22 October 2015
Boards: Part 1
What to look for in your next surf and kite board
If you’ve bought a kiteboard or surfboard in the last few years you’ll know that it can be pretty tricky. The exhaustive numbers of manufacturers, shapes and build methods has spiraled out of control. Choosing the right board is tough enough for surfers who’ve been navigating the rough sea of board design for years, but if you come from a kite or windsurf background, it can be hard to know which way to go. Kitesurfing places different stresses on the board that require a different approach to the board construction.
Having the right board is critical and can mean the difference between a great session and frustration so take time to evaluate your requirements. The right board for you is a very personal choice that encompasses a range of factors so simply saying, “I’ll have what she’s having,”won’t cut it.
Here are some questions to consider when buying a board for kiting and surfing:
#1 LOCAL CONDITIONS–are the waves I usually ride large and steep or small and mushy?
#2 HEIGHT & WEIGHT–what volume & length is right for me?
#3 ABILITY–Am I a confident surfer/kiter or just starting out?
#4 QUALITY &CONSTRUCTION–was it produced using quality, kitesurf-specific materials by a reputable surfboard shaper?
#5 APPLICATIONS–will I be using this board for kiting, surfing or both?
#1 Local Conditions.
Now let’s face it, most of us aren’t getting tubed in overhead barrels on a regular basis. The conditions I usually ride at home are small, mushy beach breaks, especially when I’m kiting. So I look for a board with a fairly low rocker and plenty of volume for upwind efficiency as well as ease of paddling. Now, a flat rocker won’t be a good idea if you’re trying to drop down steep faces or really tear up fast waves but you’ll be forever grateful when you’re cruising upwind in light wind!
If you are lucky enough to surf or kite steeper waves with more size and vertical drops, then you need to look for a board with a medium to high rocker to prevent nose-diving.
#2 Height & Weight.
So this is pretty obvious, but if you’re a big, tall person you’ll probably need a bit more length than your little mate. If you’re heavy you’ll need to get a board with extra volume and width. Sound simple?
#3 Level of Ability.
Typically, the more advanced you are, the smaller your board. If you’re a beginner to intermediate surfer or kiter, a slightly larger board will make life easier by doing a lot of the work for you. For example, I wouldn’t recommend starting off with a board like Ian’s Rawson as it doesn’t have a whole lot of volume and is more suited toperformance surfing. A better choice would be something with a bit more buoyancy (essentially volume) so you can catch waves easier and position yourself further towards the shoulder.
A board with less volume will suit more advanced manoeuvres and a more powerful style of riding.
A BASIC GUIDELINE FOR LEVEL OF ABILITY
- Beginner: Can catch a wave and ride along without turning
- Intermediate: Small bottom turns & top turns
- Intermediate/Advanced: Performing bottom to top turn combinations
Advanced: Performing top and bottom turns in critical sections plus aerials
#4 Quality & Construction.
These days you’re going to spend upwards of $700 on a surfboard no matter where you buy it. So why end up with something second rate? We always recommend choosing a reputable shaper who has a good grasp on shape, rocker templates, and construction materials. We work with Darren Handley and Pat Rawson who shape for some of the world’s best surfers so you benefit from their experience. The highest quality materials combined with cutting edge shapes provide you with best board for kiting AND surfing.
Standard surfboards usecheap, low-density blanks. We build our boards with top quality high-density blanks that’re stronger and can withstand the rigors of kitesurfing. Where other boards use extra material to create strength, our boards use the best quality materials to ensure they not only last, but perform at their best. Our boards are carefully hand shaped and undergo rigorous quality control to ensure every customer receives a product that’s second-to-none.