Kiteboards: Small Vs Large - Versus Ep 08
If you’ve been kiteboarding for a while, chances are you started on a smaller board. In 2017 the industry has trended towards larger boards. So is this just hype or here to stay?
10 years ago if you learned on a smaller board, it was for good reason. Kites haven’t always had the de-power that they do now. A lot of kite control started with the board, this is still the case with more aggressive kites like C-kites or even performances kites like the Dice and the Fx.
While these kites have much more de-power than their predecessors. Much of the kite control is still depended on the board. Conversely, this is much less consequential on freeride kites.
To new riders, I highly recommend a bigger board for the ease of use. To the experienced riders out there looking for a new board, I would say, don’t be afraid to go a little bigger. There are a lot of advantages going with a bigger board. If you’re paying attention to our industry and similar board sports like wakeboarding and cable boarding, you’ll see this is a common trend across the board.
So what do you get out of a bigger board?
For starters, it’s going to have more planeability. What that means is with a larger surface area, you’ll be able to get up on the board with less power from the kite. It’s also really nice on those gusty days with holes in the wind.
Opting for a larger board help power you through the holes in the wind. I’ve also found going for a larger board with a little more rocker makes for softer landings without sacrificing much pop. We’ll talk about rocker more in the next video.
What about smaller boards?
Some people still prefer smaller boards because they are lighter and you can go out a little overpowered with your kite. You know what, I totally get that. To give you perspective, at 175 pounds, I choose to ride anything from 140 cm to 144 depending how much rocker the board has. I also tend to favor boards that are a bit wider.
When I learned, I actually learned on a 135 cm. That’s a pretty big difference in boards and when I did ride smaller boards, I loved having my kite powered up as much as possible. You actually almost have to if you want to get any air or pop.
Now, what I realized is when opting for a bigger board, I had to change the way that I rode a little bit, but for the better. This is when I first learned about using board speed and technique for popping and boosting. The benefit for using a larger board is that you can ride a little underpowered and frankly, learning new tricks doesn't hurt near as bad when you're not lit up all the time.
So to this, I would say each to their own. Riding juiced up on a smaller board makes for it’s own unique style, while riding a larger board and using a smaller kite makes for easier progression and softer falls albeit, it will take you a few sessions to learn how to ride underpowered.
What is an appropriate board size for you?
It comes down to rider weight and you’ll want to consider the stance width as well. Opt for a board where you can stand comfortably with your feet in line with your shoulders or ideally just a bit wider.
Check out this great video Blake Olsen did on board stance here:
- Under 100 pounds choose 115 cm to 127cm.
- 100 to 150 pounds choose 132 to a 138 cm
- 150 to 170 pounds go for a 135 to a 141cm
- 170 to 200 pounds, opt for a 139 to 145 cm
- 200 pounds and up, go for a 144 to a 165 cm.
So that’s it for this week. Next Wednesday we’ll talk about flat boards vs Rockered boards and the following week we'll cover construction basics like carbon, wood or the other various materials used and how they impact your ride.
As always please let us know your thoughts on this subject. Let's do a survey, comment what size board you use, how much you weigh and the size kites you pair it with. That way people doing research on boards can hear not only what I had to say, but what you had to say.