We were doing some research into types of kiteboards this week and asked one of the local groups Northeast #kitelifecrew what most riders consider when buying a kiteboard. Some of the answers were rather interesting and so we decided to put this article together. Whether you’re just getting into kiteboarding or you’re a seasoned kiteboarder sometimes deciding on the right kiteboard for yourself can be a bit overwhelming with all the options these days. What type of shape should you get? Which style of riding do you prefer the most? Do you want an aggressive rocker or a shallow rocker? How wide a board do you need? All these factors can make selecting the correct board for your needs a bit of touch decision. The shop assistants at your local kiteboarding shop can guide you in the right direction with selecting the right kiteboard for you, however, it is always good to have some background knowledge about the types of boards that are available on the market.
When buying a new kiteboard there are a few things to consider: Width, thickness, flex, rocker and length. These features help determine the kiteboards performance. Here are a few things to take into account before spending your hard-earned money on the type of kiteboard best suited to your needs.
Long boards are great for beginners and for those light wind days. Longer kiteboards are able to be controlled in high riding speeds. Long boards are also forgiving and offer early planing.
Short boards are great for strong winds. They are more nimble and loose which offers the rider a greater ability to manipulate the board.
Wide boards are able to go on plane earlier than narrow boards. Having a wider board during light wind days is ideal.
Narrow boards are controllable in chop and high wind speeds.
Thin boards have direct, light weight, specific flex zones.
Thick boards are more stable and buoyant.
Big rocker in a kiteboard offers a more comfortable ride. When a board has a big rocker its edges catch less during maneuvers and is easily controllable during choppy water sessions and/or in strong winds. The board is slower at planing capabilities.
Little rocker in a kiteboard makes the board faster and able to hold a precise edge for controlled popping. The rails of boards with little rocker catch more easily and can be more challenging to ride.
The more flex a kiteboard has the more comfort riders will experience. More flex also offers softer riding and landings by absorbing the chop of the water.
A board with too much flex, however, is not direct and too soft to pop efficiently.
Stiff boards are ideal for heavier riders. They offer more power and are best for freestyle riders.
Soft boards are great for light weight riders or in light winds.
Shape of the Kiteboard:
Round – easier to turn but less edge control for take off.
Straight – good edge control for take off but harder to turn.
Concave – great upwind potential but bad turning performance.
Types of Kiteboards
A twin-tip is a symmetrical board that can be ridden in both directions.
Balanced Length/Width Ratio
Medium Flex and Rocker
Slightly Round Tips
Easily Turns and Good for Cruising
Airush VOX Kiteboard
The Airush Vox is a all-new entry-level board at the right price. The Vox offers a nice blend of flex and rocker for a smooth rider through flat water or chop.
Liquid Force Legacy Kiteboard
Liquid Force Legacy advancements include a progressive rail concave for added edge hold and enhanced durability, a full double concave for more efficient riding, and a state of the art flex profile for eating choppy conditions, softer landings, and more powerful takeoffs.
Naish Motion Kiteboard
The Motion is for riders looking for unrivaled versatility in one “do-it-all” design. This board offers everything from freeride and freestyle performance to twin tip wave riding functionality.
North X-Ride Kiteboard
The X-Ride is the perfect all-round machine for the ambitious and advanced Freerider on the way to the first Freestyle manoeuvres.
Slingshot Misfit Kiteboard
One of Slingshot’s longest-running boards, the Misfit is a time-tested design perfect for general freeride kiters who want a twin tip they can use anywhere, in any condition. The Misfit features mild rocker and a relatively stiff flex pattern, making it a board that cuts up wind and beats through chop exceptionally well.
Good Landing Features
Airush Apex Kiteboard
Suited from intermediate to advanced aggressive riders, the Apex delivers a unique combination of high rocker, increased width, and Airush’s new, Venturi Concave. The Airush Apex allows a rider to advance from footstraps to bindings without any compromise in performance. The reinforcement and style of the board make it a perfect all-round freeride/freestyle machine.
Core choice 2
For radical unhooked freestyle tricks or lazy downwinders in either boots or straps the Core Choice 2 should be your first choice. More pop and silly grins guaranteed. Boots or straps. Finned or finless. There really is no other Choice.
The Cabrinha XCaliber is a world class competition freestyle model. Its high performance comes from the extensive use of structural carbon that stiffens the flex pattern, for increased response and explosive pop.
North Jaime Kiteboard
When the best of Freestyle and Freeride are combined, you get the North Jaime. As one of North Kiteboarding’s longest standing Freestyle boards with a legendary status, the Jaime is great for both hooked-in and unhooked riding
The Asylum delivers fast top-end speeds, aggressive edging and smooth load and pop, making this an ideal board for progressive and aggressive freestyle and freeriding.
Long and Wide
Very Buoyant and Forgiving
Great Upwind Performance
Airush Square One Kiteboard
The Airush Square One Kiteboard is the perfect learning machine, the Square One offers an extremely stable platform due to its width and additional volume, with the flat rocker and parallel outline maximizing light wind and upwind performance.
Cabrinha Stylus Kiteboard
Cabrinha Stylus is designed to help larger riders or those looking to get out on the water in the lightest breeze. The flat and square outline of the Stylus helps it jam upwind and plane out early, making the most of every trip to the beach.
Core Fusion 2 LW
The new Fusion 2 LW edition. The Swiss Army® knife of light wind kiteboards. Always the right choice for your next epic session. Wind conditions don’t matter when you‘re riding the Fusion 2 LW, the ultimate all style twin tip. Your weapon of choice to deliver maximum stoke on those marginal wind days.
Liquid Force Libre Kiteboard
If you think about kiting at the first sign of the leaves moving on trees, the slight flutter of a flag or the hint of breeze at your local sensor, the Libre will make your ambition of being the first on the water a reality. Be the only one kiting when the wind is simply not windy!
Slingshot Glide Kiteboard
The Glide is our dedicated light-wind board designed to get you out and riding, and having a blast doing it, while others sit on the beach waiting for the wind to come up. Like all of Slingshot’s twin tips, the Glide is hand-built in the USA, with high-quality materials sourced from the Pacific Northwest.
Wide, Hard, and Little Flex
Strongly Built with Channels
Airush Livewire Kiteboard
The stiffest layup in the Airush board range, the Livewire Reefer is ideal for huge powered moves and, combined with the higher rocker.
Core Bolt 2
The Bolt is rail ready. It brings super tough, wakestyle construction with the right amount of flex and bombproof boot inserts. But that is not what makes this board so special. The Pro Fix Grindbase, on the other hand, is. The Bolt’s revolutionary snowboard-like base will make your next session a little smoother.
Liquid Force Echo
Designed in collaboration by LF freestyle / wakestyle master, Brandon Scheid, and legendary wakeboard and kiteboard shaper, Jimmy Redmon, the Echo features the most advanced shape and contour of the LF profiled wood core design.
Naish Stomp Kiteboard
The Stomp offers riders the best of all worlds: superior freestyle and freeride performance with the advantages of a wakestyle-inspired design. Ideal for aggressive wakestyle riders using footstraps or boots, this board delivers insane drive, edging and pop.
For the rider who indeed wants to do it all, the Refraction shreds in almost any conceivable situation. It’s definitely designed with more advanced riders in mind, with reasonably high rocker intended to get the most pop for those aggressive riders who want to land something new every session.
Directional kiteboards – Surfboards and Foilboards
Kitesurfing is becoming vastly popular in the world of kiteboarding. Surfboards are shaped with a tail and a front/nose making them ridable only in one direction.
Foilboards are shaped with a rounded tail and nose making them ridable in one direction but also able to easily cut through chop when attached to a hydrofoil.
Pointy or blunt nose with a lot of curve
Round edges that sharpen toward the tail
Higher volume for easy turning and early planing
Footpads or surf wax ideal
Large fins also known as skegs
Airush COMPACT Surfboard
The Compact has a stepped hip area to maintain width further forwards and has more curve in the nose area to help the board to “hook” around towards the end of the top turn as you bury the rail of the board. The narrower tail can also be buried more easily in the top turn, which also compensates for the flatter tail rocker.
Slingshot Celeritas Surfboard
The Celeritas features a stout body, curved outline and mild rocker. The result is a stable board that planes easily, performs great in light wind and slower speeds and carves upwind well. The Celeritas’ rounded thumb tail and three-fin configuration give it a snappy feel, while far-back stomp pad and foot strap inserts give riders the ability to position themselves directly over the rear fins for aggressive handling and locked-in turning.
North Wam Surfboard
Classic, smooth, and controlled, the Wam is the best all-around performer, no matter the conditions. It is the solution without any regrets for those who are looking for the one-for-all board in their quiver. The perfect match if you’re wanting a traditional, yet stylish ride in classic surfboard shape – no wonder the Wam has had gleaming reviews in magazines all over the globe!
RRD Maquina K V2 Surfboard
The classic thruster, the one you want to be riding when you want to have a total reliable shape that will never let you down. An extension of your mind and eyes to the line to draw on the waves. The new Maquinas V2 are pure surf skates, drawing perfect lines and getting you where you want to be at any time. Blink if you dare, you might miss an unforgettable moment of joy.
Firewire Evo Surfboard
The Evo is a well-balanced craft suitable for all levels of riders. It’s wider central point compared to the Vader works exceptionally well to create lift and a smooth feeling of levitating above the water. The board has tremendous amounts of float and in the larger lengths will solve the bigger rider/light wind puzzle.
Typically rounded edges
Incredible upwind capabilities
Foot straps or strapless – depending on your riding level
No fins, attached to a hydrofoil
Ideal for racing, freeride and exploration
Cabrinha Double Agent
the Cabrinha Double Agent covers two bases with one setup – a hydrofoil as well as a surfboard that doesn’t compromise. Stable and easy to ride, the Double Agent will get you up and successful on a foil in no time!
The Levitaz Exo is your allround foilboard for every style and condition. Thanks to its lightness and agility, it allows you to perform your most radical moves. Due to its compact design, you can easily travel with this board. The Levitaz Exo is equipped with a track system which lets you assemble and mount it according to your preferences and skills.
Liquid Force Happy
This multi-purpose, magical ride will take you from smooth sailing hydrofoil action to finned up wave slashing. To be used with or without a foil, the Happy has been designed with wakesurf inspired DNA that crosses into a perfectly adaptable board to foil on.
Shinn El Stubbo Foil
Few boards manage multi-use well but this beauty excels in sliding skate style, wave or hydro-foil action making it as close to the one board quiver as we’ve come. Utilizing our unique Foil Plate to add rigidity when needed and yet maintain controlled flex and chop-munching capabilities when ridden in more conventional mode, El Stubbo can be taken with 0,1, 2 or 3 straps, in Quad-fin, twin fin or hydro foil flight mode.
Slingshot Alien Air
Slingshot’s famed foil board returns for to teach an all-new generation of kiters the art of the foil. With a shape specifically designed to avoid any sort of pearling or catching of an edge, this is awesome for new learners and veteran foilers alike. With an adjustable mount and plenty of footstrap options, this is a board that will allow anyone to get up and shred a foil.
Whichever route you decide on for purchasing your kiteboards, remember to do your research first. Having the correct kiteboard under you can make all the difference and even help take your riding skills to the next level.
If you enjoyed this post about the Types of Kiteboards, please share the love.