Kiteboarding is a sport that requires you to understand the relationship between wind speed, wind direction, your body weight and height. You need to know which kite size will work best for you. Kiteboarding is a passion that has taken kitesurfing to new heights.
What Size Kite Do I Need For Kiteboarding ?
The size of the kite you need for your kiteboarding will depend on a number of factors including experience and ability, weight etc.
Experience and ability
If you are an advanced kiter then the size of kite that you will need will be much larger than someone who is just starting out. For example, if you weigh 65 kg and are an intermediate level rider then your kite should be at least a 7m2 to allow for stability. That would mean however that if there wasn't enough wind to fly a 7m2 kite you would need to come down in size.
If you are a beginner then the kite will need to be smaller, for example if you weigh 60kg and are learning then your kite should be 4-5 meters in size. Again as with advanced riders that would mean that if there wasn't enough wind you would need to go down in size.
Along with your experience and ability the weight of the rider will also help determine the best kite size for you. So as a general rule start off on a smaller kite if you are lighter and work your way up in size as you become heavier.
If however you are heavier than average and you don't want to start on a larger kite then your best bet is to change the bar that you have and put more line on the bar. That way you will be lighter because of less wind load. If however you are still feeling unstable or unable to control the large kite then it may be time for you to switch kites altogether.
One thing you don't want to do is buy a larger kite than what you need especially if the wind isn't strong enough to fly it. The reason being that if the wind picks up and it's still too small for you then your only choice will be to crash into the water. Not a pleasant experience!
Wind Speed and Direction
As mentioned in the paragraph above, you also need to make sure that it is windy enough for your large kite. If you are on a lake or reservoir then surface area of water can affect how much wind speed there is.
For example if the surface area of water is smaller than usual then there will be less wind speed than usual. The same can happen if you are on the ocean, the surface area is a lot bigger so there could be more or less wind speed than usual depending on what way the wind blows as well.
Types of kites
Kites are broadly classified into three categories: high-wind, freeride, and downwind.
High-wind: high-wind kites are used in areas with high wind (15 knots or more and ideally 25 knots or more).
Freeride: freeride kites can be used anywhere, but they are usually meant for lighter winds. They're also very nimble and have good upwind performance.
Downwind: downwind kites use very little wind to stay airborne (5 knots or less). They are made for boardsailing, and since they don't use much wind they have a short vertical window.
All kites come in different size ratios. The most common is 1:4, which means that the front of the kite is 4 times bigger than the back.
In general, if you have a small kite then it will require less wind to fly and can do more tricks due to its responsiveness and nimbleness. However, the lower aspect ratio also means that this type of kite will be harder to catch waves with since it is 'flatter' in shape.
A large kite is harder to perform tricks with, and it will be less responsive - but the higher aspect ratio means that this kite can catch waves much better. The trade-off is clear: a small kite has more playfulness at the expense of wave catching ability; while a large kite has more wave catching ability at the expense of playfulness.
How to choose the right size kite for you
For anyone new to kiting, choosing which size kite is best for you depends on what your skill level is and how much space you have to fly.
If you are just starting out as a beginner, you will want to get the largest kite that you can afford. Large kites are easier to learn on than small ones because they react more slowly and consistently in the air. Plus large kites cover a broader wind range than smaller ones so if there is no wind when learning, it will be easier to stay in the air with a larger kite. You will progress faster and have a better chance at staying up when your own skills level is matched by the power of your kite. Also, keep in mind that you can always downsize once you learn to ride!
You can also use smaller kites for light wind conditions or even as a secondary kite.
For intermediate kiteboarders, choosing the right size will depend on your individual needs. If you are looking for a more powerful kite for big air tricks or to cover more area with bigger jumps, then get a larger kite. Or if you have a smaller space where easy relaunching is desired, downsize to a smaller kite.
Tips for beginners about safety
Kiteboarding can be dangerous if you're not prepared. Here are some tips to make your first experience as safe and exciting as possible:
-Wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads at all times while kitesurfing
-Stay near the shoreline so that, in case of emergency, you have more space to maneuver your kite and control the board
-If you're on your own, don't go out too far. Ride along the shoreline until you feel comfortable going further. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
-Wear a wet suit that covers your body entirely, including your hands and arms because it'll help prevent any cuts or burns
-Carry safety equipment like a whistle or flotation device, just in case. You should also carry water and food to stay hydrated and nourished while out on the water
So, to sum it up:
Beginner riders should start with a large size kite because they will need the extra power to get around (and learn).
Intermediate and advanced riders should consider their individual needs and take into account things like wave catching ability, tricks performed, space available for riding and so on.
Choose a kite that fits your level of experience and skill.