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Superman and some facts !

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Peter_Frank
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Superman and some facts !

Postby Peter_Frank » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:14 am

Okay, time for some "Mythbusting" !

I have always wondered, how fast/slow do you go upwind when doing a superman in the water to retrieve your board ?
Or do you only slow your drift, so the board drift faster than you ? (some believe this is the case)

Today, in warm water and with absolutely no current, I made some tests.

Set my GPS (Amaryllo GT31) in max resolution and to react on small speed too - jumped off the board a bit out where I could not reach the bottom.
The wind was onshore and no current for sure.


Here are the measured facts from today the19/8-2010:


A picture from another day in bigger waves, where I have missed a strapless aerial, and doing a superman to retrieve my board.
I shoot too "high" so to speak - but you often do that, as it is amazing how fast you get back to your board.
But just to show the principle if there should be some who did not learn or hear about "the superman" in kiteschool - eventhough it is standard today.
Legs and feet straight, lower arm out in front of you in the water, upper arm steering the kite which is held in normal height and with normal power or slightly depowered, and you glide across the wind now (do NOT point up at the wind - the most common mistake...).

Image







Here you can see how I tested.
I jump in the water and let my board drift, while I do 5 superman legs 30-50 meter each leg.
And then I make a "normal" bodydrag downwind to retrieve my board again.

The missing GPS data points on the "right" legs, is because the GPS is on my left upper arm, and in the water - where it can not see the sattelittes.
But does not matter, as it capture again whenever I "turn" at the ends, so the result is fully useable.

Image





Here one can see it a bit closer - quite impressive angle you have when doing a superman without board I think.
Well, actually just as high an angle as when ON your board, sometimes higher when low wind...

Image


Okay, now the facts and interesting numbers (measured and calculated) -

Test is done with a 10m2 Takoon Chrono kite, normally pleasantly powered with a small TT and around 75kg.
1-2 feet small chop waves or less, and wind is not very stable.

------------------------

Superman speed in water: 4-6km/t (2.2 to 3.2 knots).

Angle towards the wind: 15-20° which means 30-40° between the legs.

Superman VMG towards the wind: 1.5-1.6km/t.(0.8 to 0.9 knots)

Average VMG with turns (loss): 1.25km/t. (0.7 knots)

Downwind speed when bodydragging (and kitelooping a bit depowered): 15-23km/t.(8 to 13 knots)

Board drift speed (Takoon Sutra 132x39 with straps up): 1.0km/t (0.54 knots)

------------------------


Above means, that if your board is 10 meter upwind, it will only take around 15 seconds to reach your board.
And NO, current means nothing - many go wrong here and think that current means something too...


The other test I made a bit earlier, was with the same type of kite, just a 12m2 in less wind, but the waves were "breaking" more, so more difficult besides less wind.
The angle towards the wind were around 10-15° which is 20-30° between the legs, but still quite impressive I think.

Other facts measured the same day -

VMG for small TT 132x39: 5-7km/t (2.7 to 3.8 knots).
VMG for small raceboard with antiweed fins: 12-14km/t (6.5 to 7.6 knots)
Downwind VMG for same raceboard: 25-28km/t (13 to 15 knots).

--------------------------

Bottom line is, that one goes very steep upwind when doing a superman !

In fact, one can go more upwind, with you and your kite only - it wind is on the lower side for the board to go upwind - THIS is a fact that really is a new thing for many :roll:

As long as the kite can stay in the air, I will say that you can go upwind by superman'ing :thumb:


So myth is "confirmed" - that you can actually often go at a higher angle upwind without your board, than when ON your board, especially if the wind is on the low side..

When straight onshore and shorebreak - superman'ing out (with your board in your hand/arm) is often the only way to get out and get started - most knows this, but I think it might come as a surprise for some newer kitesurfers 8)


Hope others find the data interesting :D

Kindly, Peter Frank

PS: While writing, I came to think about it - I should have tested the same thing, just with the board under my arm - to see what angle and speed I obtained now - just out of curiosity :roll:
Last edited by Peter_Frank on Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Kamikuza
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Re: SUPERMAN and some facts !

Postby Kamikuza » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:30 am

Oh that's old news to me - I go upwind so much better without a board on my feet :lol: in fact, I swear that due to wave action, my board goes upwind further without me on it ...!

Good test, thanks for doing it - my faith in not having a board leash is reinforced ;)

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Re: Superman and some facts !

Postby jaysen5 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:01 am

good to know.

I have found when kiting in marginal conditions and you can not get up wind while riding the board, you can drop down and body drag up wind. Very useful when kiting in off shore conditions. Much better to body drag back in than deep water pack down and swim.

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Re: Superman and some facts !

Postby cglazier » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:57 am

Good post Peter.

We kite at a location where the wind sometimes lightens so much that we cannot get back upwind to the launch area. It has become standard practice for us to jump off our boards and body drag upwind because it is more effective than riding. And obviously, holding your board in front while body dragging is even more effective than doing it without your board.

In a race once when the wind was light I jumped off and was able to body drag around a mark while everyone riding could not point high enough to make it (yes it is legal by racing rules).

:wink:
CG

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Re: Superman and some facts !

Postby ronnie » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:29 am

Thanks Peter - another very useful post from you.

It will be useful to know the figures for supermanning with the board too. It reinforces how important bodydragging skills are.

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Re: Superman and some facts !

Postby longwhitecloud » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:42 am

apparent wind results in the fact that the slower you go - the better you go upwind angle wise - - sure there are other factors too though

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Re: Superman and some facts !

Postby abel » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:54 pm

Hey Peter,

Great post.
I have to admit that I have an awful time retrieving my board on high swell and wind on/side shore. :oops:
I can't f~#$% see where the board is, so normally I opt to body drag to the shore and wait for the board to come out.

Any suggestions?

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Re: Superman and some facts !

Postby Kirok » Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:17 pm

abel wrote:Hey Peter,

Great post.
I have to admit that I have an awful time retrieving my board on high swell and wind on/side shore. :oops:
I can't f~#$% see where the board is, so normally I opt to body drag to the shore and wait for the board to come out.

Any suggestions?


Get a GoJoe. Then you can see where the board is. I have the same problem and the GoJoe, when I have one on, does the trick.

Kirk

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Re: Superman and some facts !

Postby peterbjarke » Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:48 pm

In principle a Go Joe works. The problem is that users of it don't learn to bodydrag upwind. They will then encounter a problem when the Go Joe implodes or they are testing a board without a Go Joe. I will recommend taking small tacks when in waves in order not to get too far away from the board.

Cheers,

Peter

Kirok wrote:
abel wrote:Hey Peter,

Great post.
I have to admit that I have an awful time retrieving my board on high swell and wind on/side shore. :oops:
I can't f~#$% see where the board is, so normally I opt to body drag to the shore and wait for the board to come out.

Any suggestions?


Get a GoJoe. Then you can see where the board is. I have the same problem and the GoJoe, when I have one on, does the trick.

Kirk

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Re: Superman and some facts !

Postby Feng » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:08 pm

Kirok wrote:
abel wrote:Hey Peter,
Great post.
I have to admit that I have an awful time retrieving my board on high swell and wind on/side shore. :oops:
I can't f~#$% see where the board is, so normally I opt to body drag to the shore and wait for the board to come out.
Any suggestions?

Get a GoJoe. Then you can see where the board is. I have the same problem and the GoJoe, when I have one on, does the trick.
Kirk


The GoJoe has 3 advantages:
1) You always know where is your board even in wave condition.
2) Unless there is a strong current, the board with the GoJoe will drift downwind relatively fast. So you do not need to bodydrag upwind. You only need to wait that the board passes you.
3) The GoJoe makes your board ugly so noone want to steel your boards :-)


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