Kite lines, also known as flying lines, connect the bar to the kite. In other words, they make sure the wing is fully powered by the wind.
Kite lines are made out of polyethylene by Spectra (USA) or Dyneema (Europe).
These are the names of two companies that produce flight lines and bridle lines for kiteboarding.
Trainer kite lines are usually cheaper, and as a result, they are softer and less consistent than standard flying lines.
High-end lines are treated with a special coat to become stiffer so they are more resistant to strong impacts such as wind gusts.
The Five Types of Lines
A complete kiteboarding kit comes with five types of lines:
- Front lines or center lines: They keep the kite high in the air;
- Back lines: They are used by the rider to power, depower, and steer the kite;
- Pigtails and connectors: They are basically the connections between the lines and the kite;
- The 5th line: A safety system that provides extra stability to the front tubes;
- Bridles: A setup of lines that help balance the kite;
Pre-Ride Safety Check
The breaking strength of quality kite lines ranges between 300-450 dekanewton (daN).
The length of the lines varies between 9 meters and 30 meters, but the average length is between 20 meters and 27 meters.
In high wind conditions, kiteboarders opt for riding shorter lines; if the wind is light, you can fly longer lines.
Although lines are pre-stretched by manufacturers, you will need to sail a few hours until connectors and knots are fully stretched.
Kiteboarding's safety guidelines tell us that riders should check their lines after 10 or 20 hours of flying.
If everything's okay, the kite bar will be straight when you connect all lines to a fixed point.
If one of the lines is longer or both front lines are stretched, you need to make repairs.
Tangles and knots are a frequent problem, too.
Kite Line Maintenance Routine
That is why we need to develop a proper kite line management plan for ourselves so that we have a clean setup when we launch the kite:
- Keep low while laying out your lines;
- Keep your lines attached to your kite while you're wrapping your bar up;
- Got a spaghetti of knots? Find the main cluster of knots and fluff them;
- Find the loops, treat them like a line end, and try to free them;
- Free the flagging line and pull it back through your chicken loop assembly;
- Free the other lines, one at a time;
Remember that kite lines have different colors - usually red for the left (port) and green for the right (starboard) - and patterns at each end so that you can rapidly recognize and sort them.
The same applies to pigtails - colors will determine which one is right or left.
When you conclude a kiteboarding session, make sure you wrap up the lines on the bar in a figure of eight and use the rubber band to secure them.
Learn how to attach the lines to a kite.