KITE LANDBOARDING GUIDE
Starting the sport without any knowledge?
What is a Kite Landboard?
Kite Landboards are mountainboards that powerkiters have made use of to create a sport of their own.
To look at they're just like large skateboards with longer decks and trucks to give stability complete with larger wheels to allow you to use them on rougher terrain.
Using the kite for traction, a kitelandboard can be manoeuvred around open space simulating snow boarding without the snow or surfing without the water.
With rider skill they are capable of achieving speeds of over 50mph and achieve all manners of tricking and manoeuvring.
How does a Kite Landboard work?
As you resist against the pull of the kite - the power is transmitted via the rider to the wheels of your board.
By manoeuvring the kite and board it will enable you to pick up speed, stop, perform tricks and with practice get airs even in low winds.
Because the kite provides so much lift it will actually help you balance on the board and allow a skilled pilot to easily achieve big airs if you're that way inclined.
Once rolling you can quickly pick up speed.
Once you've learnt where to position the kite in the sky and how to balance on the board, you’re away and can travel in any direction, even to an upwind point.
I am a beginner to Kite Landboarding - which board is best for me?
We are all different sizes, heavier or stronger pilots may require a heavier, stronger and more stable board.
Lighter weight pilots often require boards that are easy to manoeuvre do tricks or even get air.
Consider yourself - Weight and Height.
If you are not comfortable on the board it spoils your fun and capability.
Steering and dampening set ups often have some form of modification or adjustment available for control, comfort or enhancement.
Be warned, power kites can be dangerous! Yet, emergency procedures and control devices can kill a kite’s power instantly.
Be aware that different kites of equal size can handle and lift very differently.
It is far easier to learn with a smoother, predictable, steadier flying kite than a high performance kite.
Remember that some days the equipment you own just will not be suitable, the wind may be too strong to fly safely - any kite flown in too stronger wind can be dangerous. Some days the wind will be frustratingly light to achieve what you have set out to do. Limits either way may also be determined by pilot skill level.
For people looking to get involved in kite landboarding, consider a 4-line kite between 3 - 4m in size that can be used more often than not.
Personal preference is the key. Four Line handles are safe, precise and easy to use and give you the maximum manoeuvrability over your kite.
Four line handles allow you to slow the kite down, stop it in mid-air, reverse the kite, park it on the ground and if it crashes on it's nose - reverse launch the kite back into the air.
This makes them ideal for landboarding, buggying, snowkiting or flying recreationally and can easily be used with a harness.
Four line control bars usually have built-in safety systems enabling you to launch and land your kite on your own.
The power of the kite is distributed across both arms for easier flying but at the same time, less control is available due to their overall setup.
Providing your control bar has a connecting loop, you can also use a harness.
As a general rule, the longer the board usually the more stable it is.
This helps tall people balance easier and allows the rider to reach higher speeds giving increased confidence and a smoother ride.
These boards are often considered ideal for carving and are ideal for stronger or heavier riders.
The shorter boards are usually more responsive and require quicker input from the rider.
The advantage is they are lighter in weight and therefore more capable of being used for tricks and airs.
They are often not ideal for simple high speed runs but unbeatable for manoeuvrability.
Favoured by most, intermediate length kitelandboards allow confident higher speeds with a lightness in the board to allow tricks, airs and manoeuvrability.
Why are different size wheels available?
The larger the wheel and tyre diameter - the less the initial rolling resistance will be.
This may become important if the terrain is soft, rough or uneven.
Rolling resistance becomes less of a problem at speed however, greater speed usually is easier with larger diameter wheels.
The normal 200mm (8”) diameter tyre is ideal for most terrain.
Can my Kite Landboard be used for downhill Mountainboarding?
Some Kite Landboards are kite specific and have a heel-side bias that is of benefit to kiters but not to downhillers.
There is nothing to stop you grabbing your current symmetrical mountainboard and using your kite to power you down the hill or even up it!
Both types of boards work best with a kite on smooth level ground.
Why are there different types of trucks for Kite Landboarding?
New truck designs are ever forthcoming but the two main catagories are:
Channel Trucks are usually stronger, heavier and incorporate coil springs.
Steering dampening can be changed by altering spring settings and elastomer hardness.
The skate trucks are much lighter reducing overall weight on a kitelandboard significantly.
Minimal adjustment is required with just one nut stiffening or softening steering control.
Alternative dampening bushes can be fitted.
A harness is used intially to take the strain off your arms, allowing you to fly in stronger winds and reduce overall fatigue.
A harness is not essential when you first start out. Harnesses can be used for either 4-line handles or control bar. Depowerable kites require a harness to function correctly.
Personal preference for choosing a harness is the key. Simply find a harness that is comfortable for you.
Seat harnesses fit around the legs and lower back giving you lots of support and hip protection. These harnesses stop any chance of the harness riding up your body when the kite is overhead.
Waist harnesses fit around the lower back and abdomen giving you freedom of movement for technical manoeuvres.
Safety is paramount and kite landboarding, as with any extreme sport can be a dangerous.
It is recommended you wear a minimum of a helmet for any traction activities such as kite buggying or landboarding.
Safety methods and devices are being reviewed and updated all of the time.
Depowerable kites are excellent for landboarding as it allows the rider to alter the kite's power as you ride.
These types of kites allow you to use a single kite over a much larger wind range. This is achieved by the depower control bar and bridle system that can be adjusted to alter the amount of power generated as you ride.
Bring the bar closer to you will increase the kites power. Pushing the depower control bar away will decrease the kites power but also increase the kites speed as the kites angle of attack changes.
A harness is essential for using depowerable kites. However you can fly them in light wind conditions without the benefit of depower.
Kitelandboarding is a great way to learn the principles of Kiteboarding without spending a huge amount on inflatable kites and beginner boards.
Even when you have bought all the Kiteboarding gear - they offer a great light wind alternative to Kiteboarding.
If the wind drops or goes offshore - get onto the beach, grab your Landboard and practice some light wind tricks.