2011 Kiteboarding Season Is Coming!

March 6th, 2010 Cleaning off my boards after
the first session back in the water!
Thanks to the snow for holding my
boards up while I could hose them off.

     Since my last blog post I didn’t get a snowboard or even a chance to try snow kiting, however I did get to enjoy the 60+ temperature days here in New Jersey!  Since it is warming up it is almost time to get back on the water so snow kiting for me will have to wait till maybe next season.  The Sandy Hook Bay water temperature today reported 40.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sounds cold but with the right gear perfect time to get on the water.  Cold water gear such as a drysuit or wetsuit make it possible to ride in the coldest conditions.  The coldest condition I have kiteboarded in was probably in the Decemeber of 2009 at the hook.  The water temperature was in between 32 – 35 degrees Fahrenheit, while the air temperature was in between 40 – 50 degrees minus the wind chill with the wind blowing 20 – 30 miles per hour.  With the water temperature so cold I wore a 5/4/3mm thick wetsuit with a wetsuit hood, gloves, and booties.  The combination of gear keeps your body so warm that it is amazing just how cold of conditions it is possible to ride in.
     The picture to the right above was taken after my first session back in the water last year, March 6th 2010.  This year looks like I may be able to beat that day if the weather stays warm like the last couple of days!  Within the next few weeks I should be able to get in my first 2011 kiteboarding session!

More pictures from March 6th and 7th 2010:

Kiteboarding on the snow

     With only about a month before it’s time to hit the water again, I decided to dedicate this post to snow kiteboarding.  The beauty of snow kiting is that it can happen almost anywhere there is snow instead of water!  All the gear is the same as when kiteboarding on the water the only thing that changes is the board.  Instead of using a kiteboard a snowboard is used.  The need for a chairlift to get back up the mountain is eliminated with the use of a kite.  Something I didn’t talk about in my kiteboarding basics post is the way kiteboarders travel, which is very important.  When it comes to traveling with any type of kiteboarding whether on land or water it is similar to tacting back and forth like a sail boat.  Below is a short video that better describes how kiteboarders can get back to the spot they started in (going upwind).
Unfortunately, I have never went snow kiting but with all the snow we received in New Jersey this year it inspired me to start looking for a snowboard.  And maybe by the next time I post I would have the pleasure of trying some snow kiting. Until then, below is a short video clip of some really cool snow kiting enjoy.

Kiteboarding Basics

      This week’s blog post will teach the basics of kiteboarding.  First off lets talk about the gear.  An average kiteboarding setup will cost in between $1,000 – $2,000.  A small price to pay considering the gear will last with several years of use and no expensive fuel is needed.  Below is a list of the gear needed to get started.

– Board w/ pad and straps ($200 – $500)
– Kite w/ Bar & Lines ($800 – $2,000)
– Harness ($100 – $200)
– Pump (usually included with purchase of a kite)

 To the right above is a picture of all the gear. (Resting on the board is the harness)  Once you have all the gear or even before, it is essential to take lessons which on average run about $80 an hour.  The only places in New Jersey to take lessons are greenhatkiteboarding and islandsurf-sail both located by the Barnegat Bay.

   The boards and kites needed for kiteboarding come in all different sizes to accommodate for riders of different weights and different wind conditions.  Riders will often have a quiver of kites and boards to ride in any condition.  The best condition or ideal winds to ride in are steady 18-20 mph winds.  I have kiteboarded in winds from 6 – 12 mph to winds 35 mph gusting to 45 mph!

    The kite pictured on the left is perhaps the most important piece of equipment needed and I recommend to always buy new or at least within a year or two old.  The technology of the kites and control systems have evolved so much that any kite three or more years old is very dangerous for beginners.  A brief description of the way the kite functions follows.  A rider takes out the kite of a bag and pumps air into it with a foot pump.  The air fills usually one large bladder and four to five other bladders, which give the kite its shape and makes it possible to relaunch the kite when it lands or crashes on the water.  The kite is attached by four to five flying lines that lead down to a control bar.  When the control bar is pushed away from the rider, the two back lines are given slack and the power of the kite is null (de-powered).  When the control bar is pulled in toward the rider, the back lines become tight and the kite gains power.  Below is a video of me a couple years ago just cruising in the Sandy Hook Bay.  This video I hope will give you a sense of how riding and just cruising takes place.

Until next post, watch Catchin’ Air before the Super Bowl at noon on HD Theater!