Get your kite dialed in by balancing the lines.
Author: Matt and Keegan Myers
Published: Aug/Sept 2005 issue of Kiteboarding Magazine, www.kiteboardingmag.com
How often have you cursed your kite for flying backward, letting you sink during lulls, or not giving you more power when you pull the bar in? If you have ever encountered these symptoms of oversheeting, then it’s time to get your kite dialed in to maximize performance. Many times, your kite’s being out of tune may not be your fault; rather, your bar has adjustment capabilities that exceed your kite’s adjustment range. Save your curse words for days with no wind and follow these steps to make oversheeting a memory.
Step 1 – Balance the front and rear line lengths.
With the center adjustment strap fully powered and the chicken loop also fully powered (bar pulled in), lay out all four lines and attach them to a solid post. Pull the bar back to check for the difference in front and back line lengths. Most kites come from the factory with too-long front lines or too-short back lines, making the kite fly too powered up, or also referred to as oversheeted. To begin, you want the lines to be equal length when the bar is in the fully powered position, so make the necessary adjustments.
Step 2 – Find the sweet spot.
Launch the kite, letting the power strap all the way out, and fly it unhooked. In the fully powered setting, the wingtips should be parallel, with even line tension on all four lines. If the wing tips pinch inward and the kite flies backward, you have too much back-line tension. If the kite turns slowly and the back lines are slack, you need more back-line tension. Land the kite and make the appropriate changes by lengthening or shortening the front or back lines an inch at a time. This may take a few attempts. Even line tension between the front and back lines results in a tight, quick-turning kite.
Step 3 – Ride relaxed.
Now that the kite is tuned, focus on proper kite and board control while riding. Don’t rely on bar pressure for balance – pulling back on the bar powers the kite too much. Lean back against the kite and let the harness do the work, keeping your arms out and relaxed, and only pulling the bar toward your body when you need more power. Let your gear work for you, not vice versa.
Symptom: Kite pulls to the left or right.
Solution: Test line lengths. Most likely one of the back lines has stretched and is and inch or so longer than the other.
Symptom: Kite tends to fall backward in the wind window.
Solution: The kite is oversheeted, causing the back of the kite to pinch together. Depower the kite by lengthening the back lines or shortening the front lines.
Symptom: Kite will not steer.
Solution: The kite is underpowered. The back lines need tension for the kite to steer properly. Either lengthen the front lines or shorten the back lines.