Choosing the right kiteboard size comes down to the conditions, your weight, and your style of riding. The bigger the board, the more surface area that’s distributed across the water. With a bigger board, you can use a smaller kite to generate power. The smaller the board, there’s less surface area across the water and the bigger the kite needed.
Skill plays a role. Someone that can generate efficient power with a kite can ride a smaller board and still go upwind. However, a newer ride that is not as efficient with a kite may not generate the same power. We’ll look at the technical riding to gain experience in efficiency.
Kiteboard Size & Conditions
The basic rule of thumb is as follows, the lighter the wind, the bigger the board needed. In stronger winds, a smaller board is more suitable. In stronger winds, it’s easier to generate speed and power. If you use a bigger board in stronger winds, it’s more difficult to hold an edge. You’ll need to use a smaller kite with a bigger board in strong winds. But even then, it’s easy to generate too much speed and skip out. A smaller to an average sized board in normal to stronger wind conditions is ideal.
In lighter winds, it is more difficult to go upwind. A bigger board will make it much easier to kiteboard upwind. Even if you do not have a big kite, you can still use a big board and a smaller kite to go upwind. With a smaller kite, you can be more aggressive and “work the kite” to generate more power. Once you generate some power and speed, you can use that speed to go upwind.
|Rider Weight||Light Winds||Normal – Stronger Winds|
|90-125 lbs||150 cm +||128 – 135 cm|
|125 – 150 lbs||150 – 160 cm||134 – 139 cm|
|150 – 180 lbs||155 cm +||137 – 142 cm|
|180 – 220 lbs||160 cm +||140 – 148 cm|
|220 + lbs||160 cm +||145 cm +|
Kiteboard Size & Level Of Riding
Light winds are a true test of skill. You can learn a lot by kiteboarding in lightwinds. For instance, if you use a big board and small kite you can learn how to efficiently work the kite to generate power. You must be in sync between your kite control and board control. The idea is to get the kite as deep into the wind window as possible to generate the maximum amount of power. Your board angle needs to be just right to maintain a comfortable tension to generate speed. Once you gain some speed, you can use that speed to go upwind. Getting efficient between the kite and board will make you a better kiteboarder. You’ll be able to generate more power with a smaller kite. This will get you jumping higher in any wind conditions!
Kiteboard Size & Style Of Riding
There’s many different styles of riding. The chart above will provide a general overview of kiteboard size in relation to weight and wind speeds. If your style of riding is cruising with no jumping, then add a few cms to normal – stronger winds. If you’re strictly into board-offs, take away a few cms from the recommendation on the bottom end. For the majority of use, jumping, freestyle, wakestyle and recreational tricks, stick to the normal – stronger winds board size recommendations.
A smaller kite and bigger board allows you to ride with less power from the kite. We use a big, 160cm board, to teach beginners. It’s safer, efficient and you’ll learn faster. Once you learn how to ride upwind, you may not need the big board for your desired style of riding. Once you’re comfortably kiteboarding upwind, you can graduate to an “all around” sized board.
A big board is always good to have in your arsenal. It makes it much easier to kiteboard upwind in lighter winds. You can learn a lot by kiteboarding on those lightwind days. A bigger board is also less expensive than a bigger kite. Having a big board will increase the number of days you can get out on the water.