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Kiting vs. Windsurfing
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Joined: 01 Nov 2012
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject: Kiting vs. Windsurfing Reply with quote

Hey All,

Another newbie post. I windsurfed before kiting even was invented (at least to my knowledge). Life changes re-directed my attention from windsurfing for many years but I am very happy to get a chance to return to the sport. But, since my departure, this new sport of kiting has came about. I have seen it before on the coast here in TX but never thought much of it.

I was just wondering if kiting could be considered an extension of windsurfing or is it more of a "I do one but not the other" kinda thing? Is one considered harder than the other?

Me personally, I don't have much of an interest in kiting. I see where the gear is probably much easier to transport (vs. a big board, mast and such) but it looks somewhat limited to me. Can you tack and go upwind when kiting? Does it require stronger winds (as a whole) then windsurfing? I can't even grasp the idea of how you can get a kite up and catching wind after a deepwater crash. Wouldn't the kite be all soaked and engulfed in the water (many yards from your board)? And since the kite is very high in the air column, what about power lines or trees near shore that may be an issue?

So I guess my main question would be, do any of you that windsurf also kite? If so, which do you prefer? And why?

(And by no means am I trying to start a this is better than that type argument or anything, I just don't really understand kiting and many aspects of it.)
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Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 783

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kiting is very close to wakeboarding but instead of a boat, the rider is pulled by a kite.

Windsurfing is closer to sail boating where the sail powers the board. The board must carry both the sail and the man, most of them float, some very smaller ones won't float the rider (used in high winds only).

Kite boards don't float well and need constant wind power to stay above the water.

When going straight, in kiting, the board is slicing sideways through the water whereas with windsurfing, the board rides more flat (rides the fin).

Kiting requires lots of clearance to launch, while a windsurfer can launch through trees for instance.

I tried wakeboarding once and was very bored, windsurfing is more challenging than kiting to me. There are more combos to do than with a wakeboard where the rider's feet are stuck in place.

I hope this helps some.

EDIT: On a kite, the lines have to be under tension always, otherwise the kite drops, while a windsurfer can depower his sail to surf a wave for example. Kiters seem to enjoy flat waters more. Kiters get elevated very easily by using the kite's power to lift them out of the water. Windsurfers need high wave for big jumps.
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Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 874

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi UrbanFisher, I have been windsurfing for about 27 years. A few years ago I decided to try kitesurfing, so I bought an inflatable kite, bar and board,took a few lessons, and am still having a hard time with it, but am starting to get a feel for it. I am a slow learner, and windsurfing took me a long time to master. Inflatable kites are easy to re-launch from the water, as long as there is enough wind. The board is tiny, and has virtually no flotation, but can "sail' either way without changing your stance. Kites can go up wind rather well. Today I was out sailing with one other kiter, and he was pointing upwind slightly better than I was. In general, though I think windsurfers have a slight edge here. You dont need to tack or jibe with a kite, just stop and go the other way. You can jibe with a kite, and carve nice turns, without switching your stance, just sail toe side on the other tack. I also think kites have an edge in being able to work in lighter winds, you require less gear, no masts or booms. There are alot of advantages to kiting

There are also disadvantages, You can get lofted, picked up off the water, and carried over land, if kiting in onshore winds, you can get dragged down the beach, slammed real hard, end up in trees or on rocks.

The damn things are intimadating, and rather scarry, especially in gusty winds,

I hav'nt given up kiting yet, looking for those days with steady winds, where I'll be less likely to get in trouble.

Windsurfing is alot safer I feel, but I know a guy who is 65 that kites regularly, and has never been injured.

Both are great sports, I don't thing one is any better than the other

I windsurf more than I kite, but that may or may not change
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Joined: 19 Sep 2007
Posts: 463
Location: Kansas City

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thatís quite a loaded question youíve accidentally asked. I have no intrest in kiting, but I like it when the kiters show up, because then I donít have to sail alone. Iíve found kiters in general to be a decent bunch of guys too. That said, hereís the breakdown:
Windsurfing Ė The equipment sucks: itís expensive, complicated, takes up a huge amount of space, you need multiple boards, sails blah blah blah.
The sport is also really hard and complicated to learn, especially if you wanna do freestyle. Itís also really really safe, and the most fun evah!!!

Kiting Ė The equipment sucks less, but still sucks. Itís also expensive, complicated, takes up a huge amount of space on land, but hardly any in your car (a big plus)
The sport is WAY easy to learn, and you can get HUGE air. You can also get killed or get sent to the hospital in a hurry, because that kite will drag you across roads, trees, rocks, fences, cars, people, livestock, powerlines, dams, etcÖ.. Be careful and find a launch a friendly launch to learn on.

Worst windsurfing injury Iíve ever seen where I sail (Kansas) since 1988: busted toe-nail (guy accidentally kicked a rock under the water while carrying his rigÖnot even sailing).
Worst kiting injuries in Kansas just in the past five years: four broken arms, broken neck, broken back, street-pizza bad enough to require hospital trip, heart attack, dislocated knee, five torn knee ligaments, three broken ankles, and one guy died in Wichita just this year.

I wouldn't try and sell you on one or the other, just like a I wouldn't try sell on snowboarding over skiing; they're both great sports.

Kansas City
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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd been windsurfing for 17 years and then decided to learn to kiteboard in '00. By my 7th day, I could jump really high, frontspin, and stay dry for 2 hours. I raced at the end of season Bridge to Bridge, did badly, but finished, at the end of the mixed pack Have been windsurfing since.
Kites go upwind close to Formula angles, go downwind lower angles than Formula can. Formula goes up and downwind much more angle than any normal windsurfer.
Special boards, of course.
In real flat water, kiteboarding is faster. In slightly choppy to open ocean, windsurfing is faster.
Do you like the feel of being pulled?
Do you like the feel of hanging on to a vehicle being pulled?
Lots more injuries in kiteboarding.
Lots more equipment transportation hassles with windsurfing.
I brought 2 kites and a wakestyle board to PuertoRico for free.
I'm paying 150 EACH, for the 2 windsurf boards I"m bringing in 2 days.
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Joined: 10 Sep 2000
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iíve done both and favor windsurfing. I just didnít get the kiting bug. Personal choice. All the above posts have covered pretty much all the differences. I would only add that you can windsurf in far more places than you can kite. Also, at Sherman Island, a place that has both kiting & windsurfing it seems that in winds under 12 mph you will only see windsurfers out, in winds 12-24 the kiters outnumber the windsurfers and 24+ the windsurfers outnumber the kiters.

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Joined: 07 Dec 1997
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to post the same question on the ikitesurf forum. Here you have mostly windsurfers that might have kited in the past but dont kite much anymore. Over on ikitesurf you will have lots of ex windsurfers that only kite now so they will give you a different point of view.

This is most likely review from one of my prior posts but here goes...

Kiting is to windsurfing as snowboarding is to skiing.

The first few days of kiting for most people are a real challenge. So much so that now most people need to get one-on-one lessons but after that the growth in skill is very rapid.

Any fool can stand on a long windsurfer, uphaul, and after a few tries sail across a lake and get stuck. But it takes most people many sessions, if not seasons, to be able to plane, use straps, harness and jump on a short windsurfer.

windsurfers and kiters all want strong steady wind. Kites tend to get going fast in lighter wind than most windsurfing set-ups, except formula. But kites do not handle shifting up and down wind very well. As mentioned above when the wind gets too light for a kite if drops and you are swimming. When the wind is too light for a windsurfing you come off the plane and schlog in.

They are both fun, and they both have pros and cons.

When I kited the things i missed most about windsurfing was the feeling of planing and the control in heavy air.

What i miss about not kiting is the ease and versatility of kiting in the waves and perhaps the light air advantage. Although the novelty of mowing the lawn in light air does seem to wear off.

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Joined: 21 Aug 2002
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

agreed with virtually everything above.

heard of kiters getting washed in the impact zone and wrapped up in their lines, and held under. yikes.

some kiters think they can ride the surf, but few really try to use it in the best of conditions for either sport: side off. for that i'm glad for both sports, but especially me. when i have to share a venue with kites when it's side on, i get to share space with folks that don't have the skills or even the consideration to accommodate other users. like that's my wave, i caught first closest to the peak and other forms of protocol. worst of all, those are the types that are constantly in the way, wasting the waves.

others, in side on conditions ride toe side on strapless boards with their kites pulling them beachward. the contortions they put up with for what? i know, that's what they think they want, therefore, who am i to question it? it just looks painful.

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Joined: 06 Jul 2001
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Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a comparison to skiing and snowboarding is close. (kinda like being called a grey on a tray)

The equipment and transport required is attractive, as are the girls who pump up their kites.

I have spoke to kiters who used to windsurf most still do both when its really windy they go back to the sail. Several whose opinion I value highly said its much easier to kite. Also I have seen people with very severe arthritics say its much easier for them to kite, where sailing would be out of the question.

What I have seen on more occasions than I can to remember is when a kite session goes terribly wrong(kitemare) it has recipe for a ambulance ride written on the cover, where a long swim or walk is the case in most windsurfing bad days.

So far as to behavior from either , these is human nature, but as a whole I find to be much more friendly than windsurfers. Kiters seem also to realize (most anyway) that they are sharing the water( they don't so much seem to care where they lay their lines) where sailors have a more cavalier attitude.

While it has looked attractive esp in lo winds I have so far not given any serious thought to going over to the dark side.

K4 fins
4Boards....May the fours be with you
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Joined: 01 Nov 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!!! Thanks guys!

That actually helps a lot. I really didn't think of the dangers involved between the two. You guys brought up some great points. Kiting looks like a lot of fun, but I think I'm more of a sailor at heart. Plus I am less than 3 hours to some coastal water, but 20 minutes away from a large beautiful lake. So a majority of my water time will be at the lake. And as such, I think a windsurfer will work out much better than a kite rig for me (more boat traffic and less shore launching areas at the lake that could hinder kiting).

So as a beginner, I am going to focus my energy on windsurfing. But, doesn't mean that in the future and if the timing is right, who knows maybe one day I'll get a shot at trying some kiting out! Smile

And LUCARO, you brought up a great point. I did think about what the difference in answers I would get if I posted my question here or at a kiting site. I guess I am just much more familiar with windsurfing than kiting and as I read more post here I see kiting mentioned from time to time. So I thought I would present my question here.

Thanks again for all the great replies everyone! Smile
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