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We have all heard about kitesurfing, right? Have you ever heard of land kiteboarding? It is a similar sport but, as you can probably guess from the name, it takes place on land. On this page, we want to run you through absolutely everything that you need to know about kite landboarding. That way, you can decide whether it is going to be the right sport for you.
What Is Kite Landboarding?
If you have seen somebody kitesurf before, then you should have a decent understanding of what kite landboarding actually is.
Kite landboarding is sort-of a spin-off of kitesurfing.
When you are kitesurfing, you will be on a surfboard while holding onto a kite. The kite catches the wind, and you will be pulled along the surface of the water.
With landboarding, you will be on a landboard (essentially a very large skateboard) while holding onto a kite. Just like with kitesurfing, the wind will blow towards that kite and you will be pulled along.
While we are not saying that if you can kitesurf you will be able to landboard too, but we would say that the techniques are pretty similar. We will talk about that in a short while.
How Does A Kite Landboard Work?
As we said, a kite landboard is pretty much a large skateboard. However, because the rider is likely to be jumping up in the air quite a bit in order to do their tricks, a kite landboard, unlike a skateboard, will have straps for the feet. A landboarder will need to be securely strapped to the landboard before they do anything. If they aren’t, then they run the risk of serious injury. After all, the kite could whip them right off of the landboard. That would not be pleasant.
The landboarder will have to find a large, open area. This is because kite landboarding is all about the wind. If the area is too built-up, then there won’t be much wind. This means the sport isn’t all that fun. You are going to traveling along the ground at a virtual snail’s pace.
Once the landboarder is all hooked up to their kite landboard, they will launch the kite into the air. They will need to move it in such a way that they are able to catch the wind perfectly. It is going to be pretty much like moving the sails of a boat. If you want to travel fast, then the kite will need to be facing away from the wind. If you want to slow down, you will start to move it in towards the wind. If you want to stop completely, then the kite can be turned into the wind and you will gradually start to slow down. The kite can then be brought down to bring the landboarder to a complete stop.
Landboarders need to have a huge amount of skill to make everything work. You need to have a sound knowledge of how to move the kite along with the wind to gain the speed that you want. At times, you may even want to be able to angle the landboard so that you can be launched into the air for a few seconds to carry out a few different tricks.
Just like kitesurfing, landboarding is something that could take a huge amount of time to learn. We are talking about several lessons. However, this is a lot due to ensuring that you will be safe while you are on the kiteboard. If you don’t have control, then it can be dangerous not only for you but for everybody that is in close vicinity to you.
Pros & Cons
So, what are the pros and cons of landboarding? Let’s take a look, shall we?
Well, the big pro is that landboarding is an incredibly fun sport. You will struggle to find anything more exhilarating than hopping onto a landboard and letting the wind guide you at a rapid speed. Once you start to throw in a few tricks, the rush that you get from landboarding is virtually unparalleled.
You will also be able to landboard even if you do not live by the water. Obviously, you will still need to have a larger amount of land available, but some people will probably have easier access to that than a big body of water.
Some people also claim that learning landboarding is a lot easier, particularly if you are able to find the right teacher for the sport. Many people find that it is a lot easier to perform tricks on land because the way that the land moves is going to be a lot more predictable than it would be if you are on the water. Obviously, when you are on the water, you also need to worry about swimming too.
If you love speed, then you will often find that you travel a lot faster on the land too. This isn’t always guaranteed, but if you have a larger area of land and the wind is really in your sails, then you will be zipping along faster than you ever would be able to do so if you were out there on the water. The water just provides a lot more resistance.
With landboarding, you will need to have a large open space available. You will also need to ensure that the surface is virtually flat. If it isn’t, then landboarding becomes a little bit tricky. This is why most landboarding is done on wide-open fields, or even on the beach. If you don’t have a large amount of space available to you, then landboarding is going to be pretty difficult.
There are some people that will see landboarding as a little bit more difficult than kitesurfing too. This is due to the smaller amount of space you will have available to do the sport. You need to be able to move the kite around a little bit quicker. If you fall off, it tends to hurt quite a bit more too.
Getting into landboarding is also quite expensive. You don’t just need to buy the landboard, but you also need to pick up all your safety equipment too. Beginner landboarders can expect to spend several hundred dollars.
Finally, it can be a touch difficult to find a tutor for your landboarding. It would be much easier to find somebody that teaches kitesurfing. If you do find somebody, then the lesson costs can be a little bit higher due to the lower demand.
Tips & Tricks For Kite Landboarding
In this section, we want to run you through a couple of tips and tricks that should make landboarding a whole lot easier for you.
Get An Instructor
While you probably can learn how to do landboarding on your own, we wouldn’t really recommend it. It is something that can be quite dangerous if you do not do things properly. As a result, we would recommend that you get an instructor. They can teach you the absolute basics of the sport e.g. learning how to read the wind, how to move your body, and how to move the kite. Once you have the basics down perfectly, you can start to progress on your own.
Practice With A Kite
This isn’t something that we see people mention a lot, but we feel that it is going to be useful. The key to being able to landboard well is to get a good feel for the wind. If you can, you should try to get hold of a cheap kite and just fly it.
Obviously, you shouldn’t be on the landboard at the same time. As you move the kite around, notice how the action of it changes. A normal kite is going to be a bit lighter than one designed for kite landboarding, but you will still get a feel for how the wind actually acts.
Start By Practicing On Grass
It is very, very difficult to landboard on the sand. Start by practicing on a nice, flat surface. It will allow you to work on the finer parts of your movement without worrying about falling over because you hit a spot that is too soft or sticky.
Get The Right Positioning
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they hop onto a landboard for the first time is getting the right standing position. it can be tempting to stand in the dead-center of the board. However, this isn’t that effective. Your back foot should be bearing the brunt of your weight. The front leg should be stretched a little bit. This will give you a bit more control while, at the same time, ensuring that you are nice and stable on the board.
Use A Landboard Downwind
At least when you are starting out. Do not travel upwind. You will be going too fast. Instead, move the kite into a downwind position, and then move it ever so slightly so it catches the wind a little bit. You want it to catch the wind just enough that you will be traveling at speed, but not too fast. This will enable you to work on moving your body and handling the kite.
A lot of people will tell you that the real key to landboarding successfully is the art of the drift. During the early days of landboarding, you need to focus on your drifting skills. This will allow you to travel faster while, at the same time, providing you with a lot more control over your movement.
Give It A Few Weeks Before You Learn Any Tricks
Everybody wants to do some tricks on their landboard. However, you shouldn’t really attempt any until you have learned how to control the kite. If you do, then you will pick up some bad habits. Once you have picked up these bad habits, it can be pretty tough to correct. If you can’t ride that landboard at speed without falling off, then we are pretty confident in saying that you are not ready to do any tricks on it!
Landboarding, just like kitesurfing, is going to be an incredibly dangerous sport if you do not do it properly. In fact, some may argue that landboarding is even more dangerous.
If you are out kitesurfing, then you likely have a huge amount of water available to you. If you have chosen the area well, then there will not be any obstructions. You have free reign to travel wherever you want. You just need to catch that wind and travel along. You don’t really have that luxury with landboarding.
The chances are pretty high that the area you are in isn’t that large, and this means that you may end up bumping into obstacles, or putting the health of others at risk if you end up losing control of the landboard. So, we would say that you need to have a lot more control over things if you are landboarding.
Of course, a bump on land is probably going to hurt a whole lot more than falling on the water too. While you will need to have a decent amount of safety equipment when you are kitesurfing, you are going to need a whole lot more when you are landboarding. If you don’t have that, then you will end up getting injured. Even the slightest of knocks can break your bones.
If you are going to be hopping onto a landboard, then it is vital that you wear proper safety equipment. When you buy your first landboard, then make sure that you pick up a harness, helmet, and other bits and pieces at the same time.
Landboarding absolutely isn’t something that you can just jump into doing. Any instructor worth their salt would never recommend this. Instead, they will give you a bit of guidance on how to deal with the wind and how to deal with emergencies first. Without this information, you simply cannot be trusted to hop onto that board. So, it certainly isn’t going to be something that is good for beginners to be doing!
How To Select The Best Kite Landboard
To be honest, the market for kite landboards is so niche that it is rare that you will find a terrible landboard available. Pretty much everything on the market has been built to a high-quality. This means that your focus won’t be so much on the quality of the board, but whether it offers the features that you want.
In this section, we want to go through some of the things that you may want to be considering when you are buying yourself a landboard.
Length of the Board
If you are a tall person, then you will probably want to choose a landboard that is a little bit longer. While you probably can ride on a landboard that is shorter, the experience won’t be quite as comfortable.
That being said, if you are looking to do a lot of tricks on your landboard, then opt for some of the shorter varieties. They are lighter, and this means that they are going to be a little bit easier to move about.
Choose a landboard that supports your weight. We are not talking about a landboard that just about supports your weight, but it needs to support well in excess of your weight. This will ensure that you can do all of your fancy tricks and dart about with speed without running the risk of the board snapping in half. That is a very, very common problem when you choose the wrong landboard.
The material of the kite landboard isn’t going to matter that much, unless you are doing tricks, or you are a bit on the heavier side.
Wooden boards are fine for general kiteboarding. As long as you are not jumping about on them, they are perfectly stable.
However, once it comes to kiteboarding tricks, you will need something made of a composite material. These will be tougher, and often a lot lighter.
You do not really need suspension when you are landboarding. However, it can come in useful if you are mostly just traveling along the ground. It will provide you with a far smoother and more comfortable ride. Although, do bear in mind that the suspension will cost you a healthy chunk of cash.
The trucks are the metal pieces that hold the wheels just under the board. You have two options available to you here:
- Channel trucks
- Skate trucks
If you are not planning on doing any tricks, or that much turning, then channel trucks are the route to go down. They allow you to travel at a blisteringly fast pace. They do not bump around quite so much either. This can make them easier to use for beginners as the skateboard is going to be a whole lot more stable.
Once you start getting into the swing of things, then skate trucks are the best route to go down. They move a little bit easier when you want to turn. They are also lighter. This makes them fantastic for doing a couple of tricks.
As we said, when it comes to landboarding, most options on the market are decent. Just buy the best one that money can afford. Just ensure that you have a little bit of cash over to spend on your kite and safety equipment. As long as you considered the things that we mentioned in this section, and the board has an area to strap your feet in, then you should be fine.
Kite Landboarding FAQS
Do You Need A Harness?
You do not need a harness when you are a beginner at landboarding. However, as you become more experienced in the sport, you may want to look into picking up a harness that you can use. This will help you to ride the landboard in stronger winds. It also means that you do not have a huge amount of strain placed on your body when you are riding for longer periods of time.
Do You Need Safety Gear?
You do need to have a bit of safety gear available if you want to be landboarding. This includes:
- Clothing that can be pretty tough. This means a full-length pair of pants and a full-sleeved t-shirt. This will ensure that your skin doesn’t come into contact with the ground.
- Elbow pads
- Long boots
This should provide you with pretty much all the protection that you need when you are doing a bit of kite landboarding.
Will Kite Landboarding Improve Kitesurfing Skills?
Absolutely. In fact, there are plenty of kitesurfers that got started with landboarding. The skills are easily transferable. After all, both sports are essentially just a person being dragged along by a kite. If you can learn how to move the kite around on the land, you will know how to do it on the water. The safety skills that you learn on both are pretty much transferable.
However, being on the water is a whole different beast. After all, if you do not know how to deal with emergency situations there, you could drown. Learning how to avoid drowning is probably not something that can be done all that well on the land.
Can A Kite Landboard Be Used For Mountainboarding?
Yes. A kite landboard is slightly different from a mountain board. It has been built for flatter surfaces, and the landboard has been shaped to make tricks a little bit easier. However, you have to remember that kite landboarding began with mountainboarding. The two sports overlap. You should have no issues doing a spot of mountainboarding with a kite landboard.
However, do bear in mind that if you are going to be doing a lot of mountainboarding, then go do down the route of an actual mountainboard.
Kite Landboard And Mountainboarding, What’s The Difference?
Most mountainboards will come with brakes. They sometimes do not have bindings for the feet. Therefore, if you are planning to do landboarding with a mountainboard, you will need to remove the brakes and add foot bindings. Luckily, both of these things should be pretty easy to do.
Could You Suggest Some Kites for Landboarding?
Please see here the best kites for landboarding.