Kite flying

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How to fly the kite using the control bar.  Level: basic

Learning how to fly the kite is a key skill for kitesurfing.  This page provides some basic theory and techniques for kite handling.

Control bar and lines

Control bar

Control bar and lines

The Control bar for the kite is your control device for turning, accelerating and slowing the kite.  
  • The left end of the bar is connected to the left rear line of the kite
  • The right end of the bar is connected to the right rear line of the kite
  • The front lines (right and left) connect the front lines of the kite to the chicken loop, passing through the control bar.

Turning the kite

Turning the kite
  • Pulling on the left bar end turns the kite to the left
  • Pulling on the right bar end turns the kite to the right

Controlling power

Kite flying - controlling power
  • Pulling the bar in towards your body increases the power of the kite
  • Pushing the bar away from your body decreases the power of the kite
  • Letting go of the bar should depower the kite completely.

Kite "locked in"

Kite flying - locked in

If the wind is strong, you can fly the kite at one angle (e.g. 50 degrees) and maintain your tack.  This is referred to as having your kite "locked in" at one angle.  When you are able to do this you can shift some attention to your board, arms, feet, legs and body position.  You can experiment with bending your arms and knees, leaning away from the kite more and edging the board, without worrying too much about the kite.

Moving the kite in a sine wave

Kite flying - sine wave

When there is less wind, perhaps not quite enough to fly with your kite "locked in", you can generate more power by flying your kite up and down in the Wind Window.  The increased motion of the kite creates more apparent wind over its surface and generates more power, which helps keep you planing.  You need to pay more attention to the kite position compared to when it is "locked in".   
  • The kite travels from a high point (e.g. 70 degrees) to a low point (e.g. 20 degrees) and back up again in a repeating "sine wave" pattern.
  • If you fly the kite too high you will lose power at the top of the curve, or even send the kite back in the opposite direction.
  • If you fly the kite too low you may crash it into the water, or snick the water and slow the kite down a lot.
  • The kite will generate more power on the down and up strokes, and less power at the top and bottom of the curves.  You can balance this power by varying the pressure on the board edge.  Your board can also do small slalom curves in unison with the movement of the kite. 
Over time you will learn to automatically fly your kite in a sine wave pattern, much like you learn to automatically operate the clutch in a manual car.

If your kite is about to stall, you can reach up and pull on the front lines to keep it flying.

If your kite lands on the water or the beach with its trailing edge down and the wind is light  you can do a hot launch by pulling on the front lines. The kite will fly straight up.  Do not attempt this in strong winds.

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