If you don’t have a wind meter and you haven’t kiteboarded for 10,000 hours, how do you know what size kite to rig. If you have two or more kites and the wind is in-between your kite sizes, how do you know to rig the 12m vs the 15m. There’s multiple variables that will play a role in your choice in kite size.
If you’re new to kiteboarding, go with the kite that is a little bit smaller and a bigger board. It’s safer and will allow you to better control your speed. You will be able to hold an edge better and will feel more comfortable riding around other riders. You want to make sure that you have time to react in case things go wrong.
If you’re an intermediate kiteboarder, go with either the smaller kite or bigger kite, but be aware of what you’re working on during the session. Being on a slightly smaller kite will help you work on your overall form. If you’re powered but not overpowered, it will be easier and safer to work on new tricks. Being on a bigger kite will be good for doing tricks you already know and feel comfortable doing. If the winds change during a session, change your riding style to the conditions.
If you’re an experienced rider you’ll know how to balance power by creating more or less tension using your board and kite.
Knowing the forecast will help you make a more educated decision on which kite size to rig. If you know the wind is supposed to pick up more, rig the smaller kite as long as you can ride it. If the wind is going to drop, rig the bigger kite and don’t ride too far away from shore. Look at multiple forecasts from different sources to get the best idea about what the wind will do. Check out our related article on what we use for checking the wind.
When you get to the beach and are not sure exactly which size kite to rig, look around at what size other people are riding. Try to find someone of a similar weight and pay attention to how they’re doing. If they’re having to work the kite up and down, chances are the wind is on the lighter side and you should rig a bigger kite. If people are riding with the bar sheeted out and the kite parked, then it’s probably too windy and you should rig a smaller size. It’s always good to take the extra second when you get to the beach to observe the other riders and assess the conditions.
If you feel the wind change while you’re out on the water, reassess the situation. If you see a storm in the distance or have a feeling the winds going to pick up even more, get back to the beach. You can either wait for the storm to pass or if there’s no storms and the wind picks up more, rig a smaller kite. If you feel the wind dropping, stay close to shore or get back to the beach before the wind becomes too light to stay upwind. You can rig a bigger kite if the winds remain constant, but if they’re continuing to drop then chances are it’s not worth going back out.
In time you’ll develop a feel for the wind speeds. If you aren’t sure or have to think about it, observe what other riders are doing. Know your skill level and don’t do anything that would put yourself, other kiteboarders or other people in harms way. Keep an eye on your environment. Knowing the forecast will help you know what size kite to rig.