[ksurf] Latest WindTracks KiteBoard Article
- Ordinarily I enjoy this magazine, but so far I think this is the most
misleading article about kiteboarding I've ever read anywhere. This is a
copy of the post I sent to WindTracks:
Contrary to what Chris Anderson writes:
-It IS "windier up there". Not only is it a proven fact, but you can
actually feel the power decrease when you fly the kite below sailboard mast
-Kites do NOT "work on the same principle" as turning a bolt with a wrench
instead of your fingers. Turning a bolt with a piece of string would be a
closer analogy, which obviously doesn't work.
The light wind advantage given by the kite's line length is simply due to
airspeed. The kite can move faster, independent of the board, thereby
creating more power due to its higher airspeed (power is proportional to the
square of the velocity - double the speed, quadruple the power).
-I doubt that even just his 3.5 kite weighs only "about a pound and a half",
let alone including his lines and bar, since a 3.0 Naish kite weighs over
twice that without the lines or bar. His "6 foot board" probably doesn't
weigh "about 6 pounds" either, or "jumping 10 to 40 feet" would at least
cause big heel dents, if not complete breakage, since my 7' Naish board
weighs over twice that too.
-Since it's over $900 for a new Wipika 5.0 kite only (with lines, bar & tax),
he must have purchased his used, if he got it complete with a board "for
about $1000". He should compare that to used sailboard gear when he "takes
that same money to a windsurfing shop and might be about halfway there".
-Even "without an expensive control bar", you do NOT "need the help of an
extra person to get the kite in the air" any more than you need help to
remove the mast from a sailboard sail. It's nice, but definitely not needed.
-Kites are NOT "very fragile". Unlike a sailboard sail, small tears don't
instantly extend to the nearest seam, you can step on the material without
damage, & even crash in the surf without worrying about breaking a mast or
-You CAN let go of the bar without "driving to the kite shop for a new kite".
-Board sailors need NOT necessarily "fear the kite" or "go upwind or jibe and
go the other way". Most of us are actually in fairly good control of our
kites most of the time.
In response to his diatribe about the difficulty of learning*:
I'd been boardsailing a few YEARS before I could stay upwind on a shortboard,
& then another couple before I could jibe. Unlike boardsailing, I was able
to increase my kite flying skills without the board, even when there wasn't
enough wind to USE the board (let alone to windsurf). After about 20 hours
of that, once I got on the kiteboard it only took me five DAYS to learn how
to stay upwind, & then three TRIES to learn to jibe. Maybe my experience was
not typical, but I'm sure it's not that rare either.
*"Kiting is harder to learn than windsurfing." "I windsurfed for 15 years,
and there wasn't much I couldn't do on a board. While learning to kite, I
worked three to four hours a day, three to four days a week for a month or so
before I could ever get back to my car. And that was in the Gorge, where
there's strong current to help you out. For the average citizen windsurfer,
you're going to have to invest quite a bit of time to become proficient
enough to stay upwind with a kite. It's harder to learn."