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Learning Foil kites

For all foil kite riders


Rakky
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Learning Foil kites

Postby Rakky » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:32 am

I am new to the foil kites and hydrofoil.
I will learn HF first with LEI, but am very interested in learning to fly foil kites.
I have been kiting for about 4-5 years. Love the sport.
Should I buy a trainer kite? or take lessons - can't find any schools that teach foil kiting (Bay Area, California)
The kites/bridles - seems a whole new area of learning. I was watching the Foil Race in SF over the last few days, and even the high level competitors were having trouble getting the kites up/inflating, and a few were delayed joining the race! Seems tricky
End goal is to try a few races

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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby foilholio » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:01 am

Buy a Pansh A15. Cheap great kite, flys fine out of the bag. An ultralight 12 or 15 or maybe even 18 would be great with a hydrofoil. After/if you are happy with that consider getting a race foil kite.

Mossy 757
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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby Mossy 757 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:42 pm

Rakky wrote:End goal is to try a few races
If this is your goal ^
foilholio wrote:Buy a Pansh A15.
Definitely DO NOT do this ^

I'm not sure why Foilholio tries to sell a Pansh kite to every newbie that posts on this forum, maybe their sponsored affiliate program is really lucrative or something, but it would be a really bad idea to buy that kite if you're going to try to get into racing in the SF bay area, 100% wasted money and nobody there will own one so they couldn't possibly help you set it up or fix it if (when) it gets out of tune or comes from the factory messed up (as they reportedly often do).

I was really nervous the first time I launched my friend's 9m Flysurfer Sonic FR, but went out and had a great session without any problems, I even managed a reverse water-relaunch when I screwed up a gybe.

There are some new techniques you'll need to learn to become competent with a foil kite, but nothing you couldn't figure out with the 4 years of kite flying experience you have. Watch these videos before you go out and read the owners manual from the manufacturer to familiarize yourself with the gear, but at the end of the day it's just a kite...behaves like almost any other kite 90% of the time, the other 10% you'll figure out through experience.

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If you're looking for your first foil, I'd recommend a larger size like a 13m or 15m as they're more stable and a little bit easier to fly. Any of the modern race kites are easy enough to learn on except maybe the R1 which I would not recommend to anyone who isn't getting their quivers for free through a sponsorship deal. My first foil kite was a 15m Elf Joker 5 that was completely beat to hell and way out of tune, only paid $900, but I spent a few hours on the beach getting it sorted with an experience foil kite flyer and now it works great. After that I bought a used 11m Flysurfer Sonic FR and felt right at home on a newer, smaller kite.

Take a look at the classified sections of iKitesurf.com, bayareakiteboarding.com, or on this board. There's nothing wrong with a used kite, just be prepared for it to need a bit of a tune up in order to get back to original condition. The members of this forum can help you with that, and most manufacturers publish the schematics for their kites and/or provide good customer support (cannot say the same for Pansh).

You might also go hang out with the racers down at Crissy and see if someone would let you borrow theirs for a quick demo...I know most of the guys who ride at my local beach and would have no problem letting them take one of my foils out on the water just to go back and forth and get a feel for them. All of next year's kites are on the market right now, so you might be able to snatch up a used F-One Diablo, Elf Joker, or Flysurfer Sonic FR for cheap as lots of guys are probably going through the process of moving on to newer kites. Lots of R1V2's in the videos from the Hydrofoil Pro Tour this weekend, makes me think there might be a ton of used Chrono V1's, Diablos, and Jokers on the market. For reference, the Joker is now on v7, so if you see a used Joker 6 that's last year's kite and a Joker 5 is from 2 years ago.

Either way, learning foil kites is pretty intuitive and easily within ANYONE'S reach on modern racing gear...the cult of "fat slow freeride foils" that exists on this board is not representative of course racers these days.

norcom
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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby norcom » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:10 pm

I've recently picked up foil kites, an Ozone R1 v1 17m. It took me about six sessions to get comfortable with it. There are just a few different techniques on how to save them from collapsing, how to launch and land them and just keeping them flying. The bridle no longer scares me after taking it apart and learning how it's connected.

After my first self rescue, I hated the kite with a passion. Then a couple of light wind sessions and getting the launch and flying technique down they're actually kind of cool. I now find it a bit easier to save it flying in super light winds where a tube would definitely fall. I'm sure I'll start to hate it again when I have to drag it out of the water fully filled; and it will happen.

It's a new learning experience, just like foil boarding. Some people like it and some wont. I'm not 100% decided on whether I would replace my big tubes with big foils but I definitely would keep one in the quiver.

Don't expect a miracle though just because you have a big foil and it's <10mph. My R1 is VERY slow and it doesn't generate a lot of grunt to pull you up and get you going. But once you start moving it and it gets some speed, it starts to pull very nicely in barely any wind.

Mossy 757
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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby Mossy 757 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:51 pm

norcom wrote:After my first self rescue, I hated the kite with a passion. Then a couple of light wind sessions and getting the launch and flying technique down they're actually kind of cool.
I went through that same emotional reaction...I loved it at first because it flew in nothing and created WAY more power per square meter than a big tube. Then I got a bit more adventurous and started dropping the kite more and really hated it a lot. After I figured out a few techniques to save it in the really marginal stuff, I started loving them again. Plus after a few swims home with a wet and tangled kite, you just get used to it and begin to feel proud of yourself for the sessions where you don't make a mistake that results in a swim home.

I just think there's a LOT more to hate about foil kites than tube kites, but a LOT LOT LOT more to like about them as well. For me, it's a net win.

Rakky
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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby Rakky » Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:27 am

Thanks for the info and advice.
I will look for a used kite to play with/learn.
Am I being ambitious setting up the kite and flying by myself the first couple of times?
And....if I do crash the kite in the water, do you roll it up with the lines and swim home? or is there a safe technique.
Thanks again.

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Kamikuza
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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby Kamikuza » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:39 am

Rakky wrote:Thanks for the info and advice.
I will look for a used kite to play with/learn.
Am I being ambitious setting up the kite and flying by myself the first couple of times?
And....if I do crash the kite in the water, do you roll it up with the lines and swim home? or is there a safe technique.
Thanks again.
No. Start flying it on the beach, especially in light wind. Relaunch is reverse launch, if it goes down LE onto the water--don't try a regular relaunch.

foilholio
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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby foilholio » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:12 am

Mossy 757 wrote:
Rakky wrote:End goal is to try a few races
If this is your goal ^
foilholio wrote:Buy a Pansh A15.
Definitely DO NOT do this ^
His goal first is to learn foil kites. The A15 is an easy kite to fly and not bad performance. It is also cheap so if he doesn't like foils then no big loss. I think he will like it though.
Mossy 757 wrote:I'm not sure why Foilholio tries to sell a Pansh kite to every newbie that posts on this forum
Because it is a good kite, I speak from much more experience with foils than most on this forum. If I was giving advice on what the best inflatable was I would be skeptical :-)
Mossy 757 wrote: maybe their sponsored affiliate program is really lucrative or something
not in the slightest, I get nothing from pansh, and if that was the case why would I write a PM back to you the way I did when you asked about Pansh ?
Mossy 757 wrote: but it would be a really bad idea to buy that kite if you're going to try to get into racing in the SF bay area
I believe quite a few are owned in that area and by people that post here.
Mossy 757 wrote: 100% wasted money


really... Mossy you have never owned one have you? You sound like you are basing you opinion solely on the likes of windrider. That guy had trouble with a new speed5 and claims he is an expert with kites.
Mossy 757 wrote:and nobody there will own one so they couldn't possibly help you set it up or fix it if (when) it gets out of tune or comes from the factory messed up (as they reportedly often do).
Nearly all of my panshs A15, Aurora, Adam came fine from the factory. The Genesis was quirky and disappointing but still flew, anyway it is fixed now. There is a slight risk but you can ask for help here or send it back and claim paypal. Most times a simple adjustment of B or Z will solve any problems.
Mossy 757 wrote:I was really nervous the first time I launched my friend's 9m Flysurfer Sonic FR, but went out and had a great session without any problems, I even managed a reverse water-relaunch when I screwed up a gybe.
The sonic is quite a difficult kite compared to the A15. It is the most easy of the race foils but still not an easy kite.
Mossy 757 wrote:If you're looking for your first foil, I'd recommend a larger size like a 13m or 15m as they're more stable and a little bit easier to fly.
Good advice
Mossy 757 wrote:Any of the modern race kites are easy enough to learn on


I think he will progress much faster on a non race kite. I see hydrofoilers still mix up with freeride kites to learn.
Mossy 757 wrote:Take a look at the classified sections of iKitesurf.com, bayareakiteboarding.com, or on this board. There's nothing wrong with a used kite, just be prepared for it to need a bit of a tune up in order to get back to original condition. The members of this forum can help you with that, and most manufacturers publish the schematics for their kites and/or provide good customer support (cannot say the same for Pansh).
Buying second hand is a good option, with so many racers changing so often they won't get very much money back at all. Schematics are overrated but nice none the less, so is brand support. I don't think many companies give support for second hand products.

foilholio
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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby foilholio » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:16 am

norcom wrote:Don't expect a miracle though just because you have a big foil and it's <10mph. My R1 is VERY slow and it doesn't generate a lot of grunt to pull you up and get you going. But once you start moving it and it gets some speed, it starts to pull very nicely in barely any wind.
You can change this. Increase the camber of the kite, by shortening Z and/or add a WAC line. Loosening C alone too can also increase camber to an extent.

norcom
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Re: Learning Foil kites

Postby norcom » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:42 am

foilholio wrote:
norcom wrote:Don't expect a miracle though just because you have a big foil and it's <10mph. My R1 is VERY slow and it doesn't generate a lot of grunt to pull you up and get you going. But once you start moving it and it gets some speed, it starts to pull very nicely in barely any wind.
You can change this. Increase the camber of the kite, by shortening Z and/or add a WAC line. Loosening C alone too can also increase camber to an extent.
I've had less than ten sessions on the R1 so I'm not quite yet ready to mess with the speed system or bridle mods. I'm just glad that I'm no longer having second thoughts when I want to use it.


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