Kitesurfing Tips

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    This page describes some tips for equipment and techniques that you may find useful for kitesurfing (if you have any other tips to add, please feel welcome to leave a comment)

    Some Kitesurfing Tidbits

  • Always pump up your inflatable kite with it laid out completely. This will prevent the bladder from twisting inside the sheathing.
  • When winding up your lines on your controlbar, it is better to use a “figure 8” pattern rather than just looping them around the bar in a circle like on a spool. The figure 8 pattern helps prevent them from tangling when you unwind the lines before your next session.
  • Check your line lengths periodically. The kite lines tend to stretch over time, and new lines you buy on a spool will need to be pre-stretched. You can adjust the leader line knots to adjust for any changes.
  • Make sure your harness has a spreader bar that only detaches on one side. If you need rescue on the water, you can unhook your bar so its not in the way if you need to lie on your board and paddle into shore.
  • Its a good idea to kitesurf with a hook knife, or some other knife made of stainless steel so it won’t rust. You may need to cut a flying line one day.
  • The best way to find a bladder leak is to remove the bladder and pump it up well, then spread some soapy water solution over the bladder to find where it bubbles. Mark it at this spot and proceed to repair the leak.
  • Don’t roll the kite up the same way every time. The material can stretch over time and change the flight characteristics of the kite (it may fly always to one side, etc.)
  • Fold up your inflatable from one end to the middle, then do the other end. This prevents the valve from being covered making the air difficult to push out. Folding also prevents leading edge bladder twists.
  • Fold up your ARC with the zipper on the outside of the kite. This prevents the air from being trapped inside by the zippered area being inside the roll. When folding the ARC in windy situations, bring the downwind tip UNDER the kite to the other tip to prevent the kite from catching wind and flying away…
  • After deflating your inflatable, close the valves, so sand doesn’t blow in for your next session. You can also use your pump to deflate your bladders since most pumps work in reverse, too.
  • Volume versus planning surface

    Contrary to windsurfing, the volume of a board has little role in kitesurfing. This mean that as long as you have enough power from the kite, you can be on a board as thin as possible. It’s the planning surface of the board that is important in such case. In light wind, all kites are very sluggish and not likely to behave properly when you turn it around to jibe. Depending on how fast and powerful your kite is in light wind, you will need a larger board with a larger planning surface to retain the planning.

    Rider weight and height versus board size

    Contrary to windsurfing, rider weight has some role but not as dominant in determining the board size (especially in powered up situations). Similar to snowboarding, the height of the rider is more important in selecting the proper board size. A good directional board is around the rider height and a good bidirectional board is 1′ to 2′ shorter.

    Rider weight versus kite size

    Given same level of experience and capability, rider weight is approximately proportional to kite size. A rider twice as heavy as another should use a kite twice as big. A beginner should use a kite smaller than an experienced kitesurfer.

    How to retrieve your board

    If you are separated from your board, you normally end up more down wind of your board. To be able to retrieve your board, you have to drift down wind slower than your board (or go slightly upwind). The best way to do that is to control the kite with only upper hand to move it to one of the wind window edge and use your lower hand and your body as the keel (lower hand in the water and legs straight in a “super man” position side way in the water) – in other words, your body becomes the board to resist down wind drift. In that position, your body will drift down wind slower than the board and you just wait until the board drift by you to retrieve it. Furthermore, many kiters can body-drag upwind using this method.

    Modern kitesurfers normally don’t use board leash and normally body-drag upwind to retrieve the board.

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