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Windsurfing vs Kitesurfing
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jamieinnyc



Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

outhaul wrote:
@Jamie, do you feel like you can now continue on with kiting pretty much on your own or will you take more lessons?


I am by nature very cautious, but for now I am going to proceed on my own. Come spring I will head out to a large shallow spot on a bay, and fly a kite in light wind with no expectation that I will get going (but I will have a very large board with me to increase the odds). I will climb the wind ladder slowly. Lots of muscle memory to build, and I need to make sure certain kite skills are second nature. But at this point the safety factor is all a matter of time with the kite, and I don't need a lesson for that.
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coyotewindsurf



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Posts: 1272
Location: SF Bay

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamieinnyc wrote:
I will climb the wind ladder slowly. Lots of muscle memory to build, and I need to make sure certain kite skills are second nature. But at this point the safety factor is all a matter of time with the kite, and I don't need a lesson for that.

In my experience, @jamieinnycís observations are spot on.
Extensive windsurfing experience isnít necessarily an advantage when learning to kite board. The windsurfing plus factors may include understanding water conditions ó tide, current, depth, obstacles etc. More obvious is knowledge of wind, its strength and how it relates to kite selection, sailing angle and yes, even ROW.
The downsides are retraining muscle memory from boom to bar and riding a rail rather than a fin. In many ways itís a completely different beast.
After 30 years windsurfing Iíve found kiting to be a fun change ónot better than windsurfing, but certainly not worse. Theyíre each a great way to experience wind and water.

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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14339

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamieinnyc wrote:
the safety factor is all a matter of time with the kite

Many expert kiters ... and friends of maimed or deceased expert kiters ... would disagree. Be careful out there; overconfidence can be a bitch in any risky sport.
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beaglebuddy



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 712

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After reading a lot about kiteboarding accidents two things are most common, onshore winds and very strong gusty winds.
If you have neither conditions and you aren't boosting then IMO the sport is safe enough.
Another factor is kiters aren't familiar with their chicken loop quick release mechanism, they don't want to let it go and when they finally have to they don't remember is it push or pull to release? and sometimes when released nothing happens because it's jammed up with sand and salt.
Only now has someone come up with a proper harness that releases the hook by pulling a lever but that has issues too because the hook latches to the chicken loop making it all but impossible to unhook while underway.
Kiting industry definitely needs some standardization and more safety features.
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jamieinnyc



Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isobars wrote:
jamieinnyc wrote:
the safety factor is all a matter of time with the kite

Many expert kiters ... and friends of maimed or deceased expert kiters ... would disagree. Be careful out there; overconfidence can be a bitch in any risky sport.


I should have written that the degree of safety increases with experience - experience does not make it safe (true for windsurfing as well).
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jamieinnyc



Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beaglebuddy wrote:
After reading a lot about kiteboarding accidents two things are most common, onshore winds and very strong gusty winds.
If you have neither conditions and you aren't boosting then IMO the sport is safe enough.
Another factor is kiters aren't familiar with their chicken loop quick release mechanism, they don't want to let it go and when they finally have to they don't remember is it push or pull to release? and sometimes when released nothing happens because it's jammed up with sand and salt.
Only now has someone come up with a proper harness that releases the hook by pulling a lever but that has issues too because the hook latches to the chicken loop making it all but impossible to unhook while underway.
Kiting industry definitely needs some standardization and more safety features.


All of the kites I have used except one (which was an older, light-air-specific 15m Cabrinha) had the same safety quick release. I got to use the quick-release on the last day in Cabarete when a hopeless beginner wrapped his kite around mine (had I been more skilled I might have been able to turn more quickly to avoid the mishap). It's very effective - so effective at neutralizing the kite that I could swim cross-wind to shore with it flapping in the air in 25 knots of wind.

The one safety rule I have always followed for windsurfing I will be sure to apply to kiting - NEVER go out on the ocean in OFFSHORE wind. If something goes wrong, you have no way back. Contemporary kites de-power enough so that if you are not doing stupid things at the shoreline, you are unlikely to get hurt by being dragged up on land (unlikely, but still possible). I know many windsurfers choose side off conditions above all others - if I sailed in a great surf location, I might have to amend my rule, but I often go out alone, and far, and have broken a mast well out to sea and been able to "sail" the wrecked rig in. No way that happens with an offshore wind. I will not travel as far with a kite - no further than I can swim, but far easier to swim with the wind (and swell), and I would prefer not to have to ditch an expensive kite.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14339

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We -- a bunch of kiters and WSers -- were standing in waist deep water on a windy side-off day. I heard an "Oh, $#!+!" and looked in time to see a kite fly up, up, and away into oblivion. I guess a moment of inattention let its bar slip from a kiter launching or landing. Wuzzat? $1,500 lost over a brain fart? Even worse, they accepted it as just part of the game, as though it's common.
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outhaul



Joined: 27 Sep 2011
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huge safety improvements over the years have made kiting far safer than those early years where many of the kitemare stories originated. Many kites now depower 100% by simply letting go of the bar, in addition two more layers of safety release exist on most systems.
Of course this is no guarantee of personal safety but given the advancements in gear and the availability of quality instruction the sport has come a long ways.
Is windsurfing safer? Yes, I believe it is, but kiting is reasonably safe too IMO.
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coyotewindsurf



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Posts: 1272
Location: SF Bay

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the safety improvements are leaps and bounds over what was available back in the day. My first experience was on a 2 line wipika (2000) with a velcro wrist strap. When you let go it was supposed to kill the kite. Not reliable at all. Death loops often were the result.
Today's kites with 3 levels of depower are what got me back in to the sport.
Still, the most important piece of the equation is the user, and building a skill set to safely use the kite and its safety systems.
The hardest part for most windsurfers is to learn to let go. We sometimes feel we can fly the kite out of trouble but when that goes bad it's often too late.
Windsurfing can be dangerous even off the water. Hardest hit I ever took was on land --a head shot from an unattended windsurf rig that flew over the rigging area and over a row of parked cars. Perhaps I should wear a helmet in the parking lot.
That's not anecdotal evidence. It's first hand experience.

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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14339

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

outhaul wrote:
Is windsurfing safer? Yes, I believe it is, but kiting is reasonably safe too IMO.

So are driving well into triple digit speeds (mph) and desert racing dirt bikes, but they do have their downsides, too. Each individual has to weigh the upsides vs the downsides.
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