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Old 9th October 2011, 05:24 AM   #53
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Winters in Canada is a boon to kiters, and a curse to the windsurfers. Winter has swelled kiting numbers but summer seems to put many off why
1. water depth
2. wind direction
3. open area to launch

windsurfing has no such limitations.

Kiting and learning to kite in the winter is never easier as the water is now "hard".Simply strap on skiis and snowboards that they would use at the ski hill and use small easy to handle kites to get going.

The KEY thing here is that no matter what DIRECTION the WIND is in, a walk out into a frozen lake covered with soft snow makes for the perfect wind angle every time and the lake surface an easy place to launch the kite.
For this reason alone kiting has skyrocketed here.

BUT ... the opposite happens in the spring and summer, NOW one cannot walk out into the middle of a lake to take advantage of the wind in any direction or the large expanse of the frozen lake surface for an easy launch.

Many who learned to kite on frosen lakes now have very limited options. Kiters seem to only kite in one particular spot here , that offers a large launching area and shallow water way out , also that is when the wind blows in a narrow range of wind directions.
Even then in offshore, and onshore winds and the kiters thin way out. While offshore winds here offer some of the best highspeed windsurfing to be had.

I have been asked advice by many people if they should take up kiting, I am not against kiting , but I always inquire where they want to do it ,
I tell them theres the ONE spot in our location to kite , no others , if they want to go there all the time fine its a great spot for kiting.
BUT If they say their cottage or vacation home on an inland lake i invariably say its not for them. Knowing full well the wind would have to be prefect sideshore , the water shallow and a large area to launch is needed.
And invariably this would always be the case with people on the hundreds of lakes in the forests of Ontario.

Kick down the centreboard of a windsurfer and sail out past that point of land in any wind direction in any lake more then 3 feet deep , not so for kiters.

and that is the strength that cannot be underestemated of windsurfing ,
anywhere ,
anytime,
in virtually any wind direction or strength. I have a cottage and i would never give up windsurfing because of this.

Jeff E of the GWN

starboard stype 104/ evo 94/ formula 155 / F-2 lightning WC Edition ( the board that does it all)
and a few other older ones.
I windsurfed for 3 years and was just able to do planing carve jibes at a low percent (maybe 5-10%) . Although I could do regular carve jibes. I switched to kiting this year because I was on a windsurfing vacation, but the wind was in the 16mph range and the 6m sails for rent were too small. Kiting turned out to be harder to learn in the first 10 hours, but easier in the next 10 hours.

What I would say is the gear in kitesurfing is just easier to deal with. 2 kites and one board are all you need for just about all wind ranges from 10 knots to about 25 knots. With windsurfing I was always trying to figure out what truck I would buy to fit all my gear. Putting boards on the car in high winds was always a pain. Kiting gear is cheaper because you need so much less.

I had sails from 4m to 9 meters which meant 3 masts, 3 boards, 3 booms and 7 sails. I hated rigging the 9 meter because the gear was so heavy so I rarely went out in 15 knot winds, I usually had to wait for 18 knots. Water starting a 9m sail was never really pleasant. Even if you have a huge kite (say 16-21m) the kite feels light because it pulls up as well as forward. So here is what I would say are the pros and cons:

kitesurfing pros over windsurfing
1) less gear = less expensive
2) smaller gear = easier to pack, more people can fit, dont need a trailer, truck etc.
3) more linear learning curve - it is still hard to learn, but you can do jumps and rolls, spins etc that would take 10 years and be incredibly dangerous to try on a windsurf board. With windsurfing you spend a lot of time learning to carve jibe and most people never learn to jump or loop. That learning process can be very painful. With kitesurfing you can use surfboards and do the same kinds of carve jibes.
4) able to get that third dimension
5) for most common wind conditions 12-20 knots, kiting uses gear that is much more pleasant to use
6) kiting is very social because it is easier to launch with someone helping
7) rigging is so much easier and faster, windsurfing would typically take about 25 minutes to rig up and kite surfing would take about 10-15 minutes. Most of the time is spent double checking lines are not crossed
8) twin tip kiteboards are virtually indestructible vs the noses Ive cracked on windsurf boards
9) good workout, legs and abs. Workout the arms if you kite unhooked, can kite for longer (maybe 2-3x?) before getting tired means more time on water. I kited for 3 hours today and am somewhat tired
10) kites have much larger wind ranges which means you rarely have to go back and rerig
11) can sail in shallow water, dont need a weed fine if there is algae

kitesurfing similar to windsurfing
1) wind pulling you on the water, high speed
2) just as easy to go upwind on a kite, you just need the right size/kind board


windsurfing over kitesurfing
1) if you are just going to blast around, overall it is safer (but not necessarily by a lot)
2) when the wind dies you can still limp in vs having to swim in
3) I have found that in the same wind Im generally faster than the run of the mill kitesurfers on a windsurf board
4) windsurfing gear is more simple, if you dont rig it exactly right it isnt a big deal. If you have a loop in one of your lines when you launch your kite it can power up and crash in a bad way.
5) because of the big board and possibility to sail even in 1-5 knots it is much safer to go far off shore.. With a twin tip kite board you can never go further than you can swim.
6) windsurfing sails last longer. A hole in a sail is not a big deal, a pin hole in a kite will ruin your day
7) easy to self launch and sail by yourself
8) much better workout - upper and lower body
9) kites need to be replaced about every 3 years of heavy use
10) if there is algae you dont have to worry about algae completely fouling up your lines
11) never really have to worry about losing your board. Definitely possible to lose a kitesurfing board

Overall I like kiting mainly because the gear is smaller, the garage isnt full, going kiting doesnt require massive effort to load up gear. Im able to own a truck with a smaller bed. I find that the fun is about the same although in the winds I sail - 12-20 knots the windsurfing equipment was very unpleasant to rig up and carry to the water. With kitesurfing I have done the walk of shame many times, with windsurfing I was always able to sail back when the wind died.

I find myself staying close to shore kiting, where with a windsurf board I would go a mile or two out.

For those who say kiting is just an activity, you are completely wrong. If you kite hard you will be exhausted after a few hours. Jumps take a lot of abdominal strength and if you use high bar pressure or kite unhooked you will work your forearms just like with windsurfing.
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