Common Misconceptions: Will I Get Blown Away
A common misconception someone whose never kiteboarded before has is a fear of getting “blown away.” It’s easy to go on to Youtube and fish out the videos of bad kiteboarding accidents but the reality is, if you take proper lessons you’ll learn how to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Awareness of the gear and how it all works may help you to understand that you will not get blown away during your kiteboard lesson.
Kite control and familiarity of the wind window are key components to being a proficient rider. The wind window is a three-dimensional area downwind of the pilot of which a kite can fly.
One of the neutral zones is the zenith or 12, straight above the pilots head. When the kite is positioned here wind travels above and below the canopy so that there is no pull or force felt from the pilot. The aerodynamics of modern kites have made it possible to go out in windier conditions.
Kiteboarding is a relatively new sport, and like all new sports, there’s a lot of development that takes place during the early years. The majority of kite related accidents you may have seen are on older style, C-kites. C-kites have a narrow wind range with almost no depower. Today, the majority of kites are either bow or delta shaped kites, both of which have a greater wind range and depower.
So why do modern day kites have more wind range and greater depower than the early shaped kites? The big reason lies within having a bridle system. On a true C-kite, the center lines are attached directly to the leading edge of the kite. On a bow, delta or hybrid shaped kite, there is a bridle system that the center lines are attached to so that when you let out of the bar, the kite dumps whatever power it may have had.
In the above diagram, kites with a bridle system allow you to reduce the positive and increase the negative air flow by letting out of the bar so that you, as the pilot of the kite, do not feel or receive any pull. There are many more differences between a C-shaped kite and a bridled kite than just depower and wind range, but those two factors contribute most to a beginner’s experience. Basically, learning on the most modern kites makes it easier than ever before to learn how to kiteboard and effortless, by letting out of the bar you dump almost all of the power a kite has.
The Control Bar
The control bar is what connects you as the pilot to the kite. Control bars, like kite technology, have greatly improved in recent years. They have been designed to give the rider increased control of the kite as well as safety that works on demand. If you ever get in an uncomfortable situation there’s a quick release that kills the power of the kite instantly.
When you hook into a kite for the first time during your lesson, one of the first things you will learn is that letting out of the control bar dumps the power of the kite. This is the moment when our students fully understand how a kite works and that simply pushing the bar away from your body alleviates any tension. During the lesson we would continue to assist you with the steering, letting in and out to find the “sweet spot” and steering left and right until you develop the muscle memory. Once you develop the muscle memory of controlling the kite on your own and before doing drills that require you to be away from an instructor we teach you how to operate the quick release on the control bar.
Pulling the quick release will kill all the power of the kite by flagging it onto a single line that is connected to the bridle. The kite will rest on the water or ground and the wind will blow over the top of the kite as if it was laid down on the beach prior to your session.
Once you pull the quick release you can either reattach to the kite and continue kiteboarding or do a self rescue. We teach you both methods so that you are prepared for any situation that could happen.
Modern kiteboarding technology has greatly improved since the early days making the sport safer and more user friendly for everyone. Todays kites instantly depower by simply letting out of the control bar and are equipped with safety releases that are clean and simple to operate. Kiteboarding is counterintuitive to what you may think you should do, which is why lessons are still necessary. For professional instruction send us a message or call 7742498062