How Does Kitesurfing Work?
While kitesurfing isn’t as complicated as it seems to master (especially using our beginner’s guide), understanding how this exhilarating water sport actually works is a whole other ballgame. To help you gain some insight, we’ve provided a brief outline of the physics behind this adrenaline-fuelled pursuit and how the different elements of it such as launching, direction and speed all work:
The Physics of Kitesurfing
Whether you’re catching the wind out on the waves or flying a kite on land, any kiting activity relies heavily on aerodynamics and functions in line with Newton’s laws of motion. However, to save you the trouble of being transported back to those never-ending physics lessons, we will translate this as simply as possible: a kite is an object with a greater mass than air. As such, it needs a powerful aerodynamic force, i.e. the wind, to enable lift and drag to occur. While the wind travelling vertically creates lift, the horizontal gales blowing past the kite create drag, the combination of the two controlling how successfully the kite flies.
So, essentially, the physics behind kitesurfing are actually quite simple; you are effectively catching the wind with a kite and using it to be pulled along on your board to ride some incredible waves!
How to Launch Your Kite
To launch your kite effectively, you must create a lifting force that is powerful enough to exceed the weight of your kite. To do this, air must be deflected downwards. This will then cause the kite’s momentum to alter because the air above the kite will be moving more swiftly than that below it due to producing less pressure, creating a skyward force that will lift the kite off of the ground and into the air.
When launching your kite, the size of your lift will be determined by the speed of the air moving towards it. Consequently, if you are facing downwind, the force of the wind alone should be enough to lift your kite for a successful launch. However, whether you are a kitesurfing novice or an experienced rider, it is always essential to check the wind conditions before heading out for a session to ensure you can launch your kite swiftly and safety.
How to Alter the Direction of Your Kite
A kite flying smoothly at a certain altitude is the result of several forces all culminating in equal measures to keep it steady and balanced. As such, if you want to change the direction of your kite, you’ll need to disturb this balance by using your body to pull on the kite’s line, enabling the wind speed to increase at certain points and thus changing the way your kite moves.
How to Change the Speed of Your Kite
In order to alter the speed of your kite, you’ll need to change its position to enable the wind to blow in a particular direction and, consequently, speed up or slow down your ride. You can do this when your kite has entered the power zone – the area where the kite receives the most pull – using two riding techniques.
Firstly, to slow yourself down, keep your kite low in the same position to prevent it from catching too much wind and produce a steady pull. Alternatively, for a faster ride, turn your lines into the horizon, jerking them back and forth until you reach your desired speed. Pressing your board down into the water gradually will also serve to quicken your pace!
We hope this blog has provided you with a sound understanding of how kitesurfing works. However, if you still have more questions such as what to wear kitesurfing or are searching for twin tip kiteboards, harnesses and other high-quality kitesurfing equipment, check out our blog or get in touch with one of our team members today who will be happy to help!