Archive for March, 2013

Riding the Great Lakes in Spring and Fall: Cold Water Awareness

Demo of a drysuit for kiteboarding

Behold the warm spring air. Beware the cold water. Riders literally start hitting the water as soon as the ice is gone on Lake Michigan so it is a good time to remember, or learn, some basic cold water tips. Situational awareness is especially important in the spring when you may find yourself encouraged by the warm air and sight of other riders on the water. Ask yourself three questions. What is my level of conditioning? What is my ability level? Do I have the right gear? The first few rides of the season can really take a toll on your body; you will tire quicker, and may need a bit to get your muscle memory back. Additionally, if you are learning you are going to be down in the water a lot more. Lastly, be sure you have done all you can to make sure your gear is in good working order and condition.When considering cold water kiteboarding gear, your wetsuit or drysuit
is critical.

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One of the inescapable hardships of kiteboarding comes in the form of losing your kiteboard. It happens to everyone, from the new kitesurfer to the advanced rider. And sometimes, after a particularly high velocity crash or in wavy conditions, it can seem impossible that you’ll ever recover your kiteboard with how far you were dragged. Naturally, that led to some kite surfers attaching leashes to their kiteboard so as to never lose it. You may find yourself asking the question, is a kiteboard leash right for me? The forthright answer to that question is no, you should not attach a board leash to your kiteboard. The answer boils down to simple physics.

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While kiteboarding already has a huge lightwind advantage over sports like windsurfing, everyone always wants to get the most riding time possible.  For most kiteboarders on a standard setup (12m Kite &140cm board for 175lb rider) rideable wind begins at about 15 mph.  This amount of wind is apparent because whitecaps become easily seen and prevalent on the water around 15 mph.  With this same setup jumping and powered riding will begin at around 17 mph.

2013 Cabrinha Crossbow LW Kiteboard Kite and Cabrinha Stylus kiteboard

2013 Cabrinha Crossbow LW Kiteboard Kite and Cabrinha Stylus kiteboard

One of the best things you can do to improve your lightwind riding is to become a better kite flyer.  Accomplished kite flyers can lose as much as 3 mph of wind and still be riding because they keep the kite moving in the power zone.  A good way to become a better kite flyer is simply flying in light-winds.  You can learn more in an hour of flying your kite in sub 12 winds than all your previous experience combined.  It is much more difficult to fly the kite in these winds and it is necessary to keep the kite moving.
Remember to pull in for more power when turning, then let the bar out to allow the kite to become more aerodynamic and rise in the sky.

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