Kiteboards are specifically designed boards for kiteboarding and kitesurfing. There are many types of kiteboards tailored to address the specific demands of the kiteboarder's style. Although kiteboards are somewhat similar to other wave-riding boards like surfboards, skimboards, and wakeboards, they are unique in their ability to harness the wind as an engine.
What is kitesailing?
Kitesailing or kiteboarding uses a controllable kite attached to a board, allowing users to catch the wind to propel themselves on the water and waves. There are many different styles of this windsurfing sport, including:
- Freestyle - This involves big air jumps, allowing the kite sailor to perform tricks. Freestyle boards are designed to get maximum air and prolonged hang time.
- Racing - There are two types of racing: speed and course. Course racing is similar to a regatta, while speed racing involves covering a certain distance in the shortest period of time. Racing boards are designed to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.
- Free ride - Freeride has no rules. It's all about having fun and being creative. Freeride boards tend to vary, but the kites usually have a broad range and easy relaunch capabilities.
- Wake style - Inspired by wakeboarding, this style often involves ramps and obstacles to perform tricks. Wake style is done on flat water and follows a mapped out course.
- Kite surfing - Kitesurfing uses the kiteboard to catch and ride waves on the coast. These boards tend to be directional designs with or without foot bindings.
How does a kiteboard work?
A kiteboard uses a kite to capture the wind's energy and move the kiteboarder across open water. While there are many types of boards, most boards have a few basic components in common.
- The Kite - This harnesses the wind and pulls the board across the water. Much like water skiing, the momentum of the wind's energy is enough to keep the windsurfer planing atop the water and waves.
- The Harness - This is the cockpit of the apparatus. This is the place where the rider controls everything from direction to speed. Whether it's a seat, vest, or waist type, the harness has a control bar for steering.
- The Board - Different boards excel in different conditions, and choice depends on the desires of the kiteboarder. Their shape can affect the speed, jump height, hang time, and kiteboarding style.
- Lines - These attach the kite to the harness and provide the steering system. The line system also prevents drag and helps the rider relaunch after the kite hits the water.
- Straps and/or Bindings - Foot straps and harnesses are used to keep the rider attached to the kiteboard, especially when performing high jumps and tricks. Most styles require one or the other, but kite surfing does not necessarily require them.