The surge of Kitesurf’s popularity has led to the development of the most technologically advanced designs in kites of all time. The latest designs range from excellent de-powering kites, to large wind range style kites as well as easy relaunch kites from the water with improved durability and new safety innovations.
You might recognize the traditional shapes in the new designs but thanks to advanced computer-based models, the new designs are much more specialized yielding a different feel to the experienced kitesurfer. Here is a brief summary of the newest innovations in kite designs:
With the newer C-Kites you’ll be able to jump higher and perform more loops in the air than with the traditional C types because of the computer shaped wings of the kite. That being said, C-kites require more precise conditions in order to perform at their highest potential. Even if this type of kite stays true to the original shape of kiteboarding kites, the newest designs are anything but conventional resulting in a whole new level of high performance.
Features: No bridles, retains the classic C shape however with wider squared-off wingtips and a convex designed cross section; the most influential kite shape from which all modern shapes evolved.
Pros: Unrivaled unhooked performance, aggressive pop and power delivery, insane yank-your-shorts-off looping and boosting, direct feel and instant feedback, makes you look like a real pro if mastered correctly.
Cons: Not as user-friendly or versatile as other shapes, smaller wind range, harder to relaunch, not a good beginner kite, less upwind drive
Bow kites originated in the mid 2000’s and almost immediately became one of the most popular designs providing the kitesurfer rider with a large wind range, great upwind performance and easy relaunches. These kites are easy to learn on and are excellent for multiple styles of riding.
Features: A sport-changing shape that made kiteboarding approachable to the masses; a medium to high aspect ratio, tapered wingtips and a fully-supported leading edge bridle.
Pros: User-friendly, style appeal, great wind ranges, depower and upwind ability, easy relaunches, good for lofty airs.
Cons: Wingtips can get tangled in bridles if the kite gets in a tumble, much slower steering than other shapes, not as good unhooked or for looping, less direct feel and reaction due to bridle and pulleys.
Hybrid C kites provide more depower, easier upwind drive and a larger wind range than most kites.
Features: This is basically a modified C-kite shape with a more open canopy, slightly swept wingtips and a leading-edge bridle.
Pros: Combines the unhooked performance, power, pop, looping abilities of a C-kite with the range, depower, upwind drive, downwind drift and versatility of a bow kite. Great intermediate kite for those looking into progressing to the more aggressive kites.
Cons: Airs aren’t easy to hook or as floaty as bow kites, lacks the pop of the more advanced kites and feels less direct than the more professional C-kite.
HYBRID BOW: Hybrid Bow kites provide more “performance,” quicker response times and better overall unhooked performance. A hybrid bow kite will be more similar to a bow, the only distinguishing feature being the concave trailing edge. This hybrid is one of the most popular kites out there, chances are it’s the most prevalent model being flown at the site.
Features: The evolution of a traditional bow kite, less narrow wingtips and aspect ratio, simplified bridle, designed for more versatile, all-around performance
Pros: Difficult to go wrong with this shape, versatile, friendly for beginners, plenty of boost and drive, easy relaunch, great depower and wind range
Cons: None! but seriously, if you’re looking into scaling up the ladder of the more challenging kites, this might the starting point or you can keep it conventional and enjoy it just the way it is.
Originally introduced in 2009, Delta kites are a combination of a C kite with a bow kite to create a capital D shape. It’s neither concave nor convex but straight. They are great for different riding styles, easy to re-launch, extremely easy piloting, fast turning, looping and the power tends to ‘turn on’ slowly.
Features: Short and fat in shape, rounded over wingtips and a small bridle supporting the leading edge
Pros: User friendly, safe, well behaved and extremely easy to relaunch, fast turning and looping, very playful.
Cons: Less upwind drive than higher-aspect shapes.
When you go kitesurfing on any of the types of kites for the first time, chances are you’ll become hooked with that one type of kite and you won’t have eyes for anything else, but take it from the experts, variety is the spice of life and soon enough you’ll want to try all the types of kites so you can decide which is your favorite type or you can choose which kite to ride depending on your own kitesurfing mood.