Size matters… If you want to maximize your time on the water then you’re going to want to invest in the right size kite or kites that best matches your weight, your riding style and the wind conditions. Not all kites are equal; I won’t dissect the different brands but the present day lightwind kites are significantly better than what they use to be. With the right gear, it is possible to kiteboard in as little as 6mph to 60mph. Keep in mind throughout this article that our average wind during windy season (October to June) is 15-20mph. Our average wind during the summer months is 8-13mph.
Weight can be your best friend or worst enemy. The most basic rule of thumb is the heavier you are, the bigger the size kite you’ll need. Here’s a list of the most used kite size based on your weight and the average wind conditions during windy season:
90-120lbs – 9m/10m
120-150lbs -10m/ 11m
150-180lbs – 12m/ 13m
180-210lbs – 14m/ 15m
220lbs plus – 15m +
One of the cool and unique parts of kiteboarding is that the gear you get as you’re beginning can be the same gear you ride at a very skilled level. Since 2014, kiteboarding gear has improved tremendously to create broader wind ranges and increased performance. For your average sized rider, a new 12m kite will comfortably cover wind ranging from 12mph to 25mph. Lightwind kites have also tremendously improved so that in the 8mph to 13mph wind range you can have fun with a twin tip board. The best way to know for certain which kites work for you is to test them out first.
A kite quiver is owning multiple kites to cover a wind range. It is possible to get away with owning one kite, but if you want to cover a broad range of wind then you’ll want to own two or three kites. When creating your kite quiver start off buying your most important size kite first, see the diagram under “weight” to determine the most common kite size for your weight. After that, figure out what is more important to you, riding in very strong wind or riding in lightwind. Keep in mind that in St Petersburg (especially the summer months) we have more lightwind days than days when its blowing over 30mph. If you’ve determined that you want to ride as many days as possible and you already own a 12m kite then your next kite should be a lightwind kite. To create a kite quiver with as little overlap as possible between two kites go up or down 3m/ 4m. So if you own a 12m kite and want to ride in lighter wind then your next kite should be a 15m or 16m. To complete your quiver and ride in higher winds, your third kite would be a 9m or 8m.
My personal kite quiver consists of a 17m, 14m and a 10m. For my riding style, unhooked freestyle, I am comfortable in winds from 11mph to 35mph. I have a foilboard to get out any day theres a breeze stronger than 7mph and if its over 35mph then I’m having fun jumping as high as possible on my 10m.