Kitesurfing Line tuning

Kitesurfing Line tuning

Check out these pro tips to learn how to tune your lines to get keep getting the best performance out of your kite!

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Kitesurfing Line Tuning : Video Transcript

Have you ever noticed that your kite isn’t flying right? Does your kite have a tendency to turn left or turn right? Do you notice your kite tends to back stall when you pull the bar in? If so then you most likely have some line tuning issues. In this video, we will cover four different line tuning issues, we will learn how and why lines get detuned, what effects these issues can have on your kite’s performance and of course, how to fix these issues.

By default, when you purchase a brand-new bar, all your lines will have the same length. Over time your line lengths will change, meaning that some lines will become shorter or longer than others. What most kiters don’t know is that lines can both shrink and stretch. Over the last 10 years working as full-time instructor in Australia, I’ve noticed that all the school bar we used ended up with some significant line shrinking problems, regardless of the brand.

Claiming that lines are shrinking really goes against popular belief, so let me prove this to you.

It’s January 27th, 2019… over the course of a few weeks and a few months…

We attached the lines to a fixed point …. We also have the tape measurer attached to it’’

we’re gonna have to compare the difference….

It’s been 6 days we used this brand-new bar…

now let’s check the back lines…

it’s been 4 weeks…

we can see the other back line is the same length’’

we’re gonna measure the front lines which as you can see

we can see the front lines have shrunk as well ‘’

Now that we know that lines can shrink the questions is why?  I’ve noticed that lines tend to shrink more in hot climates such as here in Australia. It seems that the combination of heat, salt water and sand all contribute to line shrinking. We taught that by rinsing the bar in fresh water every day the lines would shrink less, but when we compared two brand new bars, one that we rinsed daily in fresh water and the other that we didn’t rinse and they both shrunk as much.

Kitesurfing Line Tuning issue #1 (Flying the kite on the beach)

This brings us to the first and most common issue with line tuning which is back-stalling. Back-stalling will occur when your back lines become shorter than your front lines due to your back lines shrinking more than your front lines. The easiest way to find out if your kite is back-stalling is to put your kite at 12’ in moderate wind conditions (15-20 knots) and pull the bar all the way in with your trim strap at full power, which is the default setting so your front lines are at their longest. If your kite starts flying backwards in the wind window, you have a back-stalling problem. This means that you will have to keep your bar further away from you or use the trim strap simply to avoid over-powering your kite. This can cause you to ride with an overpowered stance in strong winds or constantly stall you kite if you are light winds.

Kitesurfing Line tuning issue #2 (Flying the kite on the beach)

Back lines that are shrinking too much can cause a second issue with your line tuning, which is excessive tension in your safety line bungee. Most modern bars have a single front line safety system with the safety line that passes through the bar and through the chicken loop. It’s important to understand that below your front-line split, the safety line should not have any tension. This safety line bungee is simply not designed to carry any of the load of the kite when your kite is flying.

This means that by default you should always have a bit of slack in your safety line bungee below the chicken loop. If your safety ring is hard pressed against the chicken loop when you fly the kite, this is bad news and indicates that you have too much tension in your safety line. This will cause one of your front line to be shorter than the other, which means your kite will steer in one direction. The other problem is that your safety line bungee cord will have too much tension which can cause it to break.

Kitesurfing Line tuning issue #3 (Flying the kite on the beach)

Another common line tunning issue is un-even back lines. This will cause your kite to steer on one side of the wind window. You can tell you have un-even back lines if you put your kite at 12’Oclock and notice that your bar isn’t parallel to your kite or that your kite has a natural tendency to always turn to the left or always turn to the right when you let go of the bar from 12’ O’clock.

The reason you end up with un-even back lines is that once your back lines have shrunk, they can be stretched very easily. For example, when relaunching your kite, if you end up pulling very hard on one of the back lines you will stretch that line and it will become longer than the other back line.

Kitesurfing Line tuning issue #4 (Flying the kite on the beach)

Another line tuning problem you can have is un-even front lines. This may cause your kite to steer on one side of the wind window or simply fly or react poorly. This is hard to detect when you are flying the kite and it’s best to check this when your kite isn’t flying and your bar and lines are attached to a fixed point.

The reason one of your front line may get shorter or longer than the other is due to your safety system operating on a single front line. When you activate your safety system you put more stress on that safety line and for this reason your safety line may end up with a different length as your other front line.

Now that we know what the different line tuning issues are and what causes them, let’s look at how to fix them.

We’re now ready to fix…

Another solution is to … screwdriver

Another solution… use your safety leash

Fixing line tuning issue #1 and #2

We’re gonna learn to fix the most common problem

remember that by default… ‘’

The other problem …

we know we need to lengthen the back lines’’

by shortening the front lines…

We can pull out the back lines from the floater

We simply move this lark head

Now that we lengthened the back lines as much as we could…

Another way to gain a few more CM

If you still have over sheeting problems after making all the possible adjustments from your bar, you can consider these two options.

  • You can try to stretch your back lines, which will help you gain a few centimetres at the most. Keep in mind that your lines will shrink again so this is only a temporary adjustment. It may work for a few CM of difference but if you have longer lengths to fix, then you need to consider adding line extensions


  • Here is how to add line extensions to your back lines. Remove the line connectors at the end of your back lines and add this line extension. The length of this extension should correspond to the length you need to make all your lines even again.

Fixing line tuning issue #3

Let’s now look at how to check and fix un-even back lines. Grab both of your back lines from fixed point of reference and bring them close together. Here we can see that one of the back lines is shorter than other. If you only have a few CM of difference you can try stretching the shorter line and waiting a few minutes as it will shrink again and making the necessary adjustment. A more permanent fix is to shorten this line underneath the floater.

Fixing line tuning issue #4

Now let’s look at how to check and fix un-even front lines. Pull both front lines just below where they start to split and simply check if both lines have even tension. Here we can see that one of the front line has some slack while the other has more tension. This means we need to shorten the longer line to even it with longer one. On this bar we can do this by adding an new figure of 8 knot below the front line split.

Another solution is to add a new pig tail at the end of your lines.

Final check.

When all your lines are attached at a fixed point with your trim strap set at full power, you should see all your lines come in tension at the same time when pulling the bar in.

It’s a good idea to check your line lengths every 20 sessions or so. If your lines have any knots in them, make sure you remove them as early as possible to avoid damaging your lines. It’s a good idea to rinse your back in fresh water daily, especially if you kite in salt water. This will make your bar and lines last longer. If you ever see lines fraying like this, it’s time to replace your lines or get a brand-new bar. If you ever replace your lines, make sure you replace them in pairs to ensure both lines have the same length.

I hope you enjoyed this video and found it useful. Please don’t hessite to ask questions or share your comments below.

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