MalibuKitesurfing.NET 310-430-KITE (5483)
By Chris Glazier with major contributions from Mark Frasier. updated 2001/08/11
Additions and/or changes by Malibu Kitesurfing contributors are in GREEN
Airfoil (aerofoil): a wing, kite, or sail used to generate lift or propulsion.
Airtime: the amount of time spent in the air while jumping.
AOA, Angle of Attack: also known as the angle of incidence (AOI) is the angle with which the kite flies in relation to the wind. Increasing AOA generally gives more lift.
AOI, Angle of Incidence: angle which the kite takes compared to the wind direction
Apparent wind, AW: The wind felt by the kite or rider as it passes through the air. For instance, if the true wind is blowing North at 10 knots and the kite is moving West at 10 knots, the apparent wind on the kite is NW at about 14 knots. The apparent wind direction shifts towards the direction of travel as speed increases.
AR, Aspect Ratio: the ratio of a kites width to height (span to chord). Kites have a high aspect ratio (like the Naish AR5) or a low aspect ratio (like the Wipika Classic).
ARC: an older model foil kite manufactured by Peter Lynn and generally considered the first popular model of Peter Lynn's "Twinskin" model kites.Top
Batten: a length of carbon or plastic which adds stiffness or shape to the kite or sail.
Beam reach: sailing in a direction perpendicular (at a 90° angle) to the wind. A beam reach is usually the fastest point of sail. A beam reach is a point of sail between a broad reach and a close reach
Bear Away / Bear Off: change your direction of travel to a more downwind direction.
Beaufort: scale of wind strengths from 0 to 12. Named after the English Admiral, Francis Beaufort, who invented it. 0 = no wind whereas 12 = hurricane.
Bladder: an inflatable inner tube in a kite used to give the kite shape and floatation. Bladders must be pumped up by hand.
Body Dragging: being pulled through the water without standing on your board, usually on your stomach and often without a board.
Boom: another name for a control bar.
Brake lines: flying lines attached to the kite to slow the kite or reduce its pull in strong winds. Brake lines lead to back attachment points on the trailing edge of foil kites.
Bridle: lines that form the junction between kite and the flying lines. A foil kite may have a complex bridle, while inflatable kites usually have simple bridles. Bridle lines are sometimes called shroud lines.
Broad reach: sailing in a somewhat downwind direction. A broad reach is a point of sail between a beam reach and going straight downwind.
Buggying: using a power kite to pull a small land-based 3 wheeled vehicle.Top
Camber: the curvature of an object such as a sail or kite usually used when referring its aerodynamic properties.
Cell: a parafoil is divided up into ribbed compartments called cells.
Chicken loop, trim loop: The loop connected through the middle of the control bar that attaches to the two front kite lines. Hooking into this loop and pulling on it reduces the AOA and depowers the kite.
Chikara: A kite material. It is a nylon cloth.
Chord: the kite measurement between the leading and trailing edges.
Close hauled: sailing in a direction as far upwind (toward the wind) as possible.
Close reach: sailing somewhat towards the wind but not close hauled. A close reach is a point of sail between a beam reach and close hauled.
Closed cell: these kites normally have a limited number of air intakes and a valve system to prevent the air to escape after a fall. These types of kite are called closed cell foil kites.
Coefficient of lift, CL: a measure of how hard a kite pulls relative to its projected size.
Control bar: a single bar used by the kitesurfer to control the kite. The trailing edge kite lines are connected to the ends of the bar. The leading edge kite lines connect to a heavy line which passes through the center of the bar and is connected to the chicken loop. Bar length is typically 16" to 26".
Creep: the amount a line permanently lengthens when pulled. Loosely braided line has a lot of creep, tightly braided has less, linear core line has the least. If all the lines creep evenly, it's pretty much unnoticeable. On ram-air and hybrid kites, the power lines creep more than the brakes, causing the kite to fly sluggishly.
Cross Venting: holes cut into the individual cells of a parafoil to allow air to pass through between the cells.Top
Directional: a kite board that looks like a small windsurfer board or surfboard with footstraps. A directional usually has 3 footstraps. It rides best in one direction and has definite nose and tail ends. A directional is typically 150 to 230 cm in length.
De-powering: letting the kite lines out to release pressure and reduce speed.
Downwind: the direction that the wind is going toward, opposite of upwind.
Drag: the resistance to movement.
Drift: the sideways movement due to the action of the wind on the kite.
Dual Line, 2 Line: Kite which is flown using 2 lines of equal length which enables the rider to steer the kite right or left.Top
Edge: to tilt the board on its edge and ride it that way. Used to control the direction of travel. To go upwind, a rider must edge hard. Skiers and snowboarders also use this type of edging to turn.
Eye of the wind: the direction that the wind is blowing from.Top
Flying lines: the main lines between the kite and the rider, usually made of Spectra. The power lines or main lines lead to attachment points of the kite. Additional lines may be used as trim lines or brake lines.
Foil kite: a soft type of kite which is made up of cells which fill with air. Foils achieve their shape by inflating with the wind, and thus have no rigid structure.
Footstraps: straps used to keep your feet from bouncing off your kite board.
Frame: the collection of carbon or fiberglass spars that form the skeleton of the kite.Top
Gybe (or jibe): To change direction by turning down wind and then continuing to turn until you are going in the other direction.Top
Handles: used instead of a control bar to fly the kite. In 4 line kites, a pair of bent handles with one power line connected to the top and one brake line connected to the bottom of each. A "link line" or harness line runs between the two handles to allow a harness to take the load of the kite and for one-hand or short-term no-hands flying. Allows more precise landing, better luff recovery, quicker handling and better sensitivity, but less tendency to automatically return to a neutral position, less solid-feeling, more "fumbly" and usually twitchier. Generally considered unsuitable for inflatable kites.
Hangtime, Airtime: the amount of time spent in the air while jumping.
Hard rails, soft rails: The rounder the edge of the board the softer the rails are said to be. Hard rails means a sharper edge and allow better upwind performance.
Harness: worn by the kite surfer around the waist. It has a hook in the front. The kite control bar has a harness line loop which can fit in this hook thereby allowing the harness to take all the kites pulling power (and save your arms from fatigue). Identical to a windsurfers harness.Heelside: the side of a board on the edge where your heels are (opposite of toeside). To ride heelside down is normal.
Hooked in: the rider's bar is connected to the harness and/or the riders chicken loop is attached to the harness.Top
Inflatable: a kite with bladders that must be pumped up by hand prior to flying. Inflatable kites use bladders in the leading edge and ribs (struts). When the bladders are inflated by using a hand pump, then the kite forms the desired flying shape.Top
Jibe (or gybe): To change direction by turning down wind and then continuing to turn until you are going in the other direction.Top
Kevlar: A very strong fiber sometimes used for kite lines. Has some characteristics which make it somewhat less desirable than Spectra.
Kitesurfing, Kiteboarding: also called kite sailing or flysurfing. Using a kite to pull you across the water with a board under your feet. Kitesurfing is specific to water. Kiteboarding includes kitesurfing, landboarding and snowkiting.
Knot: speed of one nautical mile per hour. It is 1.852 Km per hour or 1.15 mph.Top
Larks head: knot used for attaching flying lines.
Lay line: an imaginary line on which you can sail directly to your target without tacking.
Leader Lines: Short thicker lines from the control bar to the flying lines. Used to keep the pilots fingers away from the flying lines.
Leading edge, LE: the windward side of the kite, (the forward side that the wind hits first).
Lift: when flying, a kite generates lift or upward force like an airplane wing. Lift is proportional to the square of the apparent wind velocity.
Lift-to-drag ratio, L/D, LDR: a measure of the efficiency of a kite. High L/D means the kite has a high top speed and flies at a greater angle to the wind, which results most noticeably in better possible VMG to windward and faster possible board speeds. Kites are not as efficient as sails, their L/D rarely exceeds 4.0 while a good yacht sail manages 10 and sailplanes (gliders) get over 50.
Leech Line: a line that runs inside the trailing edge of the kite to prevents vibration and noise.
Leeward. the direction away from the wind. Opposite of windward.
Lift: upward pressure which the wind exerts on a kite.
Line Set (lines): the strings which are used to control the kite.
Locked in: also called being "parked": sailing along with the kite is remaining stationary in the sky relative to the rider - not moving the kite around but just letting it fly straight in the direction of travel.
Luff: A kite luffs when the air flow stalls. It may then stall and fall out of the sky. Luffing will occur if the kite gets too far upwind. Luffing may occur whenever there is a loss of tension on the lines.Top
Naish: a manufacturer of inflatable kites, based in Hawaii. Robby Naish is a legendary windsurfer and an early kite surfer.
Nautical Mile: Distance at sea is measured in nautical miles, which is 1852 meters, 6067 feet, or 1.15 miles. Measurement of speed at sea is done in knots (nautical miles per hour).Top
Off the wind: sailing with the wind coming from behind.
Off-shore wind: when the wind is blowing from the shore towards the water.
On-shore wind: when the wind is blowing from the water towards the shore.
Outhaul: Part of the bridle which can be adjusted to move the tow point toward the wing tip or toward the center. This adjustment affects turn rate of the kite.Top
Parafoil: invented by parachute designer Domina Jalbert in 1963, this is a kite which is based on the aerofoil wing shape and does not require any rigid frame for flight. Can also be called ram-air, wing, ram-jet, and paraglide.
Peter Lynn: a New Zealand manufacturer of kites including the ARC and various other Twinskin kites.
PFD: personal flotation device, lifejacket.
Planing: is when the board is going fast enough to skip across the surface of the water, as compared to pushing its way through the water.
Point of sail: The direction of a kiteboard or sailboat relative to the wind. When you are sailing as much toward upwind as possible, your point of sail is called close hauled. Other points of sail are called: close reach, beam reach, and broad reach.
Pointing: going in a direction as upwind as possible. A board that points well is one that goes upwind at a better angle than others (more directly into the wind).
Port: The left side of a boat, from the perspective of a person looking forward. The opposite of starboard.
Port tack: Sailing on a tack with the wind coming from the port side (left side).
Power Zone: the centre lower portion of the wind window where the pull is strongest... (straight downwind).
Profile: in an airfoil, the side view of the foil.
Projected area: The apparent area of a kite while it is being flown, as opposed to lying flat on the ground. The amount of area that presents itself to the wind.Top
Quad line, 4 line: Kite flown on four lines. Having 4 lines has the advantage of not only being able to steer left and right like a dual line, but you can also adjust the AOA.Top
Rail: The edge of the board is the rail. A rounded edge is a soft rail and a sharp edge is a hard rail.
Ram Air Kite: Ram air foil kites have no rigid structure. The shape of the kite is formed while flying. These kites have shapes that are very close to airplane wings and therefore are the most aerodynamic kites. These kites normally have a limited number of air intakes and a one-way valve system to prevent the air from escaping, and are also called closed cell foil kites. Concept Air, Windtools and others make Ram Air kites.
Reaching: Sailing with the wind coming from the side (sailing across the wind). If the wind is coming from directly from the side, it is a beam reach. If the board is pointed more into the wind it is a close reach. If the wind is coming more from behind, it is called a broad reach.
Relaunch: to start the kite flying again. It is desirable to have a kite that the kitesurfer can relaunch from the water after a fall.
Right-of-Way: A right-of-way boat has precedence over others on conflicting courses and has the right to maintain its course. Usually a boat on starboard tack has right of way over a boat on port tack.
Rigid kite: a kite such as a speedwing or delta whose shape is mostly held by means of a rigid frame, eliminating the need for a complex bridle. Most rigid kites are not water relaunchable.
Ripstop: Ripstop refers to the squares of reinforcing fibers in the fabric which make it resistant to tearing. A rip in this fabric will stop at one of the reinforcing fibers.
Reel bar: a combination winding reel and control bar used to wind up the kite flying lines.
Rocker: the curve along the bottom of the board. The amount that the nose and tail of the board are turned up. A board that is relatively flat doesn't have much rocker.Top
Scudding: making the kite drag you along the beach on your feet.
Shaper: is a board maker, who makes boards by hand or in small production runs.
Sheeting out/in: Sheeting out decreases the tension on the lines that lead to the edge of the kite to decrease the angle of attack (AOA) and lower the kite's power. Sheeting in has the opposite effect. Sheeting is not possible on a 2 line kite.
Shroud Lines: Bridle lines are sometimes called shroud lines.
Side-Shore: when the wind is blowing parallel to the shore line (along the beach). This is most desirable for kitesurfing.
Sine wave: flying the kite up and down at the edge of the wind window to generate more power with apparent wind.
Sining: Sining the kite means moving it in a sine wave pattern (up and down) to generate apparent wind and increase it's power.
Sled: a arched shape of kite such as the Naish or Wipika or ARC (as opposed to a flat kite with a bridle to define its shape).
Sleeving: short protective sleeve which covers the ends of a line and helps to preserve strength and prevent wear.
Slogging: moving along slowly with the board not fully planing.
Snap shackle: a metal shackle that can be opened by pulling on a release mechanism.
Span: the kite width, the size of the kite measured at right angles to the wind.
Spar: the sticks used as the frame of a kite. A batten is a spar.
Spectra®: Also known as Dyneema in Europe. It is the standard for flying lines. It is slippery and will allow multiple line wraps without loosing kite control.
Spinout: when a board's fins lose "grip" on the water or stalls, causing the tail to slide sideways.
Splice: the place where two lines are joined together. A splice usually refers to a smooth join of two lines without using a knot. The end of one line is interlaced or runs through the core of another.
Spreader bar: the metal bar that is on the front of a kiters harness. It usually has a hook for holding the harness line or chicken loop.
Stall: Air is said to stall when it becomes detached from the surface it is flowing along. A stalled kite loses lift and falls.
Starboard: The right side of a boat, from the perspective of a person looking forward. The opposite of port.
Starboard tack: Sailing on a tack with the wind coming from the starboard side (right side).
Stretch: the amount a line momentarily lengthens when pulled. Spectra has very low stretch, kevlar has slightly more, nylon has a lot. Stretch affects responsiveness and size of control movements.
Struts: term used to refer to the inflatable battens in an inflatable kite. There are 5 body struts and one leading edge strut that hold the shape of an Naish kite.Top
Table top: A flashy move that can be done while jumping. Hanging more or less upside down with your board out flat above you like a table top.
Tack: The direction which is being sailed, normally either starboard tack or port tack. Also: To change direction, by turning upwind. As opposed to a jibe which is done by turning downwind. This maneuver is usually done when the rider is trying to go upwind because less ground is lost in the turns as compared to jibing.
Teabagging: the rider is frequently falling back into the water due to light or gusty wind, like a human teabag being dipped repeatedly.
Thermal wind: cold air over the ocean and warm air over the land result in a pressure differential that causes wind.Toeside: to ride a board on the edge where your toes are (opposite of heelside). This is the same technique as in snowboarding.
Traction kite: a kite big enough to pull a vehicle on land, snow, ice or water. This type of kite is called traction kite.
Trailing edge, TE: the back edge of the kite running between the wing tips. Can also be called a leech. The trailing edge may have a leech line sewn in.
Trim line: in a 4 line inflatable kite is a the line that goes from the front of the wingtips to a loop at the center of the control bar. Adjusting its length adjusts the "trim" or angle of attack (AoA) of the kite. Changing this adjustment can increase the AoA for more lift or decreasing the AoA for less lift.
Trim loop: a loop used in most 4 line kites located at the centre of the control bar and used to adjust the kites AoA, thereby depowering the kite. Also called 'chicken loop'.
True wind: The wind as felt by something that is not moving.
Twin tip: a board that rides equally well in either direction, like a wakeboard. Usually refers to a board that is between a wakeboard and a directional board in size. A twin tip is typically 125 to 190 cm in length.Top
Unhooked, hooked out: the control bar is not connected to the harness, the rider is bearing the full force of the kite with his arms.
Upwind: to windward, in the direction toward where the wind comes from.Top
VAOAS: Variable Angle of Attack System. An adjustment system for foil kites.Top
Wakeboard: any wakeboard can be used as a kite board. It usually has 2 boots fixed on it like a snowboard, but footstraps may be used instead.. A wakeboard is typically 140 to 150 cm in length.
Water start: starting in deep water by lying on your back and letting the kite pull you up onto your board. Like a water ski start or a windsurfer water start.
Whip: to bind strands of a line with a small cord.
Wind range: used to describe the range of winds that a kite will fly well in. Usually given in knots or Beaufort scale.
Wind Window: the air space in which the kite can fly, shaped like a quarter of a sphere. For all practical purposes, the wind window is the area you can see with your eyes when you are facing straight down wind (90 degrees to the left, 90 degrees to the right, and straight overhead (down wind is the direction that the wind is GOING)).
In some areas of the window, kites often have MANY TIMES more power than when in other parts of the window. Additionally, the force that a kite exerts on a kiter when it accelerates UPWARD (as apposed to across or downward) may be disproportionately harder to resist and create a greater amount of kiter movement because the upward pull takes weight off the feet, thereby reducing traction on land and board to water resistance in water.
Windward: in the direction toward the wind. Opposite of leeward.
Wing: a term used sometimes for a kite.
Wing Span: the widest measurement of a kite often taken from wingtip to wingtip
Wipika: a French manufacturer of the original inflatable (bladder) kite developed by the legendary kite boarding pioneers, Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux. Theirs was the first water relaunchable kite.
Working the kite: making figure eights or sine patterns with the kite to generate more power by increasing apparent wind on the kite. In light winds it helps to really work the kite.
Wrist Leash: a safety leash attaching to your wrist to allow you to depower the kite by letting go of the control bar. Then you can retrieve the control bar and your kite. If the control bar gets ripped out of your hands, the wrist leash pulls on one line causing the kite to flatten out and depower. The end of the wrist leash is often attached about several meters up one flying line. Wrist leashes are obsolete and dangerous because they may be impossible to release if the opposite arm/hand is incapacitated and the kite does not depower for some reason.Top
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