How to Control a Kiteboarding Kite
The essential element in learning how to kiteboard is how to control a kiteboarding kite. The better one’s fundamental kite flying skills are, the easier it will be for them to kiteboard. This article will cover the fundamental controls towards flying a kite and the recommended prerequisites.
Before Controlling a Kite
There are a few steps to cover before attempting to control a kiteboarding kite. It can be dangerous if one of these steps goes wrong. Most accidents occur on the beach due to failure in launching the kite. Learn with an instructor before attempting to launch a kite by yourself.
- Set up the equipment. The first thing to do is pump up the kite and set it on the beach. After the kite is on the beach, make sure the lines are untangled and connected to the kite.
- Situational awareness. Think about and assess the area before launching the kite. Where can there be potentially dangerous situations? Where is the ideal place to practice controlling the kite? Assess the area before launching a kite.
- Launch the kite. This is a critical step that requires a good understanding of the wind window. There is a catch-22. A kiteboarder needs to know how to control a kiteboarding kite before launching the kite. This problem is solved in a kiteboarder’s first lesson.
The Fundamentals of Controlling a Kite
Everything about kiteboarding will build off the fundamentals of controlling a kite. The better one’s fundamental kite control is, the quicker they will progress. Understanding how a kite flys will help with kite control. The mechanics will make sense with the understanding of how the kite flys.
Understanding How a Kite Flys
No. strength is needed to fly a kiteboarding kite! The harness absorbs all the energy from the kite. All the pilot is doing with their hands is directing the kite where they want it to go. The actual pull from the kite is very minimal, especially when the kite is in the neutral zone.
Imagine the kite is directly overhead. Wind flows underneath the canopy of the kite and over top. It is important to understand that wind travels laterally, not up. As a result, it is not possible to get lifted straight up into the air. The kite is like an airplane wing. Angling the back of the kite in or out changes the angle of attack. See the below image for a better understanding.
The Two Most Important Controls
Controlling a kiteboarding kite can be broken down to two key points. The overall motion of the kite is a combination of these two points.
- Bar Tension. There is a “sweet spot” where the control bar should be. If the control bar is too far out then there is too much slack on the back lines. With too much slack in the back lines, the kite will not respond to rider input. Too much tension from the control bar will result in the rider getting pulled. The “sweet spot” is the position of the control bar where the rider can control the kite without getting pulled.
- Steering. The key point to steering a kite is by creating variation in the back lines. The motion is a pull and push. If going left, pull left and push right. Variation in the back lines will cause the kite to move in the direction with line tension. The more variation there is, the quicker the kite turns.
Sometimes it is easier to visualize the common mistakes associated with controlling a kite. Here are the most common mistakes when learning to fly a kiteboarding kite.
Schedule a Lesson
Learn the right way and schedule a lesson! What makes us unique is how we teach the fundamentals of kiteboarding. We focus on the fundamentals so that riders can progress quickly and safely.