November marks the beginning of so many different exciting things for so many Floridians. Most people find pleasure in the ability to simply sit outside without breaking a sweat and being eaten alive by bugs. Fisherman look forward to the return of larger pelagic fish and for others the season brings return of business to their family owned shop. However, I don’t think anyone is more excited for October in Florida than my fellow Kiteboarder’s. For Kiteboarder’s, October marks the beginning of the first wind bearing cold fronts. The wind generated by these fronts can create world class Kiting conditions. To get the most out of these approaching weather systems, Kiters will need to make some preparations.
During the summer months, light southerly sea breezes dominate. The equipment used for these conditions is usually quite large and bulky as it usually requires the kiter to use a larger kite and larger board in order to generate enough power to ride. During the fall and winter months, higher wind equipment will be needed. This usually consists of smaller kites and smaller boards. A smaller kite generates less lift and a smaller board does not plane as easily. This allows the rider to maintain lift and speed more effectively. A common misconception is that higher winds are more dangerous and more difficult. Actually, higher winds up to about 20 knots make kiting easier and in some cases even safer than lighter winds, given the kiter has the proper equipment and training for the conditions.
For kiters reading this article, I strongly recommend pumping up all of your smaller kites and letting them sit for a few hours. It is very common for the glue on the valves and seems to fail in the summer heat. it is a horrible feeling when those world class conditions make their appearance and you are stuck on the beach watching your kite deflate in front of you.
It is important to check that all of your emergency releases are functioning correctly. Even stainless steel and nylon release systems can become seized. I recommend going through the system and performing any recommended manufacture maintenance. This usually includes changing elastic parts and checking for build up of salt or corrosion.
Next, check all of the bolts on your board, especially the screws holding your bindings or straps. often, due to the summer heat and passage of time, the materials on the board will compress and this will cause the hardware on your foot straps and fins to become loose. I recommend removing any fasteners, adding some blue lock tight, and then tightening to proper torque.
If you find that any of your equipment is in disrepair our simply outdated, this is the best time of year to find deals on equipment. Manufactures are starting to release all of their 2018 equipment and 2017 equipment will be on closeout sales. As always, never kite outside of your abilities, and always be sure to give wide birth to other beach goers and water sports enthusiast. I hope you have a great start to the season!
– Jeremy Lund
Owner of NWK
Serving, Stuart, West Palm Beach, Jensen Beach