What’s The Deal: Line Lengths & Kiteloops!
Article written by Kyle Cabano
What’s the deal is a dedicated reading column on our blog that is focused around understanding the technicalities of popular & trending kite topics. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with all of our latest news. Subscribers are also entered into monthly product give-aways! Stay tuned.
There is a relationship between your body weight, kite size & line length. This trifecta of variables can be used to tailor your performance of your kite while doing Big Air tricks. There is a sliding scale of performance, with shorter lines generating more yank as the kite steers below you as a trade-off to the height you may be used to achieving on longer kite lines. While it is clear that the short line kiteloops are trending, there is very little information about them. With most of the riders having figured it out themselves, we decided to create an article along with some of the industry’s top riders, to help make it a little clearer & encourage any inquisitive kiters to try out different combinations of kites and control bars.
Your typical kite bar is ridden with lines measuring between 20 and 24 meters. This length has been tried, tested and proven to work best in most conditions across a variety of different kites sizes. There are situations where longer lines are better suited, such as when the winds are light and kites of 13m and above are being used. These long lines can sometimes be as long as 27m or even 30m. Shorter lines have the adverse effect, in that they will require you to have more wind, or alternatively a bigger kite than what you are used to riding in a set of wind conditions. Another interesting fact about short lines is that in some areas they are used by kite schools, as they allow the student to learn the fundamentals of flight with a lot less power being generated by the kite, and also to make better use of small teaching spaces while the student gets the hand of first flight.
Lines can be shortened either by a removable line extension that brands like Airush, Core, Slingshot and many others come standard with. If your bar has a fixed line length you will have to consider ordering custom lines or getting a standard line set shortened at your rope shop.
Kiting with shorter lines is characterized by a much more punchy ride. The kite is not as lifty as when riding longer lines, and where they truly shine is in the kiteloops. This article in particular focuses on kiteloops and line lengths.
Performing your first kiteloops you would typically be riding your control bar in standard configuration which is -+22m in length. These first kiteloops would be done in lighter winds with the kite at a high angle in the sky. As you start getting more confident, you may start doing kiteloops in stronger wind while the kite progressively loops lower. If you want to get the kite totally horizontal or even below you, short lines of around +-18m are going to be the solution. Although the shorter lines do compromise the height of your jump, they generate an adrenaline rush as the kite steers aggressively through the loop. Some say this rush makes up for the sacrifice of height.
In the last few years we have seen Big Air Kiters pushing the limits on short lines like never before. This is all thanks to the technical advancements in equipment over the last 5 years, as well as the recent focus on Big Air Kiting which has bred a wave of future shredders who have invested their youth in Big Air riding.
We asked our audience some questions about short lines vs long lines on Instagram, and these are the results:
We started off by asking whether you had ridden on short lines. Short lines were denoted as less than 20m and long lines more than 20m. We have ¼ of the audience who have tried short lines while the remaining ¾ did not.
This same figure remains consistent through the follow-up question on favorite line length where the ¾ preferred long lines (20m+) for kiteloops and ¼ preferred short lines.
For our final question, we wanted to know if you think a short line loop is still a megaloop, since the kite tends to go so low even if it isn’t that mega? Well it seems to have the same split in the votes, with ¾ of the audience agreeing that short line Kiteloops can indeed be Megaloops.
While it is obvious that the majority of riders are riding and enjoying standard lines length, it is still quite impressive to see such a large portion of the Big Air Kiters who have experimented with line length.
We asked some of the Pro’s about their line length preferences, this is what they had to say:
When would you choose to ride long lines vs. short lines?
Giel Vlugt - “Old school stuff on 24’s or even longer. 22’s for massive jumps and kiteloop with rotations and board-offs etc. And 20’s for kiteloop photos or videos.”
Camdyn Kellet - “ I don't really use long lines much anymore, if it's not that windy or I am riding a big kite I will take out a long line bar. Short lines you need a lot more wind for any kite size pretty much. When the wind is super strong I ride short lines.”
Janek Grzegorzewski - “I will always choose to ride long lines unless I'm on a photoshoot and the goal is to get this picture with a kite in front of you. I would never go super short, the shortest length would be 16-18m.”
Stig Hoefnagel - “I always ride 20 meter lines, with the bridles probably comes down to 21s. It’s basically the only thing I ride. Sometimes 24s just for fun or to get some more airtime. I do have 12 meter lines but I haven’t tried them yet.”
Dennis Petersen - “Actually I prefer long lines. I just use the 12m lines for deep loops and photo shoots. Long lines feel more natural and boost you higher.”
Jett Bradshaw - “I would choose to ride long lines when it's a bit lighter. When 40 knots come out then I froth to ride the 12m lines. It has actually become a bit of a problem. I tend to ride the short lines way more than the long lines!”
Jamie Overbeek - “If i want to go really big let's say it's a day to set new heights 40-55 knots definitely long lines. Looping on short lines is sketchy, wouldn't recommend it if you haven't got control over your long Line loops yet. But the rush you get is the reward and it looks mega cool when captured.”
What is your favorite line length for kiteloops?
Camdyn Kellet - “Favorite length for short lines: 12m they are a pretty good size because they are not too short so you can go out in slightly lighter wind but you can send it as low as you want”
Jason Vd Spuy - “Most of the time I ride 20m lines. I use 20s for all my loops with rotations and board offs.”
Dennis Petersen - “I use 22m lines. Feels pretty good to me”
Steven Akkersdijk - “I always prefer riding medium length lines, which is 20m lines for me. For me that is medium, some call it short. I have also been riding 22m lines lately aswell and I enjoy it for practicing some new tricks and getting a little bit more height. If you want to get the kite low and a full on yank I definitely prefer the 20m lines.”
Cohan van Dijk - “I prefer riding 20m lines, I feel like with my pivots I have more feeling and more control during my jumps & loops, also the kite is way easier to angle, because of course with a proper megaloop the kite has to be levelled.”
Bonus Question: Does it still count as a megaloop if it's on shortlines?
Giel - “Megaloop is exaggerating a kiteloop. If I would do a very big kiteloop, I would just call it a very big kiteloop. On short lines too but you'll have to go very big, above 15m.”
Stig - “No idea what to call it other than a kiteloop on short lines. In my opinion a megaloop is at least 15 meters high, and the kite needs to be horizontal. If not then it’s in my opinion not a megaloop but a kite loop.”
Janek - “Of course it does!”
Jett - “Yes I see it as even more of megaloop if it’s on short lines in nuking wind!”
Jason - “100%, you have to be higher than 12m minimum though”
So what do you reckon?
So are you going to experiment with line length? Changing line length totally changes your kiting experience. You never know, you just might love those 20’s! Be sure to tag us in your photos & videos on instagram using the #bigairkite tag. We love to see your progress!
Subscribe to our newsletter to win epic prizes!
If you’ve enjoyed this first edition of What’s The Deal, be sure to Subscribe to our newsletter below. As a subscriber, you are automatically entered into our monthly draw to win rad giveaways!