1.Why aren’t you kiting?
Kiting will alter your life. There’s no other sport that allows you to get as much air and learn tricks so fast. Kiteboarding takes the best of windsurfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and paragliding and combines it all into one insane sport. There’s no other feeling like being fully lit while riding on the water. If you haven’t tried it yet, start kiting today. You’ll thank us for a new lifestyle and addiction.
2.Take Lessons. Click here for lessons
Lessons are the fastest, easiest, and safest way to begin kiteboarding. Even if you consider yourself highly athletic in other sports, you’ll want to take lessons prior to purchasing a kite. Given the right instruction, learning to kite is easy and safe. Most people don’t want to spend the extra money on lessons, but given the extreme power of the kite, you endanger yourself and others by not. The cost of lessons varies, but professional advice and instruction is worth more than the monetary cost involved.
3.What should I buy?
We use specifically designed gear for learning. School kites are easy to handle, and the boards are forgiving and buoyant. Let your first experiences with kiting be fun. To help you get up and going we have created a beginner package just for you. Once you have completed your course, we have a special package deal just for you! Buy a kite complete with bar and lines, a board and a harness of your choice as a package deal. Everything you need to start riding as soon as possible!
It is vital to take a lesson as there are a lot of safety steps that are essential to learn and ensure kiting is safe and fun and for everyone around you. The following information is to show you what you can expect from a lesson, and is not intended to replace or provide one. Also, use a BKSA or IKO instructor to gain the best possible advice.
4.What is a Kite?
Kites take two basic forms, foils and inflatables. Foil kites look like parachutes and are mostly used on land for training, but may also be used on the water. Inflatables are the large arc shaped kites generally used in kiteboarding. They work much better in the water as the inflatable structure allows for flotation and relaunching. Kites are also classified by line configuration, 2-line or 4/5-line. Kites with 4/5-lines have the ability to depower, while 2-line kites do not. 4/5-line kites are most commonly used for today’s kiteboarding as they offer a greater range of power. 2-line kites are often used in the instructional phases of kiteboarding due to their simplicity.
5.How many kites do I need?
Because this sport is wind dependant, it is very hard to predict which kites will be most appropriate for any individual, plus whenever you buy a new kite it blows too hard or not enough! Murphy’s Law # 45!! The sizes of your quiver depends on where you’ll be kiting, your body size and which board you’ll be using. An ideal quiver would consist of 3–4 kites, with a smaller kite for the high wind days and a bigger kite for light wind days. Someone living in an area which averages 25 knot winds and who is 70kgs might have a 8.0m, an 10m, and a 14m, whereas someone in an area that gets lighter winds on average, might have an 12m, a 16m and a 20m. It really depends where you’ll be kiting and your individual specs. It’s a good idea to talk to the locals and research the average conditions before buying a quiver. You can get by with only 1 kite, which should be the average kite for average winds. In Cape Town & Langebaan a 12m is best. A 14m or 12m in Durban. A 12m in PE & EL. And JHB is dependant on how far you want to travel.
6.Should I use a waist or a seat harness?
That is mostly a personal preference. It is a good idea to try them all and see which you find most comfortable. For people who have back problems, often a seat harness is more comfortable as you can use your lower body weight and rear-end to push against the kite and hold it down. The impact harness adds the benefit of upper body protection. In general, most women prefer seat harnesses, because with a lower center of gravity it easier to hold down more kite. The waist harnesses often ride up to where women’s waists are narrower and can be uncomfortable, especially so when body-dragging. Overall, waist harness are the most commonly used harness. BUY
How do board size and rider weight affect the suggested wind range rating of a kite?
Many factors affect the wind range of a kite such as board size, rider weight, riding ability and riding style (super lit or just powered). Each of these factors can adjust the recommended wind range for a particular kite. The general idea is that the bigger the board and the lighter the person, the smaller the kite that is needed. The basic idea behind rider weight and wind range is that a heavier rider, in general, will shift the wind range up. A kite that has a wind range of 20-30 knots for a 75 kilo rider might have a 25-35 knots range for a 100 kilo rider, simply because the extra mass requires more wind to get low-end planing and allows the rider to “hold down” more wind on the top end. The basic idea behind board size and wind range is that a smaller board will shift the wind range up. A smaller board requires more pull from the kite in order to get planing and a larger board requires less pull for early planing and the wind range shifts down. In general, it is easier to become overpowered on a larger board because it is harder to hold an edge. Published wind ranges are a rough guideline and everyone must take into consideration their weight, board length, riding ability, and local wind conditions, when selecting a kite.
7.What is the difference between low, med and high aspect kites?
The kite aspect ratio is essentially the length from wing tip to wing tip to overall surface area. Thus, the higher the aspect ratio the longer or skinnier the kite is. The higher the aspect of the kite, the more powerful and the loftier it is. As a beginner, you want to start with a low aspect kite that has more range and is more forgiving with less sustained power. Typically intermediate riders prefer a medium aspect kite but it becomes a matter of personal preference and riding style.
8. 5th Line kites or not?
The 5th line, provides additional depower, safety and makes relaunching more efficient, why wouldn’t you use it? It is a bit more complicated and one more thing to learn, but it was designed to improve the bar system and your kiting experience. Also, most of the new Naish kites are 5th line dependant. Through usage of the 5th line, the kite’s leading edge is able to be narrower and this makes the kite a lot quicker through the air. Kiting has come a long way over the last few years, in fact kites from 2-3 years ago have become somewhat obsolete as new features and systems are designed. Take advantage of the time taken in researching and testing that has gone into making kiting safer and easier, by using the SHIFT system. It simply requires one more line attachment during setup and adds so much in terms of safety and ease. It is definitely worth investing the time to figure it out. Plus it works every time unlike other systems on the market.
9.How does line length affect kite performance?
Shorter lines bring the rider closer to the kite which gives the kite faster handling and less power. Shorter lines are safer in high traffic areas due to the reduced distance between the rider and the kite. Additionally, shorter lines are better for wave riding and riding overpowered because of the faster reaction of the kite. In contrast, longer lines give the kite slower handling and more power. Additionally, due to a larger power stroke, longer lines generally allow for more hang time. 24m Lines are the preferred length on most kites.
What is the SHIFT fifth line? Why do I need it? The fifth line system, or SHIFT, is designed to allow you to completely depower your kite, without getting all your lines tangled as you would have with a traditional kite “flag”. When learning or in a situation where you’re out of control, the usual method is to “throw the bar” which engages the one line leash system that flags the kite and typically ends the session as the lines get tangled. With the fifth line, the kite is completely depowered but all 4 flying lines should remain in tact allowing for a quick and safe recovery. It is also useful when relaunching as it eliminates the need for swimming. The SHIFT system also allows for efficient and safe relaunching without the need to swim like the 100m relay team! Reach above the depower strap and pull it a few times to flip the kite onto it’s back. Once it is on it’s back, the kite can be relaunched. The bonus of the SHIFT system versus another relaunch system is simple, it works, even with slack lines!
10.How do I set up my board/footstraps?
When you first get your board you have to set up your footstraps to fit you. The best way to install them is to screw in the footstrap screw that is closest to the center of the board with the footstrap spun around 180 degrees first. Once that screw is started, spin the pad around to its correct position. Be sure to screw the screws in straight. If they’re screwed in on an angle you will probably strip the insert and that insert will be useless. Also, be sure not to over tighten the screws. Then the question, “Wide or Regular stance?”
11.Which board is best for me?
Some of the variables to consider are body size, conditions, skill level and spot (waves vs. flat water). The short answer is the smaller the person, the stronger the wind and the greater the skill, the smaller the board. In contrast, longer boards provide more floatation for larger riders or lighter winds. Ask your friends, the local shops or check out what the pros are using. In the end, board selection depends on personal preference and riding style.
12.Should I kite Alone?
While kiting can be done alone it is better to have someone to help you launch and land your kite and keep an eye on you while out on the water. As kiting has become increasingly popular it is much easier now than it used to be to find others to kite with. Self-launching and landing are techniques are important to learn, because there may not always be someone around. These practices done improperly can be extremely dangerous so make sure you know how to do them safely. The SHIFT system makes self launching and landing a lot easier, and definitely safer.
Are there any signals that I need to know while on the water?
One good signal to know is the “catch my kite” motion. To indicate to someone on the beach that you’d like them to catch your kite the signal is patting the top of your head. Pat the top of your head a few times to ask someone to catch and land your kite. Also then launching, giving the “Thumbs Up” sign tells the person holding your kite to let go.
13.Do I need to be super strong?
Although it looks like you might, you really don’t. Kiteboarding is more of a finesse sport than a strength sport. This is because the harness you wear allows you to use a lot of your body weight to hold the kite and “harness” the kite’s power, versus arm strength. However, you definitely need to be a strong swimmer and in good shape, not necessarily to kite but in the event that something goes wrong and you have to swim back. Although it doesn’t require a lot of strength, kiting a lot will get you in good shape both mentally and physically!