Kite Landboarding Gear

Kites, Boards And Other Stuff

The requirements for kite landboarding are quite similar to those for snow-kiting...

Kite landboarding along, over a smooth dirt surface.

You want a steerable kite with decent pull, crash-proof in case it contacts the ground hard, and packable into a small space for travelling convenience.

Also desirable is the ability to re-launch off the ground without having to walk over to it, and the ability to 'de-power' the kite during strong gusts of wind.

And of course, the rider races along on a board. On wheels, rather than just planing along the surface as with snow or water.

Something like this Slingshot B2 Trainer on Amazon can provide a good start with learning to handle a power kite.

The Kites

A Cobra Montana kite in flight.

Firstly, thanks to Cobra Kites who hold the copyright for the pic of the black and red Montana kite over there!

One kind of kite in particular is suitable for kite landboarding. The ram-air foil. It's no coincidence that these look like small paragliders, since the parafoil kite design came first! Full size paragliders were later developed from the foil kite idea.

Foils are flexible, with an upper and lower surface when inflated. Openings at the front edge allow air in which pressurizes the kite and makes it behave like an aircraft wing. Most depowerable designs have 4 lines, which allow steering and also the 'angle of attack' to the wind which controls power. Like many modern kites of all types, rip-stop nylon is the most commonly used material.

At the beginner or intermediate level, most kites are sold as a complete package with lines, control bar and a rucksack to carry everything around in. Add in a harness, and the rider can wear it to take most of the kite's pull. No more tired arms.

Control bar and lines.

Pulling one end of the bar at a time steers the kite. Pulling both ends in towards your body increases the pull of the kite, while letting the bar out decreases the pull of the kite. For emergencies, some kites even have quick-release pins to let you get rid of the kite in a hurry.

Another approach to emergencies is to use a hook knife to slice through the lines. Some paraglider pilots have these handy too, for similar reasons.

The control bar picture is shown with permission from Cobra Kites, who hold the copyright.

For starting kite landboarding, just about any medium sized depowerable traction kite will do. There's a wide range available, and not surprisingly perhaps, it's the paraglider manufacturers who make the best ones. They also happen to be the most expensive!

When deciding just how big a kite you want, here are the things that can affect your decision.

  • a small kite is handy for learning the basics of power kiting
  • average size required is around 3 square meters - go bigger depending on how good you are with using depower!
  • slower surfaces such as grass or soft sand will require bigger kites
  • the stronger the wind, the smaller the kite that is needed - ignoring this is dangerous

The Boards

I won't get into huge detail about the boards used in kite landboarding since this is a Kite Site after all!

A typical mountain board.

Many kite boarders use 'mountain boards' which are basically over-sized skateboards. The wheels are pump-up rather than hard as on traditional roller skates. These boards were originally designed for downhill racing and freestyle for when all the snow had disappeared from the slopes! That's because snowboarders decided there must be a way to get down the mountain fast, even with no snow.

Hence the birth of mountain boarding, which also came to be known as dirt boarding or all-terrain boarding (ATB). So if you hear someone talking about their dirtboard or ATB you'll know what they are talking about.

Since so many people are into these sports, there are many manufacturers all trying to get a piece of the action. That means more different kite board designs than you can poke a stick at!

The photo down there is courtesy of JC Medina.

A landboader trying out some wheels.

Even so, it's possible to make some very general statements about all these boards. Here's a few reasons to consider the most expensive boards, if you can afford them.

  • These boards are easier to use since they allow turning while travelling at lower speeds
  • Another thing about the pricey boards is that most of them have 'active suspension'. Very handy for doing jumps or going over rough ground.
  • Composite construction is more expensive, but results in much lighter boards. This is important for kiting.

Boards for kite landboarding are a bit shorter than snowboards. A typical landboard is about 110 cm (43 inches) in length, with 4 wheels. The wheel diameter is usually between 18 cm and 33 cm (7 inches and 13 inches). An exception are the 2-wheel in-line designs that have 51 cm (20 inch) spoked BMX wheels. There's even some 3-wheeled designs out there.

Other Kite LandBoarding Gear

Did I say all you need is a kite and a land-board? That's not quite true if you want a painless experience! Here's all the other bits of gear that complete the picture.

  • A ground-stake to keep the kite tethered when you're not actually using it.
  • A wind meter so you know exactly what wind strength you are dealing with.
  • Spare parts and repair tape.
  • Tools.
  • Safety equipment such as helmet, kneepads and elbow pads.

I hope all this has at least given you an idea of what kind of gear you need for kite landboarding!

Check out this Slingshot B2 Trainer kite if you are starting from scratch.

You might have noticed that this site has a monthly newsletter...

For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

So sign up today, and download the free 95-page e-book "What Kite Is That?" straight away. Info-packed and fully photo-illustrated.

And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Super Light And Variable In Victoria Park

    Sep 21, 14 09:44 PM

    Victoria Park adjacent to the Adelaide CBD in South Australia, that is. This large grassed area which forms part of the eastern parklands of the city is used for various events from time to time. Including, in the past, major horse racing and a section of a Formula 1 Grand Prix track.

    An invite had gone out to various kite enthusiasts to meet and fly, since the weather looked good. We arrived after lunch, only to discover very light winds. A lone R/C flier was enjoying the easy conditions with his 3-channel electric trainer. Like a tiny Cessna, if you're not familiar with model aircraft.

    For a while it seemed we were alone, before spotting a power kite in the distance, making brief forays into the air. Victoria Park is rather large!

    It actually turned out to be quite an enjoyable outing, with the 2.4m (8ft) Multi-Dowel Barn Door kite just scraping into the air. But then, thermals were everywhere. It wasn't long before the large pale blue kite went right overhead! At other times, I simply toyed with the Barn Door, floating it way out on a long line then pulling it up to over 200 feet.

    Another RC flier was now having success launching his glider, finding thermals, and gaining height in them.

    We were eventually joined by two other AKFA members including the President. A couple of ripstop-and-carbon light-wind kites went up, with plenty of success. By now the breeze had come across the park from just about every point of the compass. Variable indeed!

    In the distance, someone had been lofting a large but light-wind parafoil. It was interesting to see it sink out as an utter 'bag of washing' during a dead calm spell! Someone else had some success with a small blue Delta for a while.

    All up, a worthwhile day IF you were flying lightly-loaded kites! No luck for Mike with his power kite and skateboard...

    About This Post: These days, most flight reports are in the short format you've just seen, above. Usually, photos and/or video from the day are posted a few days later on the MBK Facebook Page. However, longer format reports are done occasionally, which also feature photos and video taken on the day. Here is a link to all those full flight report pages on this site.

    Read More

New! Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...

Apologies for this site's current lack of video when viewed on mobile devices...

For now, please view this site on a Desktop or Laptop computer to see the videos. And there's plenty of them!


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