Common Misconceptions: Will I Get Blown Away
A common misconception to someone who never kiteboarded before is a fear of getting “blown away.” It’s easy to go on to Youtube and find videos of kiteboarding accidents. Kiteboarding can be dangerous but you minimize that risk with certified training. A professional instructor will be able to teach you good habits and greatly minimize your risk of injury. Understanding how a kite flies will help you learn quicker and better understand that you will not get blown away!
The Wind Window and How A Kite Works
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. Essentially, the wind window is the area where a kite can fly. Wind travels laterally, unless you’re standing next to a mountain or large cliff that causes an updraft. What this means for kiteboarding is that you’re more likely to get pulled forwards than upwards. In fact, it is difficult to get pulled straight up and requires skill and technique to jump. With thousands of hours of experience we have never seen anyone get pulled upwards. You will not get blown away!
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 experience even less tension in your arms.
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? A big reason is 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. When you push the bar out, you push the back of the kite away and that releases power.
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. As the pilot of the kite, pushing out on the bar will reduce your power. 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. Learning on modern kites makes it easier than ever before to learn how to kiteboard. By letting out of the bar you dump almost all of the power a kite has.
Modern Control Bars
The control bar is what connects you 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.
Within the first hour of a lesson you will get to experience flying a four line inflatable kite. Your first exercise will be to find the “sweet spot” of the bar by pulling in or pushing out. During the lesson we would continue to assist you with the steering, letting in and out to find the “sweet spot.” The goals are to develop muscle memory and an understanding of how everything works.
Pushing away 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 push away 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.
Take a Professional Lesson
Modern kiteboarding technology has greatly improved since the early days making the sport safer and more user friendly for everyone. Today’s 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. To learn safer and faster, sign up for a professional lesson.