The anatomy of a kiteboarding kite

Kites: flying machines powered by the wind | Photo: Red Bull

Discover the different parts of a kite. Learn their technical names and what they're for.

Kiteboarding kites are flying machines powered by the wind. They're more than just a wing made of ripstop polyester or high-tech fabrics. Kites are an aerodynamic structure meticulously designed for having fun.

When the wind hits the kite, it creates lift and propels the rider forward. Understanding the components of a kite will improve your riding performance and your safety as well.

So, if you're a beginner, make sure you know what's what in your kite before launching your kite up in the sky. Kites are not all the same. There are subtle differences from brand to brand, and from one type to another, but they all come with a few basic features.

Parts of a kite: the kite canopy (1), the leading edge (2), the bridles (3), the struts (4), the trailing edge (5), the wing tips (6), the one-pump system (7), the inflate/deflate valves (8), and the self-rescue handles (9)

Each part of the kite system has its function, so get familiar with its components and terms:

1. The Kite Canopy: the main fabric panels that hold the different structural elements of the kite;

2. The Leading Edge (LEI): the primary bladder or the front tube that holds the air. When the kite crashes on the water, the LEI allows us to relaunch it because it floats the kite;

3. The Bridles: a colored line system located on the port and starboard sides of the LEI that keeps the kite balance in the air;

4. The Struts: the rigid air chambers that provide the shape and structure to the kite. Most kites come with between three and seven struts depending on the weight of the rider, and the use given to it (wave, race, speed, free ride);

5. The Trailing Edge: the opposite side of the LEI located at the back of the kite;

6. The Wing Tips: the right and left tips of the kite. They have an impact on the way riders turn, depending on whether they're fuller, squarer, pointier, or narrower;

7. The One Pump System: a single inflation point that pumps the whole kite with air, including the LEI and the struts;

8. The Inflate/Deflate Valves: inflation and deflation point that allow you to fill/empty independent bladders with/from air;

9. The Self-Rescue Handles: useful handles located near the wing tips that will help you get back to shore in an emergency;

Learn more about the kite control bar and the kite lines. Discover the best kites in the market.