#Kitesurfing Lessons 101
– Blame Yourself Not Your Gear
Anybody who took there #kitesurfing lessons with a reputable instructor will have covered basic kite set up and obvious checking points for maintenance wear and tear from a safety point of view. However how many of you post your #kitesurfing lessons have researched on you own how to properly tune your equipment? We hear endless complaints my kite is useless couldn’t do anything out there today! Well guess what like everything your kitesurfing equipment need love and attention too ! A bad workman always blames his tools as the saying goes. So here is some tips to help make sure your kite is as ready to session as you !
It’s all too easy at the end of a bad day to blame your kite for holding you back – it felt like no power/no bar pressure/it wouldn’t turn etc etc – we’ve all said it, but more usually your kite needs a little tuning to bring it back to as good as new!
This is especially true of older kites, or those not using the supplied bar by the manufacturer. Maybe you’ve just past the beginner stage or have been crashing your kite in the water repeatedly causing all your lines to stretch under the strain! Whatever the case with a little knowledge & advice you will hopefully be able to diagnose and fix any potential problems. There are key areas to focus on:
The difference in length between your front and back lines and how they affect your kites handling and performance
The difference in length between the right and left sets of lines and how they will affect your kites balance or cause erratic behavior.
The attachment points for the front and back lines along the tip of the kite
1. Front & Back Lines Common Problems:
Front Line too long, back lines to short
Visual tells: The tips of the kite are flared out
Handling: Bar feels heavy, kite lacks power & turns erratic.
Solution: Depends on the available adjustment points on your kite and bar but commonly start by trying to lengthen your back lines, probably at the kite or bar end, by using a pigtail knot further from the kite or at the bar.
No power, Slow turning
Front lines too short, back lines to long:
Visual tells: Back lines are visibly sagging
Handling: Bar feels light and pulling on each side has little effect on the kite, the kite turns slowly. You feel like you need to pull the bar the whole time.
Solution: Again depends on the available adjustment points on your kite and bar but commonly start by trying to shorten your back lines, probably at the kite or bar by using a pigtail knot closer at the kite or at the bar.
2. Difference between Right and Left sets of Lines:
Wonky bar !
Visual tells: When the kite is above your head, you have to pull lightly on one side of the bar to keep the kite directly over head. If the kite is straight over your head the bar will not be straight.
Handling: The added co-ordination it takes to keep the kite flying straight will affect your ability to simply ride along and stay upwind, when attempting even your most simple tricks its very easy to lose control of the kite. The kite will react differently when flying from right to left or left to right – noticeable during times when your use extreme moves of the kite like waterstarts, changing direction and jumping. On one side the kite will be super fast and catch you out, on the other it will be slow and not turn.
Solution: Check your line lengths for your sets of front and back lines separately. You can do this on the beach by attaching them to a tree, lamppost or something that wont move. Set your bar to full power pull the bar in and check there is equal tension on all lines. After checking front and back lines separate check all together when you pull the bar should be straight and all line equal tension.
If after checking your lines they turn out to be equal then you may need to check your bridle. This far harder to check and something that can be very different between bridled kites. Speak to your local kite shop or the manufacture for help with this. You may need to purchase a new bridle system.
3. Kite Attachment points:
Over the years kites have been developed and refined, with handling characteristics becoming broad reducing the need for multiple kite attachment points. However, many kites still have two or more options and they can have noticeable effects on the handling of your kite and can be confusing so here is the basics:
Front line attachments – alters the depower range of the kite available by sheeting the bar in and out
Forward position – increase the amount of depower, more suited to freeride
Rear position – decreases the amount of depower, more suited to aggressive wakestyle
Back line attachments – alters the speed at which the kite will turn
Forward position – Kite will turn slower, with a bigger turn big kiteloops
Rear position – Kite will turn faster, and more on its axis, better for the average rider and waves or progression
As you can see there is a lot you can do to tune your kite, to solve negative handling characteristics and also to broaden the range and style of your kites function. Next time you head out, give your kite a little bit of attention and ensure it is giving you the best performance!