A Kiteboarding Overview – Just in Case You Want to Know How It’s Done or What It Takes…
In case you’re not exactly sure how it works, this kiteboarding overview will give an overview of the sport and the equipment it takes to do it.
Kiteboarding is simple. All that is needed is a large kite, board, and lines to connect the kite to the rider. The kite is flown through the air, and because of its size, produces enough power to pull the rider. The result is something that looks almost identical to wakeboarding – the only real difference is the kite!
Kiteboarding kites range from 3 m2 to 22m2, and are the source of power for the rider. The kite’s power is controlled by the rider in two ways – steering and sheeting.
Steering – The position of the kite relative to the wind greatly determines its power. Because of this, the rider can increase or decrease the power of the kite by moving it around the wind window.
Sheeting – Modern kiteboarding kites have the ability to be sheeted in and out like a sailboats sail. Sheeting the kite catches (when sheeting in) and releases (when sheeting out) the wind, which increases and decreases its power. This ability allows the rider to absorb gusts of wind and to generate more power when needed.
The kite board is where the rider converts the power of the kite into useful motion. Much like the keel of a sailboat, the pull of the kite is resisted by the board, which allows the rider to steer himself in the direction of his choice.
Boards come in a variety of designs, each of which is used for its own style of riding.
The Twin-tip is used for wakestyle and freeriding. It is a light board that can be ridden in both directions, making it the board of choice amongst most riders.
The surfboard is synonymous with kitesurfing. It is a one-directional board that is specifically designed to ride waves, and can come with or without foot straps.
The snowboard is used for snowkiting and is like the twin-tip, except that it is used on snow!
The land board is a skateboard with large wheels. The large wheels allow it to be ridden on rough terrain, which makes this the board of choice for kite-landboarding.
The kite is used to pull the rider across the water on his board. The kite must produce enough power to pull the rider on top of the water, otherwise he will sink (and that’s not any fun). To steer, the rider uses the edge of the board to dig into the water (called edging) to change his direction. The way you would steer a wakeboard or snowboard is identical to the way you steer a kiteboard.
To ride upwind, the rider must lean hard enough to bury one edge of his board in the water. This edge, combined with proper kite technique and positioning, is enough to drive the rider upwind.
A kiteboarder can jump by quickly flying his kite directly above his head. The kite, which acts like a wing, produces enough lift to pull the rider into the air. Ironically, smaller kites can jump higher than larger kites. This is because smaller kites fly faster than bigger ones (every time wind speed doubles, the kites power increases fourfold). So, because a smaller kite can be flown overhead faster, it creates more lift and the rider can jump higher.
This concludes the basic kiteboarding overview. Each and every topic covered in this page is be expanded on in a different section - just follow the links to get there!