an OLD one, larger boards.
When there isn't a lot of wind, I prefer to go with the smallest kite that will work with one of the larger boards that I keep for such conditions. I like the lighter bar pressure and faster kite response of the smaller kites.
Case in point, this morning I go to the beach do a wind check. At around 10 am the hand anemometer says it's about 15 mph. It looks like I will be OK with a 13 m kite trimmed for mid to max angle of attack and a 130 cm twintip. I go down and the wind eases off, a lot. I figure why not a screw around a bit and barely ended up planning during downstrokes. Not a lot of fun.
Summer comes to SE Florida and this was STRONGER than expected for this traditional transition between spring and summer patterns. This station is normally pretty representative of the Delray launch. Today's wind may have been a couple of mph higher. Normally, it's dead calm and raining frequently in early June here.
I land, go back to the car look at my 18 m kite and decide nah, let's do a "retro" session with the 13 m. I grab an almost 7 year old, long directional kiteboard that I threw in the car for just in case and walk back to the beach at around noon. I trimmed the kite for max angle of attack at the pigtails. I can't tell you how many guys have said, "my trimming strap does the same thing." Not in my case, it can make a huge difference in low and high end performance (hint). More about this HERE
If I had something with as thin a leading edge as a Hellfish, I might feel differently about the larger kites but for now the big boys that I have owned are a bit slow.
I go out, body drag out past the inside wave zone barely turning the kite one handed in lulls, it was pretty light. I then proceed to ride down south about a mile and back around four times. No problems with planning now and because I need less power to plane, I can lock the kite in most of the time with less sinusoiding. I weigh 190 lbs. currently. As you can see from the wind or more aptly breeze graph the wind clocked to the east. So, started to head north after I worked about 1/4 to 1/2 mile offshore. I ended up about 7 miles north, turned around and headed back.
The fourteen mile run, round trip.
So, with a 130 cm TT in light wind, going a city block on plane was tricky. With a long direction kiteboard 14 miles, actually quite a bit more than that with the early 2 mile R/T runs, no problem. The wind must have come up a bit during the longer run because at times I was almost fully depowered with the kite at the zenith. Still, what does it take to overpower someone on a 130 cm board vs. a long directional kiteboard with a much greater wetted surface area? Remember it takes significantly less power to plane a board with more wetted area once momentum is developed than something a lot smaller. Another thing about all that planning area is that the board is FAST. Substantially faster than a TT even under somewhat larger kite power.
Long directionals are generally heavy, tricky to jibe and can be ackward in the air during jumps. Also, not all directionals perform equally well. I have gone through quite a few over the years and the performance differences are surprising. Some guys can't stand larger directionals and if that's the case you have to rig big to try to be able to power your shorter board. For quick responsive riding there is nothing like a shorter TT board IF there is enough wind when the big directionals are best left in the past. If not ... bigger can be better, true story!
There are several more case studies of light wind riding sessions, different boards, kites adn experiences at: