All about kitesurfing lines – kite lines.
Unfortunately, for most of the people kite lines don’t matter until one of them breaks. Then, the worst-case scenario – you damage your kite and pay for, usually expensive rescue (that was my case). Hopefully you’ll just have to paddle back or sail back with your kite to the beach. And then the research starts – why it happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future. You are in the right place.
Kite lines / flying lines are one of the most important part of your kitesurfing gear. The lines connect you (the bar) to the kite. In 2021 most of the brands are using 4 lines bars, although 5 lines bars are also commonly used.
Kitesurfing lines are usually made of Dyneema (ultra-light material that’s stronger than steel at the molecular level. Lines and ropes made of Dyneema are widely used in sailing, paragliding, kitesurfing and more). Less common is Spectra, slightly different in its structure.
What are the best kitesurfing lines?
Best kitesurfing lines should be balanced between strength (breaking load), durability (long lasting) and performances.
Quality kitesurfing lines should have breaking strength between 300-500 dekanewton (daN). Usually, for back/steering lines you can use lower breaking strength lines, as they don’t hold that much weight.
Race lines, or lines used only for foiling are usually thinner for better performances, which means lower breaking load.
If all manufacturers are using the same material to make lines, why this brands lines last longer than the others? The answer is
High-end kite lines are treated with a special coat. It’s like wax on your car. It protects the core of the lines, makes them stiffer and more resistant to damage.
Even though manufacturers are using the same materials, each of them has their own coating technology. It’s hard to say which coating technology is better looking just at the numbers. That’s why, before we decided which brand should we use, we tested over 10 different manufacturers and lines types.
Line diameter (thickness) and weight – most of the time thicker lines are stronger than thinner lines, but at the expense of performances. You can have all flying lines made from 2.5mm dyneema with breaking load of 1000 kg(2200lbs), which will probably last forever, but the drag will significantly decrease performances – more drag that is air resistance, which will affect flying. Also, thicker lines are heavier, which would also negatively affect kite’s performances.
Coating – it plays a key role in lines performances. Quality coating decrease water absorption to zero, it makes lines work as they should.
So, what are the best kitesurfing lines?
At kiteboarding lines, we tested out many different manufacturers as well as types of lines. After hundreds of hours in the water with different lines we decided to stick to only one brand, and one particular lines series – Liros DC-PRO SK99. These lines have the best balance between strength, durability and performances. For everyday use, we recommend 1.3mm (325 daN) for back lanes and 1.5mm for front lines. For high performances (like hydrofoil racing) 1.1mm for back lines and 1.3mm for front lines will work great.
Types of kitesurfing bars (not including training kites)
- 4 lines or 5 lines.
- height of front lines split – low-V split (Slingshot, Cabrinha, Ozone) or high-Y split (Duotone, Core).
As long as the number of lines and height of front lines split are the same, you can use different brand bar with different brand kite.
How to make sure your lines are in heathy condition?
1) If your lines are brand new – even though lines are pre-stretched by manufacturers, you will have to kite a few hours until connectors and knots are fully stretched. After a few sessions check again if all lines are equal.
2) You should check if your lines are equal every ~20h of kiting.
3) When you check if all lines are equal, the bar should be full powered.
3) If everything's okay, kite bar will be straight when you connect all lines to a fixed point.
5) If one or both front/back lines are longer, you can simply adjust it using in bar settings (most of bars these days have different adjustments on back leader lines). Another option would be using different length pigtails.
6) Watch out for tangles and knots on your lines – they are a frequent problem. A knot on a line significantly decreases strength of the line.
7) Any wear on any line is a red flag. It can snap anytime. The line(a pair) should be replaced.