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What is 'too windy'?

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Created by OliviaMB 2 months ago, 7 Feb 2021
OliviaMB
15 posts
7 Feb 2021 3:54PM
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I went to go kiting on Friday and drove to the usual spot and it was absolutely howling (I had checked the current wind speed before going, but there's often a decent divergence between the nearest measurement point and the beach I go to). I reckon it was very close to 30 knots. As a beginner I chose to spectate rather than participate, but I did notice that there were absolutely no other women out, when usually there are a decent number of very skilled women riders, and also that most of the (male) riders were on 7 or 8 kites (the smallest I have access to is a 7). If you're a smaller/lighter rider, are you just better off no going out in high winds (is there a baseline size issue)? Or is it just a matter of having a kite that's small enough? Perhaps the women I normally see out just don't have a small enough kite for those conditions?

Plummet
4780 posts
7 Feb 2021 5:10PM
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30 + knots is only for a select group of experienced and silly individuals.

Most will never kite above 30 knots.

If you are interested, build your skill up and wind speed over time. Allow yourself a good couple of years before you think of going out in 30+.

snalberski
WA, 784 posts
7 Feb 2021 10:33PM
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In the same way that the light wind= bigger kite equation does not turn out to be black and white, the stronger wind= smaller kite equation reciprocates. One factor that contributes to the paradox is that small kites are by nature more nervous than larger kites, and when used in high winds have their nervousness is multiplied in a nonlinear fashion. A small kite and 30+knots is however a good way to wear your bunghole like a bow tie, or at least collect some broken ribs.

cbulota
WA, 1299 posts
8 Feb 2021 7:21AM
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Hi OliviaMB,

it's a good reminder that 2x the wind speed = 4x the power in your kite. I would also add that if you have cold wind, the wind is denser and therefore more powerful compared to a warmer wind day.

I remember 2 seasons ago going out in winds gusting from 40-45 knots on a 3m kite that we normally use for teaching lessons on the beach. Believe it or not, I had plenty of power on it and could even jump 5-6m high with it even at 90KG. That same day I was refusing to launch small lightweight riders on their 7m kites telling them it was way too dangerous for that size. This is what a 3m kite looks like below (30-35 knots - 55 KG rider)


At our local spot, 3/4 of the riders would not go out at or above 30 knots, partly because they don't have the right size kite but also because of their skill level and fear.

Going down just 1m smaller in kite size in strong wind makes a big difference. For example, if your smallest kite is a 7m and you can comfortably go out in 25 knots but feel overpowered in 30 knots, then a 6m would probably be just fine in 30 knots. A 5m kite would likely be fine in 35 knots, and so on.

It's not uncommon for lightweight riders to have multiple small sizes close together i.e. 4m 5m 6m and 7m kites.

As snalberski mentioned above, small kites are fast and unforgiving. If you are in deep water/ocean you will most likely have large waves and heavy currents which adds to the difficulty and danger. If you are used to kiting with your hands wide on the bar (what most beginners do) then you'll have to get used to having your hands right in the middle of the bar.

It's best to practice going out in strong winds by increments (i.e. start by getting comfortable in 25-30 knots before going out in 30-35 knots) and not in open ocean (choose a spot as in the picture above and of course, get a smaller kite.

More about this here: www.kitebud.com.au/how-to-choose-a-kite-size/

Hope this helps.

Christian - KiteBud

FormulaNova
WA, 11920 posts
8 Feb 2021 7:25AM
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Select to expand quote
OliviaMB said..
I went to go kiting on Friday and drove to the usual spot and it was absolutely howling (I had checked the current wind speed before going, but there's often a decent divergence between the nearest measurement point and the beach I go to). I reckon it was very close to 30 knots. As a beginner I chose to spectate rather than participate, but I did notice that there were absolutely no other women out, when usually there are a decent number of very skilled women riders, and also that most of the (male) riders were on 7 or 8 kites (the smallest I have access to is a 7). If you're a smaller/lighter rider, are you just better off no going out in high winds (is there a baseline size issue)? Or is it just a matter of having a kite that's small enough? Perhaps the women I normally see out just don't have a small enough kite for those conditions?


Its a kite-size issue in that you need a kite proportionately smaller for your weight, but the critical thing is that at those wind speeds it tends to be more gusty and the gusts can be much geater than you expect. You could go from comfortably powered up to way overpowered in seconds and at the wrong time.

Lighter winds tend to be more steady and there seems to be less difference in the gusts.

If it was close to 30 knots, you would have needed a small kite. Unless you are close to 100kgs, your 7m is too big.

Use the following calculator to get an idea of what size would be required, but even then, the danger is in the gusts.

www.riggeek.com/gear-calculator/for-kitesurfers


Edit: Yes, you are correct in that most people wont have a kite suited to their sizes in 30 knot winds and above. They are just not common enough to justify a kite specifically for that wind. Heavier people tend to get by in these winds by borrowing someone else's smaller kite.

OliviaMB
15 posts
8 Feb 2021 4:53PM
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Thanks everyone, this is really helpful and definitely feel like I made a good call not to go out (to be fair, I wasn't even close to going out, it looked terrifying). It was fun (and aspirational) to just sit and watch very experienced kiters do their thing. A 7 is ideal for me (according to calculators) in 18-ish knots, so would have been an absolutely disastrous idea to do anything else...

I actually wasn't aware of the specific wind speed/kite relationship Christian - very good to know. I do now recall being told somewhere along the way (as Christian and snalberski said) that smaller kites are generally trickier to handle. What I've found in this learning process is that sometimes information doesn't sink in properly until I am faced with the situation myself!

Think I'll stick to the very low 20s and under (knots) for the foreseeable future. My go to is a 7 but I have a 10 available for light wind days. Though seeing that pic of a 55kg rider on a 3 makes me think that anything is possible (but all in good time!).

Cheers all :)

glasstraxx
WA, 320 posts
9 Feb 2021 4:16AM
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remember that coldness of the wind will affect the density and therefore strength. will make a difference between a 30 sea breeze and a 30knot squall in winter...

Chris_M
2020 posts
9 Feb 2021 3:05PM
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If your sh* tt ing yourself, then you are probably not up for it.

It can head south pretty quickly when its that windy!

Zigs
NSW, 39 posts
9 Feb 2021 10:09PM
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I'm pretty light (60kg) and I find that I am usually taking a kite out that is the same size as all the older and bigger guys. I had a 12 out in 16 knots a few days ago and felt fine. the bigger guys were on a 9s and 11s . Is there an advantage to flying a small kite or is it easier to take bigger kites out.
ziggy

weebitbreezy
506 posts
9 Feb 2021 8:44PM
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Duotone do a nice tool to estimate kite sizes as it tries to scale up and down for body weight.

www.duotonesports.com/kiteboarding/kites/

Its on the left of the page and allows you to see appropriate kites for your weight. You may have to translate a bit into other kite brands (e.g. Rebel == Switchblade and Dice == FX) but it should give you a rough idea of where the sweet spot is.

Hope that helps

THE PIN PULLER
WA, 385 posts
9 Feb 2021 10:36PM
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Team send it has A chick that SHREADS !!! Get a WOO. Always ask advice of others if your only a newb and coming into winter watch out for 15-20 knots gusts it's good for some and scary for others.

raggedflyer
WA, 62 posts
11 Feb 2021 9:27PM
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Agreed, build your experience and skill in a range of wind speeds and conditions before attempting to kite in +30kt. Even when you've experienced several +30kt sessions there are some days when you'll be too overpowered. A favourite spot of mine is often +30kt, as it was Sunday just gone, the local crew were out all morning in 30-35kt and when I arrived to confidently launch my 9m in 32-35kt the wind speed increased above 38kt to 45kt with gusts higher again. I watched for a short time and went home.

Kite in conditions you're comfortable, confident and competent.

Chris_M
2020 posts
15 Feb 2021 8:44AM
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Select to expand quote
Zigs said..
Is there an advantage to flying a small kite or is it easier to take bigger kites out.
ziggy


Smaller kites have less drag, which means once you get going, you'll have a higher top speed. Which means you can hit kickers and stuff faster and go higher.
Also more fun if you are doing loops and stuff, because smaller kites turn quicker, they will be more likely to make it all the way around and save your ass before you get smeared across the surface of the water

Bowerboy
NSW, 119 posts
16 Feb 2021 10:29AM
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I'm 90kg, and getting pretty confident. I have an 11m and 9m. My max is 20 knots gusting to 25. Hopefully my range will gradually increase. Yesterday it was 30 knots in Sydney, so I just watched the experienced kiters at long reef.

OliviaMB
15 posts
17 Feb 2021 3:56PM
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Bowerboy said..
I'm 90kg, and getting pretty confident. I have an 11m and 9m. My max is 20 knots gusting to 25. Hopefully my range will gradually increase. Yesterday it was 30 knots in Sydney, so I just watched the experienced kiters at long reef.


OMG yes, it was a howling southerly in Sydney on Monday and pretty much all the way up the coast! I went to Jimmy's Beach in Hawks Nest to check it out but unfortunately just too strong for me. Shame cos it seemed like a great place for a beginner. I think 20 knots is my cut-off for now too.

Zigs
NSW, 39 posts
17 Feb 2021 10:04PM
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Select to expand quote
Chris_M said..

Zigs said..
Is there an advantage to flying a small kite or is it easier to take bigger kites out.
ziggy



Smaller kites have less drag, which means once you get going, you'll have a higher top speed. Which means you can hit kickers and stuff faster and go higher.
Also more fun if you are doing loops and stuff, because smaller kites turn quicker, they will be more likely to make it all the way around and save your ass before you get smeared across the surface of the water


So if I chose say a 10 meter over a 12 on the same day, would I get going faster and be able to jump higher. Or just smaller kites boost higher in strong winds then a big kite in medium winds

THE PIN PULLER
WA, 385 posts
17 Feb 2021 10:25PM
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10m in 40 knots will go higher then a 12 just always go a 10

Chris_M
2020 posts
20 Feb 2021 7:26AM
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Zigs: From my experience, yes, smaller kites allow you to boost bigger than large kites on windy days.

I have personally found a 12m gets too much when trying to load up the edge before boosting if its super windy, so a smaller kite allows you to build up more edge before releasing, then you can steer it more aggressively to 12 and slingshot into the jump more which flings you higher.

In saying that, there is probably a point where this rule stops working. The King of The Air fellas seem to go on 9's even when its absolutely nuking and they could be on 7's... so ahh yeah. Ewan, you might be able to weigh in here if you read this.

Chur



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"What is 'too windy'?" started by OliviaMB