Upwinding in light wind - kite technique

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Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:19 pm

My question is, what should I be doing with the kite when trying to upwind in lighter wind conditions? I see other people doing a better job of it than me so I guess my techniques not quite right.
Should I be doing large kite movements ie sineing from almost the top of the wind window and down towards the water or is it better to do more smaller movements (keeping the kite at a 45 degree ish angle)? If the wind is strong enough it's not a problem but my light wind technique obviously needs work!


Posts: 1148
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:21 pm

if I'm having to sine the kite - i tend to sheet out on the upstroke and pull the bar in on the downstroke. Other than that - sorta 'feel' for the gusts - lean back and edge upwind when you've got a bit - ease off and come more upright when there's a lull...
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:44 pm

You need to keep your kite as still as possible, whilst maintaining a reasonable board speed.
Working the kite up and down gives you a greater pull, but a larger component of it is downwind, than when the kite is parked at the edge.

Lightwinding is quite a skill - a real balancing act.
The more you work the kite, the more power you have, but you'll lose ground as the pull is more downwind.
Also the faster you go, the greater component of the apparent wind comes from in front of you - which pushes the kite downwind which again hinders your upwind performance.

The answer is to control your speed and try to keep the kite parked.
Work your kite initially to get board speed.
point your board upwind, keep the kite parked, and find a balance where your kite remains powered (so you don't need to work it), but you're not travelling too fast to force the kite downwind. If you're going too fast point upwind more to control your speed. If you're slowing too much, point downwind a little, or start to work the kite a bit.

Also its generally better to rider the board flatter and point it up wind on the fins a bit more, rather than loading your back foot and causing loads of drag.

If you can't keep on the plane without working your kite, you have no chance. maybe try a specialised wide&flat light wind board. These can make one hell of a difference!
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:05 pm

One thing I would add to that is looping your kite. If you need to get the power rather than signing usually one or two loops does the trick and usually pulls you less far down wind that 6 or 7 sine motions.
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:42 am
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Location: Lancing/Goring

A lot depends on what the other guy is riding. If he has a bigger board than yours and a bigger kite he will be going upwind better.
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Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 11:46 pm
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Location: East Sussex

This helped me understand a bit more about going upwind:


Pretty much covers what's said above and just a bit more.

Looping the kite instead of driving the kite is new to me, so I will try that next time I go out!

Good luck!
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:05 pm

Having just had a week of low wind, I've found this to be key.
Also its generally better to rider the board flatter and point it up wind on the fins a bit more, rather than loading your back foot and causing loads of drag.
Also after talking with some old surfer types and watching them, they keep their kite really quite high, around 11 or 1, this helps by pulping you up and over the board.
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Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:31 pm


You need a big board to go with the big kite. Last time in Sharm with 12 knots on a Zephyr proved this for me. Swapped a standard TT for and nobile flying carpet and the difference was unbelievable. Could ride very slowly with the kite parked and flew upwind.

That's my experience

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Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:00 pm

The progression DVD has some good stuff on lightwind riding. I have a big kite but haven't tried the big board combo yet. While on holiday in Mallorca (Puerto Pollensa) someone made the same point as I was riding a Fat Lady with a small Cabrinha board. Now I'm thinking how much fun I would have had with a bigger board. Maybe not the long walk (1hour) back along the beach road (very hot) with no shoes (oh how I moaned) after the most amazing downwinder.
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 10:44 am
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Location: Chichester

One small point to add to what's been said already is that a touch of depower can often help as it lets you pull the bar right in for best body position whilst letting the kite sit further forward in the window. The biggest points have already been mentioned & it's basically all about feel and finesse both with the kite and the board.
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