Kiteboarding is an individual recreational sport that is conducted on open areas of water, preferably in constant winds ranging between 16 – 30 knots. It can be performed on flat or bumpy water conditions. The ‘kiter’ aims to fly the kite in a pattern to produce power to pull him/herself along the surface of the water across the wind, following the same basic principles as sailing. There is no motor power involved.
Below are more details of the equipment and skills required for kiteboarding.
There are many disciplines to the sport, which have different aims from performing freestyle tricks, wave-riding or course racing or free riding. A large part of the sport involves performing jumps, which are initiated by the kiter flying the kite in a certain way. The directions of possible travel are similar to the basic principles of sailing.
The kitesurfer is the link between the board and the kite, as the two pieces of equipment are not connected.
The kiter wears a harness to balance his/her weight against the kite. There is no connection between the kite and the board apart from via the rider.
The primary skill to kitesurfing is to be able to control and fly the kite competently. Once the kite is mastered, the board is then introduced and the kiter must initiate power in the kite at the appropriate time to pull them up and along the surface of the water. This power must be prolonged by the constant flying of the kite in the correct zone in order to continue moving.
Once the basics are mastered, the skills of riding, jumping, tricks, waves can then by practiced. Due to the nature and freedom of the sport, there is no end to the skills base, as it is evolving and growing continuously.
The essential pieces of equipment for kiteboarding include a kite, control bar and lines, a safety leash connecting the chicken loop to the harness, a harness and a board.
This is the means of propulsion. It is wind powered, by flying within a ‘Wind Window’ where there are different zones of power/pull and neutral stability.
Kites used for kitesurfing in the majority are supported by a series of inflatable tubes, which provide a framework between which material is stretched to grab wind in the same principle as a sail. Not all kites have inflatable tubes. These can be substituted for solid battens, or a double layer of cloth, providing a cell type structure with a series of ‘Bridle/ supporting lines’ to help maintain a stable shape.
Inflatable kites tend to relaunch from the water better when crashed hence their popularity. There are three type of inflatable kite SLE, Hybrid, and C shape. These refer to the kite’s design and flying characteristics.
Control Bar and Lines
The majority of kitesurfing kites fly on Bars. These will involve a ‘depower’ system to help control the kite. Some kites can be flown on handles. The bar option is more popular as it allows easy single-handed flying.
Lines made from non-stretch spectra type material connect the kite to the bar. Depending on the type and complexity of the kite, there can be, 2, 4 or 5 lines used to fly the kite. The majority of kites are flown on 4 or 5 line depowerable bars. Line length can vary between 10m and 40m. Typical line length is from 20 – 25 metres.
All bars/ kites will have some form of safety system allowing complete ejection of the kite’s power without releasing the kite completely. The basic principle of a safety system is to release the wind from the kite’s canopy by releasing tension of all but a single line, or prevent the kite’s canopy from collecting wind effectively letting it ‘flag’.
Good modern safety systems allow quick relaunch capabilities as well as instant depower.
Kiters wear a harness in order to connect themselves to the lines attached to the kite. The harness spreads the load of the kite’s pull. Harnesses come in two styles, seat or waist harnesses.
Seat harnesses have a lower hook position, and fit around the kitesurfers bottom with leg straps coming around and under the legs from front to back. Seat harnesses provide good support while learning and are sometimes preferred by people with pre-existing back injuries. The lower hook position can also make the bar easier to reach for riders with shorter arms.
Waist harnesses have a higher hook position and fit around the rider’s lower abdomen/stomach like a weightlifters belt. They provide more flexibility and freedom of movement for tricks and manoeuvres.
Twin Tip Boards
Kiteboards can come in a wide variety of types/shapes and sizes. The majority of the market is occupied by ‘Twin Tip’ boards, which can be ridden in either direction and are symmetrical in shape. These range in size between 1.1m and 1.6m in length, and .3m and .5m in width at the widest point. Twin tips tend to be made from snowboard type materials such as volcanic basalt, wood or carbon fibre with hardened rails.
Directional Boards / Kite Surfboards
The second type of board is comparable to a surfboard and is often referred to as a ‘directional’ board, with typical sizes ranging between 5′ and 6’2″ in length. These directional boards can only be ridden in one direction and can either be ridden with foostraps or ‘strapless’. Directional boards are for riding waves or the open ocean.
Both boards will have fins on the bottom to provide grip through the water, although some riders will remove the fins from their Twin Tips when using ramps or park obstacles.
Hydrofoils / Foil boards
A third type of board is one which has a hydrofoil connected via a lightweight underwater mast. This is a rapidly developing area of kiteboarding with new breakthroughs in technology, design and materials driving change in the sport.
A hydrofoil raises the board out of the water, reducing drag and allows riders to kite in much lighter winds than when using twin-tips or directional boards.
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Kiteboarding Western Australia - formerly WAKSA shared an album.
13 hours ago
Safe to say everyone had a fun packed weekend on the water down in Safety Bay!! Huge shout out to Safety Bay Yacht Club, City of Rockingham, Gokiting WA Surf & fellow committee member Ieke for organising this years Kite Karnival event & to the Sunday TT Racing crew! 🙌🏼🙌🏼
📸 AdrenalineBoardSportsDay for Fun and exciting kiting, with Body drag races, twin tip racing, expression sessions and big air ... See MoreSee Less
Kiteboarding Western Australia - formerly WAKSA is at Floreat Beach.
7 days ago
James Carew has been enjoying the delights of Perth! 💨
📸 Repost • True Spirit Photos I had the chance to grab a few photos of James Carew enjoying a few waves off one of Perth’s beaches late this afternoon. Photos taken at Floreat Groyne. Gallery of these photos & others from that shoot on True Spirits website. @jamesscarew
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#duotonekiteboarding #ionaction #quobbafins #truekiteboarding #justanotherdayinwa #waveriding #australia #westernaustralia Kiteboarding Australia Duotone Kiteboarding International @ Floreat Beach ... See MoreSee Less
2 weeks ago
As the season is in full swing & kite beaches are busy, here are some useful points to consider to help prevent future accidents courtesy of Kiteboarding Australia accredited school Kitebud...
1) Keep more distance from each other. Of course this is easier said than done especially when it's busy, but if you are a more experience kiter getting close to beginners (whether they are in a lesson or not) you are eventually going to get tangled with someone. Avoid getting inside the wind window or too close upwind of any learner (or anyone else for that matter). Remember that everyone once was a learner and learners panic when anyone gets too close to them, which increases the risk of an accident.
2) Avoid flying your kite on the beach at the Zenith (12) unnecessarily for long periods of time when the beach is crowded. In our kite school we use 5 meter lines and really small (3 to 5m) kites to fly safely on land which greatly minimises hazards for other kiters around.
3) When the wind speed doubles you QUADRUPLE the power in your kite. That's right, on a day like to today in 30 knots (sand stinging your legs), you will get 4 TIMES the power you would get in 15 knots. Ensure you choose the correct kite size for your weight and skill level. If you're in doubt, don't go out. Give even more distance between each other and from obstacles in strong winds
4) Learn to launch and land safely. We witness so many failed launches which in the majority of cases are due to poor technique (walking too far upwind, pulling the bar all the way in, having the wrong hand on the wrong side of the bar etc.). Get proper instruction for this to prevent accidents. Get into the water with your kite as close to the water as possible to minimise the risk in case something goes wrong. The safest would be to have both the Pilot and the kite over the water
5) Your friend, boyfriend, or family member may be good kiters but are not necessarily good instructors. Professional kite schools have qualified instructors, insurance, permits and use safer under-powered kites and shorter lines in the early stage of the learning process. Hooking your 10m kite to your 55kg girlfriend for her to fly on the beach in 25 knots is NOT safe and will most likely result in an accident and potentially injure others as well. If you choose to learn with an unqualified instructor, please choose an area with less traffic and be respectful of others around you.
6) Learn to use your safety systems. If your kite suddenly drifts to the power zone on land by mistake or if you are in a tangle situation with another kite, ACTIVATE YOUR QUICK RELEASE NOW. Not acting quickly could result in bad consequences and you may end up losing your kite due to excessive tangles jamming your safety system
7) Carry a hook knife on your harness, this could save your life!
😎 Hook your safety leash at the front or on the side of your harness. Hooking your safety leash at the back of your harness is dangerous as you may not be able to reach it in an emergency.
9) Avoid self-launching and self-landing on on a busy beach with people / kites / obstacles inside or close to your wind window. This in an unnecessary risk which will eventually cause an accident that won't involve just yourself but also others downwind of you.
10) Learn to self-rescue and if you don't know how to do it, get a professional instructor to show you, this could save your life and your gear. If you kite in deep waters without being able to rescue yourself you will force others to help you when you get in trouble.
11) Learn the right of way rules. Any kiter that is entering the water has the right of way over anyone coming in towards the beach. If you are kiting back towards the beach and you see someone trying to get into the water from the beach you must turn around and him/her priority. There are a few exceptions, check with local kiters at the spot or check our guides online.
Safe kiting everyone 🏄🏼♀️🏄🏻♂️ ... See MoreSee Less