Trimming the Kite – What Does the Trim Strap Do?

Trimming allows you to change the power of the kite.  Your trim strap (shown below) can be adjusted to either give the kite more or less power, depending on how you set it.  It’s located near the bar and is always within reach when you are riding. 

Examples - Best Kiteboarding and Naish

trim strap example best kiteboarding bar

best kiteboarding trim strap close up

trim line naish 2009 bar

trim line naish close up

As you can see, every brand has a different style of trim strap, but in the end they all work the same.


What’s the Difference Between Trimming and Sheeting?

Sheeting allows you to adjust the kite’s power by moving the bar relative to you, but trimming changes the overall amount of power that you get at the bar.  It’s meant to tune your kite exactly to your riding preference and the current conditions.

Example – You launch your kite and are feeling the amount of power it has in the wind.  You have too much power so you sheet out – but sheeting out that far puts you into an uncomfortable position.  So, you grab the ‘depower’ line on the trim strap and use it to depower the kite until your preferred bar position is the most comfortable.

But then, after 30 minutes on the water, the wind dies down a little.  You sheet in all the way, but you don’t have enough power – so you grab the ‘power’ line on your trim strap and pull until your kite has enough power to ride.

Note – Trimming does have its limitations. If you’re riding and the wind picks up or dies down enough that the kite size you have is unusable, then your trim strap isn’t going to completely fix the problem. In the case where the wind picks up, you’ll be able to de-power the kite but you’ll still need to change kites.

In the case where the wind dies down, if it dies down enough that your kite won’t fly, then no trim strap can fix that (at least not that I know of – if you find one, please tell me because I want it!).

How Does It Work?

Unlike sheeting, which changes the length of the back lines, the trim strap changes the lengths of the front lines.    Doing this changes the angle of the kite in the wind (called AOA or Angle of Attack), which changes the kite’s power.

Decreasing the Kite’s Power

In this case, the trim strap shortens the front lines of the kite.  It pulls the leading edge of the kite closer to you, which decreases the power.

trimming decreasing the power

Increasing the Kite’s Power

To increase the kite’s power, the trim strap lengthens the front lines.  This increases the lift that the kite produces.

trimming trim out

When is Trimming Not Your Problem?

Trimming is not the be-all end-all for getting your kite to fly properly. It’s really only a way to tune your properly set up kite to the conditions and your preference.

If you’re having trouble getting the kite to trim correctly, or it does not fly properly, you might need to change where your back lines are connected.

Example – Say you launch your kite and have too much power. You use your trim strap to de-power the kite and still have too much power, so you sheet out. You sheet out enough to decrease the power, but barely so.

The problem here is not trimming; it’s that your kite is rigged for too much power. What you would want to do is land your kite and re-attach your rear lines further down to decrease its overall power. You’d then re-launch and try again.

Another Example – In the opposite case, say you get your kite in the air and don’t have enough power. You trim your kite for more power, but still don’t have enough. You then land your kite, re-attach the rear lines, and then re-launch. If in this case, you have enough power then you’re good to go.

But, if after re-connecting the rear lines, you get your kite in the air and it starts to back-stall then you know that your kite is too small. Set up a bigger one.

That's all for trimming - it's simply just a way to adjust the power of your kite.

Head back to sheeting

Beginner Practice

Head back to kite theory (Coming Soon)

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