Light wind kiting can be fun, with the right gear and technique

Light wind kiting can be fun, with the right gear and technique

For kitesurfing in light winds, your technique certainly matters and so does the equipment.   Light winds ( < 3BFT ) will make up majority of wind conditions 6-9 months of the year in most parts of North America.   So if you want to be riding more often,  having a light wind kite in your quiver will make that possible.    

In the last 4 years nearly every kite manufacturer has added a light wind-specific design to their line up.  Previously, many manufacturers would simply size-up an existing model used for higher winds, mainly due to design costs and limited demand - which is no longer the case.  The problem with taking the airframe, aspect ratios, and materials designed for a 10m kite that's used in 20+ knots is that as you increase the kite size and decrease the windspeed you're flying in, the weight of the kite and aerodynamic drag become bigger factors in performance.   Modern light wind designs use very light, high performance canopies and bladder systems to reduce weight, and designed to fly more efficiently with very little drag.  So you get a kite that’s lightweight and fast flying in low wind conditions.

 As for technique - most important is keeping up boardspeed to keep you planing.  A larger board helps, think about riding it as flat as possible and using the fins to point upwind without sinking the rail of the board heavily and creating drag.  Keep the kite in the top half of the wind window and keep it moving (Ie. creating apparent wind) as needed without being too heavy on the inputs - this will help to maintain its lift and remain in flight.

Technique is important but so it having the right tools for the job. Put the two together and light wind kiting can be a lot of fun…

ps - the 2016 Flite 14.5m and 17m are on sale here.

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