Kiteboarding on Land
Today's Weather Snapshots
The sport of kitesurfing is not limited to water (liquid, that is). In the winter, kiteskiing and kitesnowboarding are quite popular. Even more popular than kitesurfing. Throw kitebuggying and kitemountainboarding into the mix, and you've got quite a bit of versatility to go kiting in any temperature and condition. If you have a pair of skis, a mountainboard, or a snowboard, and you already kitesurf, making the transition to kitemountainboarding is quite simple.
One of the main principles to remember is when kitesurfing, the kite must also keep you on top of the water, so it must generate a good amount of power. Check out the mountainboarding modifications page for making modifications to your mountainboard for better riding in conditions.
When kitemountainboarding or snowboarding, you are supported by a hard surface (the ground) and for the same conditions on water, you would use one kite-size smaller, or possibly two. Another reason for this is water will create more drag on your board, so more power is required. On grass, or especially snow, you will roll, or glide much more easily, so getting going is much easier. Because of the reduced friction, however, keep in mind that speeds can double or triple the speeds you experience on the water. Hitting 50 mph on skis is not out of the question. Make sure you're in a large, open area when attempting these speeds.
In terms of safety, land is much harder than water, which tends to give a bit when hit. Make sure you are wearing full safety gear for water (helmet, impact vest, etc) AND additional shin pads, knee pads, elbow pads, etc. If you rollerblade, and wear full protection, you can imagine the extra protection needed with the higher speeds and height off the ground associated with land kiting. You should avoid jumping your kites on land at all times for safety.
Kite Mountainboard Rider Safety
- Have fun and stay safe while riding by making sure to wear a helmet, gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, long pants and long sleeves while kite mountainboarding.
- If you wear your board-rider retention leash while riding; make certain it is fastened snugly above your lead leg's knee pad to reduce the potential of knee injury from twisting your leg.
- Use caution at all times. Kite within your limits and stay away from picnic areas, or populated parks.
- Always scout (survey) your terrain prior to attempting to ride it. Watch out for hidden obstacles and unseen dangers. Point out hidden dangers to others.
- Always be aware of and respect all automobiles, cyclists and pedestrians. Be mindful of others especially moving cars.
- Use a lower tire pressure to slow your speed if just starting.
- Practice stopping techniques frequently by bringing the kite overhead slowly, or slightly past, to resist your forward movement.
- Recognize the distance required for these stops. Always practice your stopping technique even after you feel you know it.
- When riding with others - always yield to the other rider. If both riders yield, problems will be avoided.
- Observe and obey all posted signs. Only ride where permission is granted.
- Always respect your environment, tread lightly to preserve nature.
- Do not litter the parks with garbage.
- Lower tire pressure (softer tires) will keep your board rolling slower and work better for sand.
- Higher tire pressure (harder tires) will cause your board to roll faster on grass, but sink more easily in sand.
- Adjust your boards tire pressure frequently in accordance with your ability and the type of surface you are riding.
- Softer tires are more forgiving and absorptive for riding on rougher terrain.
Note: Never exceed you tires recommended tire inflation levels. Over inflated tires will wear out much faster than tires that are inflated properly.
Safety Check For Your Board
Perform regular safety checks on your kite mountainboard prior to (and after) riding.
- Check and tighten any loose hardware on your board so it doesn't come loose while riding.
- Check for excessive wear on tires and grip tape and replace when needed.
- Check that your board's bindings hardware is tightened and secure.
- Check your board's springs and urethane spring inserts (egg shocks). They should be in good condition and not compressed. Replace them when they show signs of lack in rebound.
- Check that your board's trucks king pin is thoroughly lubricated. Check for squeaking and lubricate it often.
- Be certain to check your wheel nuts for tightness and your spring retention clips (tophat) as they can loosen easily.
Check out the modifications you can make to a snowboard to allow for board-off tricks and more user-friendliness on the snow by checking out the Snowboard Modifications page with phots and descriptions.
Some differences between Kitesurfing and Kitesnowboarding
- Speeds are higher in kite snowboarding
- Landings are harder in kite snowboarding (boost, but be sure about the landing!)
- The same exact setup for the bar and lines works
- Start standing up, not sitting or laying down
- Use one size smaller kite for packed snow (or two) than that day's conditions on water
- Use a foil, not an inflatable. Inflatables are more succeptible to puncture on ice. Inflatables will not re-launch easily if LE down. You need a bump in the snow/ice to get it to flip on its back, otherwise it keeps sliding (the bump isn't good for the bladder, either)
Deeper the powder, the more similar to water so use same size kite as on water for that day due to more drag
- Wear safety helmet and pads
- Use thin gloves with a waterproof shell
- Layer, you'll get hot and sweaty quick!
- Use a 4 line foil since you can solo land using the brake lines to back the kite down from the air and let it sit, TE down, while you rest for the next session. You can anchor the kite using a screw, or something, to detach and relax for a while after solo landing and solo launch is easier, too.
- Cold hands do not like pumping up an inflatable. Use a foil that self inflates.
- The more packed the snow, the more you can lean back and edge easily and ride upwind. Foils are more efficient in handling gusts, too.