GregWoj wrote:@Roberto: How do you configure your 15m XRLW for the absolute bottom range?
95% of the time I have my kite configured the same way: "fast" bridle settings and middle knot on the steering lines. The other 5% of the time I have the steering lines on the last knot/longest knot (when I am flying the kite at it's upper range and I could easily go to an 11m but don't have that luxury for some reason)
Flying any kite at the absolute bottom range takes a bit of finesse. I find that attaching the kite at the first knot (shortest) setting tends to choke the kite. Quite often when flying a kite at it's low end you need to sheet the bar out to get the correct AOA as the kite passes thru the power zone, and then when attaining some apparent wind the bar needs to be eased also to let the kite fly forward. So contrary to what a lot of beginners might think...pulling hard on the bar is not always the way to optimize kite trim.
An efficient board is critical, since the "work" a kite can make is highly dependent on the position of the pilot/rider. If the board cannot go forward fast enough it will undermine the capabilities of the kite. For me this also is a good argument for good tuning/waxing of skis/snowboard...and good board selection/condition for a kiteboard/surfboard.
Probably my fastest twintip (Spleene 139 Session) performs so well because it planes quickly and goes upwind really well..so it builds apparent wind almost instantly. My surfboards are pretty good, but since they have volume the lift is mostly dependent on the (surf) fins, which are not designed for optimized upwind riding. I would say that 9-11 kts is my low end with the 139 Spleene. With a race board I can probably go another knot (wind speed) lower with the 15m Core...?
Light wind kites can be different though...e,g, a Flysurfer 21 doesn't turn quickly to generate bursts of apparent wind like a 15-19m Core, but rather it seems to generate a constant pull by virtue of it's massive wingspan and working area of lift. In any case "lift to weight" ratio is critical in the performance of the kite in ultralight wind...and ability to "drift" in the lulls and the "off-the-wind" headings...but my personal preference in light wind is a light weight kite that turns quickly and has easy bar pressure so you can still whip it around and have a little fun with it.
Even though it's remarkable how much power a big Flysurfer can have it is just not the "feel" I am accustomed to. I am certainly not saying it's a bad thing to be able to ride in super light wind with a big foil. You just need to get used to that "feel".
Sorry the ramble...but making a long story short - I usually ride my kites with the same settings and do not mess around a lot with line extensions either. Again, I just like the "feel" of the standard lines (25m?). There are times and places and circumstances when the wind gradient really makes a good argument for using line extensions (Core provides 3m extensions)...and you can get a little more power if you are willing to trade a little turning speed/responsiveness in exchange.
my 2 cents anyway