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Kite boards are available in three distinct styles although the market is dominated by bi-directional boards...
- 1.Bi-directional (Twin Tips)
Twin tips are by far the most popular style of kite board and are the only choice for 95% of riders from beginners to experts alike. They are user friendly, great for all conditions and excel at freestyle riding, providing excellent handling and control of the board during aerial manoeuvres.
A typical twin tip kite board
Twin Tip boards are symmetrical in shape so the board will ride exactly the same way no matter what direction it is travelling in. The rider is located in a central stance on the board and uses sandal bindings (rather than full foot wakeboard style bindings) to attach their feet to the board.
A typical kite board sandal binding
Foot position does not change during riding; to reverse the direction of travel the rider simply points the board in the other direction (similar to wakeboarding). Twin tips rely very heavily on edging to provide grip and improve upwind performance. Additionally, these boards normally have a total of four fins (two fins on each end) to help provide the board with grip whilst turning or when riding in lighter winds.
2. Directional Boards
Directional boards look similar to surfboards and have recently come back into fashion as wave riding specific kite boards. As the name suggests, directionals are designed to be ridden in one direction only and the rider must switch foot position to change direction. The construction is much more heavy duty than standard surfboards and the edge shape and fin position take the use of a kite into consideration. Footstraps are optional and modern directionals are specifically aimed at the advanced rider utilising wave power over kite power for down the line kite surfing.
3. Mutant Boards
Mutant kite boards aim to combine the best features of twin tips and directionals boards. They use directional rocker like a directional board but can still be ridden backwards or forwards like a twin tip. The stance is slightly off centre (around 60/40) with the stance position being biased towards the back of the board, so although the board favours one direction, it can be ridden backwards. Fin setup is similar to a directional board, but with the addition of nose fins to allow wake style riding. The concept produces a board with an enormous power range and incredible upwind drive and allows the rider to mix freestyle and wave riding without having to change boards.