Power Kite Forum

Things I've learned and an idea

scooter1969 - 11-26-2014 at 05:23 PM

Hi Troops,

I've been playing with my 4.8m NPW and mountainboard and I had a few things I wanted to share. I imagine most of you already know these things, but I'd appreciate any tips to help me along on my journey.

10mph seems on the low side of the window for the 4.8 meter kite. Up until today, I've had it up in winds up to 20mph but that's been my limit. I've had it in gusts up to 25 mph or so and it's a beast to hang on to at that point. Once I had to let go of one handle and bag it for the day.

After a hard wipeout on asphalt due to gusty wind and loose trucks, I constantly adjust the tightness of my trucks based on wind speed.

I'm finding that there is a lot of subtlety in handling an npw. My skills and nerve for high winds are improving. Today the wind was gusting up to 22. In high winds, I end up curling the top of the kite a bit at the top of the window to cut power as I jump on the board. I've also found that small changes in handle orientation / angle are helpful when I'm a bit too close to the wind direction. Today I eased out on the leeward handle to adjust the shape of the wing. It's kind of hard to describe, but I'm sure you'll get the picture.

After a particularly bruising and bloody wipeout I took the bindings off my board. It's easier to bail when the wind gusts and I don't run the risk of getting a foot hung up. I ride primarily on roads with 2 meter lines and if things get a bit hairy and I have to bail, I steer the board toward the grassy shoulder and hop up to clear the board as it rolls out from under me. I hit the ground running.

With our gusty winds I've had a bit of trouble with my board outrunning my kite as the wind falls. To keep from dragging my kite I usually bail off.

To counter this I've been contemplating building something like a windskate. www.windskate.com

I can see where this might have some advantages in variable winds as I could adjust it more like a boat sail. In failing winds, I could just hang onto it until the wind picks back up with no dragging on the ground.

Has anyone here used a windskate or kitewing?



Randy - 11-26-2014 at 08:12 PM


Looks like we are having the same ideas. I've been using a NASA 5.5 with a landboard as well. I was impressed with the Windskate web page also and tried to make my own. My first attempt was based on using a broken windsurfing boom and an old sail. It was held together with nylon ties. Mine was about 8 foot on a side (maybe less) and about 2 m2.

A much better job was done by this fellow down in Brazil. He made his sail from tarp material. (Check out all his video's - in one of them he explained how he built it.)

There are some problems with this approach. The Windskate type sail has a very small area - typically about 2 m2, which may be ok for really high wind, but maybe only on smooth surfaces. I tried building a bigger version (~10 ft on a side, 3m2) and have continued to experiment with it some, but its not that easy to use and still needs a lot of wind. I used kite fabric from a trashed c-kite and top half of broken windsurf masts. Unless you have a local source, aluminum tubes are not cheap, so that's another problem.

A much easier way to go is to just put a windsurfing rig on your board. Like this (please excuse my cheesy homage to the movie "interstellar"):

It would help if you knew how to windsurf, but putting a sail on a board like that is easier to learn than either skateboarding or windsurfing. Old sails and masts are what you would want and can be had very cheap second hand if you have any kind of windsurfing community nearby. It would also work on other than smooth surface, but I've not done it that way.

There is more of this madness on my youtube page, which might give you some ideas:


scooter1969 - 12-12-2014 at 03:21 PM


Nice videos. I really like the 1M NPW. I plant to try something like your delta first. If I can scrounge parts, I'll try a windsurfer rig. Not much water around here.



RedSky - 12-12-2014 at 06:43 PM

or use a mattress :D


bigE123 - 12-13-2014 at 04:10 AM

Taking the build to one side, firstly well done for sticking with the NPW the flying skills you learn / develop will help you fly almost any other kite with ease. Now here is the but: I think you need more kites :D You're trying to use one kite to cover a big wind range, I board very rarely, my 5m NPW in the buggy is on the limit of being over powered at 20 mph and becomes a real handful, it's at this point I keep out of the main window and use the edges, I would usually switch down to a 3m, wind dropping below 15 mph and I start using a bigger size.

bigE123 - 12-13-2014 at 04:13 AM

Thinking about my own NPWs in gusts they tend to speed up across the window, as the wind drops they slow and drop back, I counter this by steering away and then towards the kite as the wind drops.

Randy - 12-13-2014 at 05:48 AM

Quote: Originally posted by RedSky  
or use a mattress :D


This is hilarious. If I were doing it, I'd put the mattress in front. If you take a fall, you've got something to land on. :lol:

It does illustrate an important point - conditions and location can overcome a lot when it comes to equipment.

volock - 12-20-2014 at 06:05 PM

You tried longer lines yet? 2M lines are really hard to fly without super clean wind on, especially gusty wind. You might be better off finding a larger area to ride, and trying 20M+ lines. They really will change things a lot for you, including the amount of power generated.

scooter1969 - 12-22-2014 at 02:16 PM

Yeah, I really need a quiver instead of a single option.

Looking at the guys with mattresses makes me think something like a homemade sportsail might have some utility in strong winds.

No, I have not tried the longer lines yet. I'm waiting for the winter wheat crop to provide good ground cover. Once that happens I think I can use a wheat field without causing wind erosion. Lots of the grassy, wide open spaces here have a healthy crop of puncture vine. I end up with my tires covered and leaking slime.

Take it easy,


Randy - 12-23-2014 at 09:19 AM

Looking at the web page it looks like those sportsails are mainly used for braking, not propulsion. Maybe it can be used both ways in high wind though.