Flying Your Kite and Proper Posture – Milk Every Last Ounce of Power Out of Your Kite, and Control it With Good Form
Flying your kite for maximum effect while riding a board is an art. The power of the kite can increase or decrease based on how you fly it, so if you don’t know how it's done, keep reading! This page also covers proper posture, so jump to:
- Adjusting the Power of the Kite
- Sineing Your Kite
- Getting the Maximum Power Out of a Kite
- Proper Posture
Adjusting the Power of the Kite
Your kite's power not only depends on where you fly it in the wind window, but also on how you fly it. You can increase or decrease its power simply by positioning it differently in the wind window.
As you are riding, your kite will eventually 'park' in the wind window. When this happens, the kite appears to stay stationary from your perspective. It's not actually stationary, it just seems that way because you are moving at the same speed as it. This is great because it's very easy for us to adjust the kite's power.
If you need less power, position your kite higher in the wind window
If you need more power, position your kite lower in the wind window.
If you need even more power, keep reading – there's more we can do!
Sineing Your Kite
Sineing (pronounced 'signing') your kite is another way to coax more power out of it. If the previous method doesn't produce enough power for you, give this one a shot.
To sine your kite simply fly it up and down while riding. To you, your kite will just be moving up and down, but to an observer the kite will be creating a sine-wave (if you don’t know what this is, it's a math thing – here is a good description). The images below show what this will look like.
Why does this work? A kite that is moving up and down moves faster than one that is just parked. The faster moving kite produces more lift than the other one, hence it pulls harder.
Getting the Maximum Power Out of a Kite
To get the most power out of your kite you need to fly a more aggressive sine pattern; this maximizes the speed of the kite, which maximizes its power. The image below shows what pattern to fly.
When you are doing this, make sure you don't let the kite fly into the other side of the wind window – don't let this happen! If you do, the kite can give you a severe jerk, and can even throw you. Keep it under control.
If you try all of the above tactics and you still don't have enough power, you are probably using a kite that is too small. If this is the case, take note of the conditions, rig a bigger kite, and remember what size of kite is required for those conditions.
Proper posture is about effectively leveraging your body’s weight against the kite. With proper form you control the kite and not vice versa. You will be able to kite longer, handle more power, and convert that power into motion more effectively when you have good posture. With posture it's all about leverage. To have the best leverage over your kite:
Keep your body straight. Your knees, torso, and head should form a fairly straight line.
- Balance the kite by leaning back. Focus on keeping your body straight and apply heel pressure to steer. If the kite has little power, don’t lean back too far. If it has a lot of power, lean back more.
- Press the bar down towards your toes. If the bar is up around your chest or head, you have less leverage over the kite.
What if I Fall Over Backwards?
If you start to go over backwards:
Bend at the knees and bring your butt close to your heels.
Use the kite's power to pull you back into balance, like you would when water starting.
Stand up and lean back again (this time a little less).
What Not to Do
I usually prefer to not focus on what not to do, but in this case it helps to know what bad posture looks like. Poor posture dramatically reduces the leverage you have on your kite and increases your chance of wiping out.
What you don’t want to do is crouch. Crouching reduces the leverage you have over the kite. Instead of using your body weight to counterbalance the kite, you have to use your muscles, which is extremely tiring! If you notice yourself doing this, consciously straighten out and focus on maintaining better form.
That sums up these two important topics. I hope you can see how important flying your kite to maximum effect is – it's a skill that really gets the most out of your equipment.