|Kite Buyers Guide|
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I'm so confused, How do I know which kite will suit me?
This is a tough area for anyone who hasn't had at least two years experience in the sport. There tends to be a lot of Jargon thrown around, a lot of acronyms, a lot of buzz words and quite frankly, a lot of BS. For a start, every manufacturer will pretty much say the exact same thing, it's like they get one guy to write the blurb for every kite type and they all just change the name where it says <insert manufacturer name here>. If you believe what you read on their pages, every kite is the saviour of the kiting world and has become faster, lighter, stronger, easier, prettier, more depower, more power, faster turning and the list goes on ...... boring!
My aim is to align you to the kite which will best suit your riding level allowing you room for growth, making sure it does everything you want and at a budget you can afford. For this you will need to ring me and answer a bunch of questions I'll fire at you, and with this info, I'll make suggestions in the price range you are looking for. I do not necessarily push any particular brand over another, but rather try and give you what you need, not necessarily what you want, but what you need. There is often a difference between wants and needs ..... and hopefully you'll see my logic and appreciate the honest feedback . At the end of the day, the choice is your's and hopefully, this will help you make a more informed decision.
As a beginner or someone who is new to the sport, unfortunately, I'm going to ask you to trust me to do the right thing by you because there is so much hype and anti hype, brand pimps who won't declare their allegiances to shops or brands, and lots of misinformation from the chronically misinformed (Yep, its a mine field out there!)
However, as with all of our products, we welcome you to try and demo the gear you are keen on (provided you have the skills to use it) and see for yourself. Many of our customers have tried every board or every kite in determining what is right for them, and more power to them for they make wise choices and go away completely satisfied they got exactly what they needed!
The above table is a guide only and will depend on the style you wish to ride. For instance, if you ride waves on a twin tip, I would rate the Airush Generator higher than it currently is for wave. Use this as a guide and then read up on the kite itself by following the links of each Kite name.
If still confused, please just call me as I love to tailor kites to individual needs 0433 982 696
Delta Kites - The new kid on the block. The Delta kites are only a couple of years into their lifespan and have breathed some much needed life into the industry. A Delta Kite is a plan shape with very parabolic leading edge curve and heavily swept back wings. They are usually bridled kites often with pulleys to enable faster steering and better depower. Delta's happen to be very powerful for their sizes and turn and fly fairly fast. They all have auto-relaunch to a point where the kite will do most of the work for you (yes, you still have to do some small part in getting it out of the water). Delta's are usually known to be a bit heavy on the bar pressure but have solid stability and are good all round kites.
"C" KItes - For the hard Core! The "C" kite refers to the shape of the canopy in that it resembles an almost perfect "C" or "n" They are often 4 but can be 5 lines and have no bridles attached to their leading egde. A "C" kite tends to have little depower and hence their suitability only to high end riders. The "C" kite is more difficult to relaunch from the water unless fitted with a 5th Line, and they tend to have little static power, but generate strong apparent wind power or Dynamic Pull from being flown fast. This kite style is very retro to circa 2002-2005
"Bow" kites - The start of big depower. The Bow's (so named after the Cabrinha Crossbow) were a revolutionary design which added a wide span (Less C or n shape) which was supported by spider web like bridles along the leading edge connected to the front flying line. It had swept back wing tips, monstrous power and the first to have any real big depower. The first ones were rough and bordered on nasty but improvements have seen them come a long way. They have almost outlived their usefulness as other styles have long eclipsed their abilities and are making them outdated.
Hybrid Kites - This is the fastest growing section of the market and is a good cross between the other styles. They have good depower, smooth flight characteristics, usually good power and quick turning. Most have very good relaunch ability and can handle a wide wind range. Some Hybrid kites like Ozone use bridles without pulleys others tend to be 5th line kites like the North Rebel pictured and have little to no bridle. Hybrids tend to be 5 lines or short bridled 4 line. The average Hybrid kite takes on so many forms and is possibly the most versatile kite of the later model kites. Most freestyle and freeride kites of intermediate and above perfomance tend to be Hybrids.
The SLE Kite (Supported Leading Edge)
The SLE kite was the follow on and improvement over the standard "Bow" or wide span kite. With a slightly lower aspect ratio and less width and more "C" shape, the SLE's turned better and had less flight issues than the pure Bows. The SLE's tend to be characterised by having a pulley on the leading edge which connects the front line bridle to the back line bridle. This allows massive range in "pitch control" or in plain terms allows the kite to change angle of attack more aggressively to give more pivotal turning, and higher degree of depower. These kites tend to be powerful and easy to relaunch, but have little "Feel" for the kite in the air. The rider usually becomes accustomed to the kites feel. These kites were the set in evolution between the Bow and Delta.
Many of these kites fit into more than one category but in order to try and keep it a bit more simple, I have placed them into the category they are most suited to. Beginners don't have a category as I tend to not sell beginners beginner kites like the Airush DNA or North Buzz, (unless you really need one), but rather I try and set you up with a kite that you will quickly grow into and slowly grow out of.
Use this list and the table below it as a rough guide to help narrow your search, then click over to the models and info on the kites, check the pricing and sales blurb if you like and then give me a call to help steer you into the right final decision, hopefully I will just confirm what you have already decided. Information is power!
These are kites which invariably have a broad range of power to full depower, they are usually fast turning and "Drift" extremely well when lines go slack when on the wave face. They should also relaunch really quickly and well, and be resistant to luffing and stalling.
Although Freestyle and Freeride are quite different in most peoples vocabulary, they have a lot of cross over. Freeride is a combination of all styles and to ride with no agenda. Freestyle is to perform new school tricks usually whilst being unhooked from the kite. Many kites will do both reasonably well.
These kites are not so easy to use, usually rely on a lot of apparent wind power, are more difficult to turn or are less responsive to bar input, are more difficult to relaunch from a crash in the water and are for the riders pushing the cutting edge of the sports trick riding.
These kites tend to be the most efficient kites producing massive lift, and can handle terrific speed through the air. Race and Jump kites tend to have very rigid canopies well supported by multiple struts (5+) and are usually (but not always) the most difficult to relaunch
Leading Edge - Front inflated tube which forms the front part of the curved canopy
Trailing Edge - trailing part of the back of the kite, usually unsupported
Struts - Inflated sections running front to back which lock the wings profile.
Profile - The aerodynamic cross section of the wing which creates lift.
Bladders - The inner plastic vessels that hold the air inside the struts
One pump - The system by which all struts and leading edge can be inflated from a single point on the leading edge
Multi Point Pump - All struts and leading edge are individually inflated and sealed off.
Canopy - The skin of the kite
Wing Tips - The left and right side ends of the kite. Usually steering lines attach here.
Chicken Loop - Control loop that attaches to the harness to control power.
Trim strap - Adjusts power of the kite in a macro sense
Suicide leash - A leash attached to the kite and your harness which doesn't depower the kite if you let go.
Chicken finger/Donkey Dick - A small 6 inch pin which can lock the chicken loop to the harness.
Bridle - A series of web like thin lines which support the wide span of a kite and allow huge depower.
Auto Relaunch - Is a term used todescribe a kite that prepares itself for relaunch from a crash by making it's way to the edge of the wind window by simply letting go of the bar and waiting. Mostly from Delta kites!
Wing chord - Wing chord is theoretical centre line of wing when viewed in profile. From LE to TE.
Angle of Attack - A of A is the amount of angle between wing chord and relative wind. Low angle = Less power, High angle is more power to a point (see stall). Angle must be positive ie above horizontal.
Stall - A stall is when laminar airflow breaks away from the wing surface and destroys lift. Kite usually flys backwards and falls out of the sky. Mostly caused by rider error of pulling in too much back line tension when kite is low.
Luff - Is the opposite to Stall where the kite drops from the sky leading edge first also refered to as "Hindenberging", often from lack of back line tension in gusty wind.
Pivotal Turning - Is the ability of the kite to 'pivot" on itself and turn without much forwrd motion. Usually low power in turns and commonly associated with many but not all bridled kites with pulleys.
Radius turning - is the kites inner wingtip creating a wider radius in a turn. both wingtips move in a forward motion and the turn radius is usually larger than a pivotal turn. More power in turns.
Stability - The ability of a kite to remain flying with little input from the rider in gusty conditions.
Static power - Is what AKS refer to as a kites ability to produce power/lift simply by pulling in on the bar to full power whilst the kite remains motionless in the sky.
Apparent power - The kites ability to create power through its speed through the air. Little static power, but bags of apparent wind power when flown quickly or ridden fast.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 09 September 2010 18:35|