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 Post subject: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 10:26 am 
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I’ve often seen on forums and recently had a few emails from people discussing kit size and they ask ‘what do you weigh’. It is also something that people try and gauge when at the beach – “what’s so and so out on... a 12m, but he’s a big guy?”

To start in many ways I agree that using direct mass (bodyweight) as something force is exerted on could determine how much is required to move it. However, there is just so much more at play e.g. factors kit can have such as efficiency, aspect ratio, speed etc. But the one thing that might not be considered is the force or power a person can generate?

You can have 80kg of unfit mass that develops very little power and cannot ‘ground’ itself and act against the dynamic (very important) forces exerted on and through it, or you can have 80kg of mass with excellent stability and power to exert force to counteract those acting against it?

I know for a fact that I can not only ‘hold down’ but actually efficiently use a bigger sized kite or board than a lot of guys who weigh more than me. Also beyond this when I first started kiting my training regime was different and I was 88kg – still very fit but trained for size using a split routine. I quickly noticed that although I had stamina I could be more dynamically fit and I started training for power. I’m now 78kg – do much less cardio but use HIIT and TABATA with focus on developing power (sports science background and worked in gyms before becoming a desk based manager).

The result is that when someone asks what board and what size from the range I use I can’t really give a short answer as I know how much power I can develop and how I can use that in a fluid and dynamic way whilst kiting. Also beyond being 10kg lighter my technique is much better than back then and I have a good understanding of how different kit works to get the best from it.

Of course there is a point when physics will win and everyone will become overpowered, or the kit will give but for many that point could be vastly different – like stress in engineering different materials will fail at certain points and this changes under conditions of use?

Where am I going with this…? I’m not fully sure, but there is something irking me recently about kit… stuff that ‘pull’s like a truck or needs more ‘power’ to get on a plane and choice based on bodyweight and stage e.g. learners needing something different that allows access but IMO can also very quickly limit progression?

Maybe the key message is similar to most sports that require some form of physical exertion – you want to get better and see results then train for them?

I even think Toby is a great example of this – people might try and emulate his kit choice to do Airstyle without actually considering how fit he is and just how tuned he has become through practice to be able to hold down an 18m when others are powered on 9/12m kites?


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 11:13 am 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFbW2C9Imb8


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 11:18 am 
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Yeh john I get ya. I'm only 74kg and can hold down as big or bigger kites than 85/90kg guys on a 135 by 41 which is not a particularly small board.

Guys are on 12s I'm on a 16. Guys on 9 I'm on a 12, but it all depends on as you say power control through fitness and power to weight within your own body.

Also depends a lot on experience though...and whether you want to be that powered.

Back in 2000/2002 you had no choice you were powered with little means of depowering!


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 1:46 pm 
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I think experience has a lot to do with it.

The more experience you have, the more efficient you can ride. I know i have been out ripping around on a 7m when others are on 10 and 11m and they weigh less than me.


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:04 pm 
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I never really thought about that but fitness probably does contribute a little to the amount of power you and hold. Though I also think experience contributes a lot more to this equation.

A super fit beginner will not be able to hold that much more power than an not so fit beginner. When comparing two experienced kiters with the same experience the fitter one will more than likely be able to hold down the bigger kite for longer.


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:30 pm 
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Since I've started doing dead lifts I've found that I can hold down more power as the strength in my legs and back have improved which I think are the most important muscles to have in strong winds


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:53 pm 
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You have a point.
You can definitely do more and handle more if fit
Looking closely at kite ad videos, you will see a lot of medium and large size kites being used, especially the ones that are barely in the frame, while the rider is going fast or jumping :naughty:

But in general for gear sizing, there are physics limits, like force per area of board needed to plane that determine a good board size for your weight, or how much lift it takes to loft you out of the water (or beach) with the kite overhead.
Airstyle riders sometimes flirt with the lofting risk, speed riders flirt with how much of pain it is to get a 90+kg guy going on a toothpick, versus the thrill once up to record chasing.

Within that envelope of possibility/safety, there is optimization to a task.
You need a certain amount of power to do certain things, more is wasted or problematic.
Aaron Hadlow lost in freestyle in strong winds at Leucate a couple days ago mainly by bouncing out on many of his landings (my opinion, watched some of the feed).
His kite was too big, he didn't need the extra power on landing and skipped out before he could set an edge. Still seems to be fit though.

Then there are common sense elements, like additional safety margin for changing conditions (risk of gusts, squalls, lulls, etc.), or rigging big because you know the wind will die off early.
In the end it's about fun, want a short powered jump session or a long mellower session in small waves? Want to push yourself and feel it the next day, or pace yourself and ride harder tomorrow? Choices, choices....


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 5:11 pm 
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Definitely some interesting points. However, you started out with someone asking what kite size a person is using relative to their weight. For most people most of the time, that's a valid question when trying to figure out what kite to rig. So it might go like this:

"What kite size is Fred on?"
"He's on a 14m, but he's a big guy."
"What about Bob?"
"Bob's on a 10m."
"He weighs about 170, right?"
"Yeah."
"What about that John B guy - looks like he's on a huge kite?"
"That guy? Just ignore him, that dude is nuts".

Of course, kite model plays into it as well. I sometimes get comments about my choice of kite size where other people think maybe I should rig smaller, but I know from experience that my 2011 Naish Parks have very little low end grunt and tend to ride more like kites a little smaller.


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 5:31 pm 
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Its irrelevant to see what people are flying unless you know them, In 20knts I may be riding a 17m or a 7m depending on what I feel like doing, so even if you know me its pointless.
Or I know someone who will be on a 10m if it anything from 15 to 35 knts.


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 Post subject: Re: Bodyweight & Kit Size vs Fitness & Power?
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 1:26 am 
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Shawn13 comment that experience will make you faster per square metre...
Johnb - have you forgotten what the definition of fitness means -to complete a 'personal' task.
What was that fat boys name who broke some speed records ? Lets not tell him we can add 5 knots on the world speed record if he starts eating Lentals lol
'Experience'


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