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What size board should I choose when beginning to kiteboard? This is a common inquiry at Air Padre Kiteboarding with new kiteboarders and seasoned riders alike. The answer to this question is not necessarily a hard one, but there are a few key points that should be taken into account when selecting a new kiteboard.
Generally speaking, bigger is better. Both for learning and getting up on the board with less effort/ kite power. However, there becomes a point where too much makes managing the board hard in strong winds or when you advance past the beginner stages. Finding the balance between ease of progression and future performance is vital.
We have put together the points below to aid you in deciding which kiteboard shape and size is best for you. Please continue on to learn more about choosing quality kiteboard equipment.
The first thing to take into account is how tall you are, and how much do you weigh. Lighter and smaller people (<150lbs), should look towards kiteboarding boards in the range of 136cm – 148cm in length. Medium sized people (150 - 200 lbs) need a slightly larger board area – somewhere in the range of 145cm – 160cm. And heavy riders (>200 lbs) would be looking in average of 150cm – 165cm as a starting size kiteboard.
The next variable will be the average wind strength at the kiteboarding location in which you intend on riding mostly. If the wind is generally light where you are going to learn, it makes sense to get a board that is at the larger size of your weight category (as described in above paragraph). The bigger board will keep you afloat during light periods and wind lulls, and reduces frustration by going up wind better for your size. Alternatively, geographic areas more prone to high wind speeds will allow you to ride a smaller board for your size category.
Intended style of kiteboarding also plays a roll on board choice. If you are planning on cruising, staying low altitude, and simple carving turns, then stick with your current board size. If your intentions are to become a high flying, fast riding kiteboarder, and you have the physical/mental capabilities of actually achieving these results (proven so by your experience and track record in other board sports such as snowboarding, wakeboarding, surfing), then knocking a few centimeters of your kiteboard length is acceptable. Keep in mind this will make the early stages of kitesurfing more difficult, but once you’ve got the basics, the board will feel more at home under your feet.
The final adjustments of board size should be made according to overall rocker, width and outline of the board. These three board attributes will cause for more or less additional length to your first kiteboard.
A kite board with increased rocker (curvature of the bottom from tip to tip) will feel and ride smaller than it actually is. Flatter boards ride larger because of their ability to slide along the surface with ease, such as a flat stone skipping vs. a round rock.
The average width of a kiteboard is around 40-43cm wide across the middle. If you are looking at a kiteboard that is narrower than 40cm, then you should count on adding some additional length. If a board is wider than 43cm, then it will allow you to plane sooner and with less power, resulting in needing less overall length in your board to keep you going. So you can reduce the height of your board, when it is very wide.
The outline of the board is the profiling shape of the board. If a board is wider in the middle and tapers heavily towards the tips, it will not displace as much water as a board that holds its width from the center all the way to the ends. A board that displaces more water will need less kite power, will hold up a larger person at lower speeds, and ultimately lead to a few less centimeters in length being necessary.
The ABoards Flip is fantastic for freeriding and cruising. Smaller riders and those with lots of previous board skills will benefit from its soft flex, smooth handling, and manageable size.
Available sizes: 138cm and 145cm.
The Slingshot Ignition kiteboards have the user friendly elements that make for a great first kiteboard. Meant for small to medium size riders looking for progression in the sport, the Slingshot Ignition is a very effective board.
Available sizes: 138cm, 144cm, 150cm.
The Litewave Wing kiteboard is what Air Padre uses on many beginning kiteboarding lessons. The board is a great beginner's board, providing ample surface area for easy water starts and a long rail for maximum edge control. For larger riders or the easiest board to learn on at any size, check out the Litewave Wing.
Available in 3 sizes:146cm, 153cm, 161cm.