Types of kitesurfing kites
There are many different types of kites on the market. Some are made for kitesurfing, while other kite are only suitable for use on land. There are two main types of kites: tube kites and foil kites. Tube kites are inflatable kites made for use in the water. Although some foil kites can be used on the water, they are mostly used on land.
About 90% of kitesurfers use an inflatable kite. The inflatable tube and struts make for easy relaunch if the kite drops in the water. There are many types of tube kites: bow, delta, C and hybrid. Read more about the characteristics below:
Bow kites or SLE kites
These have a flatter shape than a C-kite and always have bridles on the leading edge. This gives them the ability to depower and relaunch easily. These kites are perfect for beginners. Bow kites tend to have a much bigger wind range than C-kites and beginner can cover most of the wind range with two sizes.
As the name suggests, these kites have a C-shape. They have no bridles and hence less depower. The wind range is smaller so you need more kites to cover the wind range. Because of their shape they are also hard to relaunch, making them unsuitable for beginners.
In the last coupe of years, hybrid kites have become quite popular. These kites combine some performance traits of C-kites with the efficiency and ease of bow kites. They are often C-shaped but slightly more open of flat and are equipped with bridles.
Tube kites per discipline
Free ride kites
These kites are often bow shaped and are good for most kitesurfers. They have a big wind range and are good for jumping.
These kites are great for boosting big, kite loops and unhooked freestyle. These kites are the C-shape of hybrid kites.
Riding in the waves can be done with most kites, however wave kites are best for this style. If you get on a wave and catch it, the lines can go slack and the kite needs to drift.
This relatively new style is great for light wind days. With hydro foiling hardly any wind is used. That requires a kite that launches in lighter wind. These kite often have one strut or zero struts, making them super light.
Light wind kites
Lighter wind required bigger kites. These light wind kites range anywhere from 15 to 19 square meters.
These kites don’t have an inflatable leading edge and struts. Foil kites are much lighter than tube kites and hence need less wind to fly. They are generally slower than tube kites, but are more efficient. They are most used for racing and light wind kitesurfing.
Foil kites for racing have a higher aspect ratio (long and narrow). This makes them highly efficient and gives them a better upwind ability. These kites also have great hang time making them suitable for old school ait style as well.
These kites are also used with snow boards or skies.
These little kites are used for practising kite control.