One thing that will define the way you learn during the online lessons and will contribute to keeping you safe and giving you more practice of the fundamentals than would otherwise be possible is your use of short lines.
We recommend, actually I would insist however I realise that trying to insist on anything over the internet is futile…but if you actually want to crack this kitesurfing lark I would implore you listen to the advise I’m about to give and continue with this course on short lines.
Normally kites fly on lines of between 20 and 25 m. This length ensures the kite generates enough power whilst retaining enough responsiveness to be useful on the water in normal winds. As you should know by now kites generate power as they move across the wind window, due to the action of apparent/induced wind. By reducing the length of the lines we reduce the potential power the kite can generate as we reduce the distance it can travel (and thus the speed it can gain). A stationary 9m kite on 25 m lines will have the same power as a stationary 9m kite on 5m lines (unless you want to be picky and talk about gradient wind…which I don’t!) however the kite on 25m lines has the potential to generate a huge amount more force as it has the potential to move through a much larger plane. Someone cleverer than me could tell you exactly how much more power such a kite would generate…suffice to say it’s LOTS!
Thus by reducing the length of the lines we reduce the potential for you coming to harm by messing something up…which you will (everyone does). This means that you can practice which whatever kite you have and by performing a simple operation can turn it from an out of control power machine into a child’s toy. Considering we don’t actually need any of that power until we are actually up and riding on the board you can save yourself a lot of frustration (and pain) this way.
Added to this is the fact that short lines tend to tangle less, simply due to the fact that there is less line to get tangled. This alone can save you hours during your initial sessions and means that your time spent at the beach is much more profitable. At Tantrum Kitesurf we noted that by putting students on short lines we would increase the number of runs they had in a 5 hour session (sharing a kite) from 6-7 runs to something nearer the mark of 25 -35. Thats a lot more time spent practicing piloting the kite rather than untangling lines (which you’ll do plenty of over the course of your kitesurfing career anyway!).
Last but definitely not least a kite on short lines is a lot easier to relaunch than a kite on longer lines, This is because the relative angles of the lines to the kite is that much greater that every movement of the kite has much more effect on the steering of the kite. For this reason the kite will be a lot more responsive, which actually leads to a sensation whereby when you do move up to longer lines you actually find it easier as you have more time to think about everything that is happening as it seems to be happening in slow motion.
I would recommend that you visit your local kite shop and ask them to cut your lines in several places. This does no damage or has any effect on the actual flying of the kite (as long as it’s done right), and actually gives you a lot more options to change the configuration of your kite when you are up and riding. I would recommend you to go for at least 7m and 15m cuts, so you’ll be able to fly your kite on 7m lines, 15m lines or full length lines. If you want to go the whole hog I would suggest 5m, 10m and 15m. This will give you a great range to progress through and these are the sizes we’ve had the greatest success with in our physical kitesurf school. Every case if different and your exact needs may depend on what size/type of kite you have…the Viron for example comes with the ability to shorten the lines, because of this and due to the friendly characteristics of this kite you don’t need to cut the lines any more for this kite.
However you finally do it, you’ll be helping yourself out massively by performing this one simple task. It shouldn’t cost too much and can save you time, frustration and embarrassment down the beach.