Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kiteboarding: Finally a decision?

So I've been thinking about taking up kiteboarding for the last three years or so. Pretty much as I was finishing sailing I still like the water and the wind in my hair. But what I didn't like was dragging a catamaran up the beach afterwards. I also figgured since it is a boat you should be able to take passengers on to share the fun. But it seems that catamarans with the room for an extra person really require them to have some knowledge of sailing. Plus you need two people to step the mast and stuff.
Certainly not a casual sport.

Kitesurfing sounded like something fast fun and wet that I could get into. The ~$2000 setup price was a bit of a hurdle though. I spend less than that on computer games.

With the recent Olympics I found out that at the Rio Olympics sailboarding will be replaced with kitesurfing. Plus Teagan pretty much broke my habit of going dancing. I was considering the Gym or martial arts as a new PE, but this will be something better to brag about.

Kiteboarding is not a one class sport but there is a list of boards and kites that are authorized for the Olympics (see here) and there is not a lot of option of where to buy the gear from. Also it seems that every board and Kite I looked at is more versatile than all the others, so I suppose there is not a lot of variation in them.

Also to point out is that there are 4 different disciplines:

Wave riding, requires waves that we don't get there. I think its a points based on tricks event.

Course Racing: as per a normal sailing regatta. Doesn't use twin tip boards

Slalom, a on the beach spectator race with obstacles.

Free riding, scored based on the difficulty of tricks.

Kiteboarding is not organized enough in bundy (as far as I can tell) to have anything other than freestyle. Unless I can join in with the cats in open races at the sailing club?

Nobody seems to much mention the harness so I think I'll get a green one.

As the wind decreases you need larger kites to get momentum. I've been looking at 9m since we often get 10-20knotts here and the larger the kite is the more expensive.

Since I'm looking mostly at mucking about in calmish water at Elliot heads and there is nowhere much to race I figure a generic twintip board would be best. It seems for my weight range I need a really big board. Its easier to splash the cash for that than actually lose weight.

OK, so based on all that I've come up with two options

From Kitepower:
Slingshot Rally
Cabrinha Spectrum
~$2500 + $250 Harness

North Rebel
North Select

~$2600 + $230 Harness

note I couldn't find any of the IKA recommended freestyle boards and didn't have a good reason to get a racing board, so just went with a company that also made kites and said it was a generic board.

So what do you reckon? sounds like a plan?

If I go ahead with this then I'd need to practice controlling the kite first possibly in the park, probably with some comradery from VRBones. After that I need to learn to drive upwind in the water without a board. Possibly I wont use the board for a long time yet.

I'd treat this similar to the Gym and attempt to put in 3h effort each week. Good thing the weather is warming up.