Archive for January, 2013

I recently took out the 2013 Best Kiteboarding TS V2 9m. For 2012 the TS was one of my favorite kites for wakestyle, so I was eager to see how it was changed for 2013. Conditions were less than favorable with choppy 6′ waves, 43 degree water, and shifty winds from 23-32mph. Noticing the sketchiness of the situation, I decided to go for my wakestyle board rather than my usual Best Shortstick surfboard to avoid a lot of body dragging. With winds this wild it was likely that I would get yanked off the board a couple times into frigid water.

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I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to the Cabrinha Nomad over the years…until recently anyway. It’s marketed as a freestyle/wakestyle/surf kite…but I consider myself more of a “freerider“. I enjoy riding in a wide variety of conditions…but I tend to gravitate toward kites that are smooth, fast, soak up gusty conditions, rip aggressively up-wind, and have lofty/floaty jumps. I found myself gravitating more toward the flight characteristics of the Cabrinha Switchblade,Cabrinha CrossbowNorth Rebel and even the Best Kahoona. Although I liked the idea of a quicker turning kite, I didn’t feel it would be worth what it sacrificed in upwind performance or jumping.

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When getting into kiteboarding, there are a lot of different things to consider. These range from choosing an appropriately sized kite, selecting the right board, deciding between a seat or waist harness, oh — and putting it all together. As kitesurfing does require a sizable initial investment, it will occur to people to try to reduce the cost by skipping lessons or forgoing a trainer kite. However, kiteboarding not only has a steep learning curve, but can quickly become very dangerous to not only you, but an entire beach, if you aren’t properly trained. Furthermore, you can easily ruin your gear, and investment, by skimping on the learning process. I ruefully admit that I self-taught myself, and in the process managed to shred a kite bladder, get uncontrollably dragged down the beach by a looping kite, and struggle much longer than I would have if I had just taken a darn kite surfing lesson!

The HQ Beamer kiteboarding trainer kiteOne of the first things I recommend for people considering trying the sport of kite surfing is to invest in a trainer kite. They range in price from $80 for a basic model like the HQ Symphony TR II 1.7m Trainer to $300+ for more specialized kites including the Prism Tensor 4.2 Kiteboarding Trainer / Power Kite, and in turn end up saving you time, money, and from damaged equipment.

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NathanP-sq-250The week leading up to the first major storm of winter saw great anticipation of amazing conditions from those of us that favor the strongest winds with the largest waves. Tucker and I were on it – monitoring the weather throughout the week and especially the day before. We made the call the night before, planning on riding right when everything would be at its peak. The forecast called for gale force winds with 20′ significant wave heights – prime.

On Friday, I was woken up by my house shaking from the winds. Given the 20-degree temps outside and knowing the water would be in the sub-50 range, I began to shy away from the idea of heading out on such a nasty day. We made a call around noon to back off on riding, only to make a go of it around 4. Tucker and I headed for the beach with a 2013 Switchblade 7 and a 2012 Nomad 7, expecting winds in the mid-30kt range. We were very wrong.

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It’s a perfect Blue Bird day as Tucker and I pull into Rose’s Restaurants parking lot on Reeds Lake. The sun is shinning and the lake is covered in a perfect coat of 6 inches of untracked powder. One slight problem, the mist is drifting straight up. Not so good for a snow kiting lesson.

Tucker is going to be a movie star today and I get to be the gopher. We have an appointment with Aaron Offeyseyer from WZZM. Aaron wants to learn how to go kite skiing, also known as snow kiting. I am pretty stoked about watching Aaron learn to ride. I took him paddle boarding a year ago in 20 mph winds (really challenging) and his athletic ability really stood out.

Walking out onto the ice is a magnificent experience. We have been having non-stop cloudy snowy days for a week now and it is brilliant in the sunshine and perfect field of virgin snow. Tucker pumps up the Cabrinha Switchblade, while I grab the HQ Matrixx. The wind is blowing about 1-3 mph and the lesson is not looking good. But we get the kites setup and start to play around trying to make the Matrixx fly. The HQ Matrixx is a power foil and much lighter than the Switchblade, so we are hoping it will fly. Lucky us the winds pick up to about 3-6mph and the kite is flying pretty well.

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Ready to road tripI have been fortunate to travel with some real pros over the years. Thank you Brad and Skip for all the help. So the first thing I would recommend if you are heading out for a road trip would be to find a couple of veterans – they really will teach you so much and save your butt a few times too. Of course, always check your fins if they build your board. This article will focus on a kitesurfing “road trip”, literally one in which you drive, not fly.

Budget – oh yes, you have to pay for this trip.

At MACkiteboarding.com, we go on a big road trip with customers every spring to Kiteboard the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our trip is a designed to be a bit higher end so that each individual or couple has their own room and our house isn’t too full. A full week with accommodations might be $1,000-$1,500 per person (excluding transportation). The first kiteboarding trip we went on 10 years ago was a super budget trip. Vans packed with gear and people, a house with every couch full, and lots of cheap beer. I think I spent about $600 for the week. Count your pennies and decide how much you want to spend before you do anything else.

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2013 Cabrinha Switchblade kiteYou were at the beach and this kiteboarder came riding by, floating on the water like magic. Then–pow!–he was 20 feet in the air flying through the sky. The kiteboarding bug bit you. “I have to go learn how to kiteboard!” you say to yourself.

This article will focus on a new rider looking for the proper kiteboarding kite for their first couple of years of riding. After you are an established rider, you will understand what style you are looking for and be able to pick a kite designed for your riding style whether that is waves, wake, free ride or freestyle.

MACkiteboarding first started teaching kiteboarding in 2000. Our first kiteboarding instructor, James Otis, actually went to the Wipika school (you have to look that up in ancient history books). So we have seen the incredible progress of gear, giving almost anyone who wants to learn to kiteboard the proper equipment to do so. Our take on buying gear is to get you, the new rider, successfully riding in as short a period as possible.

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