When I first started kiteboarding back in the dark ages, it was all about airtime. I mean what other sport gave you that thrill of being in the water and at command get airborne ?
You just never seemed to get enough of that. Then we started to develop styles.
But then Marketing and the Kids got involved. And things got kind of complicated.
Much discussions have been trashed out on the battle field (forums) about what kiteboarding is for different individuals. And so you have wake stylers, free riders, wave riders, with boots, strapless, with straps, strapless freestylers, mega loopers, big air, Airstyle, mega crashers the grass mowers and the kooks. ( I might have missed somebody 🙂 )
A lot of people follow some kind of a police fashion; wear the pants, wear the shorts, don’t wear the shorts, fall on your face rather than put straps on, don’t be seen without boots, etc…
As with much of my life, I tend to disregard trends and kind of go where the wind blows. Excuse the pun.
So after much meanderings in the different aspects of kiteboarding, here I am looking at getting back into some floaty airs and some old school tricks (which seems to have evolved into Airstyle thank to Toby from kiteforum.com)
But like everything, things have changed, mostly the equipment has changed. Partly, the equipment is perhaps at the source of this fragmentation within the sport. 15 years ago riding waves down the line was impossible, the kite would front hindenburg as soon as the lines lost tension, and relaunching was a serious mission, especially in surf, everything broke easily, and boots were left to the wakeboarder.
The kites have evolved into very specific design for different types of styles and conditions…
Back in the day all the kites were powerful slow beasts, perfect for Airstyle. Today you sit with this scenario:
standard kites on a standard 21m set up are generally too fast, the lines are too short and the bars generally not set up for hang time tricks. So you gotta do a custom set up. My first step towards re entering the realm of board offs and slides was to choose the right kite, get a shorter bar with a different set up and lengthen the lines.
My kite choice is a 13m Peter Lynn Fury because of the amazing float it has in the jumps being a high aspect ratio. At my weight (70kg) I could have maybe gone for a 15m, but I live in a place where the wind can get really strong… and in strong winds, 15 m becomes a handful. I find the 13m is comfortable even pat the 20 knots mark. Then 45cm bar with 24m lines which will probably get extended to 27 to get that maximum float time and slow down the flight speed of the kite. This gives you more time to concentrate on the board. I am also using the inside attachments at the wing tips. The Fury is fast as it is also a race kite, but I find with these settings it’s slow enough to do plenty and still fast enough to loop it during slides and other moves.
A small light board would also be ideal. But for now I’m gonna use my AXIS 134 Limited as I find it highly versatile. A bigger handle also helps. You also need to set up the straps on the board nice and loose so that the board pops off your feet when you need it to!
It’s a different type of riding. Lots of power, lots of time in the air and lots of losing the board whilst working on new tricks.
At the moment I m just working on the foundation for new tricks meaning getting my timing right with the kite and getting the board on and off. Also revisiting the famous dead man 🙂
I’m already seeing some progression. Now to start throwing some variations 🙂 But then riding waves is so much fun and I get side tracked.