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Kitesurfing Q&A – part three

How long are kitesurfing lines?

There are many differences between different kitesurfing bars – they can have different safety systems, different widths, but they also differ in the length of the lines. Their standard length is 22 meters, but you can also find ones with longer and ones with shorter lines, ones with extensions or sometimes you can ‘fold’ lines in order to obtain shorter ones. But what is the effect of the line length on the performance of the kite? With shorter lines, the wind window is reduced and the kite generates less power. This is helpful for training, often shorter lines are used for steering and body drags. Moreover, thanks to the shorter lines the kite also has a better upper wind range, it can withstand gusts better and is more stable. Shorter lines are often used when swimming on foil and waves.

Longer lines, on the other hand, are extremely useful on days with less wind, among other things, as they improve the lower wind range of the kite. So when you feel you have too little power in your kite on light wind days, you can try strapping the extensions to your bar and getting out on the water again. Longer lines are also great for trying very high jumps (big air).

Kitesurfing – upwind and downwind

These two terms are really often used during the kitesurfing course and then during any conversations about kitesurfing. So what does it mean to go upwind? If you move forward to the direction from which the wind is blowing, you go upwind and when you move in the opposite direction it means that you go downwind. 

Kitesurfing without lessons

There is no way to kitesurf without having a kitesurfing course first. You may wonder why, especially that for example snowboarding, surfing or windsurfing equipment you can rent without having any experience with the sport. Firstly you wouldn’t have any idea how to set up the whole equipment, how to pump the kite or attach the lines to the kite, but the most important thing is that kitesurfing is an extreme sport and without knowing how to use the equipment properly it might be really dangerous.

What are kites made of?

Kites must be really durable in order to last longer than a few sessions. That’s why kite manufacturers try to create better and better materials for the equipment. The most commonly used ones are (ripstop) nylon and polyester. 

The other materials used in the kites are dacron and aluula. Dacron is usually used in the parts which are most susceptible to rips. Aluula is an ultra-light fabric, which will probably change the kitesurfing industry. The only downside of it is that it’s much more expensive than the other ones.

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