It’s safe to say that once you start kite foiling, your whole perspective on kiteboarding will change. Building a perfect kite quiver for foiling is one of the steps you will find on your list of to do’s.
You’ll ride longer, farther and faster than ever, you’ll explore more terrain and ride more days in more conditions. One of the greatest things about foiling, regardless of what type of rider you are, there is a simple concept: you’ll have more fun, more often. We like that.
As a foiler, you’ll inevitably face the challenge of deciding what combination of kites works best for your changing needs. You will need to reassess your kite quiver at this juncture. We’ve been through this conundrum ourselves, and we learned a few useful tips along the way.
Here are a few tips on how to set up your kite quiver:
A three-kite quiver is perfect. A foil will give you tons of added range to the kites you have and the conditions you’re able to ride in. If you keep your twin tip or surfboard handy as well, you’ll be able to ride in just about every condition with just three kites. Local conditions will determine what your ideal sizes are, but we’ve found a 6m, 9m and 12m to be about right for most locations.
Don’t rush. Foiling is completely different than riding with a twin tip or surfboard, but that doesn’t mean you have to rush out and buy a completely different set of kites to make it work. Certain kites will be more favorable for foiling in certain conditions and certain types of riding than others. Learn with what you’re comfortable with. As you progress, you’ll quickly discover what shapes, sizes and performance feature best suit your individual needs.
Reliable relaunch is VITAL for marginal, off-season conditions. A foil is great for making the best out of crappy wind, but if you’re not careful it can also get you into trouble. If floating in cold water and waiting for a gust to relaunch so you can make it back to the beach is a reality, you need a kite that rolls on edge or reverses launch with ease. For us, the SST is our kite of choice here since it relaunches so easily.
For steady light wind, choose a high-aspect kite that will generate speed and apparent wind. High aspect kites, like the Slingshot Turbine or the Phantom foil kite, are great for steady light wind because, once you get up and riding, they generate power through apparent wind. This means you can get away with a smaller kite and can ride in lighter wind than with a lower aspect shape.
For strong wind, you want a kite you can sheet out and forget about. Since foiling so efficient and you need hardly any power once you’re up and cruising, you want a kite with excellent drift that remains responsive when depowered and fully sheeted out. In Slingshot’s lineup, the SST is absolutely perfect for foiling in a strong wind.
A 5 or 6 meter is usually the magic number.
“For my smaller kites, I always fly an SST when foiling. They are just more fun because it’s so quick and surf like…If I were you I would get a 5 or 6 SST. IN light winds, when trying to relaunch I just pull on the outside lines and it will come right up. ” –Foil Phenom, Fred Hope advising our CFO Jim Kimball on what kites he needs.
Fred is arguably one of the best all-around foilers in the world. Stay tuned and watch for our I wanna ride like Fred Campaign!
Bar and lines matters … a lot. This detail that is often overlooked, but if you get the proper bar and lines setup you can add a ton of range and customization to your kite quiver. Our preferred setup for foiling, for kites between about 5-13 meters, is a 20” bar with 20m lines and 3m extensions. For all but the smallest and largest kites, the 20” bar is the perfect size for steering speed and handling. Having 3m extensions that can be added or removed before you go out, or between sessions, if the wind changes, adds a huge amount of customization to the power and performance of a kite. Adding the extensions means more power, higher jumping, wider turns, and slower steering; removing means faster steering, tighter turns, and looping, less power and more maneuverability.
Slingshot’s 20” Compstick bars (Sentinel above-the-bar and Guardian below-the-bar come stock with 20m lines and 3m extensions.
For big kites and super light wind foiling, go with a wider 23m bar with 27m lines for more power and easier steering.