View Full Version : To Kite or Not to Kite?
14th January 2008, 11:37 AM
I feel kinda guilty about fishing for hits like this (is this a "forum foul"?), but I thought some of you might want to check out my recent blog post on the kiting vs. windsurfing dilemma.
14th January 2008, 03:13 PM
ok, so kiting wins, but there's a few more added reasons. Kiting is idd new and has had a lot of media attetion because of it. It also is lot like skateboarding to a lot of people so the young skaters get attrackted (mainly because they've never seen Taty in action ;)). But when i show people a few video's of windsurfer doing double fwds they respect me for just simply speeding along the waterline.
The result is idd that windsurfing is an 'older mens sport', at my local spot, me and my sis call half the riders 'windsurfer grandpa's' (but we still love them cuz they're really cool and they ride super well).
I would have to dissagree on the which one is harder part. I tried kiteboarding a fe year ago, it took me 2 hours to controle the kite and the board. I recon in 2 more hours i would have been on it and going back and forth, it just feels a lot like wakeboarding and skating (learned wake in like 30 minutes). Whereas it took me several hours in and on the water to get myself to a level where i could trust myself with a board and a sail and it took days before i got planning. I'm convinced that if you take a group of people and you let 50% kite and the rest windsurf, that at the end of a week, more ppl will have managed to kite then to windsurf propperly (mainly because windsurfing envolves thinking, especially for newbs: which side do i have to put my sail? How do i get back? Blablabla)
Which one is more dangerous? Well, stricktly speaking, with the safety releace kiting should be more secure then windsurfing if you ask me: if you're in serious sh*t with your kite just press release et voila, otherwise, just crash the kite. When you're in trouble with your board and it's windy you can get really really screwed. Immagine: you cn get hit by your mast and lose concienceness: ie you're screwed. You can get caught by a serious wave and be draged under: ie you're screwed. If you're new to harnesslines and you don't have a quick releace hook you can find yourself under the sail attached to it, some ppl would panic: ie you're srewed. Granted, for newbs windsurfing is fairly innocent, maybe a black eye (yes it happened to me, damn epoxy masts) and a few cuts and scratches, when you evolve and you want to go faster harder scooter (just to use a bad songs lyrics) you can get pretty damn jackhammered.
can't argue on the practical part: gearbag weighs over 50 kilos, boards nearly 30 K (i have an old longboard, heavy stuff). Kitegear: i recon about 30 and it all fits into a giant backpack.
None the less, we still like kiteboarders, we all use the same elements. + nice guys, good drinkers :D and there's nothing wrong with a kiteboarding getting help when you chose a sail that was too small to handle the windluls :p
nice article though, i'm enjoying the blog a lot, very helpfull. Whens the next one coming?
14th January 2008, 09:17 PM
Thanks for the input crazychemical. I don't know when my next blog is coming out since I don't update on a regular schedule. Nor do I know exactly what it's going to be about, since I also write about stuff besides windsurfing. But if you check it every once in a while you can find out. :)
14th January 2008, 11:13 PM
For those that get hooked on kiting - go for it. I have no problem with kiters.
I am an old dog with limited time on the water, so learning a new sport isn't appealing, especially since I have committed 24 years to windsurfing.
Kiteboarding makes little sense unless one is committed to tricks and big air. Without that, reaching back and forth, or working upwind for some down wind speed just doesn't look like much fun.
I think it takes a lot more time (years) to be at the top of your game in windsurfing than kiteboarding. I have see kiteboarders achieve spectacular tricks and air in relatively short periods of time.
Even with the quick release they now have on the kites, you have got to be on your toes to be able to hit it when you have been smashed into the water or yanked off your feet. A lot more people die on kites than windsurfing, and the number of kiters on the water is just a small fraction of the windsurfers around the world.
14th January 2008, 11:50 PM
no problem with kiters, last year in Italy i had chosen the wrong sail and a board that was a bit too small and i had a really hard time getting back on it when i fell, then some kiter dude comes along, asks if he needs to get the boat, luckily i just felt a nice wind coming and i managed to paddle myself with all my strength back on the board.
Still amazed so few people die windsurfing, i mean, when i see the Jaws some people surf i piss myself. But then again those are pro's or semi pro's. Maybe kitesurfers don't think too much :p kidding, but i mean, it's young people looking for extreme kicks, if you don't use you're brain at all times, i can immagine you can get yourself in a pretty bad situation. Not that i'm any better, i'm not even 20 :p i barely use my head eighter, but i make sure i never fly solo when it's a bit dodgy
15th January 2008, 12:58 AM
I have to readily admit, virtually all my old windsurfing friends moved over to the dark side to became kiters and ultimately left windsurfing forever. Yet, it's important to note that all of them kind of cornered themselves as windsurfers by become primarily wavesailors. Most ended up with only waveboards and 5.3/5.5 and down sails. While the formula works in places like Maui and other similar venues with lots of wind, it severely limited their potential in Southern California. With no interest in slalom/freeride type sailing, it's no surprise to see why they gravitated in mass to kiting. I think that the airtime possible with kiting was the initial lure that attracted their interest, but it has now matured a bit and they all have really centered on the waves. No question about it, kiters just rip in the waves, particularly in the 12-18 knot range.
While I have been pressured very hard for a number of years now to take up kiting, I can honestly say that it just doesn't attract me. The real turnoff for me are all those lines. Also, the downed kite part is something that doesn't seem like fun to me. Although most kiters seem to get the relaunch situation under good control with some practice, if the wind suddenly dies, they become swimmers (even the better kiters). As a windsurfer, when the wind dies, you can usually just slog in, unless of course you went out on a true sinker. I really like having the sail attached to the board and controlling it through the boom. A real compact power/speed equation that feels naturally so perfect and balanced. Also, I just love all the technical stuff about the equipment and how it goes together.
Overall, I can happily say I've been an addicted windsurfer since day one, and I remain unwavering in my dedication and commitment to the sport after over 22 years. Despite my strong interest and exclusive focus on windsurfing, I have nothing against kiting and still maintain a camaraderie with my old windsurfing buddies. We all still have fun mixing up on the water.
Should you try kiting? If it seems interesting enough and suits your nature, I would say go for it. Who knows, it just might fit well into your scene. From your earlier thread highlighting and detailing your sailing history over the last year, it seems like windsurfing has a portion of your soul, so you can probably safely test your fate.
15th January 2008, 01:09 AM
I like sailing. I've tried kiting, and it's cool, but it's not sailing...it's more like wakeboarding.
There's something magical for me about a sail and a boat or board moving on the water.
15th January 2008, 01:11 AM
Consider what is possible in eight knots...
This is new video of Caesar Finies.
15th January 2008, 02:12 AM
I feel kinda guilty about fishing for hits like this
No you don't.
15th January 2008, 05:51 AM
Kiting is safer than windsurfing? Better talk to Rick I over at kiteforum.
Both are really cool sports, but that is a ridiculous statement.
16th January 2008, 01:21 AM
steveC - Well said, my friend!
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