Kiteboarding Kites Comparison Essay

A nightmare for every kiter is a broken line. To make things worse it happens often right in the middle of a perfect session. Then the next step is thinking of a solution; buy the same lines or maybe look for an alternative?

Better to prevent than to cure

Probably the best way to prevent any breaking lines is investigating some time in what bar and lines you are using.

Which lines are the best?

One of the most important facts on a bar is the strength of the lines. A stronger line usually also means a thicker line. Thicker lines means more drag, so a stronger line will be beneficial for the durability but may also affect the flying aspects of the kite.

Finding out what you use is one thing (which is really difficult for most brands), but judging the quality of a line is not that simple. The first thoughts to a good line is a high breaking load, but there are more details that are important. When we made an initial comparing’s table, we found out it is quite complicated; information was inadequate, missing or even incorrect. To make things even more complicated many persons with a certain degree of knowledge will state that with kiteboarding we don’t reach this breaking load which is of usually easily over the 250 Kg’s (which is stated in units of daN, which is more or less the same; see a conversion tool on the web).

The additional aspects which are interesting to know are stated at the manufacturers of the kite lines. Aspects like from break load, weight, Stretching, diameter and some other information is given in the links below from some of the (Austrian Teufelberger and the Dutch Eurocord) Dyneema kite line producers. One thing that becomes clear is that simply stating a xxx kg line strength is not the way to compare lines. You need to know much more…Sadly current information is really poor. Most kite brands seem very good in bragging about the quality but it is close to impossible to verify. Brands that do state information, especially verifiable information like the brand and type of lines provided, should be rewarded.

 

Link to Teufelberger’s kite line range: http://www.teufelberger.com/uploads/tx_txconceptadownloads/14-05-16_Kite_Leinen_Folder_2014_web_01.pdf

Link to Eurocord’s kite line range; http://www.eurocord.nl/kitelines/introduction

The list

As we got into this subject deeper and deeper the more complicate it got. More details to look into, old and missing information from almost all brands. On top of that we don’t know for sure which lines are better than others. What if your 500 daN breaking strength line stretches more. Or it is so thick it affect the flying of your kite. Is it still the best line?

We tried to list a few details we did find, but this is far from complete to say the least. It goes without saying that the list will be altered and added if new information comes in, but so far 9 out of 10 brands don”seem to care and don’t respond adequately.

Funny little details stated on line quality experiences can be found at the Switch kites discussion board; http://switchkites.com/headquarters/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2678 (where they admit to have switched to Teufelberger due to stretched lines from their previous supplier (but is also more expensive).

As most brands (like F-one, North, Best etc.) don’t reveal anything on their lines, there are also some remarkable issues found;Some issues we stumbled on when searching for information;

North Kiteboarding has released an upgrade kit for the 2015 Quad control bar. Before the upgrade there was a black part located at the split point, which damaged one of the front lines. Unfortunately North’s “upgrade” solves the scratching of this black part, but it doesn’t solve the second issue; One of the front lines comes without sleeve. Since the line is connected through it’s own line it will still get damaged. (It is even shown at the guided picture from North’s explanation, see below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

We contacted North by several means (FB, email etc), but we did not receive any response on our questions on the unsleeved line at the 2015 Quad Bar. update 20th July 2015; North did react but doesn’t want it to be published here.

Core Kiteboarding makes some percentile remarks on the lines used on the Sensor pro bar. It is better than nothing, but it doesn’t provide the real information;.. line sets are slightly thinner and 10 percent lighter, whilst boasting a 50 percent higher break load. All though we got some limited answers that this is 550 kg (540 daN), we still wonder why this information isn’t put on their website.

French kite line producer Cousin Trestec has it’s product line on-line in a pdf. The url for this pdf suggests these products are from 2011. It also states it produces lines for F-One, Slingshot,Takoon, Zeeko, Cabrinha, North, Best, Flexifoil, Rrd,Genetrix,Best, Ozone…This information must be outdated, since at least North, Best and probably a few others no longer get their lines from Cousin Trestec.

We asked line producer Teufelberger some questions by e-mail.  Dieter Fellhofer from this Austrian company was so kind to answer them.

The answers from Dieter are stated below in purple;

My main questions are on the kite lines. I see you state them very accurate and clear on the web in a pdf. (http://www.teufelberger.com/uploads/tx_txconceptadownloads/14-05-16_Kite_Leinen_Folder_2014_web_01.pdf). The “NG” line seems to be from 2014 (as you can see in the url?).

That is true. In the flyer we give a complete overview to our range of kite lines. As we are supplying just brand owners and/or OEM manufacturers with lines (with an industrial reel length, but not to end-consumers or kite shops), we design the lines later on depending on the individual demand of our customers as well. The technical design is the same, as this is the much more critical issue. F.ex., the flying lines of North Kites (FL-10 as front and back line, FL-9 as 5th-Element line for their 5-liner) has a specific look, but the line is used on the bars of Switch as back line as well. The front line is a FL-14. Anyhow, the finish of the bar, ie. the way of line cutting etc., is something like a secret of the manufacturer and/or the brand owner. North f.ex. is investing a lot of time and energy to find out the right way, simply to guarantee the perfect line set-up for their bars.

Is there a fixed frequency of updating the productline (like once every xx year?). And for what reason would that be? Is there also the possibility that you update one line and not the other?

The development is ongoing, but it is not comparable to the model years of kites and bars. Our main focus goes on updated in the manufacturing and pre-stretching process as well as in the impregnation. The fiber itself is more or less set with Dyneema® by DSM, but we are also the only manufacturers who is offering special high-end qualities of Dyneema, like DynaMax DM20 and SK99. Zian Kites f.ex. is going with our lines made out of the very expensive DM20 fiber. This fiber offers some additional advantages over the standard quality (called SK75 or 78).

I am also very curious on how much standardized the testing on the lines is? Is there some sort of ISO standard that is followed?

This is a very good question! There is no real standard around. As I was working for about 20 years in the windsurfing industry, I started with the kite line development here at Teufelberger about 11 years ago. The approach was to design a product especially for the kite application, starting with a plain piece of white paper. We invited the PMs of important brands to specify their expectations for a perfect line and this was the basis for a test set-up, which we are still using. For your information, “FL” stands for Flying Line and we started with FL-1 in 2005. Now in 2015 the very last prototype is called FL-41 – so you see that we have worked hard and developed a lot of new lines – not all of them were meeting our expectation, but all of these lines are tested in exactly the same way. This allows a perfect comparison for us and our customers. The test shows breaking load, elongation at 20, 40, 60 and 80 daN (kg), like Switch reported in their forum as well tests for UV resistance and, very important for us as well, abrasion resistance and finally creep (irreversible elongation). We have invited also magazines to our test facilities, to show them more about kite lines.

We try to find out which kite brand uses which line. This is mainly ment ot give people an isight of what they buy. I also saw that some brands even switched from brand after some own test. (see a remark on http://switchkites.com/headquarters/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2678)

I did not know this forum, but I think that this underlines my comments from above … I am totally convinced, that our lines are showing low elongation, but in combination with highest abrasion resistance and high breaking load. Okay, the lines are not so stiff – but you know why? A stiff line will never ever be abrasion resistant.

I also see sometime remarks on the web that Kite brands have a custom made coating. Is this from Teufelberger, or is it all you can deliver in the pdf? Or do they coat it at an own facility?

The coating (impregnation) for our lines are coming from our R&D, but we can customize the look (colour). Our customers can choose the line model, but the technical development is just done internally and is one of the secrets for a line to be a good one … or a failing one.

One more question can be a bit tricky, since it may be a critical one to one of your customers, so I understand if you don’t answer it; We saw a specific solution from North kiteboarding for an attachment of one of its lines without a (end) sleeve; you can see the picture here: I am not sure what line type it is, but I suspect FL-10. I think this connection is not meant without a sleeve (line upper left in white with red in it), but maybe you have an other opinion? The otehr 3 connections do have a sleeve.

I am not able to answer this question, because the line set-up on the bar and/or the detailed specification is worked out by the brand and the manufacturer. We are just supplying the line to them, but we do not finish the line. This would not be possible for reasonable costs here in Europe, to be honest …

The kite line looks pretty simply, but I can assure you that it is a really high tech product … with a lot of development behind it. Our company is 225 years old and is producing ropes since the very first days, but with the kite lines and their really small tolerances, our technicians learned a lot about fibres and impregnations as well – which was good, because now we understand the details much better. Do not forget that a lot of lines are paraglide lines, which are in the market since a long time, but these lines do not really match with the specific demand of kite lines …

Dieter Fellhofer

Sales Manager Sports Division

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Best Kiteboarding have produced a great looking lineup of kites for 2013 and we have been getting our hands dirty by testing the whole lot. The lineup includes:

Best Kahoona (Version 5)

Best TS (Version 2)

Best GP (Version 2)

Best Cabo (New for this year!)

The names sound catchy and the kites look great, but which kite is for you?

We asked around REAL and also had a chat with our friends at Best Kiteboarding to put together a quick chart comparing some basic features of each kite:

With that in mind, let’s take some examples of various rider profiles to try and help differentiate these Best Kites. Try to find the best category that suits you and your riding.

1. The Beginner:

REAL recommends the Best Kahoona or the Best TS for riders looking to get into the sport. The Kahoona and the TS both offer a big wind range with good relaunch. As you can see from the chart, the TS will jump a little higher and go upwind better while the Kahoona has unmatched relaunch and stability. We think the main difference is where you would like to progress to:

Best TS: Ideal for riders who will spend the bulk of the next few years freeriding and getting into freestyle (hooked or unhooked).

Best Kahoona: Well suited to you if you would like to progress into riding waves on some or all of your sessions.

2. The Lawn Mower or Weekend Warrior

We know full well that a lot of you just don’t get to go kiteboarding as much as you would like. This means that when you do go out, mowing the lawn and boosting is exactly what you are after. If this rings a bell for you, REAL recommends the Best TS because of the upwind performance, jumping height and wind range.

3. The Surfer:

Riding waves (or kitesurfing) requires a kite that feels fast and direct. The most important factor though is that the kite feels really reliable and predictable (you know exactly where the kite is at all times). This is something that you are just going to have to trust us on. We have ridden all of these kites extensively and Cape Hatteras is a darn good place to test a kite in waves! Here is our verdict on how each kite reacts in the waves:

Best Kahoona: Actually not a bad wave kite because of the stability and relaunch. It doesn’t turn as fast as the TS or the Cabo though.

Best TS: Designed to be an all rounder with a direct feeling, it’s no surprise that the TS performs well for kitesurfing in waves.

Best Cabo: This is Best Kiteboarding’s dedicated wave kite. The Cabo a little faster than the TS and the Kahoona and has had the words “kitesurf” and “wave-specific” printed all over it since day one. Nevertheless, the Cabo will perform well in the flats too.

4. The Pleasure Cruiser:

Not everyone likes to go at a million miles an hour. If you prefer a less physical experience and just enjoy the feeling of the sport then you should stick with the Best Kahoona. The user friendly nature and light bar pressure will keep you feeling fresh and ready for another sessions.

5. The Freestyler/Wakestyler:

It’s a well known fact that nothing quite compares to the feeling of a true C-Kite when it comes to unhooked tricks. The Best GP will deliver the pop and drop you are looking for. If you need a kite that is a little more versatile but will still allow you to push your freestyle progression, the Best TS is a solid choice.

Still confused?

Hopefully this summary will clear it up for you:

Best Kahoona: Designed for Beginners, intermediates and pleasure cruisers  - but will also work for riders looking to get into kitesurfing (wave riding).

Best TS: Designed to have a place in everyone’s quiver – the TS is the jack of all trade that will work in a huge range of conditions. If you are torn between the TS and the Kahoona, REAL recommends the TS for 95% of riders.

Best Cabo: Dedicated wave kite – but of course will perform nicely in the flats too!

Best GP: Dedicated freestyle and wakestyle kite.

Gear News, KiteboardingKiteboarding, TS, Review, Kitesurfing, Kahoona, GP, Cabo, Best Kiteboarding← Previous PostNext Post →

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