Over the years quite a lot has changed in kite technology. Where a few years ago you were still in the gusts of wind where you were heavy overpowered, you can now just continue sailing cheerfully because you can easily deposit the kite. You can get almost all the power out of your kite by pushing the bar off you. However, this depower possibility differs in terms of model kite. Every brand has a number of different models that differ in terms of sailing characteristics. Think freestyle, freeride, wave and race/low wind kites.
Overall you have 2 types of kites. C-shape kites and SLE (or Bow) kites.
The difference lies in the constant pressure, barard pressure, speed, explosiveness in jumps and depressions. A C kite is usually most commonly used by freestyle kite surfers, or kiters who want to jump high and be of the' old guard'. These kites have a bit more bard pressure and a direct steering behaviour compared to most SLE kites. With a C-shape kite you also always have more constant pressure in jumps and kiteloops, for example. Should you crash, the pressure will still remain in the kite and you sometimes crashed harder. If you depowered a C-kite in a gust of wind, you will notice that there remains more power in the kite than a SLE kite. This makes a SLE kite much more versatile and easier to navigate. This type of kites are therefore often used by wave kiters who like to sail in the waves on surfboards. With a SLE kite the jumps are often a little less explosive than with C-kites but you often have a longer airtime and softer landing.
Since a few years there have also been kites on the market that have the best of both. They call them hybrid C-shape kites, these kites have a C-shape with the bridle setup of a SLE kite. This gives you a fast, explosive kite with the depower and relaunch of a SLE or Bow Kite.
Is there a difference in relaunch?
Yes Yes. With a C-kite you have to relay the kite in the water to the 5th line. This will turn the kite on its back and you can use the steering lines to steer the kite up and continue sailing. Because a supported lead Edge (SLE) kite has a bridle on the leading edge, it replaces the 5th line and is therefore superfluous. You start a SLE or BOW kite so simply by pulling 1 of the 2 steering lines while you keep the bar unpowered.
Is every system equally safe?
Opinions are divided on this. Every brand has its own idea to open a chickenloop, but it ultimately comes down to the same thing. SLE kites will fall out of the air 100% without force if a safety system (chickenloop) is pulled, but a C-kite will do the same. At the c-kites, the kite will hang on the 5th line, causing it to lose all pressure. For SLE kites this is usually 1 of the 2 power lines.
Buying a kite where watch out for
Are you looking for a new kite for kite surfing? We have an extensive collection of kites from well-known brands such as: Cabrinha, Naish, North, GA-kiteboarding. If you would like to read more information about kites in general than our kite buying aid. We provide kites for all types of kitesurfers and conditions. Both experienced kitesurfers and novice kite surfers will find the right kite in our collection. We also have occassion and cheap kites! The used kites are always checked and in good condition including warranty.