When you first start kite surfing, you may get the impression that there is a secret language! As with any sport, there are many terms that have specific meaning in kite surfing which become familiar over the years. Here’s a list of some of the common terms you’ll hear.
This is a safety system that comes with many of 2005 kites. It attaches to your harness and when activated flies the kite with the leading edge into the wind = no power.
Bar or control bar
The steering component of the kite.
The inner tube found in the struts and leading edge of an inflatable kite. Works the same way as a bike inner tube but looks like a giant condom.
The thing you stand on when kiting.
The name given to extra lines around the kite. It allows a kite to fly 2 line or may be used to solidly hold the kite in its shape.
Flotation jacket designed to keep you afloat. Not to be confused with a life jacket which, technically, will keep your head above water if unconscious.
The material that links the struts and the leading edge. The canopy is the most visable part of the kite.
Strong, lightweight but expensive material used in controls bars, wing tip batterns and boards.
The loop below the control bar where you hook into with your harness hook.
Wind blowing directly parallel to the shore, also known as side shore.
An adjustable strap above the depower line in arms reach from the bar. It allows you to make the kite more or less powerful.
The little things that screw into the bottom of your board to provide grip.
The amount of bend in a board.
Harness bar or Spreader bar
A metal bar with a hook that is part of the harness. Often has to be bought separately to the harness, but the shop won’t forget to tell you that! If you are buying a harness second hand make sure you check to see if it comes with the harness bar.
Worn around the kiters waist or bum. They have a metal bar with a hook that hooks into the chicken loop on the control bar taking the power from the kiters arms and distributing it through the whole body.
A hard head protection that should have a strap that goes under your chin. An essential piece of equipment for a beginner.
International Kitesurfing Organisation
A jacket with slight amount of flotation, but is designed to absorb some of the impact after a wipeout.
A hook shaped knife where the gap between the plastic and the knife is only big enough for the lines to fit through. Allows you to cut yourself free in case of a dangerous tangle!!!
The thing that flies in the air.
The self tightening knot used to attach the lines to the kite.
A thicker line that runs from the bar up to the leading edge of the kite.
The main inflatable tube (biggest) that gives the kite it’s characteristic arc shape.
The strong line that attaches you to either your kite or your board. If using aboard leash you must always where a helmet.
Leading Edge Inflatable – kites that inflate with air in a bladder (or tube) to hold their shape.
These are the lines that run from the control bar and attach via a larks head knot to the pigtails on the kite. They are made out of dynema and strenth is measured in pounds. There are back lines also known as outside lines and front lines also known as inside lines.
A synthetic rubber produced in a variety of thicknesses resulting in garments with varying degrees of insulation.
A wind blowing directly away from the shore.
A wind blowing directly onto the shore.
The bits of rope that come off the wing tips of the kite. This is where the lines attach to from the bar.
When the board starts to ‘skim’ across the top of the water at speed rather than ‘ploughing’ through it.
When you are going along and your left hand is on the front of the bar
A name used to describe all your kites or boards. For example, “my quiver consists of a 9m and a 12m”.
The heel edge or toeside edge of the board.
Inflating the kite then attaching the lines before your session so it doesn’t blow away.
The arc shape of the bottom of the board, from tip to tip. Varies dramatically from brand to brand, and can be best described as how much ‘banana’ shape the board has when looked at from side on.
The distance you go from left to right and then right to left.
A system designed to allow you to ditch the power in a kite allowing you a way to deal with dangerous situations which may arise.
When you pull the kite torwards the chicken loop , shortening the back lines in relation to the front lines, bringing the trailing edge into the wind making it more powerful.
When you push the kite away from the chicken loop, lengthening the back lines in relation to the front lines, moving the trailing edge out of the wind to reduce the power in the kite.
When your are going along and your right hand is on the front of the bar.
The inflatable tubes that go along the canopy.
The vertical and horizontal movements of the oceans caused by the gravitational pull of the moon, sun and by the rotation of the earth.
The rear edge of the kite.
The way you turn at the end of each run.
This is when you are sat in the water with your board on your feet. It’s when you use the kite to get you into the position for riding.
Neoprene insulating suit worn for warmth in and out of the water.
The ends of the kite. Some kites have batterns in the wing tips to provide greater strength and improved manoeuvrability.