A few times I had been caught out in is some 35+ knot wind gusts on 7m and 9m kites and I had to come in till it mellowed out. Then for fun years ago I got a used 2009 Switchblade 4m kite and purposely went out in 35+ knot winds, using a Mako high rocker board, that works great in big swell & chop. The kite was great handling kite for high winds, like flying a 2 line stunt kite it zips around so quick even on the puny 40cm bar. But at 190#s and 20+#s of wet gear on, plowing over high wind waves the 4m SB did not have enough power for me. Under heavy turning/loading the small sized leading edge tips would fold on the 4m SB. I tried pumping it super hard but I could still sometimes fold the small leading edge tips. A 4m SB would be a great kite for a lighter person, it handles so easy.
Over a year ago I got a 2015 Ocean Rodeo Storm 5m kite with the overbuild features including a full size leading edge. High winds usually come with high gusts, and high wind gusts can yank you around pretty good. I found this information to add a 5th line to the 5m Storm kite
. So I made a Y-connection bridle on the kite for a no-load 5th line. My first design had 6’ long Y-legs but it looked like it could tangle with the other lines/pulleys if the kite gets rolled. So I re-made the Y-legs about 3’ to reduce the possibility of any line slack/cross-over tangle. I set this up on a 55cm bar with 24m (80’) lines. The 5th line with a 12”+ of slack measured out to 28m (91’). With all 5 lines stretched out together and depower strap out, all 4 lines are equal and 5th line is 64” beyond the bar when pulled thru. I also made some longer pigtails with 6 knots spaced 2” apart on the outside lines for adjustments. I should note the wingtips have 3 attachment points on the kite for tuning turning speeds. I kept it attached to the outer most attachments for the quickest turning. I tested the safety in 25 knot winds and it works fine, but similar to a 2 line safety it flies upside-down. The front line bridle has a pulley so using a dual front line safety will pull at more/wider points on the kite than the 2-points my 5th line Y does. For tuning, shortening the outside lines with a pigtail knot too near the kite, the kite did not fully sheet out. Too long and the steering gets a little sloppy and even worse if I needed to use the depower strap. I found 2 knots that worked good so I labeled the shorter length knot “High Winds” (less sheeted out) and the longer knot “Very High Winds” (a little more sheeted out). Again the difference is only about 2”. The kite reacts quickly and turns smoothly. The bar/line length combo is good. The 5th line did not cause any drag/pull issues and I could pull it 12” before it would get tighter and I had to pull it even more/harder before I could notice any effect on the kite.
So my strong wind sketchy condition setup is a 5m Storm and my high rocker twin tip boards that are long, Mako King 165cm and Cabrinha Custom 144 cm.