Friday, July 1, 2016

Guess what?! Right way rules!

It's never enough to remind how much these rules are important. You see a lot of riders, both beginners and experts, ignoring them and creating dangerous or at least unpleasant situations.

Rule #1

The rider entering the water from the beach has right of way over the incoming rider.

Kiteboarding right way rule #1

Rule #2
Starboard rider (kite on the right-hand side) has priority over oncoming rider and should keep his course and pass upwind with the kite higher.

Rule #3
When two riders are traveling in the same direction, the faster rider coming up from behind must give way to the slower rider in front

Kiteboarding right way rule #3b

Rule #4 -
The rider surfing a wave has priority over the one who is jumping or going in the opposite direction.

Kiteboarding right way rule #4

Rule #5 -
Right of way must be given to other ocean and beach users. Kiteboarders must travel downwind to them.

Rule #6
In order to perform a safe jump, a rider must have a clear safety zone of 50m downwind and 30m upwind.

Kiteboarding right way rule #6 - Jumps

Rule #7
Give the right way to all the riders taking kiting lessons or to unexperienced riders with to consistent upwind capabilities.

Kiteboarding right way rule #7

Rule #8
Body drag kiters have the right way over riding ones

Kiteboarding right way rule #8

If you are passing upwind, bring your kite UP. If you are passing downwind, bring your kite DOWN.

Kiteboarding right way golden rule

Common sense Rule
Remember to use common sense in applying the rules (if someone doesn't comply to them, It's not a good excuse to crash into him): stay away from other riders, whenever possible !

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The new idea for testing latest kites in the U.S. directly at your home spot.

Kitesurfers always seek to have de chance to give a try to the new materials freshly ‘baked’ by the most famous brands.
Normally this desire turn out to be difficult to fulfill since test days are pretty rare and they are organized by the major brands in few spots. The only way to try new materials is to wait for them to arrive in the local kite shop, hoping the owner considers to have a test kite. The only other option is to hope in some friend’s lack of jealousy for his own gear, who might let you give it a try.
David Pike contacted me few days ago with an interesting idea on how to overcome the new gear testing problems. 
The concept is pretty simple: create a concierge rental service, which can provide the desired kite, mailed directly to your house’s front door.
But let’s hear the description of the idea directly from David words:

So David, talk us about this new service for U.S. kitesufers.
“We provide kiteboarders with the opportunity to demo the latest model kites no matter where in the US they live. We've found that our customers fall into two categories:
- those travelling on vacation and not wanting to ship all their gear;
- those who are looking to buy a new kite but having trouble deciding which brand to go with.
We've been able to procure kites from all the top brands and are adding more each week.  We already include Cabrinha, North, Naish, Airush, Liquid Force, Slingshot, and Core amongst others”.

Demo a Kite

How did you have this interesting idea ?
“The genesis for the business came to me six months ago as I was looking to purchase a new 12m Freeride kite.  I wanted to try all these different brands but not having a shop near me, it wasn't possible.  Also, shops tend to only carry certain brands.  They might have North but not Core.  We have a more encompassing lineup of kites”.

I have some safety concerns: it might occur that some beginner, with no proper kiteboarding training, would want to ‘give it a try’ without buying a kite, turning this into a dangerous practice both for them and the others. Renting a kite with you would be definitely cheaper than buying one and these might lead to give some bad ideas to newbies which might think they don’t need a proper training. Did you consider this problem and how did you overcame it ?
“First, we only rent kites and bars i.e. an incomplete package. A kiteboarder would have to own a harness and board. As it's not cheap to purchase these two items, this screens out a majority of beginners. Second, we require renters to sign a liability waiver, assert they are at a certain skill level, and make sure they understand they are responsible for the repair costs of damaging a kite (not cheap). Lastly and most importantly, we talk with each customer immediately after they checkout. It's similar to an approval process. We want to see where they kiteboard, what level they are at (ensuring they can stay upwind, transition, ride toe-side, etc.), where they learned, and how long they've been kiting. We get a full sense of the renter's abilities before releasing the kite to them”. 

Demo a Kite website

Your service is now limited to U.S.: are you planning to expand it also in EU or somewhere else ?
“Yes, we are currently planning our expansion to Canada.  We are also in talks to partner with a firm to offer rentals in the EU”.

How long can each rental last in terms of duration?
“Rentals can last as long as they prefer.  If the kiteboarder wants to purchase the kite, we deduct the rental fees from the purchase price of the kite”.

You perform only kite rentals at the moment, do you think you’ll consider also kiteboards in the future ?
“Yes, we are actually talking now with several kiteboard manufacturers to offer their products on
The biggest issue we are trying to solve is the increased shipping fee for boards”.

What are your future goals ?
“We hope to continue to grow and eventually offer all brands and kites.  Additionally, we hope to add all kiteboarding gear so I rider can demo a whole package.”  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Safety in Kitesurfing, a new creative approach from Gray Robinson and the Tarifa Freestyle Academy team.

Since one of the most important topic of this blog is kitesurfing safety, it's a big pleasure for me to host the following guest post about infographics on safety in kiteboarding, written by Gray Robinson of the Tarifa Freestyle Academy Team.

If there is ONE golden rule in Kitesurfing whether on the beach or on the water riding, it is who´s kite has priority in the position it is flying within the wind window.
The up-wind kitesurfer as seen in our infographics on Safety 101, his/her kite must move to a higher position withing the wind window, towards 12 oclock being the position of the kite directly over head.
Equally so for the down-wind kitesurfer his/her kite must move lower within the wind window respectfully, closer to 3 oclock or 9 oclock positions thus closer to the water. “This is critical to prevent kite collisions both on the water and on the beach”.
There is always the possibility for two kites to collide. As many of the famous kitesurfing locations or school teaching areas around the world are now getting very saturated with kites, it is more important than ever to know what to do when your kite collides with another.  Your first response should not be to yell, give the bird or argue but must be to let go of the bar which ultimately de-powers the kite, and second response is to release the saftey release system which disconnects the kite from the rider. (Dont forget everybody is out to have fun, it is not normally anybodys intention to crash into your kite, so if this does happen having a clear head is of the upmost importance, both for your saftey and the others and ultimately the harmony of the sport).
We rarely see in Kitesurfing anybody getting injured from two kites colliding, however it is paramount to release the bar first, and then release the safety system second when your kite collides with another, or anothers kite collides with you.
Most important reason being is kite can end up kite-looping through the power zone due to tangled lines most respectfully unequal tension on the steering lines causing the kite into what is also called a death loop. Thus a kite that is looping through the power zone out of control is surely most dangerous situation in the sport of kitesurfing, especially if the rider is on land.
Whats important to note is, once your safety system has been released, this problem should NOT arise. With your safety system released, even if the kite is still looping through the power zone, due to any reason (like un-equal steering line tension due to tangled lines), there will be very little or no power in the kite thus no danger.
With proper training you will be well aware of the two safety systems, the first is the chicken loop which can be seen in our Series 1: Safety 101 Infographics, please see to view. As there is also a secondary safety release system, that can be used if the rider is still in danger after releasing the main safety release. Thus releasing the safety leash which attaches from the bar to harness, dis-attaches the kite completely from the rider. (Which can be an expensive release, however if it is your life or a kite it will be a definate no brainer).
As detailed in our previous series of Saftey in Kitesurfing, fight or flight response is to tense up and pull in. An example would be if an attacker lunges for the victim, the victims first primal response is to tense up and pull in, as being ready to fight back, or (fight and flight response).
This response is counter productive in kitesurfing, and is actually the leading cause, of a potentially small accident turning into a larger accident.
When the rider pulls down on the bar, it sheets in or powers up the kite, obviously in an emergency situation this is not the response you would want to make.
Thus it is important to take lessons with a kitesurfing school that not only teaches using a highly progessive training methodology, but uses a safety first protocol. A good instructor will have 3 levels of defence in front of your safety.
This sums up our Series 2: On whom has the right of way in kitesurfing, and what to do if your kite collides with another. 

Please feel free to post any questions or concerns you may have in regards to Safety in Kitesurfing. In Tarifa in high season we see two or three kites collide together on average every 30 minutes. 

Thus it is definately a topic that deserves more discussion, that concerns all kiters whether beginner or pro as should be a call for action for more awareness on the beach and on the water.

The Tarifa Freestyle Academy team.

Gray Robinson

Credits: Kitesurfing School: Complete Guide in our series of Saftey First in Kitesurfing. TARIFA FREESTYLE ACADEMY

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pro-kitesurfers on Murrebue beach - Bruno Dubosq and Charlotte Consorti

It has been a privilege to meet Bruno Dubosq and his girlfriend Charlotte Consorti last August. Charlotte is six-times World Champion in kitespeed, basically the fastest girl around with a kite.
They arrived to Murrebue, Mozambique, continuing their endless research of new kitesurfing spots around the world. The result is an incredible collection of videos from the most diverse, exotic places all over the planet (see Charlotte's youtube channel ), to inspire every kitesurfer out there

Bruno and Charlotte filming kitesurfing tricks

They brought lots of kite and video/photography equipment together with their dedication to capture the best shots in Mozambique. It was amazing see them in action on the board and beyond it. 
It might look like that every “wow” shot happens naturally to these breathtaking kitesurfers, but the truth is you need a lot of tries to get to the optimal result for the final video. So it was very interesting to observe them in their tireless efforts to get that one golden shot.

On the car to the next downwind

Together, we spent every day on the beach, while they searched for different shot angles, explored nearby mangroves, or came with me and Carlo (the owner of the lodge and of local kitesurfing school Il Pirata) for a nice downwind session.

Charlotte Consorti kitesurfing in the lagoon

Charlotte, Bruno, Carlo, Susanna at il Pirata

A lot of great memories that can be best described in their fantastic video about kitesurfing in Murrebue, Mozambique:

Wanr to come and join us? Take a look Here!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

the first Sci Fi novel with a kitesurfer as protagonist...

Becoming Quetzalcoatl

Bored by the lack of wind ?
Here's the solution: the first Sci Fi novel that portrays a kitesurfer as protagonist.

This is how Greg Brulte, the author,describes his last work: "The main character tries to jump a pier down in Mobile, Alabama, at night, and injures himself.  When they take an MRI, his beautiful E.R.  doctor discovers an alien implant in him that has the image of a crop-circle on it from the year 2007.   That crop-circle pointed to specific dates in 2012 that supposedly foretold of the return of the Mayan god.  
Nothing happened in 2012, but the kite-boarder did go missing during those dates..."

Soon it might become the plot of an Hollywood movie, so you shouldn't miss the chance of this premiere: mostly because for today only(Sept. 26 2015) you can download it on Amazon the Kindle version for free, just follow this link Link. After today you'll still be able to find it at a very convenient price, following the same link. 

Don't lose the chance to be the first among the readers of this future blockbuster!

A couple of questions to the author:

Greg, do you kitesurf?
No...  I don't kite-surf, but I see them practically every day off of the Silver Strand, south of Coronado, California.  It looks like so much fun that I want to try  it :)  I have para-sailed, before, behind a boat".

This is not your first novel, how many did you write?
"'Becoming Quetzalcoatl' is my 9th novel... well, technically my 8th, since one of my books is a collection of short stories.
All of my books are what I would describe as Sci-Fi/Romances or Paranormal/Romances told mainly from a male point of view, which I think is a point of view lacking in today's market.  I try to make the books so that they appeal to both sexes... enough romance for the women, and enough action/science/mystery for the guys.  Of course, I know it's not that simple, because there is quite a bit of overlap in people's interests".

How do you get the inspiration to write?
"When I write, I just sit down and whatever comes out, comes out.  I usually have no idea of what the book is about until I write it.  That way, it keeps the reader guessing about the twists and turns... keeps me guessing, too.  I wish I would have tried this technique, earlier, because using it has resulted in 9 books in 4 years :)  I could probably do more if I didn't teach so much".

By the way, we proudly provided the cover artwork ;-)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Where to Find Wind Year Round: Best Kitesurfing Spots

Many people often ask me where is the best place to kitesurf at a particular month of the year. Since there's a big choice of kitesurfing spots for every moment, I decided to create a short list with some useful tips for anyone interested. Of course, my list is far from being complete, so if anyone wants to give their suggestion in the comments, I'd be more than happy to add it to the list.

Kitesurfing all year

Kitespots for the entire year:
Cabarete (Dominican Republic), Tarifa (Spain), Hurgada/Marsa Alam/Berenice/Safaga on the Red Sea in Egypt, Maui, Aruba (where the wind really always blows), Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, Essauira and Dackla (Morocco)

Riviera Maya and North Yucatan/La Ventana/ Baja California (Mexico), Cape Town (South Africa), Boracay (Philipines), Havana/Varadero (Cuba), Copal (Costa Rica), Mui Ne Bay (Vietnam), Auckland (New Zealand), Cairns/Whitsunday islands/Brisbane/Byron Bay (Australia), Namibia, St. Louis (Senegal), Barbados, Kenya, Uruguay, Buenos Aires (Argentina), Hong Kong, Puclaro (Chile), Red Sea (Yemen), Puket (Thailand)

Riviera Maya and North Yucatan/La Ventana (Mexico), Cape Town (South Africa), Havana/Varadero (Cuba), Melbourne/Whitsunday islands/Brisbane/Byron Bay (Australia), Cape Verde, Copal (Costa Rica), Mui Ne Bay (Vietnam), Auckland (New Zealand), Belize, Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, Bonaire, the Grenadines, Isla Margarita and Los Roques (Venezuela), Nashiro (Japan), Puclaro (Chile), Red Sea (Yemen), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Maputo (Mozambique), South Padre Island (Texas-USA)

Riviera Maya and North Yucatan (Mexico), Cape Town (South Africa), Camargue (France), Havana/Varadero (Cuba), Cape Verde, Copal (Costa Rica), Mui Ne Bay (Vietnam), Negombo (Sri Lanka), Belize, Barbados,  Antigua, Martinique, St. Lucia, Bonaire, the Grenadines, Isla Margarita and Los Roques (Venezuela), Puclaro (Chile), Red Sea (Yemen), El Gouna (Egypt), Florida/Cape Hatteras/South Padre Island (USA), Goa (India), Rosslare (Ireland), Watergate (UK),  Esbjerg (Denmark), Hua Hin/Cha-am/Prauchuab (Thailand)

Riviera Maya and North Yucatan (Mexico), Camargue (France), Ibiza/Formentera/Balearic Islands (Spain), Havana/Varadero (Cuba), Cape Verde, Copal (Costa Rica), Mui Ne Bay (Vietnam), Negombo (Sri Lanka), Belize, Barbados,  Antigua, Martinique, St. Lucia, Bonaire, the Grenadines, Isla Margarita and Los Roques (Venezuela), Puclaro (Chile), Negombo (Sri Lanka), Florida/Cape Hatteras/South Padre Island (USA), Rosslare (Ireland), Watergate (UK), Hua Hin/Cha-am/Prauchuab (Thailand)

Leucate (France), Rhodes/Kos (Greece), Garda Lake/Porto Pollo-Sardinia/Salento-Puglia (Italy), Fuerteventura/Canary Islands (Spain), Cape Verde, Antigua, Martinique, St. Lucia, Bonaire, Whitsunday Islands (Australia), Isla Margarita and Los Roques (Venezuela), Puclaro (Chile), Mancora (Peru),  Hua Hin/Cha-am/Prauchuab (Thailand)

Rhodes/Kos/Levkada (Greece), Paramail (Cyprus), Leucate/Corsica (France), Garda Lake/Porto Pollo-Sardinia/Salento-Puglia (Italy), Fuerteventura/Canary Islands (Spain), Cape Verde, Pemba/Quirimbas/Ponto de Oura (Mozambique), North Madagascar, St. Lucia, Isla Margarita (Venezuela), Puclaro (Chile), Mancora (Peru)

Rhodes/Kos/Levkada/Paros/Naxos (Greece), Paramail (Cyprus),  Leucate (France), Bol (Croatia), Garda Lake/Porto Pollo-Sardinia/Salento-Puglia (Italy), Fuerteventura/Canary Islands (Spain), Cape Verde, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tahiti, Pemba/Quirimbas/Ponto de Oura (Mozambique), North Madagascar, Mauritius, Puclaro (Chile), Mancora (Peru)

Rhodes/Kos/Levkada/Paros/Naxos (Greece), Paramail (Cyprus), Pirlanta (Turkey), Eliat (Israel), Sinai (Egypt), Bol (Croatia),  Corsica (France), Garda Lake/Porto Pollo-Sardinia/Salento-Puglia (Italy), Guincho (Portugal), Fuerteventura/Canary Islands (Spain), Brazil, Cape Verde, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tahiti, Rangiroa (French Polynesia), Pemba/Quirimbas (Mozambique), Zanzibar (Tanzania), North Madagascar, Mauritius, Puclaro (Chile), Mancora (Peru)

Rhodes (Greece),  Pirlanta (Turkey), Eliat (Israel), Sinai (Egypt), Corsica/South Coast (France), Bol (Croatia), Garda Lake/Porto Pollo-Sardinia/Salento-Puglia (Italy), UK, Guincho (Portugal), North Brazil, Cape Verde, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Melbourne (Australia), Namibia, Rangiroa (French Polynesia), Pemba/Quirimbas (Mozambique), Zanzibar (Tanzania), North Madagascar, Mauritius, Puclaro (Chile), Mancora (Peru)

Garda Lake/Porto Pollo-Sardinia/Marina di Grosseto (Italy), North Brazil, Camargue/South Coast (France), Noordwijk ann Zee (Netherlands), Melbourne/Brisbane/Sidney (Australia), New Caledonia, Namibia, Madagascar, Carmelo (Uruguay),  Buenos Aires (Argentina), Puclaro (Chile), Mancora (Peru)

North Brazil,  Aukland (New Zealand), Cairns/Perth/Melbourne/Brisbane/Sidney (Australia), New Caledonia, Camargue/South Coast/Leucate (France), South Africa, Hong Kong,  Carmelo (Uruguay),  Buenos Aires (Argentina), Puclaro (Chile)

North Brazil,  Aukland (New Zealand), Cairns/Perth/Melbourne/Brisbane/Sidney (Australia), New Caledonia,  Mui Ne Bay (Vietnam), Thailand, Boracai (Philippines), Malaysia, Nashiro (Japan), Cape Town (South Africa),  Red Sea (Yemen), Riviera Maya and North Yucatan/La Ventana/west coast/Baja California (Mexico), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Copal (Costa Rica), Puclaro (Chile)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

What's a Stall of a Kite and How to Prevent It

Many times it has happened to me to see kitesurfers stalling their kites.

This occurs especially in low wind conditions, but if your kite has bad trimming, it can happen also with stronger winds, making it much more dangerous.

The video below shows how kite stalling happens:

In many kitesurfing manuals the powerkite behavior is very well explained, but from my experience the concept is rarely transmitted to kiteboarding students and isn't exposed well enough to a huge amount of kiters. The result of that is easily visible on low wind days and, as shown in the video, can lead to dangerous situations both for the kite and the kite gear.

So, what does it mean to stall a kite? 

Well, a powerkite is nothing more than a curved wing held by our lines, which influences its behavior.

The principal way to measure the behavior of the wing in relation to wind is to measure the degree of its angle of attack. Angle of attack represents the angle between the wing chord and the relative wind direction.

Changing the angle of attack we can change the lift produced by the kite: the bigger is the angle, the stronger is the lift, but just up to a critical limit, where the kite (or any wing) starts to stall. Any further increase of the angle of attack above the critical angle will produce the wing stall. Let's see why.

Any wing basically has a lower and upper camber which have different shapes. In the kitesurf case the upper camber has a more accentuated curvature: this creates a longer path for the air passing on the extrados of the wing, forcing it to move at faster speed than the air on the lower side. The diference of speed, acording to Bernulli's laws, creates a depression on the upper side of the wing, which generates the main component of the lift.

The path of the air also depends on the angle of attack. If we increase it, we enhance the difference of length of air paths, resulting in a stronger lift. But this just to a point: it's called the critical angle of attack, beyond which the upper layer of air detaches from the surface, reducing the lift drastically.

Experimental evidence shows what happens: the upper air layer detaches from the wing extradox, creating turbulence, which enhances the pressure on the upper wing's surface, balancing the lower surface pressure, practically nullifying the lift's main component.

So when are we stalling the kite? Now it's easy to understand: when the angle of attack is too big: in other words, when the back lines are too short, due to the excessive pull on the bar or to a bad kite trimming. 

That's what happened to the guy in the video: he was continuously pulling the bar and overpowered the kite.

We can understand the kite is stalling by simply observing it:
1. The kite starts to fall back on the trailing edge, in the powerzone direction just in front of us;
2. The kite's shape in not straight as usual but the tips tend to close behind (see the above image: the purple kite has a more pronounced arc shape, the green is flatter and more open).

What do we do in that case? As usual, we follow one of the best rules in case of control loss: we release immediately the pull on the bar or even let it go completely. By doing so, the kite will immediately stop stalling, flying back to the border of the window. In this movement it will generate power, because as soon as it gets out of the stall, the lift is restored.

The pull will be proportionate to the distance from the border of the window: if the kite was all the way down in the powerzone, the pull will be strong! 

This fact leads us to two final conclusions: 
1. The faster you cease to stall the kite, the slower it will fall in the powerzone, generating a less dangerous pull in case of relaunch; 
2. If you had stalled the kite completely in the power zone - especially if the leading edge is still pointing upwards (as in the third attempt in the video), you might want to activate your quick release in order to prevent the unwanted kite restart and huge pull.

If you have any comments or questions, please share your opinion with us!

Blog post about the stall of a kite: what's it caused by and how to prevent it safely
Date published: 04/12/2015
Date Update: 04/12/2015