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[ksurf] Re: New to the group with questions

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  • Debra Smith and Paul Watson
    ... *This is a minefield at present! I think that kites currently available can be divided up in terms of whether they require active or passive piloting.
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 28, 1999
      Don Steger wrote:

      >What type of kite to you recommend?

      *This is a minefield at present! I think that kites currently available can
      be divided up in terms of whether they require "active" or "passive"
      piloting. A "passive piloting" kite will be generally stable without the
      tendency to oversteer, be unstable in pitch (causing collapse), or have
      uneven or difficult to control power characteristics. Additionally, such a
      kite will tend to allow "passive" water relaunching - i.e. not requiring
      particularly elaborate or desperate piloting input for relaunch. Definitive
      of such a "passive piloting" kite at present is the Wipika. On the other
      hand an "active piloting" kite will have the opposite kind of
      characteristics. These kinds of kite require much more flying prowess and
      may sometimes compensate the pilot with impressive performance (for example,
      the C-Quad allows tremendous speed and an upwind advantage).

      ***If you are a beginner and don't want to spend months (more likely, years)
      off the water building up advanced piloting skills, then get yourself a kite
      that has as many "passive piloting" characteristics as possible.***

      >Performance differences?

      *To be honest, I am not sure if this is a useful question for a beginner to
      be asking. None of the well known marine kites are impoverished, performance
      wise! Buy a kite that suits your current level of skill rather than
      ambitions. Stick with a proven kite in an appropriate size(s) (or at least
      new kites that can be demonstrated to offer similar or better flying
      qualities without dramatic penalties).

      >Safety Issues?

      *"Passive piloting" kites generally offer more safety (although "automatic"
      relaunching can occasionally cause more problems than it can solve!)
      Remember, kitesurfing is anything but a passive sport, so it is important to
      not become complacent. In this respect, the most important safety issue
      apart from the essential practices of keeping away from crowds and using a
      deadman release is: LEARN TO FLY POWER KITES WELL!!! It is essential to be
      able to adequately control the power of your kite before you pick up a
      board. It is not enough to just be able to keep it flying. Windsurfers must
      be aware that control of kite power is significantly different from the
      control of the power of your windsurfer sail.

      >Reliability of the kite?

      *Although I am not familar with current windsurfing sails and their
      durability, I suspect that they may last a bit longer than kites. Remember,
      kites must support their own weight (i.e. fly), therefore, the materials
      they are constructed from will be lighter and to a certain extent, more
      fragile. No kite will last forever, although I have several parafoils that I
      made in 1992 that are still happily flying after much abuse!

      >Upwind performance?

      *Both the Wipika and Kiteski will generally enable upwind performance
      (Despite much recent gossip, none of the currently available, popular marine
      kites will inhibit upwind performance - as long as you are not over or under
      powered or on a bad board!). Although some kites will, to a certain extent,
      in specific ways, improve upwind capability, these will sometimes be more
      difficult to fly. The main aid to upwind performance for newer kitesurfers
      without much kiteflying experience is the use of a proper technique and a
      decent board.

      Good luck Don, kitesurfing is one of the most exciting new sports!

      Smooth Winds to All,

      Paul Watson

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