WinDesigns LogoFrequently Asked Questions

wpe1D.jpg (9906 bytes)

Lessons Lancelin FAQ Boards Links About Ian YoungKite Surf Skate Sculpture Consulting
What is Kite Surfing? Kite Surfing is an addictive water sport that uses a very large stunt kite to provide the power to wakeboard or surf with. Kite surfing systems are specifically designed so that the kite can be easily re-launched from the water. Kite surfing  offers many advantages such as:

bulletQuick set-up: ready to go in 10 minutes or less.
bulletBig air: the kite can be climbed high to easily pull you off the water then glide for 5 seconds or more.
bulletLight, compact and portable: no need for roof-racks/ one person single trip from your car.
bulletSelf contained and no running costs: no need for a power boat with all the maintenance hassles and running costs.
bulletMulti-purpose: the kite can also be used with 3-wheeled buggyies, DirtSurfers, waveskis, canoes, etc.

How difficult is it to learn? It's easier than windsurfing to get planing and jibing.  It takes a little longer to learn to go upwind but then it's much quicker to get into wave riding, jumps and other tricks.  80% of the skill is in flying these power kites - if you put the kite in the right spot in the sky, you hardly even have to think about the board. See Lessons for more details

Where can I get a Kite Surf rig from? Most windsurfing shops now sell the gear and there are a few specialist kite surfing retail outlets such as Airborne Kite Surfing @ 160 Scarborough Beach Rd, Scarborough. We strongly recommend that you get lessons before you purchase any gear.  WinDesigns is Australia's first kite surfing school and have more experience in this exciting new sport than anyone else in Australia.  We ONLY teach kite surfing and are the Australasian importers of FlySurfer equipment. Try before you buy - come and have a lesson with us to see if the sport is really for you before you part with your hard earned $$$.  Click here for more info on lessons.

How much does it cost to get into Kite Surfing? A typical new rig costs about $1500 - $2000 but there is more and more second hand gear becoming available every year. Follow this link to a gear guide and more photos of kite surfing action.  We put out a regular email newsletter which contains a free listing of 2nd hand gear for sale as well as useful updates on the local kite surfing scene including safety, legal and other issues - if you would like to receive a copy of this newsletter just send us an email to ianyoung@iinet.net.au.

How do I learn to Kite Surf;? You can certainly learn by yourself with a bit of patience. Or take the safest route to mastering this new sport, save yourself from learning bad habits and get out on the water in the quickest learning curve possible. WinDesigns Australia offers personal instruction using our equipment at very reasonable rates.  Tuition is all one-on-one and self-paced to take you from theory all the way through to planing, jibe turns, going upwind, jumps and loops. Contact us for the details of our latest rates. Instruction can be arranged almost anywhere if you are prepared to cover our reasonable expenses. Follow this link for more information.

How do I choose the right equipment?

  Boards:

bullet

A twin-tip board is easiest to learn with. The size depends on your weight but it should be larger rather than smaller. 140cm is a good size for a first board for someone around 80kg.

bullet

The less planing area the more power you need to keep planing ie a bigger kite or more wind.  Planing area is increased by length and width of the board, more concave and less rocker.

bullet

A shorter and/or narrow board will “hold an edge” better than a wider board with more volume ie a narrow board will allow you pull harder against your kite and fly in stronger winds without skipping out and make toe-side riding easier. A board that planes early is better for learning, on lighter wind days and when you want to ride waves without the kite powering you too much.

bullet

A longer twin tip board will have more tendancy to "slap" the front foot out of the strap and not be a soft when landing jumps.  It will also be harder to do snap turns onto your toe-side.

bullet

Fins help lock the rail down allowing you to take more force from the kite without lifting or skipping out.  Multiple/ larger fins also allow better upwind ability and increased stability at higher speeds.

bullet

Long narrow boards will cruise much better over choppy water and will go faster than shorter boards.   The faster you go when you hit a wave (or turn your kite back on flat water), the higher your jumps will be.

bullet

Wakeboards are not recommended to learn with as you need more power to keep them planning so you have a greater risk of injury to yourself and others.  Bindings are also more expensive and not as easy to get into or out of

 

Inflatable kites are more common (eg Wipika, Naish, Airush)

bullet

Requires bladders to be pumped up - punctures and slow leaks are not uncommon and are a pain. Bladders are fiddly to repair/ expensive to replace

bullet

Safety systems usually work by having the bar slide up one line.  When recovering the bar to relaunch the lines can become tangled

bullet

Are slower/ more difficult to relaunch off the water ie cannot be flipped over as easily as ram-air foils (even with fifth line)

bullet

Must be launched at the edge of the wind window ie need a beach with at least 30m of clear area side on the the wind direction.  In light winds there may not be sufficient energy to lift the kite at the edge of the wind window

bullet

Will stay afloat indefinitely (providing bladders have not been damaged)

bullet

Can unintentionally relaunch off the water/ beach if care is not taken

bullet

More bulky and heavier than foils when packed up (much bulkier if battens are not deflated)

 

Ram-air Foils not as common (mainly due to fashion, false perceptions and smaller marketing budgets)

bullet

Easiest to water relaunch – can relaunch anywhere in the wind window ie do not have to get kite to edge of the wind window.   Can easily flip the kite back onto it's trailing edge by simply throwing the bar away. Then simply depower and the foil will lift off the water.  If you panic and drag the trailing edge through the water then you will force water into the cells and make the kite harder (but not impossible) to relaunch

bullet

No pumping, no punctures/ leaks. If damaged can still be flown back to the beach in most cases.  Often can be repaired on the spot with sail repair tape

bullet

Some models eg FlySurfer Warrior do not require any pre-inflation ie setup/ pull down in 5 minutes.  Others such as Peter Lynn Arcs take longer to set up as they require pre-inflation prior to launching

bullet

Significantly less tangles with 3 lines (rather than 4) - can leave lines connected to bar and kite

bullet

They have bridle lines – more prone to tangles but can be easily overcome with good setup/ packup technique

bullet

Very efficient double surface aerofoil (20% smaller than equivalent inflatable) ie will fly faster and turn easier than inflatable with the same power

bullet

Better wind range than inflatables

bullet

Lightest & most compact when packed up - great for travelling

 

No matter what sort of kite the following generalisations are true:

bullet

The smaller the kite the faster it flys and the faster it turns

bullet

The higher the aspect ratio the easier it is to turn but it is less stable (more prone to luffing), more difficult to relaunch off the water and more likely to flip inside-out.

bullet

The smaller the bar the slower the turn rate of the kite

 

How can I get more information? Phone us (+61 414 716 812), send us an email, or visit us in person. Don't forget to check out our hot links.

Who runs WinDesigns Australia? WinDesigns Australia is a Western Australian family business owned and operated by the pioneer of kite surfing in this country, Ian Young. Follow this link for more information about Ian Young.

WinDesigns Australia is proudly sponsored by:

flylogo3.gif (1820 bytes)
 

  

Last updated 16 Jun 2011