Cobra Kites
Kiteboarding

KITEBOARDING INTRODUCTION

Kiteboarding
Kiteboarding 
Water sport for the 21st century - If you like water sports, here's the latest craze. Once you take a look at what it's all about, you'll soon get hooked. It's affordable, portable, fast and exhillerating.

Kiteboarding is an exciting sport which does require kite flying experience and proper safety precautions.
Seek professional advice before attemting any kiteboarding activity.

We strongly suggest that you take lessons from a qualified Kiteboarding instructor.

 
We recommend the Way To Fly DVD for an informative introduction to KiteBoarding. 60 minutes of great instructional video with PASA certified instructor Chris Moore. Detailed explantion of Land Training in preparation for KiteBoarding, from ground school to water launches.



What you'll need to get started



Equipment


A traction kite. There are many kites available, some with two flying lines some with four. There are also pre-inflated water re-launchable kites which float. Whichever style you choose, it's almost certain that it won't be the only kite you'll own. Once you've achieved a good skill level, you will find that more efficient ram-air kites will give better performance. These kites are very efficient and allow you to go upwind easier and travel faster on the water.

Ram-air inflatable kites are highly efficient high performance kites. They fly very well in all wind conditions but are not classified as water re-launchable. Kites which can be re-launched from water and use pre-inflated "bladders", are usually less efficient in the air, trading their ability to float for aerodynamic efficiency. Once you learn the basics you'll want to trade in your "training gear" for performance equipment.

A Control Bar or Boom, for 2 or 4 lines, or Control Handles for 4 lines. The Control Bar or Boom is the simplest system for 2 and 4 line use on the water. If you're getting into Kite Boarding and have Windsurfing or Wakeboarding experience, you'll most likely be used to a boom. If you have a lot of Kite Traction experience you'll know the benefits of using a 4 line kite. It is worth noting that a 4 line kite is much more controllable and therefore will be much more maneuverable on the water. Whether you choose 2 or 4 line, you will need a 'tether' of webbing or rope to connect the Bar or Control Handles to your harness. Don't let the idea of 4 lines make you think they'll tangle. Once the lines are attached to the kite, they'll give you more control and enhance your performance, tangle free.

A Harness This will take the pull of the kite through your body rather than your arms alone. A harness for Kite Boarding is similar to a Windsurfing harness. The connection from bar or handles to the harness must be 'open'. This means it shouldn't be permanently attached so that you're able to release the connection between kite and harness in case of difficulty.

Flying Lines Nearly all Kite Surfing Flying Lines are 'Spectra' fiber. This is a strong thin material with very little stretch. In general, line length for flying traction kites over water is 120 feet. All kites will have a recommended length and it is important to remember that whether 2 line or 4 line, they should be equal.

A Kite Surfboard A board specifically designed for Kite Boarding is necessary. Sizes vary according to use and your skill, weight and condititions. Larger boards are used for cruising and light wind. Small boards, including wakeboards, are used for speed and tricks. You will also need to be attached to your board with a leash to avoid becoming seperated from it in the water. Any long standard leash will do.

Personal Floatation Device Not only does it keep you afloat, it protects you in a crash and helps you to water start. You may dump your kite far from the shore which would result in along swim! Choose one with a comfortable fit.

Protective Gear A lightweight helmet is recommended in case you make contact with your board in a crash. Consider a wetsuit for cooler water temperatures.



Safety



Safety


Power Kites are not for kids. They are not toys. Traction kites, their lines and control equipment can be dangerous to flyers and anyone nearby. When Kite Boarding, safety has to be taken seriously, your safety and the safety of others.
This sport is young and growing. It is important that you Kite Surf responsibly. Most people on the shore will not know about Kite Surfing and are unaware of the dangers. Maintain a good safety zone.

GENERAL SAFETY Read any instructions and guidelines BEFORE using any traction kite. Thoroughly check ALL your equipment for correct operation before getting onto the water. We suggest seeking the guidance of experienced Kite Surfers

THE KITE Traction kites used for Kite Boarding are extremely powerful.

  • It is essential you learn how to handle your kite with confidence on land before you attempt to go out on the water.
  • Keep your kite flying lines away from people and obstacles. When under tension and moving at speed, kite lines can cut like a knife.
  • Make sure your kite is secured on the ground when you're not flying it.
  • You are responsible for the safe operation of your kite. Be aware of your limitations and do not exceed them. Only enlist help from those who are familiar with power kites and have a 'spotter' nearby.
  • Due the the drag created by water, large and powerful kites are needed for water starts. Being overpowered by choosing too large a kite can be dangerous and ruin a good Kite Boarding experience.

THE LAND You'll need sufficient room to lay out and launch your kite.

  • Always make sure you have an unobstructed open space to safely launch, fly and land your kite.
  • Do not fly near other people or animals.
  • Make sure your flying area is clear of power lines and other obstructions like trees or rocks.

THE WIND Don't underestimate its power.

  • Respect for the wind is paramount. Be aware of its speed and strength. Be prepared for gusts as they can cause sudden loss of control of the kite and which may lead to potentially dangerous situations for you and others.
  • Be aware of changing weather conditions. Never Kite Surf during electrical storms or deteriorating weather.
  • Always use a kite that is suitable for the wind conditions and your skill level. You can easily get overpowered with a kite which is too large for strengthening wind conditions.
  • Wind direction is directly related to your direction of travel when Kite Boarding. Do not Kite Surf in an off-shore wind without gaining proficiency and skill.
  • Make sure you have a downwind safety margin in case of a miscalculated maneuver or landing.

THE WATER Get instruction from an experienced Kite Surfer.

  • Before you get on the water for the first time, get instruction from an experienced Kite Surfer whenever possible.
  • Do not Kite Surf in areas where there are swimmers or other water craft or floating obstacles. Respect the rules associated with the area.
  • Do not Kite Surf alone. Always make sure there is a rescue craft in attendance.
  • Don't go further from the shore than you're prepared to swim back. Do not travel too far from the safety of the shore until you are confident with your gear. Only go as far as you are comfortable swimming.
  • Do not attempt to Kite Surf in weather conditions which are too extreme for your ability or equipment.
  • Recognize your limitations and head to shore when you begin to tire, your equipment needs adjustment or weather conditions change adversely.
  • Always wear appropriate safety gear.



Learning



Learning


To learn the basics of flying kites for Kite Boarding you don't have to be on or near the water. As the kites used for Kite Boarding are powerful and potentially dangerous, the first step is to become proficient in flying them. Start by getting used to the power on land and learn how to control the kite safely and skillfully. Those entering the sport from other water activities, like windsurfing, water skiing or wakeboarding, will need to become familiar with traction kites and how to fly them. Experienced Traction Kite Flyers will need to concentrate on their water skills. The learning process will vary from person to person depending on previous experience and skill level and you'll find flying the kite is really fun.

Fly a kite on land. Learn to fly your kite in light to moderate winds on land first. Traction kites for Kite Boarding can have either 2 lines or 4 lines. 4 line kites will give you greater control. Understanding how the kite works and how it's set up and packed down is also important. Familiarise yourself with handling and storing flying lines, as this will help in trouble-free flying. To prevent an unattended ram-air kite from self-launching, weight the trailing edge as it lays on the ground. This will also assist when preparing to solo launch your kite. Always guard your water re-launchable kites more carefully. Unintentional\ launches are common.

Skidding on the beach. Use the power of your kite to drag you across the beach or shoreline. This is a good way to learn how to balance against the pull of the kite and experience how powerful these kites are. The idea is not to resist the pull, but control it and move with the kite. You will need to lean away from the pull, like windsurfing, to maintain balance and forward movement.

Body surf in the water. To get used to flying over water, use the kite to pull you along "body surf" stye. This is also good practice for when you come off your board and are dragged through the water this way. It's important to be able to control your kite when you have fallen off your board from the water.

Get used to flying with a harness. Using a harness to transfer the pull from your arms to your body will be necessary to Kite Surf. It prevents immediate fatigue. You'll need to get comfortable connecting and disconnecting your rig and operating the kite when it's attached to your harness.

Water starts. It's best to get help from an experienced Kite Surfer to learn the basics. You start by lying on your back in the water with your feet in the footstraps of your board. Have the board in front of you with the kite hovering high above you. Steer the kite into the power zone. You will be lifted out of the water and pulled forwards onto the board. You need to know how to water start with confidence as there will be times when you come off your board in deep water far from shore. Don't forget you'll need a leash to stop your board drifting away.

Maintain speed on the board. When on the board, keep the kite ahead of yourself. It may be helpful to fly a "scooping" pattern to maintain pull. Kite Boarding relys on feeling the correct position relative to wind and water. As with any sailing activity, you will get to sense when things a "right" and you're spending more time on the board than off.

Travel upwind. You must learn to be able to go upwind. This is important if you want to return to your starting point. Getting too far downwind without the ability to get back can result in a long swim!

Jibe. If you are using a Kite Surf board, designed for uni-directional use, you need to swap your feet around as you would when windsurfing. This maneuver requires practice and is very important since it's the way to change direction. Position the kite in the sky to maintain momentum in the turn while you adjust your foot position on the board. Control your speed with the kite.

Tricks and air. Once you have learned the basics and can confidently control your kite and board, the possibilities for tricks and hang time are limitless. Pack a few kites, grab your board and travel. You'll soon discover the countless places to enjoy this new and exciting sport. You may even get into kite traction on land, snow and ice!

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We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.
You can e-mail us at:info@cobrakites.com
telephone; 732 270-2112
Last updated Wednesday March 3 2010