Learning the language of kiteboarding
Published on April 6th, 2014
The diversity of sailing requires expanding language skills. Each genre, whether it’s monohulls, multihulls, or windsurfers, has its specific features, and its own language. And kiteboarders? Here’s 2-time Course Racing World Champion Johnny Heineken (USA) describing a new kite…
I got on the 12m Chrono and was blown away. Once it’s in the air and inflated it feels so solid. The biggest difference upwind is timing into the tacks. It generates so much power when moving up to go into the maneuver that I had to make sure it was almost straight up before heading up or I’d get lofted. Besides that it just holds you up during the tack. There’s way more time to get your feet sorted and a minimal dive accelerates you out. Pretty cool.
And just ripping upwind it did a great job of handling the gusts. It’s pretty cool to get hit by a big puff, barely sheet in, push a little harder on the board and never really feel overpowered. The kite almost trims itself and never shakes/luffs at all. I felt so much more stable on the foil just because of the consistent pull. And then there’s downwind and gybing. Holy cr@p, sooo f’ing rad!
Downwind felt faster than ever and way more stable. Again, the consistency in power/line tension makes it way more easy to push speed closer to the blow up point. And I was kind of skeptical of how gybing on the foilboard would go, but it was way easier with the Chrono.
Going into it I’d just raise the kite a bit and nearly all my weight would go straight onto the lines. Usually I go into the maneuver and the lines are completely slack and I’m just free-riding the board and switching my feet with nothing to lean against. The Chrono nearly held me up and could just switch my feet without the board diving as I go forward and then having to stomp on the tail to bring it back up.
It was so stable I was able to get my new back foot in the strap before the downloop, and just sit back into the loop and accelerate. And that thing PULLS during the loop, but so consistently it’s really easy to handle the power. I think my favorite moments were during these loops and accelerating and hearing the kite make this killer SWOOOSH as I was just taking off deep and fast.
And yes, I got the full experience. Fell in a lull, ended up downwind of the kite, and it fell into itself and a bridle wrapped around a wingtip so I had a little swim. Going to have to get used to that.
These are amazing machines. Only problem is I think we need to start working on something in the 8-10m range. I volunteer to be the guinea pig!