I am new to Kiteboarding (I bought an 8.5-old measure-Wipika last year and found it too small for the local conditions). I have windsurfed for 25 years. I am 175 lbs., 46 years old, use a 6 foot board and want to kiteboard in light wind conditions. I don't expect to ever be a big-air-great rider and will probably still pull out my windsurfer when the wind starts to rip. I'm on a lake where it often blows 10-15 knots with gusts to 20. I am thinking I should buy either a 14 or 16 meter kite and am leaning toward a Naish Aero. Which size would be best for me. I want to plane in light conditions but am concerned I may not be able to handle 16 meters in the gusts.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Larry on 2002-05-09 07:29 ]</font>
Depending on your skills and weight you should go for the smaller kite.
Gusts of 20 knts are strong when using a 16 sqm, but also 14 sqm.
I'm an advanced rider and can handle gusts like this with a 16 sqm.
One day you will be able too. But for the beginning it is better to take a smaller one.
Also a 14 is more fun to ride with since it is faster.
And the Aero 14 is a good choice, easy to handle and restart.
In Hungary, on the lake Balaton we mostly have light and very gusty winds. Of course everybody is learning on a smaller kite, but afterwards 60% of the people buy a WIPIKA 11.8 (in Hungary). For these conditions it is the most preferred kite here.
In light wind conditions it is the last kite to fall from the sky and in gusts it does not pull you out to the beach as it has very good depower. This fact is very important if you often have onshore winds, pulling you towards rocks.
But we are also waiting very much to see the X2 16. It could become a very good competitor to the Airblast 11.8.
For what it is worth, I have been kiting for about 2.5 years and have recently just purchased my first 16 m kite (north rhino). Let me tell you from experience, a 16m kite in 20 knots gusts is scary. In my opinion, if I were you I would probably wait until I had a little more experience before getting a 16 m kite.
With your level of experience you might also find a 16m kite difficult to water launch.
Kieran's right, but there is a significant difference in how those 2 kite sheet-out, depower and fly. The north 16 does not pull you as far upwind as the airblast 11.8, witch are about the same size. With the N16, as with the arX15.5 you defenitely need less wind to get up, but I guess most intermedeate riders have to stop at 17knts.
With the airblast11.8 the upper range might be for you at least 21knts (for me 24)
If you can lay your hands on a F-one kite, try them too, I heard/red they have a wide range as well!
For me (175 lbs) Naish 19.5 ArX: 7-13 kts, 13.5 ArX 9...10-16 kts and 9.5 ArX: 12-22 kts. Steady winds. Yeah, the big kites with which you want get up in planing in lighter winds, will get out of control quite early. 20 m2 of a kite is much canvas to hold in 13 kts. The size of the board has an effect too; a bigger board will easier carry you through the lulls where a smaller board allready has sunken. ItÃ‚Â´s all due to a bigger surface area and itÃ‚Â´s ability to float you despite a weaker pull in the kite. On the other hand, wider boards tend to loose grip when the wind picks up.
I use my 11.5m ARX in anything from 10 - 20 knots with my 6ft directional. Comfortable in 12 knots and sorta heading upwind. The AERO from what I've heard has more depower than the ARX so I guess you may be able to get away with the 14m. The gust of 20 knots would be hard to handle on a 13.5m ARX but the 14m AERO may be different. With a bigger board you may even get away with the 12m, especially in the 15-20 knots part.
If I get an AERO as my next kite I'd get a 12 and we get similar winds in Auckland (ie 10 - 15kts with 20 knot gusts, more like 15-20 with 25 knot gusts in winter).
At 75kgs I'm slightly lighter than you but I'm not a beginner. Like yourself I too get the windsurfing gear out when the winds goes 30 knots
Yeah Bro.... looks like I'm one of very few Kiwis to post to this forum.
Anyway I'd like to say that from what I've heard from kiters around my area that the AREO is a really good beginners kite that you won't grow out of for quite a while.
The Wipika Airblast is another good option. A friend of mine used Airblasts for about a year or so before getting into X2's. He said that on his 8.4 Airblast he could hold 30 knots and he's been in 20 knots on his 11.8. He's not heavy either which is a testiment to the windrange of these kites.
High wind range is allways a very important consideration when getting a kite... especially when learning when you don't have the skill to handle being real overpowered.
He did struggle to get going in 10 knots with his 8.4 though so maybe the Airblast 10 would be a good kite for you.