By trimming the kite, you can control the flying characteristics of the kite and optimise how it flies. Level: basic
There are three typical ways of doing this
General adjustments for the day - At setup by adjusting the line tie offs
Range adjustments during a session - Before hitting the water or during a session through depower straps
Dynamic adjustments during a session - By pulling the bar in and out
Kite trimming is very important when flying the kite unhooked. An oversheeted kite (rear lines pulled in too far) will stall and fall backwards when you fly it unhooked. An undersheeted kite will pull you too much and have too much power to easily control when you fly it unhooked.
Kite trimming controls are also referred to as depower controls, however while they do tune the power (sheeting) movements of the bar the do not change the power of the kite. You must still use the appropriate kite size for the wind strength.
Before going into the details, here's a quick look at the theory.
The basic idea is to adjust the angle of the kite relative to the wind to control the amount of wind impacting the kites surface. The following diagram depicts trimmed (depowered) and and untrimmed (powered) scenarios.
Less Power - the flatter kite means that less wind is impacting the kite surface - decreasing the amount of pull of the kite. This is achieved through either lengthening the back lines or shortening the front lines.
More Power - the kite moves more perpendicular to the wind generating a lot more power. This is achieved by either shortening the back lines or lengthening the front lines.
Back line tie off knots
Some kite brands have different knots on the back line pigtails of the kite to attach your lines to when setting up. There are typically 3 settings: low (end knot), medium (middle knot) and high (top knot).
Some kites come with only one knot and allow enough length in the pigtail to tie additional knots if you want them.
Closest knot to the end
Lengthens back lines
Normal line length
Closest knot to the kite
Shortens back lines
Note: If you want to change this adjustment you must land the kite then re tie the larks head knots.
Power adjustment during a session
You can adjust your range of depower during a session through the depower strap located on your front lines.
This will either shorten your front lines (depower the kite) or lengthen the front lines (power the kite).
Shorten the front lines ("depower on")
Lengthen the front lines ("depower off")
Note that depower adjustments operate differently for different kites and bars.
If there is a colour scheme, it is typically
Red = trimmed (depower)
Black (or blue) = untrimmed (power)
Here is a sequence you can use to set the optimum trim using the depower adjustment:
fly the kite hooked in
pull the bar all the way in and turn the kite left and right
if there is any hint of back stall (kite falls backwards) push the bar out and pull in some depower
repeat this until there is no back stall.
Push the bar away from you to lengthen rear lines
Pull the bar towards you to shorten rear lines
When adjusting your kite, keep in mind the theory behind trimming your kite. This will help you adjust things in the right direction - something that is critical if you are trying to depower in heavy winds.
If you are having trouble reaching the trim controls (power and depower toggles) then you are probably overpowered. Let go of the bar and pull on the front lines to bring the trim controls closer so you can reach them then adjust the depower toggle. Grab the bar again and steer the kite to prevent it crashing. The trim controls should now remain within your reach.