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. When choosing kite size, it is a combination of wind speed and rider weight. The basics are, the bigger the rider, the bigger the kite. The smaller the rider, the smaller the kite. We use smaller kites for windy conditions and bigger kites for light winds. St Petersburg’s average wind during windy season (October to June) is 15-20mph. Our average wind during the summer months is 8-13mph.
The most basic rule of thumb is the heavier you are, the bigger the kite you will need. Here’s a list of the most used kite sizes based on weight and the average wind conditions during our 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 a beginner 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 11mph to 25mph. Lightwind kites have also 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.
Our personal kite quiver consists of a 17m, 14m and a 10m. For our riding style, unhooked freestyle, we are comfortable in winds from 10mph to 40mph. We have a foilboard to get out any day theres a breeze stronger than 7mph and if its over 35mph then we’re having fun jumping as high as possible on a 10m or smaller kite.
One Kite Quiver
To get into kiteboarding, you do not need a car full of equipment. For the average sized person, a 12m kite will get them out in 85% of the windy days we get in St Petersburg. Kite technology has improved to provide a broad wind range to the rider.