We’ve all seen the amazing kiteboarding photography that’s in every magazine, on every web page and all over social media. It’s all so ‘pro’ that it’s hard to replicate.
Using the now standard GoPro set up is great, but there’s only so many angles/ places you can tie one, and if you are solo and want to pull together a movie, at some point you’ll need a second hand.
That is unless you’ve a Soloshot…
These days, most kiteboarders check the upcoming wind forecast on websites such as Windguru or Windalert. The next step is trying to schedule work around the best windy days…
This does work, but there is something lost: Most kiters end up being totally oblivious as to what drives wind at their local beach. One local kite shop does this same thing – it simply regurgitates the forecast and blasts it on its Facebook page.
To core riders, this shows their lack of knowledge about the sport. Having a better understanding of the weather will make you better appreciate the sport, so here’s pretty much everything you’ll need to know.
To the uninitiated, kitesurfing’s manic marriage of surfing, paragliding, wakeboarding, gymnastics and acrobatics might seem bizarre, but anyone who’s actually tried it knows that kitesurfing is the last word in adventure surface water sports.
With its gusty southwest and west winds and ideal wave riding swells, South Wales is fast becoming the number one destination for kitesurfers. Some destinations like 20 kilometre-long Gower have been traditionally associated with plain old surfing, while others such as Swansea Bay weren’t previously known for their water sports pedigree.
Hardcore surfers like to stay at spots for days, even weeks. We examine the hottest options.
Back in the day, like prior to 2007, C-kites (C-shaped kites) were the norm. However, C-kites were responsible for many nasty accidents. As research and design improved, the shape was mostly phased out and replaced by safer and more modern SLE (supported leading edge) bow-style kites.
Newer bow-style kites have made the learning process much easier and safer than ever before. I learned on a c-kite and was lucky enough to avoid any nasty kitemares.
These days, I teach a lot of lessons and I shudder when a thrifty student insists on buying the cheapest kite that he/she can find online. They’re usually proud to show off their gear that only cost $200, everything included. Most times, you’ll only get what you pay for
All this considered, why then do professionals still like c-kites? What makes them dangerous one minute and awesome the next? And which models should you look out for?
For some kitesurfers, a windy day rarely comes with sunshine and with sunshine there’s always sunnies. While for others kitesurfing in sunglasses is less likely as the further that one gets away from the equator, the greater the chance that wind will be powered by low pressure systems, rather than heating.
Why should this matter? Well, conditions are often mostly overcast and cloudy, rather than blue skies. Still, one place that is known for perfect weather is Southern California. Between the months of May and September it is not uncommon to see only 1 or 2 days of light rain sprinkles!
A typical summer day sees an early marine layer that burns off around 11am, leading to blue afternoon skies and a thermal breeze. In conditions like this, sunglasses are always there to fight the glare, which can be annoying and damaging to a rider’s eyes.
But how do you choose your sunnies? Here’s how.
Over the past few years, the biggest evolution of kiteboarding equipment has been in the light wind discipline. Significant effort has been made to push the boundaries of light wind kiteboarding and riding in increasingly lighter breeze.
In the past, kiteboarding was not much fun in less than 15 knots (or so). With advances in current technology, riders are having great sessions in as little as 6-11 knots.
Light wind kiteboarding offers a promising future to the sport, as it serves to make kiting more accessible.
Board selection is an equally important feature that allows for light wind kiteboarding. For example, a twin tip board will never have the low wind threshold that a proper course racer offers.
Dig back into my archive of articles and check out the piece entitled, “Kiteboarding Tips: How to stay stoked through the years.” This touches on different types of boards. For now, we’ve going to focus on finding the best light wind kite.
Most of the creative energy within the kiteboarding industry is focused on videos and pictures, so it’s little surprise that kiteboarding books sometimes get left on the shelf – so to speak – and it was only recently I even noticed my local kite shop actually stocked kiteboarding books!
As with everything, it’s always best to try before you buy. And if you are wanting to buy online, it’s sometimes hard to get any idea what you’re going to get for your money.
Those little ‘preview’ options you get in online stores are better than nothing, but nothing beats a good recommendation.
So if you’re looking to buy kiteboarding books, here’s a couple you should consider.
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