Evolution of Kiteboarding

KITESURFING BASICS

Kiteboarding can pose hazards to surfers, beachgoers, bystanders and others on the water. Many problems and dangers that may be encountered while learning kiting can be avoided or minimized by taking professional instruction through lesson centres. Kitesurfing schools provide courses and lessons to teach skills including kite launching, flying, landing, usage of the bar, lines and safety devices.

Turning

A beginner can turn by stopping, sinking backwards into the water, then turning the kite in the opposite direction and starting again. A heel turn jibe is a quicker, more skillful turn that is executed by slowing down, flattening the board, then reversing the board flat on the water by bringing the rear foot around downwind to eventually become the new leading foot. The direction of the kite is then reversed, which swings the surfer’s path in a half circle, centered on the kite. As the turn ends, the kite is flown over to be in front of the surfer again.[21]

A poorly executed turn will “fly” the surfer, and is often followed by a tumble if the surfer can’t put the board down at the right angle.

A careless turn in high winds can easily swing the rider into the air and result in an uncontrolled impact.

Controlled flying and jumping

Controlled flying is possible and is one of the biggest attractions of the sport. Before jumping, the surfer builds up tension in the lines by strongly edging the board. Then the kite is flown quickly to an overhead position, sometimes just as the surfer goes over a wave. As the kite begins to lift, the board edge is then ‘released’ and the rider becomes airborne. The kite is then piloted from overhead to the direction of travel. A large variety of maneuvers and tricks can be performed while jumping.

 

Jumping can be very risky, riders must keep a clear buffer zone downwind when attempting to jump.

Board grabs

Board grabs names

Board grabs are tricks performed while a rider is jumping or has gained air from popping by grabbing the board in a number of positions with either hand. Each grab has a different name dependent on which part of the board is grabbed and with which hand it is grabbed by. Rear hand grabs are known as Crail, Indy, Trindy, Tail, Tailfish, and Stalefish; while front hand grabs are known as Slob, Mute, Seatbelt, Melon, Lien, and Nose. Names generally originate from other board sports like skateboarding and snowboarding.

A number of grabs can also be combined into one trick. A rider may perform a tail grab going to indy by moving the rear hand from the back of the board to the middle of the toe side edge.

ASSESSING THE WIND

Wind strength and kite sizes

Kitesurfers change kite size and/or line length depending on wind strength—stronger winds call for a smaller kite to prevent overpower situations. Kitesurfers will determine the wind strength using either an Anenometer or, more typically, visual clues as shown in the Beaufort Scale.

All modern kites dedicated to kitesurfing provide a “depower” option to reduce the power in the kite. By using depower, the kite’s angle of attack to the wind is reduced, thereby catching less wind in the kite and reducing the power or pull.

Wind speed, rider experience and weight, board size, kite design and riding style are all interdependent and affect the choice of kite.

An experienced rider generally carries a ‘quiver’ of different sized kites appropriate for the wind speed range. A typical kite quiver might include 9 m², 13 m² and 18 m² traditional “C-kites”. Exact kite sizes will vary depending on rider weight and desired wind ranges.

Bow kites have a wider wind range than C-kites, so two kite sizes (such as 7 m² and 12 m²) could form an effective quiver for winds ranging from 10 to 30+ knots for a 75 kg (165 lbs) rider.

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