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.