hence the 17-13-9 idea. I already have 18-12-9 foilkites, but they are freeride (Kitech Free RS), so maybe I'll go with the 19-15-11 route, and if its really nuking and I need to race, I take my 9m Kitech on short lines :)

First, I'm waiting for my new foil (Moses Comet with Havok wings) to arrive, I just sold my trusty old Alpinefoil freeride set, which served me perfectly for a year and half. Now it's time to upgrade.
Then comes the first racekite, most probably a 15, just to get used to the handling, power, short lines, and then 11 and 19.

Thanks for all the tips. I really need to get all the info to make sure I don't screw up with such an investment :).

Do you guys use this special race-oriented chicken loop system or just a normal one? I am a bit confused about all this superlight carbon bar, special chickenloop, leash, etc - how does it differ from a regular setup? Is it really necessary in the beginning?


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