How To Kiteboard Upwind In Light Winds
Learning how to ride your kiteboard in lighter winds can make it easier for you to enjoy kiteboarding when there is more wind. Moving upwind in light winds can be a tricky process for some beginners. This is due to the lighter winds not providing enough power to edge up wind. With that being said you will have to compensate for the lack of wind by working the kite up and down to generate power.
Consider Other Factors First
When you are going out on calmer days, it is important to consider the overall setup you are going to use. The equipment from the size of your board to the size of your kite can affect how easy it may be for you to move upwind. In addition to being able to stay out for a longer session.
The Best Equipment Setup
If you want to make sure you are equipped with the best equipment for your light wind ride, you need to make sure that you are on a larger board and kite. However, if you already know how to hydrofoil then now would be the time to go out. Hydrofoilers have the advantage of being able to go out in lighter winds that twin tips cannot. These are some of the most efficient boards for lower waves and lower winds.
However, do not get discouraged if you are trying to twin tip. The larger surface area on your board is important. If you are going to be using a twintip board, we recommend a sizing of roughly 150 cm depending on your weight. With the larger board it is easier to get up and riding with lower amounts of wind allowing you to go up wind.
If you are curious as to what size you should move up to simply take a look around the beach and see what everyone else has pumped up. With that being said, you want to find someone that looks like the same size or close to the same weight. The kite size that is best for this type of ride is around 12-15m and with a 19m kite for even less wind.
Checking Wind Density
Light wind may not describe the full conditions you are working with. The density of the wind will play a factor in the quality of the experience that you have. If the air is more dry then it will be less dense and you may face more difficulty. When you are facing a dense wind from humid air, this will often lead you to an easier way for you to generate speed and keep greater tension in the bar. The lighter wind density makes it more difficult to keep your kite powered up and you will likely need to focus more on building speed into the kite before you turn upwind.
Your Wind Window
As you are going upwind, you will need to focus on your wind window. This is one of the most valuable techniques to learn. Keeping your kite powered will make sure that you are able to capture the wind and continually use it. Maintain a balanced edge on the board and ensure that the kite is not under powered or over powered. If you notice the kite performance lagging, check to see if your kite is in the wind window. Then check the depower on the bar and see if you need to power up.
You will need to be efficient with your board balance for any type of light wind riding. Ride slightly into the wind to maintain tension and remain planted so you can make micro adjustments. Keep in mind that you will be turning slow and staying towards the middle of the board. Large adjustments are inefficient and they will cost you speed or control over the kite.
If you are interested in trying this out, use the right setup on a calm day and expand your experience in light wind riding. Contact us today to speak with a team member and start your kiteboarding lessons today!