So what is the difference between kiteboards and wakeboards?

The easy answer is…Rocker.
Rocker is the amount of curvature along the bottom of the board.  Wakeboards have around 3 inches of rocker while most kiteboards have around 1 inch.  Wakeboards are designed with more rocker to handle the speed at which they operate.  When wakeboarding a typical speed will be around 30mph.  At that speed, wakeboards need all that rocker to produce drag so that they can get on edge and turn.  A kiteboarder typically is traveling across the water at around 15-20 mph and will need a more efficient (flater) board in order to stay moving along on top of the water (also called planning).

There are advantages to having more rocker on a kiteboard for some styles(primarily wakestyle riding).  Up to 2” on some models.  However, this is a style of riding that requires a lot of power in the kite and is by no means a beginner friendly discipline.

The construction of kiteboards and wakeboards are very similar as they undergo similar forces.  Much of the same technology and materials is used.  Brands such as Slingshot and Liquid Force even produce both styles of boards.

Here are a few frequently asked questions….
Q:  Can i use a wake board to kite with?
A:  It is possible in highly powered situations.  We do not recommend ever trying it.  If you have enough power to ride you are in a dangerous situation.

Q: What are the benefits of a kite board?
A: They are tirelessly tested and redesigned to work well with a kite.  Beginners especially can see an immediate advantage to these boards.

Q: Why do kiteboards range from flat rocker boards (Slingshot Glide or Best Breeze) to moderate rocker boards (Cabrinha custom, Liquid Force DLX, or Tona Pop)?
A:  They each have their own use.  Flat rockered boards ride well in light/medium winds with less chop on the water.   Boards like the custom and profanity are designed to have massive pop when jumping, hard carves, and soft landings.  While that sounds like a lot of fun to everyone, the reality is that they need lots of power to even go out and ride.
The reality is that most people can benefit most from a medium rocker all around board that performs well in the majority of conditions while still retaining its performance.  Examples of this board are the Slingshot Misfit, Cabrinha X-Caliber, Best Spark Plug, and Liquid Force Contact.

Q: Boots Vs Straps? Straps look Dangerous is that true?
A: Footstraps are the norm in kiteboarding.  Wakestyle riders often prefer boots because of the support and leverage they provide.  When you are edging hard and landing harder it pays to have a secure foothold that won’t slip out.  When you are in your beginning/intermediate stages it is far more important to be able to get out of your board quickly and it is unlikely that you will see any benefit from them.  If you do decide to go with boots, check out some of the boots that are already tried and true for kiteboarders like the Slingshot Rad boots.
To a new rider, straps can sometimes seem insecure and possibly unsafe.   This is simply not true.  Today’s footstraps are very comfortable and lock your foot down very securely.  Footstraps do offer you the option to get out of your board quickly if you need to relaunch your kite, during a failed jump, or to avoid danger.  We always recommend footstraps until you reach the point where you can see the benefit of boots and know how to relaunch your kite with your board attached.
Q:  What is Wake style and why those boards look similar to a wake board?
A:  Wakestyle boards look similar to Wake boards because they are designed to be ridden with power and provide good pop when jumping too.  Wakestyle boards need all the rocker and outline similar to a wakeboard in order to control the immense power that is needed to pop off the water without sending the kite.  We always warn customers that these boards are not very efficient and are difficult to stay upwind unless you are a seasoned rider.  We recommend wakestyle board only to those who have experience and are seeking to ride in this way.

Q: I am a very good wakeboarder and want to stay in boots can i just start with boots?
A: While many amazing wakeboarders are now turning to kiteboarding, we always recommend that you start in straps until you get the basics down.  When you fall wakeboarding you just bob and wait for the boat.  While kiteboarding, you will need to control or relaunch the kite after falling and it is likely that you will be dragged through the water.  It is much more difficult to get back into a start position when you are attached to your board.  Think about trying to hang on to the wakeboard rope while moving at a slow speed.

Q: Why do Kiteboards have 4 fins
A:  Kiteboards have 4 fins in order to provide control and drive in the desired direction.  They are placed at both sides of the tips to provide grip on the edge that you are turning on.  Since we ride on both toeside and heelside of the board we need fins on both sides.
Fins with more surface area provide more drive and track upwind better.  Fins with less surface area make the board more playful and forgiving on landings.
When setting up a fin, the smaller end should point to the middle of the board and the fat end towards the tips.

Q: What is concave and what is it good for or is it marketing hype?
A:  Concave is certainly not marketing hype.  It has been used for decades in surfboard design and drastically changes board dynamics.
-Single concave makes the board faster and more efficient, but makes the board less playful and feels bumpier in chop.
-Double concave makes the board slightly faster while still retaining its playfulness.  It also tends to bust through chop better than a single.
-Channels are designed to provide additional grip (like a small fin) and also allow water to create directional flow rather than being compressed down the middle of a concave.  This allows for the water pressure to be evenly spread across the surface of the board and become more predictable when edging hard.  Each channel configuration has its own advantages and disadvantages but generally they ride well without fins, bust chop well, and soften landings.

Q: Durability, are Kiteboards built lighter than most wakeboards?
A: Generally the answer is yes.  This is because kiteboards do not face the same load when edging hard.  Kites have less direct pull than a 500hp wakeboard boat so they need less glass to flex the same amount.  The softer flex allows them to absorb chop, make harder turns, and are more efficient.
Again here the exception is wakestyle kiteboards that require a stiff flex like a wakeboard.

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