The kiteboard, in particular, is the most important part of your equipment in kiteboarding. You will find that there are different types of kiteboards available in the market. The best kiteboards are the ones that are easy on your budget while delivering a good performance in all-weather conditions.
In order to help you find the right kiteboard, we have put together this guide. The guide lists some of the best kiteboarding boards available in the market together with their pros and cons.
It then goes on to provide a general guideline on the important factors you should consider when buying a kiteboard.
Whether you are a beginner or a longtime kiteboarder, this guide will help you make an informed decision towards finding a quality kiteboard. At the end of the guide, we hope you can reach that decision yourself.
Best Kiteboards Recommended for 2018
Cabrinha 2019 Stylus Board Only
Spend less time on the beach and more time on the water with this all-round board from Cabrinha. Featuring a freeride design, this board is made to make the most out of the wind conditions. Even when you have very light wind, this board will give you plenty of power and speed to pull off a grand performance on the waves.
The Cabrinha Stylus comes with a concave bottom design. Together with defined edge channels, the bottom ensures that you are able to ride flat and smooth on the water. The board also features offset foot straps which improve the edging performance.
Perfect for light wind conditions, Cabrinha Stylus 2019 is all set to revolutionize the world of kiteboarding. Gone are the days when light wind days mean no kiteboarding. If you are using Stylus 2019, you will know that even light wind days can mean excellent speed and power for endless fun.
The board features an asymmetrical stance. This allows you to achieve better balance, control and grip.
Slingshot Sports 2018 Refraction Twin Tip Kiteboard
The Slingshot Sports 2018 Refraction Twin Tip kiteboard is an all-condition kiteboard that delivers a competition-level performance. Equally perfect for riding on smooth waters and in rough conditions, this board features a rocker profile that can take a good beating without any compromise on the performance.
The Slingshot Refraction has a fairly stiff flex pattern. This makes it particularly well-suited to skateboards with an aggressive style as it offers a lot of pop and excellent air time. At the same time, you can be sure of very forgiving landings with this board which makes it all the more suitable for the aggressive kiteboarders.
The inverted tip and tail profiles of this board means that you don’t have to worry about catching an unwanted edge. The rocker is wakestyle although it can be enhanced for more upwind style. The wide design lets you perform equally well on this board when riding in light wind conditions.
The footbeds on this board offer an excellent combination of control and comfort. You can adjust and tweak them to suit your specific needs and style.
Liquid Force 2018 Echo Kiteboard
Liquid Force 2018 Echo is another excellent kiteboard that has made to our list. This board features a versatile range of performance which makes it equally suitable for the pros as well as the beginners.
What really stands Liquid Force Echo apart is the wooden core. The board features a single-piece wooden core that is widest at the centre and thins out towards the tip and the tail. The wood core gives it a stiff and responsive flex. You can use this flex, combined with a lower rocker, to get excellent pop out of this board.
The solid and stiff core also lets this board handle hard landings with ease and grace. The tips of the board have a slimmer wood profile and consequently, a softer flex. Together with a higher rocker on the tips, this ensures that you are able to do chops and landings smoothly when riding this board.
When you put the Liquid Force Echo to water, it gains speed quickly and chops with excellent grace. At the same time, it offers a stable and flexible grip for easy control.
In all, this board can handle a wide range of water conditions without balking at performance. Perfect for wakestyle and park style riding, Echo is also very well suited to other styles.
Slingshot Sports 2018 Misfit Air Core Kiteboard
The Slingshot Sports 2018 Misfit is the perfect kiteboard for you if you are a beginner. This is because not only is this board easy to ride, it also offers an excellent progression so that you are able to improve and reach an intermediate skill level before soon.
Misfit features a handbuilt wood construction coupled with the lightweight yet incredibly durable Koroyd material. It comes with a somewhat stiff flex which gives you a good degree of control over the board. Coupled with a suitable bottom profile and a mild rocker, the board is perfect for performing freeride style, doing chops and having fun with an upwind drive.
The board comes with laser-cut NACA channels. These create a contour in the tip and tail section to enhance the speed and grip of the board. The bottom profile of the board has carbon bedrock inserts which ensure that the board delivers a consistent and smooth flex for a reliable performance.
Slingshot Misfit is particularly suitable for some freestyle riding. As a beginner, it lets you learn the moves and perfect them in no time.
The Things You Need to Know before Picking a Kiteboard
1) Difference between Kiteboard and Wakeboard
Kiteboards and wakeboards may look similar but there are key differences between the two. For a start, wakeboards have a more pronounced rocker than kiteboards. This is because wakeboards attain greater speeds and are more geared at tricks. This creates the need to make sure the wakeboards are safer, so the deeper rocker prevents wipeouts.
Another notable difference between the two types of boards is the fins. Kiteboards feature fins to ensure greater grip and control whereas wakeboards have no fins.
2) 3 Common types of Kiteboards
The Twin-Tip Kiteboards
Twin-tip kiteboards are the most popular and commonly used type of kiteboards. This is simply because they offered the greatest range of ease and versatility. This makes them perfect for beginners but also quite suitable for more experienced riders.
Twin-tip boards, as their name suggests, are symmetrical so that the tail and tip are the same. So you can ride them in any direction. They are particularly well suited for free-riding and wake-style riding.
Twin-tip boards come with pads and foot straps for added stability and control. Most of them also feature a concave bottom and channels to increase the speed of the board by driving the water. They offer great air time and let you have a lot of fun in most kiteboarding styles.
Surfboards, more popularly known as kitesurf boards, are quite similar to the regular boards used in surfing. Their outline looks the same as conventional surfboards although there are vital modifications to their design in comparison. In general, a kitesurf board has a narrower and smaller profile compared to a regular surfboard.
Most kitesurf boards feature an epoxy core. They are mostly available in an oval design, with more recent models featuring diamond-shaped tips and tails. If you want to ride the big waves and have fun in the open waters with generous air times, the kitesurf board is for you.
The Foil Boards
Foil boards are the preferred type of kiteboards for most riders who participate in course race boarding. This is simply because they offer an exceptional degree of speed, agility and control. Foil boards are designed with hydrodynamical wing. This design features ensures that the board is able to literally float above the choppy waters without catching an edge. This effectively removes the drag from the board’s ride and gives you an exceptional degree of speed even in light wind conditions.
At the same time, riding a foil board requires less effort and energy. You get to maintain better control over the board’s position and maneuver it around at an extraordinary rate. This makes this type of the boards the perfect choice for professional racers.
3) The conditions affect to Your choice
You will experience a variety of wind conditions during kiteboarding. As a beginner, you will very probably ride in low wind conditions. In such a case, you should go for kiteboards that are larger and wide. Such boards will give you the ability to achieve good speed and movement even when the wind is bare.
However, a smaller kiteboard in comparison will give you good control although it will not give as much speed in low wind conditions. In high wind speeds, both wide and narrow kiteboards will work depending on your particular style. If you are wakestyling, for instance, you may choose a wider board even when riding in good upwind conditions.
In general, narrower and smaller boards will deliver a very effective performance in high wind speeds. In fact, most riders choose high wind conditions to bring out their smaller kiteboards.
Riding conditions, including wave profiles, may also differ significantly from one kiteboarding spot to another. In general, if you are riding upwind in choppy conditions, you need a kiteboard that can gather up speed quickly while riding the chop successfully. You also need good maneuverability in chopping conditions.
On the other hand, if the waves are calmer and the water relatively flat, you can make do with different board choices. You can also achieve speed more easily in flat water with good wind, and so a board with a good degree of pop will be a great choice in such conditions.
Your weight is an important consideration when it comes to finding the right kiteboard. In general, the heavier and taller you are, the larger is the kiteboard that is right for you. In contrast, for people who are lighter and smaller, narrower kiteboards with smaller lengths are more suitable.
Following is a chart with general estimates of the corresponding kiteboard length and width for different weight profiles. These are estimates, so you should combine this information with your own homework.
Your Style Of Riding
Freeride refers to a style of riding in which you basically want to have a smooth ride with comfortable landings and good airtime. At the same time, boards that are meant for freeride riders do not offer many technical elements. If you prefer freeride, you should choose a kiteboard with larger fins. Large fins will give you better control and grip.
You should also look for other qualities such as a medium flex and a relatively shallow rocker. The medium flex will let you perform all the basic maneuvers while retaining good board control. It will also help you with the landings. The shallow rocker also adds to the grip of the board and lets you deal with moderate chop without any difficulty.
Freestyle riding is similar to the freeride style but with some advanced features added. So if you prefer freestyle riding, you should look for a kiteboard that delivers a more all-around performance. A board that is well-suited to freestyle riding will typically come with good performance flex. This is simply because you want the board to offer a good degree of pop in order to do your tricks and moves effectively.
At the same time, you need the board to have channels at the bottom. These channels allow your board to track better. A good freestyle board should also have wider tips as they let you load more effectively for the pop. If you have a good degree of experience, you may also want to choose a board with smaller fins. Although smaller fins will require more skill, they will let you achieve a smoother release from the water.
- Light wind
Light wind kiteboards, as the name suggests, are meant for riding in light wind conditions. They are specifically designed to allow easy flotation even in low wind thanks to exceptionally long and wide design. In many cases, these boards are perfectly suited for the beginners who start learning the sport in light wind conditions.
Light wind boards come with little to no rocker as you are not likely to face chopping conditions under a light wind. These boards also come with very small channels at the bottom or no channels at all. This is because the need for channels is offset by the larger design of the board which provides ample grip when you are edging.
- Wake style
Wakestyle is a very popular style of kiteboarding. This particular style comprises of doing a lot of unhooked tricks by utilizing boards which offer an exceptional degree of vertical pop. For greater control and feel, wakestyle boards typically come with a stiff feel which also allows a good upwind movement without losing on the pop.
If you prefer wakestyle riding, you should go with a kiteboard that has a high rocker. This will let you edge hard while retaining excellent control of the board and staying ready for the pop all the while. A good wakestyle board must also feature well-defined channels to enable smooth digging.
Most wakestyle boards come with small or fins. This is because the wider tips of the board let you do the edging without the need for the fins.
4) Option when Buying
- Only board
A quality kiteboard is a significant investment. However, the board itself is only a part of the whole equation. You need other equipment such as harness, bar, footstraps, fins and handle to complete the gear. But the question is, when you should choose getting only the board.
In general, if you already have the rest of the gear, you can get the board and then adapt the gear to it. In some cases, you may be able to get the gear off rental services on a beach, in which case you don’t need to buy it. This makes for a more affordable choice but it works only when you plan to kiteboard very occasionally.
- Full board (including: board, fins, foodtraps, Handle)
If you are serious about kiteboarding and genuinely wish to learn and enjoy it, you must prefer full board purchase over board-only. This is because a full board comes with the complete set of gear and accessories that you need for good kiteboarding.
A full board purchase ensures that the rest of the gear is compatible with your board, which is also why you should purchase a full board with all accessories from the same brand. You may choose different gear from different brands but that may pose compatibility issues and you should do so only when you have some experience with the gear and brands.
Things to look when choose Twin-Tip kiteboards for the first time
Twin-tip kiteboards are typically suitable for the beginners. This is because they are bi-directional which means that both ends of the board are similar and there is no distinction between the head and the tail. As a beginner, this lets you change the direction quickly and with ease.
There are many important factors to consider when choosing a twin-tip kiteboard. Following is a quick run-down of these factors and the things you should look for.
The width of a kiteboard is typically somewhere between 40cm to 43cm. As a general rule of thumb, if the kiteboard is less wide, you need it to be longer in order to displace the same amount of water. On the other hand, if it is wider, you need it to be less long to achieve the same results. A wider kiteboard also means that you have to exert less energy in order to plane whereas with a narrow kiteboard, you have to exert more energy. A wider kiteboard is better suited for beginners as it is easier to balance and works very well in light winds. However, the additional width comes at the cost of maneuverability.
The length of a kiteboard is a vital factor. In general, the right length depends on your height and weight. The taller and heavier you are, the more likely it is that the right kiteboard will be longer in comparison. As an average estimate, if you are below 150lbs, you should go for a kiteboard in the 135cm to 148cm range. If you weigh somewhere between 150lbs and 200 lbs, you should get a kiteboard 145cm to 160cm in length. If you weight above 200lbs, a 150cm to 165cm long kiteboard will better suit you.
Profile refers to the overall shape or outline of the board. In general, there are three types of profiles for twin-tip kiteboards. These include the square profile, the tapered profile and the rounded profile. A board with square outline is easier to ride upwind but you will feel more chop on such a board. A board with tapered outline, on the other hand, will let you ride more smoothly in choppy water while maneuvering with greater speed and agility. A tapered board is also easier on your legs and gives you a smoother kiteboarding experience.
Rocker refers to the overall curvature of a kiteboard from one tip to another. Some kiteboards features a perfectly flat curvature while others may come with a medium to high curvature. As a general rule of thumb, the more curvature a kiteboard has, the more is the amount of pop you can get out of it. Boards with high rocker also afford easier landings compared to boards with flatter rocker. However, flat rocker has its benefits as well. A flat rocker kiteboard is easier to ride upwind and can successfully hold an edge. Such a board also feels larger compared to a board with high rocker.
Fins are an important part of a kiteboard’s overall design. In general, you have to choose between large fins and small fins. Large fins are particularly suited to you if you are a beginner in the sport. They let you ride more easily and effectively even when you have little experience. Kiteboards with large fins make it easier to ride upwind while maintaining good control of the board. At the same time, you can perform a lot better in choppy conditions when your board has larger fins. This is simply because they let you edge harder while retaining a good grip and maintaining a good degree of stability. In contrast, small fins are often preferred by more experienced kiteboards as they allow you to slide out the board more easily and perform a more varied range of maneuvers.
Like most other varieties of kiteboards, twin-tip boards also feature a real wooden core. This core brings strength and the desired degree of flex to the board. The wooden core is then complemented with composite material which is applied on the wooden core and pressed between the composite layers. This stands true for most conventional twin-tip boards. However, twin-tip boards come constructed entirely from carbon fiber material in some cases. The carbon fiber models are relatively rare but they deliver an excellent performance and are incredibly light and stiff. They also cost significantly more than the wooden-core boards.
Twin-tip kiteboards come in a variety of colors and graphic designs. Once you have determine the right board for you in terms of size, length, width, rocker, profile and other aspects, you can search for the colors that are available. In the case of more cutting-edge kiteboard models, you may even get a chance to get a board with a custom design. Even in the case of other twin-tip kiteboards, you have the option of tweaking the graphics to customize them.
Kiteboarding is a lifestyle, not just a hobby or an occasional pastime. If you want to simply dabble in it once in a blue moon or even more rarely, you can easily get kiteboard rentals and indulge. But this way, you will not learn the sport nor enjoy the passion.
On the other hand, if you are genuinely passionate about kiteboarding, you need to be passionate about the board as well. The right board will go a long way towards helping you master the sport quickly and enjoy it fully. As elaborate in the guide above, the right kiteboard depends on a number of factors such as your weight, height, preferred style, the conditions you ride in and your experience level. You must carefully consider all these factors before you purchase a board, as it is going to be a significant investment.
Ultimately, the best kiteboards are the ones that suit a rider perfectly. A board that suits another rider may not be the right fit for you. So you have to experiment, take risks and give it some time so that you can lock in on the right kiteboard in the end.