Larger kites?

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Larger kites?

Postby kitekid21 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:37 am

I've been kiting on land on an ATB for a while now and I have yet to hit the water. I'm visiting family this summer in Singapore and I've been advised by some locals that the 13m Best Bularoo that I have won't be enough for the wind conditions. First of all, is a bigger kite necessarily going to be better? I've been told that they're flying 15m kites or so, but the winds vary within the 8-15 knot range. Would I be better off with a kite any bigger than that? I know there are kites up through 22m. I just have no idea what I should expect in terms of handling, relaunch and upwind riding.

I'm not terribly picky as to the kite as long as it works. I'm on quite a budget, as I'm still in college. If anyone has a kite and bar that they don't want, I'd greatly appreciate some advice in this area and maybe purchase a kite that's just gathering dust in someone's closet.

Hopefully, I'll see some of you on the water this summer! Once I'm out of school that is.

Thanks!
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby adseguy » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:12 am

There was a huge debate and probably still on-going about the larger kites. Actually it's not really a debate IMO. Depending on your weight (I'm 170lbs so I'll stick with that class) all you really need is a 13 and MAYBE a 14m at the largest. At some popint you just don't have enough wind. The larger the kite the slower it is. I actually can do better on my 12m and a small board with flat water because if I get that thing up to speed I barely need any pull to keep going. The 17m is goign to pull harder, but isn't going to be as fast and so it'll be harder to plane. I've realized over these few years that a regular board and a regular large kite (13-14) is all you need for light wind. For a fact I have seen people struggling on a huge 17m with big ass board and I'm on my 12m and a 129cm board. A lot of it is how you get up to speed and keeping that speed. Apparent wind is a big factor in the lighter stuff. Once I'm up and going I barely need 5 knots to keep moving...if I stop, the kite could fall out of the sky.
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby FSP » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:10 pm

I tackled this issue from a different perspective and created some really be mutant kiteboards that perform in the air/surf the wave allowing me to ride a "large kite day" on a much smaller one by utilizing the board dynamics. This is an area, that has not been seriously addressed in kiting and could be a major change to the light wind days. I have created something that is a foam core, fusion of a race board, mutant and surfboard that is highly maneuverable making a large kite less of the issue. On a 10 to 13m, my huge board (surface area) and other design characteristics allow me to get double the jump height and planing power thru lulls than my smaller 140 TT. I over-ride currents and dont sink, when things get flukey. By keeping with a twin tip design, I can maintain some relationship to high wind TT riding and benefit by the similarities. Seems every session, I come home and cut something off or drill a new hole for fins, to discover whats possible all to eliminate a big kite and create ultra efficiency. I feel i am on track for discovering the perfect solution to make kiting in lighter winds not about a big kite but efficient hull in the way sailing has always done.
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby 4w7s » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:12 pm

What adseguy says has some truth to it. Not meaning to be contrarian but will present the other side of the coin.

I am 160# and spend most of my time on an 11m Core XR. However there are plenty of times that I would rather be on my 15m...which is a 2007 RRD Hypertype 1 that has a ton of water time on it and is about to disintegrate. Not all "big kites" are the same...some are real pigs, heavy bar pressure and slow turning, with lots of drag, difficult to relaunch, and not a big advantage in lighter winds. My 15m kite is built "light" and turns very fast, flys/responds really well even depowered, probably as fast or faster than most 12m kites. I can also ride that kite in over 20 kts. The other day I started with the 15m in 13-18kts and rode it until it increased to almost 25kts (and way too much power), and then I shortened sail to my 7.5m and was juiced in 25-30kts.

Some big kites are built the same as small kites, which means one of several things: it will probably be too heavy as a light wind kite for a lighter rider, but might be a good kite for a heavier rider in med-light wind. There might be some arguement to say that the heavier built kite is "tougher" but I am not convinced. A kite is only as strong as it's weakest part (or the quality of it's construction - materials and assembly).

There are quite a few "big kites" out there now that are built with lighter construction/materials. They work. I will be getting some new Core light wind kites soon for testing and look forward to seeing the range and performance they offer.

If you are a heavier rider or even a light rider wanting to ride and have fun in light wind it is worth having a big kite to extend your time on the water significantly. If I did not have my 15m kite I would surely miss it and lose out on about 15-20% of sessions throught the year. In light wind I like to be well powered so that it is more than just a "mow the lawn" session, have the ability to rip uwind, be able to boost, and not always wanting to be on a larger light wind board. When the waves are up and the wind is light you need POWER to work it, especially when the wind is onshore.

Of course other factors apply: good technique, a proper light wind board helps a lot many time, and factoring the current or wave action and relative wind direction as mentioned above. Switching boards might be the fastest way to change gears when it gets light, but sometimes it's a lot of fun to be really powered up in light wind on a small board.
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby kitekid21 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:19 pm

So, wait a second, what makes a board better for light wind? It sounds like I could probably use a 15m kite. I'll post a WTB. I'm assuming however (getting back to the boards) that a good light wind board will not be good for a relative nube?
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby adseguy » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:07 pm

A good light wind board is one that is slightly longer then normal so 142cm and up and more important is the width as in light wind much more of the board will touch the water and get you to planning speed. Also, you want to look for a flatter board without as much rocker. A 15m won't be bad just don't go for the 17, 19, 21 ,25 meter kites those are just obnoxious UNLESS you are a heavy rider. A light wind board is not a bad beginner board. All a beginner board does is make the planning speed lower so you can get up and going quicker.
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby 4w7s » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:26 pm

kitekid21 wrote:So, wait a second, what makes a board better for light wind? It sounds like I could probably use a 15m kite. I'll post a WTB. I'm assuming however (getting back to the boards) that a good light wind board will not be good for a relative nube?


No...a light wind board is GREAT for a beginner because it allows you to have more time on the water RIDING and not slogging...plus you can use smaller kites. There are several good lightwind board shapes and they all do things differently. If you want something for all-purpose riding a 138x44 with fairly flat rocker and slightly tapered outline will work. An all-purpose shape isnt relegated to only light wind riding if you shift to a smaller kite.

If you want to rip upwind in light air a boxier shape or "door shape" will work - but the "door" shape may be more limiting for tricks. Eventually you might even consider a directional race board for light wind (but that should probably wait until you have some intermediate skills). And then there is the directional surfboard option...but again NOT all surfboards shapes work well for kiting, nor in marginally powered situations.

So a lot of the choice depends on what style of riding you evolve toward or prefer...and the conditions prevalent at your regular spots e.g. choppy, smooth butter, waves, or combination thereof. Most light wind boards have a flatter rocker. If a board has too much rocker it needs more power and will not go upwind easily.

One good way to initially check out light wind boards is to go to the beach on a 10-14 kt day and see what everyone is riding, and how they are riding with it. But again remember that sea state will also play a part in performance and ride. Rocker, flex, outline, overall dimensions, fin configuaration, and shape play a big part...and I feel that the fit and feel of pads/straps is a very important component.

It's difficult for a beginner to really appreciate the difference beteen boards, or between kites for that matter. So intially you have to put some faith in other riders opinions and your own due diligence to research the boards, put your feet in the straps, etc. If you are going to ride with booties (most Great Lakes riders have to when it's cold)...make sure you get proper kiting booties that will slide in and out of the straps easily (but not too easily)...I prefer split toe, high tops for cold water riding either 3mm or 5mm, with a relatively thin sole so you can still have direct feel with the board.
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby 4w7s » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:39 pm

kitekid21 wrote:So, wait a second, what makes a board better for light wind? It sounds like I could probably use a 15m kite. I'll post a WTB. I'm assuming however (getting back to the boards) that a good light wind board will not be good for a relative nube?


sent you a PM with additional info
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby FSP » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:41 pm

my boards definitely made the difference and are way huge: 5'4"X1.5" thick. You have to sign in on this site to see them, but check out what I do with them in light winds without a huge kite.

http://www.snapfish.com/snapfish/sharee ... D40D83A99C
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby jensmadwind » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:15 am

how much do you weigh scott
10 mph?
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby FSP » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:02 am

i am light at 160 helps and in most cases if a big guy were to proportionately "size up" to that lighter guy who is doing well, he will match him. In windsurf racing, taller, skinny guys were known to be exceptionally efficient because they could displace their weight as it would hang out and over the board, giving great leverage while not weighing down the board the same way a shorter heavier guy would do. Ways to leverage the max in volume in new inventive ways seems really exciting and from experience has proven to be a new avenue for efficiency and performance. Problem is, that there is such a huge cost to inventing, exotic materials and construction but well worth it if you can eliminate big slow kites, ride on less choppy waters , be the apparent wind and go higher in lighter winds!
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby Jimbo » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:53 pm

I am no expert here but I can add a little input to this subject about having a large kite in your arsenal. When I say larger kite I am referring to a "light wind specific kite" not just a large kite.

Currently my quiver is directed towards freestyle riding so my kites are specifically designed for this purpose. Low end power, big air, and looping. My light wind kite is a Core XR -lw 17m and many times when the wind is light I am the only one riding. The new light wind kites are not like the old school large kites of the past where you just get pulled down wind and can't hold an edge. Adding a light wind specific kite to my quiver is the best thing I did. 7m, 12m and 17 m is all I need from 6 knots to 40 knots with a 5 knots overlap between each kite.

The goal for me is to ride with the smallest board possible because it is just more fun with a small board vs a large one. Flying my 12m kite with a door style board when the wind gets light will get me on the water but with my 17m kite and my regular board will do the same thing and have much more freestyle fun. :lol:
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby Kevin » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:54 pm

Everyone will have their own take on this but I am personally 100% with Jimbo on this one.

I have a 9,12, and 16 and there's no question when it gets light (<15) I bring out my 16. I'm also all about the dexterity of a tt but it might be different if you ride directionals
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Re: Larger kites?

Postby FSP » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:02 pm

for sure, i would say yeah to the smallest board possible but most big kites (17+) cant really fly fast enough across the window or turn quick enough to allow a small board to do its thing. A board is pretty reliant on the quickness of a kite to make use of its smaller design attributes. I guess I never found one that worked so gave up and looked for a way to be more nimble with a floatier board design to keep with a faster flying kite.

Definitely love looking out each year to see the interesting board kite combinations for whats possible.
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