Kite landboarding

Kite landboarding also known as Kiteboarding or Land kiteboarding or flyboarding, is based on the ever-growing sport of Kitesurfing, where a rider on a surf-style board is pulled over water by a kite. Kite landboarding involves the use of a mountain board or landboard, which is essentially an oversized skateboard with large pneumatic wheels and foot-straps. Kite landboarding is a growing sport, and there are several competitions. Kite landboarding is attracting growing publicitywhen although it is not yet as popular or as well known as Kitesurfing.

Technique

Ideally, Kite landboarding is done in large empty areas where the wind is constant and without obstructions such as trees or people. Large hard-packed sandy beaches are seen as being ideal locations because of the large space available and the favourable wind conditions.

The rider starts off by getting the kite into the neutral position overhead. Once he is strapped onto the board, he can get the kite to pull him across the ground by moving the kite in either direction, generating a pull. As in Kitesurfing, competent riders are able to "get some air" which is essentially maneuvering the kite to pull you into the air, normally several feet up. More competent riders are able to do several moves in the air such as grabs, rotations and flips.

Tricks

More advanced riders can do a number of tricks that are mainly based on those found in Kitesurfing and Wakeboarding. These include tricks while the rider in the air which could involve rotations, flips, grabs, or combinations of these tricks. "Board-off" moves are tricks where the rider removes the board from his feet in the air and he can spin or flip it before putting it back on his feet and landing. On the ground, tricks include sliding the board, wheelies and riding toeside (riding with your back to the kite). Various tricks have found the transition from kitesurfing a little hard due to the harder surface of land rather than sea. One such trick is the "kiteloop" which involves looping the kite through the power zone while the kiter is in the air, giving a strong horizontal (and sometimes downwards) pull. In addition to these kitesurfing based tricks there are also a number of skateboarding style accessories that have become popular such as ramps and grinders. In recent years specific Kite landboarding parks have opened with large areas and ramps and other obstacles available.

Equipment

The kite is a large sail, usually made of strong Chikara Ripstop Nylon, and is flown on either 2, 3, 4 or 5 lines. Any model of kite usually has several different sizes within the range because the stronger the wind is, the smaller the kite used. The kite is controlled via a control bar or a set of handles (kite control systems). There are various different types of kites used in Kite landboarding. Foil type kites, from manufacturers such as Flexifoil , Ozone or Best Kiteboarding can be fixed bridle or de-power systems. Depower systems allow the rider to change the kites angle by moving the bar toward or away from them to power or de-power the kite respectively. Most riders prefer depowerable kites as it is possible to easily adjust the power in case of gusts or an increase in wind speeds. Alternatively "arcs" are growing in popularity thanks to several kites made by Peter Lynn.

There is a vast selection of boards. The landboards tend to be made out of wood, although many riders prefer lighter composite boards. Size and width of the board varies. Longer and wider boards are more stable and tend to be for larger riders or beginners while narrower smaller boards are for smaller people or for pulling off more tricks. Many boards also have suspensions which can be adjusted to preference. These can usually be adjusted by adjusting the actual suspension or by inserting a "shock egg" (an egg shaped rubber shock absorber) into the suspension.The boards also have some similar features to Kitesurfing boards.They have similar style bindings to keep the riders feet locked in. They allow the board to stay with the rider when he is airborne but they are also easy enough to remove in the case of any "board-off" tricks. Many also have a grab handle in the centre of the board in order to facilitate the removing of the board during a trick.

Many riders attach the kite's handle or control bar via a strap to a harness worn by the rider, allowing the rider to remove his hands from the control system in order to do tricks. The use of a harness also allows a rider to ride for a longer time, as much of the force of the kite is taken off the rider's arms. For depowerable kites, the harness connection is used to power and depower the kite. There are different types of harnesses (e.g., chest or waist), and selection depends on the personal preference of the rider. Because harnesses keep the rider attached to the kite, a number of safety measures have been developed. These include safety pins to release the kite when necessary and easily accessible knives to cut the lines.

Other commonly used bits of equipment include a groundstake (in order to hold down the kite when it is landed), a wind meter (to read the exact speed of the wind) as well as various spares, tools and repair tape. In addition various bits of safety equipment described below are essential to the sport.

Safety concerns

Due to the power that the kites can generate, riders can hit high speeds and propel themselves several feet in the air. As this is a land-based sport, there have been several concerns about the possibility of injury to the rider or to others. As a result several safety equipment items are used by many riders in this sport. Helmets are essential, especially for the more advanced moves, where a rider may find himself rotating and flipping. Padding, including shoulder and knee pads, can be worn to protect from hard falls. Many kite-flying sites in the UK are introducing measures to only allow riders who have helmets and have valid 3rd party insurance policies. In addition to this, many kite manufacturers have incorporated safety designs in their kites in order to depower the kite in order to stop it dragging the rider after a fall and protecting any other people in the vicinity. These tend to include safety leashes connected to the rider which, when the rider lets go of the kite's control system, will completely depower the kite and bring it gently back to the ground.

External links

* [http://www.extremekites.com.au Extreme Kites (www.ExtremeKites.com.au)] Reviews, Videos, News, Buyers Guide, Professional Rider Interviews, Forums, Galleries & More.
* [http://www.landboard.co.uk/ Landboarding Community, Forum, Pictures, Movies, Reviews, Tips.]
* [http://www.sbckiteboard.com/ Kite reviews, instruction personalities and travel.]
* [http://www.kiteforum.com/ World's leading international kitesurfing and snowkiting forum with any info you need (kiteforum.com)]
* [http://www.kitesurfingschool.org/ Kitesurfing information web site]
* [http://www.kitebeaches.com/ World's leading international beach guide with satellite map (kitebeaches.com)]
* [http://www.blogkite.com/ World's leading international kitesurfing blog community(blogkite.com)]

See also

* Kite buggy
* Kitesurfing
* Windsport
* Snowkiting
* Land sailing


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