Kites, Kiteboards, Control Bars, Footpads, Harnesses, and Accessories
From sailing massive ships to powering personal transportation, the wind has been a mode of transportation for as long as anyone can remember. The use of wind powered motion for recreation can be cited as far back as the 1980’s, with the combination of ice skates, skis, canoes and parachutes. What we now know as Kiteboarding is the culmination of years of research into wind powered movement and the love for speed and action.
As a sport, kiteboarding encompasses action on land with the use of skis, snowboards, land boards, and buggies, as well as in the water on special kiteboarding boards, wake boards and surf style boards. In the summers, these brightly colored kites can be seen on the oceans, lakes and hills anywhere where there is a constant supply of wind. During the colder months, kites can be used all over the mountains, allowing riders to “surf” up the mountains while providing massive airtime and comfortable flying during descent. The combination of the “boost” affect of the wind as well as the athletic build of the riders allow for big time tricks, massive air and high coasting speeds.
How You Ride:
There are varying forms of kiting that people take part in. Riders all have their own preferred style of riding, be it freestyle, wakestyle or race. Here’s a quick breakdown so you can best determine how you’d like to spend your days in the wind:
Freeride – This is the most popular style of kiteboarding and it is comprised of hitting all type of water. Spending the day cruising the coast under the colorful shadow of a beautiful kite. Most riders are more concerned with having fun and learning techniques to improve the status of their skill.
Freestyle – Freestyle riding is all about big air and awesome tricks. The “go anywhere” format calls for format free riding with riders hitting every wave, big or small and pulling only the coolest tricks.
Surfing – Surf style kiteboarding requires surf style waves. This hybrid kite/surf sport involves riding the board like a surfboard with highly dynamic footwork and constant board manipulation. Sometimes this requires riding without foot straps, allowing the riders to maneuver their feet to improve balance and propulsion from the wave. Strapped riders use the power of the wind (a.k.a. the kite) to position themselves on top of the wave.
Race – Either course based or free-for-all, race style kiting is all about achieving the maximum speed over a set distance. Major differences involve more powerful kites to draw more wind power and special boards with specific fin design for optimal control and speed.
Snow/Land – Any kite on the market can be used for snow and land kiting. With no danger of submersion, snow and land kiting can be achieved with any kite that is strong enough to propel you.
If you’re looking to get into kiteboarding, there is a basic list of equipment you’re going to need. They break down as the following:
The Quiver: The quiver consists of at least three kites. As wind speeds and other weather conditions fluctuate, the rider is going to needs kites that perform better in different atmospheres. Generally speaking, you’re going to want to invest in a smaller kite for high wind situation, a middle sized kite for everyday riding and a large kite for light wind conditions. Check out the Kite Buying Guide for more information about buying the right kite
The Control Bar: The control bar is used to steer your kite. Once you’ve decided on a kite, it is recommended that you purchase a control bar from the same manufacturer of the kite to ensure complete compatibility. The control bar is your direct connection to the kite and to the awesome power that the wind holds, so ensuring top level performance comes from acquiring the best control bar. For more information feel free to visit the Control Bar Buying Guide.
Harness: Having a properly fitting and appropriate harness will help keep you safe and in control while enjoying the sport of kiteboarding. The harness hooks directly into the kite system, transferring the weight of the wind directly onto the body which relieves pressure on the arms. Harnesses come in two forms, either waist or seat. The fit and comfort of your harness will determine how you enjoy your kiting experience so be sure to do plenty of research. For more information please review our harness buying guide.
Kite Board:To adequately harness the wind, you’re going to need something to ride. For water, kiters will ride specifically designed Kiteboards for the best riding experience. These boards are designed for specific uses and styles of play on the water. Do some research to ensure you’ve got the best board for your style of riding. On land you can ride skis, snowboards, all-terrain boards or buggies. Depending upon your mode of transport, you’re going to want to ensure that you have the appropriate kite, harness and bar to best fit your experience.