If you have been under a rock for the last few days you may have missed the forecast for wind starting on Saturday arvo. All forecasts are pointing towards a southerly in Sydney that should hang around until Monday. I don’t think it’ll be the ball busting 40knots like last weekend which isn’t a bad thing but we should see 20knots and some patchy rain that could make make it a little gusty.
For the surfers its looking like nothing special with an 8s wind swell of 2-3 meters. The longer you wait the more the waves will be but don’t be expecting top quality.
As usual take care and have fun. If you have a great session somewhere and get some pics let us know so we can share it.
Todays photo is a busy and flat Dee Why beach. There is a surf festival on so the boats are out charging. Summer is BACK.
OK, remember that you’re going to be riding the board with the rear of the rail hard into the water most of the time. For the best grip you want a fairly hard edge on the board at the tail to about the mid-section to allow it to bite in the water and go upwind better. A soft rail makes it easy to turn but hard to edge. Some surfboards made for kiting even have an additional small wakeboard type fin ON the rail to help with this but I find they aren’t really needed and just get in the way of other things you want to do. A hard rail acts a bit like a virtual fin to grab the water, letting you edge more. But too much edge and it won’t release smoothly when you want to turn and may cause you to spin out unpredictably.
I’ve found that boards with soft rails near the tail just don’t work for kiting. You can’t edge as well and if you can’t edge, it’s tough to go upwind.
Take-away idea #2: RAILS: Look for a sharp, hard rail in the back that softens gradually toward the centre of the board.
I’ve tried all kinds of bottom shapes and IMO, the single concave is overwhelmingly the best bottom curve for kiting. I suspect that it’s because the concave, in combination with the hard rail near the tail of the board acts together like a fin; giving you more “bite” on the water and releasing nicely as you push it hard. Others will have a different view, but single concave has worked for me.
Rocker: You need rocker for two things: 1. Preventing nose-diving from steep take-offs and 2. Making it easier to turn by releasing the nose from contact form the water. In kiting, neither of these is an issue in 99% of circumstances, leading to the conclusion that you don’t need much rocker on a kiteboard.
Take-away idea #3: BOTTOM SHAPE: Single concave and generally flat rocker
Next you want to think about volume. Volume on a board for paddle surfing is good. It helps you catch the wave, but too much volume on a kiteboard and the board will ride high on the water and that will make it bounce around, skate, and feel unstable and unpredictable. And that’s just horrible. I have a 6’0” fish board that’s 22” wide and 3” thick. It’s great for paddle surfing in onshore, sloppy conditions. I tried once to kite on it and it was just awful in every way imaginable. Sluggish, bouncy, skatey. Everything you don’t want a board to be.
So, remember, the key thing here is to find a board that sits IN the water, not ON the water, but NOT UNDER water. A board that sits IN the water will still plane when it’s got the power of the kite behind it but it isn’t going to bounce around on the water too much. You achieve this by having the right total volume.
Take-away idea #4: VOLUME. Just enough so that the board should be IN the water, not ON the water or UNDER the water.
Stay tuned for the final part of Rob’s how to choose a strapless surfboard for kiting.
In our first article up on the site Rob talks about what he considers important in buying a surfboard for kitesurfing.
So, how do I choose a (strapless) surfboard for kiting? Well this question comes up all the time:
“I want to start kiting on a surfboard—what’s the best size?”
OK, let’s give this one a shot. To answer bluntly – it’s complicated. And, it depends.
It depends on what you want/like to do; it depends on the conditions; it depends on your weight. And it depends on whether you want to ride strapped or strapless. I don’t ride straps, so, for the purpose of this article, we’re going to concentrate on a strapless board. I Tried straps in the early days and they drove me mad — no matter where I put the straps, they seem to be in the wrong place about 80% of the time and it ruined the experience for me. You have to make a lot of compromises with straps so the board needs to be quite different from a strapless board. A board with straps has to be stronger, heavier, made of different materials and It’ll probably also be smaller.
But let’s get back to the task at hand: How to choose a strapless surfboard for kiting. One of the coolest things about kiting is that as long as there’s a(reasonably) flat surface that you can stand on you can ride just about anything that floats. I’ve kited on chunks of discarded plywood, skimboards, boogie boards, a 9 ft malibu, lie-lows, SUPs – even a queen-sized inflatable air mattress! It’s always a load of fun just to see what’s possible but finding a proper surfboard that works just right for kiting is quite a different story. In short, it’s a bit complicated.
If you want to paddle surf, you have to have a board that floats well, planes easily so you can catch the wave, and turns easily so you can do more than just ride in a straight line. All these requirements have to be factored into the design of the board. A board for kiting doesn’t need to be paddled, so it could in theory be smaller and thinner. You’ve got the kite producing loads of power so it doesn’t need to turn as easily. You’ll be travelling a lot faster so the toe-in on the fins is going to need to be less, else you’ll feel like you’re dragging an anchor behind you. So, with those initial things in mind, just grabbing a board that’s a good paddle surfing board is not necessarily going to make for a good surfboard for kiting.
For kiting a surfboard needs a lot of things to be just right: precisely balanced, finely tweaked and J U S T right in every way–to a point that even small things like a couple of mm here and there on the rail, thickness, rocker, width and length can make a huge difference in how the board surfs. A rail too hard or too soft and it all comes apart. Too much flotation and it bounces; too little flotation and it drags; too much width and it skates; too little width and it sinks, etc. And because there are so many interactive variables, it’s not a simple thing to get it all right at once: Everything else can be right but all it takes is for one thing to be off and the board rides like a heap of rubbish.
So, let’s have a crack at it.
Disclaimer: OK, up front here and now: This is an article, it’s not a science paper. It’s not based on any calculations, computer modelling or other theoretical foundations. It’s simply my empirical observations; there are no data presented so it’s just my personal opinion. You’re sure to find that others who will disagree with many of the things I have to say here so let me preface this and say that what follows here is my personal experience and recommendations from about eight years of riding strapless boards. Everybody comes at this from their own personal experiences. It’d be great to see someone do so proper science on this but to date, I haven’t seen it. And also, just so you know, in everything I deal with here, we’re talking STRAPLESS riding. If you’re looking for a board to ride with straps, you may want to take someone else’s advice – I’ve never been able to get a surfboard with straps to work for me. No matter where I’ve tried to put the straps, they seem to be in the wrong place about 80% of the time. But I’ve been kiting on strapless surfboards since about 2004 and I’ve ridden loads of them. Some of them are awesome; some of them not so awesome and some of them are absolutely horrible.
So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at what to consider, where to start and how to pick one that’ll be good for you.
My first recommendation is to start by pushing your ‘Reset Button‘ on what constitutes a good surfboard for kiting—especially if you also surf. I’ve currently got about 10 surfboards of various shapes and sizes and IMHO, none of those boards are good for kiting, for a number of reasons. So, let’s start fresh.
Some folks argue that you can carry one board and use it for both kiting and surfing, but I don’t agree. My boards for kiting are very different from my boards I ride for surfing. There may be the odd person lucky enough to be able to use the same board for both but I suspect it would end up being a compromise both ways. One of the factors seems to be your height. The taller you are the worse the disconnect between surfing boards and kiting boards. Tall people need longer boards for surfing, but not so much for kiting.
TIP 1 : SIZE—BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER.
OK, let’s start with the basics: Catching a wave. When you’re surfing, before you can ride the wave you have to catch the wave—to catch the wave, the board has to plane. What that means is that it has to sit high enough in the water to pick up speed while you’re paddling, so that by the time the wave gets to you, you’re travelling at roughly the same speed as the wave. If you’re not moving fast enough you won’t catch the wave. If your board is under water the entire time you’re paddling, you’re never going to plane. If you’re moving too slowly the wave will just roll under you before you can get on it. A board that’s too thin or with insufficient volume will force you to take off later and later so that in order to catch the wave you’ll need to be sitting practically under the lip to have any hope of getting on it. The steeper, more critical the takeoff, the faster you have to get to your feet before the wave pitches you. That’s why, as the surf gets bigger and bigger, you see surfers ride bigger and bigger boards. Big boards float high in the water and are easy to get on the plane and into the wave as it approaches. On really big waves you’ll see guys with huge boards (9ft+) sometimes actually catching the wave even before it breaks.
Bigger waves also tend to travel faster, making it even harder to paddle at wave speed, but a bigger board gives you the advantage because you can paddle it faster. Within limits, the higher a board sits in the water (generally speaking) the faster it will paddle.
If you didn’t have to paddle, a board for just riding a wave would ideally be a fair bit smaller than a board that has to both ride the wave and CATCH the wave. If you don’t have to worry about paddling to catch the wave and just want to surf, you can get by with a much smaller board with a lot less volume, which will make it much more manoeuvrable and a lot more fun to ride. And that’s the primary reason that the guys being towed in to those huge waves at places like Jaws on the jetskis are actually riding relatively small boards–They don’t have to paddle.
So, generally, when you’re surfing, you want a board with some volume that sits relatively high in the water, but not so high that you can’t dig the rail in when you need to in order to turn or hold the line in the barrel or going down the line of a steep wave. Too much volume and the board will tend to want to ride up the face of the wave and try and roll you. Too little volume and it sits too deep and the rails grab and keep you from getting any speed, or keep you from catching the wave in the first place.
When you’re kiting, the equation changes in a few ways. Firstly, like with tow-in surfing, you don’t have to paddle so you don’t need lots of volume to make the board sit on top of the water and plane. (But unlike tow-surfing, you’re generally not going to be riding 20Ft+ waves!)
Take-away idea #1: SIZE: The size for an ideal surfboard for kiting: smaller than the board you ride for surfing.
All systems GO for the next week in West Oz. Huey is turning on the tap and we should have great wind all week. Big G’DAY to Tony Armstrong from HangGlideOz who dropped in for a cuppa tonight on the way to Gnaraloo for a few days prior to heading back to Wedge Island for the National Wave Titles on the weekend.
Had an awesome time on the weekend up north of here in a remote spot. LOADS of potential as a flat water location.
One of our resident photographers Grant Sager managed to get down to Fishermans (Collaroy) a few weeks back for a good (and rare it seems) nor-easter. A good few local crew managed to get out and enjoy the conditions. I love the backdrop of the Long Reef headland in these pics. Good work Grant and thanks for letting us share them on the site.
If you like Grants work the hit the rating stars at the bottom of the post and share the post around.
For those that have taken a look at the website over the last few days may have noticed that things have changed a little bit again. We’re still working on getting the website up to shape to work well for us and the last look was a little hard to maintain and I didn’t end up liking it as much as I thought I would. So we’ve got a new look and I think it’s pretty cool. Our galleries are working better now and we’ve got more space to work with so stay tuned and keep coming back and sharing links to our posts on facebook etc as the more links we can get the better :).
We’re also working on a new logo to replace the temporary one. If you’d like to help out then feel free to drop us a line. firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a crazy weekend we’ve had in Sydney. I’m not sure about you lot but when I woke up on Saturday morning I could have sworn something wasn’t quite right. Sydney was engulfed in a thick blanket of smoke from the bush fires out west. This finally pushed away from the coast as the day warmed up and a small nor-easter came in. On the beaches I almost thought we’d get some good wind right up until about 3pm when it died totally. This didn’t go unrewarded as I managed to get to see some locals up close in the form of a few large stingrays and a wobbegong shark in knee deep water. I even managed to jag a few pics and a cool little video.
The forecast for Sunday was WIND. And lots of it! I picked up the change on the charts at Ulladulla and then it was a waiting game. After checking the flatness of the surf at Dee Why I decided to do something I don’t do very often and shoot off down to Dolls Point to catch up with a few mates. When I drove past the bay it was cranking! I wish I’d stopped to get a picture. When I parked up at Dolls I saw one kite on the beach being sat on by someone who I guess was trying to keep it and then I was blinded by sand, I’d forgotten that about Dolls. Without even noticing my friends were in the car park I grabbed a brand new in the wrapper 7m Cab drifter (thanks Windsurfnsnow!) And a twinny and just got on with it. Managed to self launch without killing anyone no problems and went and did some big jumps. Came in, tested self landing in 40 knots which turned out to be easy (using my proper technique) and went to find out why people were just standing about. Had a fee more runs and jumps later and decided that was enough. A few peeps jumped on my gear to have a go, everyone came back safe and happy. One thing that was great to see was that of the few people that did go out 3 of them were girls! Its fabulous to see this level of skill in our female kiters especially when I’ve coached them at kitechicks. I had a real proud coachy moment standing on the beach. Well done girlies and thanks for not trashing my new kite.
Monday has continued with some great wind and waves back at Longy. I got there after 5 and it had gone a bit onshore, I decided to let my current injuries settle a bit and give it a miss but it did let me take some vids and snap some pics (must pack camera next time) Matty B was there to snap some good pics that we’ll get up in the gallery soon. Meanwhile check out vids. It’s good to have Matt Ma back in town and to see he’s still charging! Alex also put on a show and did some silly shit for us all to laugh at.
Sorry for the poor pics, they were from my phone..