There’s many different types of kiteboarding kites to choose from. Each style of kite serves a purpose and is for a certain style or styles of riding. The technology in the most recent kites have improved the aerodynamics to provide more in-flight stability, larger wind ranges and increased performance.
This article will break down the different types of kiteboarding kites. For the majority of kiteboarders, we recommend a more recent hybrid kite. The awesome part about kiteboarding is that the kite you get in the beginning can be the same kite used at a professional level.
Types Of Kiteboarding Kites
Bow Kites are a popular design to provide the rider with a large wind range, great upwind performance and easy relaunch. These kites are easy to learn on and are excellent for multiple styles of riding. The kites originated in the mid 2000’s as a response to making kiteboarding safer and more accessible.
Design Profile: Flat in the middle with a concave, swept wing tip. Bridle on the leading edge
Rider Profile: Riders looking for one kite with a maximum wind range, floaty boosts, speed riders, foilboarders, freeriders
Disadvantages: Slower turning, more difficult to relaunch, not great for unhooked riding.
Hybrid Bow Kite
Hybrid Bow Kites take the positive qualities of the bow kite and improve upon its disadvantages. Their purpose is to serve a slightly different style of rider. They have more “performance” features such as quicker response time and better unhooked performance. An example of a hybrid bow kite is the Cabrinha Switchblade.
Design Profile: More squared off than a modern Bow Kite, medium – high aspect ratio
Rider Profile: Riders looking to do every style of kiteboarding well
These were the most popular kite in the early days of kiteboarding. Chances are if you saw a kiteboarding accident on Youtube it was from an old C kite. A C kite sits super deep in the wind window giving it a much smaller wind range than any other style of kite. To use a C kite you need to be an extremely proficient rider. An example of a modern day C kite is the Core Impact.
Design Profile: C Shape, kite lines attach directly to the kite, no bridle
Rider Profile: Advanced unhooked riding
Disadvantages: Bad upwind drive, narrow wind range, bad relaunch, one style of riding, little depower
Hybrid C Kite
The hybrid C kite takes the best qualities of a C kites and improves upon all the disadvantages. With hybrid C kites, there’s more depower, easier upwind drive and a larger wind range. There is so much of a difference between a modern hybrid C that we can teach on them and beginner riders can improve just as quick as with a hybrid bow.
Design Profile: C shape with a bridle on the leading edge.
Rider Profile: Performance riding, big vertical jumps, responsive turns, great unhooked riding, freestyle
Disadvantages: Not as “floaty” jumps as a bow design, less lowend power
Delta kites combine a C kite with a bow kite to create a D shape. They are good for a variety of different riding styles. They’re good from beginner level to an intermediate level rider.
Design Profile: Angled wing tip shape, bridle on the leading edge
Rider Profile: Free riders, surf style, freestyle
Disadvantages: Easier to invert
Foil kites are unique in the sense that there is no leading edge or struts to inflate, they have cells which fill up with air. They are most commonly used for foil racing due to their ability to get upwind or downwind. They have to be stalled when launching so the cells fill up with air and if one side doesn’t fill up, it can cause the rider to lose control of the kite. Another common name for foil kites is ram air kites.
Design Profile: Open or closed cell, bridle
Rider Profile: Trainer kites, snow kiters, land kiters, foilboard racers
Disadvantages: Difficult to launch or land, specific style of riding, complex bridles, cannot be used for a self rescue
Knowing the different types of kiteboarding kites will help guide you in the right direction when its time to get a new kite. Having the right kite will help you progress faster and will make your time on the water more enjoyable. The easiest way to feel the differences between these kites is to test them out. We offer free demos monthly, drop us your email to stay updated.