View Full Version : Credit where credit due !!! Kiters.

29th September 2010, 12:25 AM
Sailed at Leucate last weekend. Gusts at times were to (and occasionaly over) 40 knots.In years gone by kiters would have beenn grounded; but not now.They were out mixing up with WS;and in lulls going better than us.
I`ve got utmost respect for anyone who can handle any kite in those types of winds.Dont even know what sizes they were on.
To be fair I still think we had edge in speed in gusts and we were probvably out pointing them but think they had better range. They seemed to cope beter in lulls.

I was impressed.

29th September 2010, 02:21 PM
it's not the kiters it's the new range of kites. Over the last 8 years kites have been developed,to the point that most can be powered up or depowered at will.with a modern kite push the bar away and even in very strong winds the kite will fall out of the sky so the range is far greater that a windsurf rig, So congratulate yourself and other windsurfers,for being on the water.I kite very little these days its too easy,not demanding enough on skill or endurance. I friend of mine has kited since the very begining but has come back to windsurfing for this same reason.

29th September 2010, 05:29 PM
My 5 metre depowers when I sheet out; doesn`t need launching; works at a level where wind is less but I couldn`t use it in 35+knots.
Might well be easier than sailing ;I`m not sure ; but even so it needs some guts to launch a kite in 35 k + .
Probably time we saw merits of kiters rather than deriding ???

They are impressive .

29th September 2010, 06:45 PM
If you are impressed by kites, I suggest you to have a look on jet-skis: they handle the gust better, they are more fast, they point better... Impressive :)

29th September 2010, 10:26 PM
At the last "US Open" in Corpus Christi a year and a half ago, the Formula fleet raced in the mornings in winds up to 25 knots, the kites raced in the afternoon on the SAME course (upwind and downwind) in 25 knot + winds.

The top few kiters got around in roughly the same time as the formula boards, but what was interesting was the downwind run. While the formula sailors were holding on for dear life with 9.0 sails, the kites simply de-powered (kept them high) and ran dead downwind with ease, but slower than the formula boards. The 4' chop in the bay makes downwind runs challenging to say the least. A formula sailor can't sheet out on a fully powered downwind run to de-power, it's all or nothing. One could head off 90 degrees from the wind and luff the sail, but you won't get to the finish line on a beam reach.

A good kiter can choose full power or no power with the same rig. I guess a sailor can luff the sail completely and de-power too, but it's a much smoother transition for a kite. I have never sailed a kite, just my observations.

30th September 2010, 12:41 PM
I sail regularly in the Bay Area, in very challenging conditions, and I noticed that any time the wind gets in 4.2 and below most Kites simply disappear. It might be simply because it is too hard and dangerous (the list of fatal or near fatal Bay Area accidents is quite staggering). Kites are bigger and bulkier, try to lift a Kite in 30 knots, after you dump it, and you are probably in for some real trouble. Try the same with a 3.7 sail and it is not such a big deal ...

Formula? the Bay Area fleet regularly beats Kites in some of the hardest conditions you can race Formula in.

Range? a lot of windsurfers around here seem to be obsessed with sailing only 5.5 or smaller ... get some modern large sail and a 100-120L board and you will discover that a windsurfer has a much wider range than a Kite ... and it floats.

Impressive? I don't know, I find the disregard for safety in the Kite community too big of an issue to leave space for much admiration ...

30th September 2010, 01:32 PM
@ Davide :Quote "Impressive? I don't know, I find the disregard for safety in the Kite community too big of an issue to leave space for much admiration ... "

I agree with you 100%...


30th September 2010, 04:34 PM
At the beginning many boat sailors may have considered windsurf not very safe, notably in high wind. I'm not a kite fan at all but this sounds like "those guys are going faster, jump higher, they must be crazy" (probably some really are). Kitesurf is still in early stages and there is much room for innovation. Depowering is a good example. Hopefully these crazy kiters will become more conscious getting older, as many windsurfers did. Given a few recent posts about windsurf vs. cats, moths, longboard vs. formula, etc... I guess the topic is here to stay.

30th September 2010, 06:48 PM
Farlo, itīs not so much the jumping it self.
- but why do the jumping in 20cm of water? If you screw up the jump in 20cm water you will get hurt.
- Why jump over brigdes/boats ect.? if anything goes wrong you will get hurt (a lot).

- Why launch and land you kite where there is no space? screw up and you will get dragged along, hitting what ever is in you way. (this one is a classic)

This is stuff I picked up on the beach as a windsurfer - from just looling a kiters. Itīs amazing how many kiters forget that Natures and Newtons laws apply to everyone.


30th September 2010, 08:29 PM
Kiters near us must be much more skilled (Leucate) as they were more than coping in the gusts (to 40knts) and there were no problems at all sharing water;and its quite restricted being inland (a massive Etang)

Didnt start thread for it to become the normal slanging match towards kiters. Quite the reverse. The kiters are friendly ;skilled and share water with us with respect.
And they are out enjoying conditions which once would have been survival for them.(And us)
They jump more than us;thats what all the envy is about. !!!

Like I said

Credit were credit due !!!!

30th September 2010, 11:09 PM
"They jump more than us;thats what all the envy is about. !!!"

Jealous of big jumps - not true, I almost never jump (itīs true, I really donīt like it) - so Iīm not jealous of that. They sail/plane in less wind than ws, thatīs the only advantage over ws in my eyes.

But give the all the credit you want – yes, they are also friendly people – yes, where I sail we also share the water trouble free – some of my friends also kitesurf.

When I see a dangerous situation on the beach, collision, stuff out of control ect. itīs 90% of the time a kite-situation.

Just last week I saw a kite launch gone wrong. A guy tried to launce his kite, but his lines got caught in some bushes and the kite got out of control. It then flew into the power zone and dragged the poor person along, now on the ground face, down. It only stopped when the kiterīs face hit a big wooden table on the beach. Result! One broken nose and blood everywhere…!! The crazy part is, that only 20m away there where a big flat area of grass – perfect place to launch.

Anyway, the forecast promise 20-25kts all weekend – letīs hit the water 


30th September 2010, 11:48 PM
There must be a limit (60 Knts?) where windsurfing becomes impossible. This happens from time to time in Leucate. I just wonder how much the smallest kites, 3 sqm or so, can handle. Not so long time ago we regarded kitesurf as good, not to say only good, for light wind. We might have to readjust soon.

1st October 2010, 12:35 AM
If find them amazing fast, those kiters. Hell, they are breaking speed records almost every day. Respect.

It's a pity that they need so much place.

I've been also in Leucate this summer and must admit that the kiters I've seen were all very polite and friendly towards us,windsurfers. Most of them immediately put there kite up when crossing or passing near by. I felt safe. Chapeau !

Don't think they plane earlier then us. On the contrary, I think we plane earlier on the "big" formula stuff. Too little wind and their kite falls out of the air, the board sinks and they swim.

While we sail, they fly. It's personal preference.

For me they have only 1 real advantage: their gear fits in 1 backpack. That's the only thing I envy. I need a surf trailer to carry my gear. :)

1st October 2010, 06:54 AM
Farlo commented that there must be a limit (60 Knts?) where windsurfing becomes impossible.

A good question. If WS is easiest when exceeding the true wind speed then in a decent blow sailing at less than the true wind speed the loading on sail and pilot increases and sheeting out causes the fin to ask what the *** is going on while the nose is being blown about.

Sailing close-hauled is an option depending on where you want to end up, having already changed down in sail and fin size, but on the slippery slope of the loss of speed and pointing power. In those conditions is a smaller board with inboard straps a better idea than an outboard stance on wide board?

Kite boards seem to side step such issues but there are no free lunches I guess and they have their own issues like the large amount of real estate they need with their lines.

1st October 2010, 07:54 AM
It is a good question Philip.
In my limited experience of trying to sail in the 40 kt + gusts I`ve found it is possible to sheet out (partially) yet still keep fin and mast foot loaded;infact I reckon if you cant do that you simply cant sail in s gusts over 35 k .(roughly). Dont think its possible with all sailsbut certainly with NP combats and to a lesser degree searches...

I`ve also found real problems lie after doing this in trying to gybe;if you are sailing fast in normal conditions as you enter gybe apparent wind can be zero;in insane winds;when you are sailing relatively slower keping rig depowered is a whole new problem. (Shooting off downwind in a 40 knot gust feels suicidal)
Its easy to say keeping speed up is the answer;having bottle to do it is another ;especially as at some stage you wll be bouncing over chop at some stage.

Putting it in perspective with boardspeed/windspeed. I wore GPS last week on 3 sailing sessions.On 7 metre day windspeed max gust was 25 knots. (Generally around 22) V max 29 knots.
On 5 metre day; max wind gust 35 knots (generally 30 knots) Vmax 28 knots
)n 4.5 metre day max gust 42 knots. V max 26 knots !!! Hence problem gybing ???

1st October 2010, 10:57 AM
Average 40 knots is really, really, really a lot of wind. Open water sailing in average 60 knots sounds rather absurd: it is Force 11 on a Beaufort (heavy damage to trees) and I doubt any small vessel can sail in those conditions and survive.

Max gust speed means almost nothing, and if anything it is much better to go by sail size, and forget about reporting pseudo-exact numbers that mean very little and are always biased upward. For an expert level sailor 70-80Kg: if you are on a 4.5 you are probably not in a lot of wind, if you are having a hard time with a 3.2 something is blowing hard.

So, I am not sure any longer what are we taking about, but your numbers seem very biased upward: sailors in the Bay Area (either kiters or windsurfer) are very used to high wind but when it is blowing 4.2->3.7->3.2 you see proportionally way more windsurfers out in the water.

BTW: up to a certain point the main limiting factor for board speed is not so much the wind, but, everything else being equal, water conditions. That is probably why your (slow) GPS speeds decrease with wind speed. My top speed (2 secs) is 38.3 knots, achieved in nothing special: just very powered up conditions with a 6.0 and water that was exceptionally smooth due to a lucky combination of wind/tide. In regular conditions at my local spot I cannot cross the 33-35 barrier no matter what I do: too much chop.

Speed records, by the way, are back in the hands of sailboats, and they are there to stay. The only reason Kites held the world record for a little while was because they can sail in 4" of water (basically on the beach, in ultra-smooth water). But both kites and windsurfs are limited by design to very low efficiency: above a certain speed they go barely faster than the wind. Compare to www.hydroptere.com the current record holder which did 51.36 over 500m and a completely untouchable (for kites/windsurfers) 50.36 over a nautical mile, in around 25-30 knots of wind ... in open water!

1st October 2010, 11:55 AM
Heading upwind a bit and then oversheeting hard is my way of gybing in overpowered conditions when I'm on sails 4.2 or smaller. If one gets it done quickly you'll find yourself able to get around quickly enough that you're able to point high again and just idle along in the overpowered conditions. Similar technique of oversheeting works to get downwind in overpowered conditions too. Oversheet to the point where the wind starts dumping off the front of the sail and control your speed by steering the board with your feet.

1st October 2010, 03:15 PM
Much of what you say is correct.
I can assure you though I have sailed in 35 knots with gusts to and over 40 knots with a really flattened off 4.5/4.4. (4.5 Rock/4.4 Combat)
My weight of 105 kilos is obviously a consideration.On day in question there were sailors out with sub 4`s and some on 3.3`s but I have found with such sails my range is (at 105 kilo) non-existent.

Your points re waterstate are correct.My PB (V max 10 second;dont think 2 second is reliable or valid) is 42.6 mph (just under 40 knots) set on mirror flat water in 30 knots (ish) with 5.7,(On Sotavento speedcourse;feet from watersedge)

Decided last year that anything under 4.5 weather for me was unenjoyable ;sold 3.7 and rarely use 4.
In my case I dont think my upper limit is much different (sub 4.5 too twitchy) and look on gusting to 40 knots (35 knots steady ?) as just worth rigging.Over that stay in car/go home.

Its the gusts and lulls that get you anyhow;steady (even strong) are manageable.

Its true we all think we sail in stronger winds than we actually do but 35 knots + is common at Leucate and there are days when I dont even rig and some sailors (smaller than me) are out sailing. Reaslistic upper limit for windsurfing (IMO) is 45 knots. I look at 40 knots as mine.

Take a look at Port Leucate wind record (Windfinder/Windguru) after a Tromantane has blown through.
Last Saturday was a "typical" day. Trouble is there are just patches of flat water where sailing seems much easier; and Tromantane is a notoriously gusty wind .

Good sailing.

Kiters do deserve recognition for progress.

16th October 2010, 01:18 AM
Alex Caizergues has set the new world speed record last Tuesday in Luderitz to 54,10 knots (>100 Km/h) with 8 sqm in 45 knots of wind!! OK not open sea, however... Kitesurf has seemingly a considerable progression margin. I really wonder how much a 3 sqm kite can handle. Any idea? No one willing to comment?

17th October 2010, 06:00 PM
Well done to the kitters for braving that trench. I think the course suits the kites better than the ws as its very broad. I love that the kitters can travel with such small kits and still go fast.We are still learning to go fast and our ws are much more efficient and we are much closer to the records than people realise,it will just be that very special day. Most of my gear is suited to 40kt but its not impossible to sail in 60kt but i think 70kt is the limit. At 60kt we can still have flat water and control to go fast

18th October 2010, 07:38 PM
I don't think a kite is a sail . It don't have a mast . It's speed record is irrelevant to sailling .
Why don't they compare the speed to paragliding or parachuting . I am quite sick of this
speed comparison to windsurfing !!!

18th October 2010, 10:36 PM
Its a bit pedantic to argue over wether its a sail or not;its irrelevant.Fact is its fastest wind driven water craft ..(Full Stop)So what its not a sail (or it could be ???)

Credit to them.

Wonder if when they are out boarding they`re pondering wether its a sailing craft or not they`re on.Bet they dont care either.

Just dont understand the bad feeling.Its same between snow skiers and snowboarders.; water skiers and wakeboarders.; jet skiers and every body else on water. ????????????? Dont get it !!!

Live and let live !!!!

Kiters were out last week again in 40+ knots in Leucate !!!

19th October 2010, 12:01 AM
Well the topic was about Kiters doing better in strong wind while not so far ago we considered it only good for light wind. However we shall congratule them for taking the record back from the Hydroptere. It's really David against Goliath. As a windsurfer I feel closer to kiters than to such multi-million dollars sea monster, although it is a remarkable technical and human endeavour. Let the WSSRC decide whether the new record is valid.

7th November 2010, 12:03 AM
During most of the year my main sport is windsurfing, but in winter I switch to snowkiting. Windsurfers, usually have wrong impressions about kiting. For example wind gusts and change in wind direction can cause even more problems for kite than for sail, but you can fly kite higher where wind is not so gusty. Wind direction, 15m high can be different then at ground level, which can give you incredible pointing in one direction, compared to the ground wind. Generally, with kite you have to think about wind in three dimensions not only two.

I have 9.3m foil kite with depower and I use it only if wind is less than 25kn. Once I pulled safety too late and safety insert which can take more than 120 kg snapped. Kite in strong wind can develop enormous power, as can you see if you follow this link:

In Luderitz speed challenge, kiters are using 7m kites in 45kn wind, but even the best have accidents:

At the end of this video you can see what can happen in 45kn wind if kite goes out of control:

Kiters have taken world speed record again from Hydroptere and are approximately 6 kn faster than windsurfers. But in Leucate Orange Speed Crossing this year, 12 best windsurfers were racing against 12 best kiters, best kiter was on place 10. Of course we all now who would win if Hydroptere would compete at this race.
Check this links:

Modern kites have better safety and depower, but this works only with kiter, if he makes mistake, even the best kite will not be enough to save him. If kiters are now going out in 30 or 40 kn wind that’s not only because kites are getting better, but also because kiters are getting better.

10th November 2010, 08:34 PM
Don't like kiter at all . Nasty kite line everywhere jaming the beach . Kiters doing all sort
of monkey tricks on the air thinking they are cool. Who care what you are doing - we windsurfer
are just scared to be hurted by you crazy guy !

12th November 2010, 02:15 AM
WIND... how much can we sail in?? 40 knots of wind is a lot, when sailing any craft driven by wind. Most yachts will be heavily reefed already. Worst thing is the sea state though. 60 knots steady is close to a hurricane. I've tried steady +50 knots of wind gusting 70 to 80 knots (officially measured) in a 28 foot sail yacht on open sea - ITīS HELL!!! The boat was knocked down, cockpit filled and simple jobs like opening a hatch became a fight for two men.
Handling a kite or windsurfer in 30 knots of wind is only a job for the very best (but surprisingly possible), and the wind pressure on anything - the board, your body etc. makes it a struggle.
On flat water (quite theory) I guess I would be able to windsurf in 30 knots steady with matching gear, but the fun factor is probably limited ;-)

12th November 2010, 03:09 AM
Per,it all depends where you sail,30kts at Sandy Point is just a fun day,40kt is a potential Pb day still with very very flat water and at 60kts the water is still flat. In the ocean 30kt is our 60+ day

12th November 2010, 06:14 AM
i thought this was a windsurf site :)

kiters are here to stay - Robby Naish kites - cool enuff 4 ya ?
Antoine Albeau SUPs - cool enuff 4 ya ?
if u love water like the rest o the windsurfers, then ALL water-toys are COOL !!

safety? i have more close calls and swearing with my fellow windsurfers than with kiters
i make sure i smile and chat with local kiters to ensure they realize i just wanna have a gret time on the water and if we can learn from each other like how much wind do we have today, etc - big sail time, etc - we are then learning to live together

just smile and if you cannot - grin n bear it
one day windsurf will be just as fast as kites - i can feel it
can you feel it - huh, huh


27th November 2010, 08:57 AM
Credit is due. It's sad to see there is still a generation of older windsurfers who occasionally dump on kiting, including some in the industry. Some people get hostile when they feel threatened.

Kites have come a long way in terms of depower, aerodynamics, and structural integrity. You can depower the kite while still hooked in, direct the force upwards on any point of sail, something that requires the "unhooked chicken strap stance" on a wide sailboard. You're always hooked in and the "draft" never changes relative to the bar.

C- kites from 8 years ago look atrocious, unstable, little depower, not much range. People who hate on kiting are probably working with an impression of kiting's old school days.

Better in lulls. Kites have a better power/weight ratio. Don't discount wind gradient. If it's 30 knots at sail level, its more like 45 knots 30 meters up. 25 knots, 35 knots at maximum kite level. Also less effected by bumps from chop and the wind deflecting effects of shorelines and large waves.

If you consider kites and sailboards to have aeronautical equivalents, then a kite is like a helicopter and a sailboard is like a fixed-wing airplane. The kite can generate maximum thrust while the board is stationary = power and acceleration. A sailboard's foils need to accelerate together up to planing speed = streamlining and efficiency. A helicopter can take off vertically and an airplane needs a runway. Which is faster? Which has more vertical lift?

Talking to kiters has made me realize that sailboarding has many virtues. You can launch unassisted in onshore winds from cluttered shorelines. I sail a spot that kiters complain about because of two maple trees they have to water launch near. That's a "tight launch". You can always slog back home if the wind dies. Tacking and jibing are reliable and easy. In kiting, jibing and tacking a directional is considered an advanced skill. Everything is self contained and you're less likely to get into trouble with other craft, snag objects or endanger other sailors. In real world conditions, (Almost got K'OD from a careless kiter's kite diving into the ground first day snowkiting). With my iSonic 133 i'm planing in 9-12 knots with a 7.5. With a 9.0 who knows?

29th November 2010, 09:28 PM
Off wind - can't kite .
On shore gusty wind - can't kite .
Good side shore wind but beach not wide enough or obstacle - can't kite .
Good condition but no one to assist on launching ( Alone ) - can't kite .
Good condition with a friend , you still can't kite because he went out first leaving
you alone on the beach - CAN'T KITE AGAIN .
Funny enough !!!!

30th November 2010, 06:59 PM
Off wind = Offshore wind !