Tech Talk: kiteboard volume
In these Tech-Talk videos we will answer all your board related questions. From volume to the rocker of a kiteboard. Ask your questions via social media or send us an email. We will answer them in our next videos!
Kiteboard volume, it’s a tricky thing
The final part of the kiteboard design video series is out! In four episodes we have tried to answer all your questions about how to choose the best kitesurf board. This last episode is about volume in a kiteboard. Volume is a bit tricky in kitesurfing. You can kitesurf on a square piece of wood and still be able to ride upwind. Yet the volume in a kitesurf board does matter a lot. Wieger explains why.
Don’t feel like watching a video or would you rather read anyway? Below the video is a summary of what is told in the video
This is another episode of our series on kiteboard design. We made already a couple of videos about kiteboard design. You might have seen them already. This is the final episode and today we’re going to talk about volume. Volume is a bit of a tricky thing in kitesurfing. In surfing, the volume is a really important metric. It always used to be the length and the width, but nowadays people say like I really like to have my surfboards at 33 liters for instance. And then I’ll have a short board for smaller waves and for bigger waves roughly around the same volume but then with a different outline and different nose and tail to match the conditions.
Volume matters for wave riding
In kiteboards volume is also very important. But you have to imagine that twin tips don’t have volume. If you take the bindings off they’ll sink. How can you still ride them? It’s because they give upward lift because you’re planing on the water surface. With the kite surfboards it’s very similar. If you’re fully powered on the kite you basically don’t ride the volume of the board, you ride the planing of the board. You can ride on a square piece of wood basically and you would still be able to ride upwind. So why does volume matter? Volume mainly matters for wave riding.
What is the perfect volume for a kiteboard?
When you do purely wave riding you want to have a board that sort of gets close to what you would use for normal surfing. Or a little bit lower in volume. You can lose a couple of liters because you don’t have to paddle. When the kite is drifting and you’re purely riding the wave, the volume really helps pushing you down the wave and making those flatter sections. Even though you can still grab the kite to go around flatter sections, because it’s obviously much different when kite surfing.
What about volume in freestyle kiteboards?
Nowadays you see quite a lot of freestyle oriented boards going lower and lower in volume. That is because those guys ride really powered, so you don’t really need that volume anymore. But as we explained in different videos already, a pure freestyle board might not be for everyone.
Why the volume is lower in kitesurfing
Most people want something in between, like a hybrid kiteboard. So the volume will also be something in between. For instance this Malus Domestica. It’s a 5’2” and it’s only 22 liters. My normal surfboard would be 32 or 34 liters. In kite surfing I can go like 10 liters lower, but i wouldn’t want to go much lower than 22 liters. Because then I really lose that float in the board when I’m going down the line and on the wave. Of course the volume works together with the outline and the rocker that we talked about in different videos. With a wider outline with more surface area you can use less volume because more surface area will give you more planing. It is a sort of upward volume.
Pushing those rails in the water
One thing you really need to think about when you’re deciding on what board might be right for you, is that if you grab a board with more volume usually the rails will be thicker. Now this isn’t the problem when you’re a bigger heavier guy like me because I have the weight to push the rails back down. But if you are for instance a 50 or 60 kilogram girl and you have a really thick board, you don’t have the weight to push those rails back down in the water. You see quite a lot of people riding boards with way too much volume, that some brands will sell as a beginner board. It makes sense in some kind of way, because it’s easy with a lot of float. But as soon as you get bit better than going lawn mowing back and forth the volume actually starts to work against you. Because you can’t push that rail back into the water. The water will push it back, because there’s too much volume in the rail and the board will become really bouncy and annoying in the chop.
It’s all about the balance
You need to find the right volume for you and the right volume for the conditions you ride. But don’t assume like in normal surfing to go for a high volume board to learn. In kitesurfing it’s not that way. You don’t want to have a really high volume board. You want to look into other characteristics that makes the board easier to ride. Like a lower rocker or an easier upwind shape or a wider tail, but not necessarily a higher volume. Again, volume is super tricky. It works really together with the other characteristics like the rocker and the outline. But with this information I hope to have given you a little bit more insight into how we design boards and how we balance those different characteristics to make the board suitable for you and for the kind of riding that you like to do.
If you want more information on what board might be good for you, make sure to check our Kiteboard Finder. You fill in a couple of your details and the kind of conditions you generally ride and it will give you a top five of boards in our range. It is a really good starting point for you to start exploring what different kind of boards there are, how they will behave and how they might work for you.
Excited about our next Tech-Talk video? Or are you wondering if your question will be discussed in the next episode? Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll send you an email when the next video is out!