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?
Last edited by k.lauman; 27th November 2010 at 09:00 AM.