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mIKAEL
Each winter, lots of people are looking to get new/used snowboards for the kiting season. Because there are so many choices available, it's pretty tricky to make up your mind as to what you need. Just like kites or water board, there's no right answers, just personal preferences. The goal of this thread is for people to post what they like and don't like about their kitesnowboard, or what they are looking for and hopefully help buyers to make a better choice. Let me start and hopefully more people will post their experiences.

I'm interested in a good freestyle snowboard. Don't care much about speed or confort as I'm not into long distance either.
I found that a board with good flex helps me get good pop for jumping and also forgives lots when landing.
I also want a descent sidecut to allow for quick turning and carving.
Length, I'm more confortable with a board between 155 and 160cm. Mostly ride on hard pack snow and the occasional deeper powder day.
Ride with zero-zero angle on my bindings. Stance width is pretty much the same as my water board.
Quick entry and exit bindings like the Flow or other step-ins are a nice luxury. The classic two straps work good too, just slightly more annoying.

I had a custom board made couple years ago, that rode really well. Nice flex, not much sidecut, 154cm. It was perfect, the only problem is that it was of poor quality. The edges would fall apart really quickly.
Been looking for something similar. Tried the Flow Zen Wide last year. Really good board. The extra width of the board which I though would be beneficial, made it harder to turn quick or edge nicely.
Then tried the Flow Camo. This board is narrower which is much better! Found the board to be quick turning. I liked it. The only thing I would like to see is a little more flex.

Ok, that's about it. Your turn. Tell us everything about your boards!
Vytas
I am 185lbs and ride a 158cm. Works great. Most snowboards are made with the same technology that is shared since its not developed by snowboard companies. For radical shapes that extend beyond the norm:

http://www.chicagokitesurfing.com/kiteboar...light=snowboard

Here in Chicago we don't get enough snow to really ride every week. We get maybe a month or 6 weeks of good riding without a long drive.
Motz
Hey guys,

Nice to see people get involved with this area of Kitesnowboarding. James Brown in Denver turned me on to this thread. First off MIKAEL hit it ride on when he said "Just like kites or water board, there's no right answers, just personal preferences"

Well here is my opinion.

(1)First off everyone should be on a so called "modern twin tip" which you can find in many shops. Basically these boards have two noses just like what you ride on the water. This is essential because it will fell good going one way and really funny feeling going the other way. Also these boards have a centered sidecut with the sidecut not moved back from center. It would be like riding a Naish Mutant going one way and then going the other way with the fins being your nose and a having a huge tail.....just plain ackward. But if you like to ride like that then so be it.

(2)You need to find a board that fits your style/riding ability. If you are a beginner or your just into cruising then a softer flex board is where it's at. A softer board will be more forgiving and overall an easier ride. A stiffer board is good for more advanced riders and will cut through corn snow better than a soft board. Personally I love stiff modern twin tips. Which by the way are hard to find.

(3)As far as Flow boards do not look into the Zen or Camo. If you look at the specs on either of these boards they are not "modern twin tips". For example the Camo has this for tip/tail width:

156cm = 288/285
160cm = 293/290
164cm = 298/295

I would reccomend the Flow Budo since it's the only board considered twin in Flows lineup.

Well there you have some info from me and I also have a Kite shop here in Denver, CO with an online shop as well. You can contact me here:

[/url]http://www.kitesnowboarder.com
Motz
Oops! I meant it is essential to get a twin tip board because if you don't it will fell good going one way and really funny feeling going the other way.

Also my site is:

www.kitesnowboarder.com

Later
Motz
James Brown
Reply from James Brown.

The perfect board for most packed/windblown snow for an average sized rider would be about 156-158cm. For powder, it would need to be at least 10-15cm longer. Your stance should be "duck" so the angle is the same on both feet. The amount comes down to whatever is comfortable on the knees. The board would need to have symetrical, centered sidecut . The sidecut ideally needs to be more shallow than a standard resort board, for maintaining a consistent edge during reaches. A standard "resort" board usually has a deep sidecut that is designed for linking smaller "slalom" turns. Since we stay up on edge for long periods of time while kiteboarding, we need a shallow sidecut that won't "hook" upwind. Too much sidecut forces you to ride flatter and further back on the tail so the front won't hook. The board should be stiff with good pop. I think that we have to define flex here based on Mike's comments. For kitesnowboarding, we need a board that will hold an edge under the force of pull from the kite. A stiff board will do that. As Mike explains, he likes flex, which I call "pop". A well built board will be stiff so it holds its shape until a point where the rider puts a certain amount of pressure on the board to make it flex. That amount of pressure should be the amount that is put on the board when you have loaded up the kite and set your edge for a jump. The board then flexes momentarily and then pops back into shape, which gives you a good boost into your jump. A soft board will flex, but usually under very little pressure and won't snap or "pop" back into place readily. It just kind of sags and stays there. The result is that you can't hold your edge easily and have to basically rely on edging with the only effective area of your edge, which is between your feet. The tips become useless with those boards and they are bad for any kind of snowboarding, whether it's at a resort or with a kite.

With some experience at flexing boards in a shop, you should be able to tell whether a board has the characteristics needed. Go out to a shop and flex as many boards as possible to see the difference.
Here are some tips for flex testing boards.
Keep in mind that the more boards you flex, the more tired your arms will get so they will start to feel stiffer. Also, good boards are specifically designed with varying flex throughout the board. For instance, they can build a board that is stiff in the middle and soft on the ends, or stiff in the tail and soft in the nose. To really flex a board correctly, you should flex the different areas separately. Make sure there are no bindings on all the boards that you test, because they can effect the way a board feels when you flex it. First, get an idea of the overall flex by holding the board with your forearm across the tip and set the tail on the ground. Now here is where most people make a mistake. The tips of the board don't really effect the flex of the board while you are edging, and they may have a softer or stiffer flex than the rest of the board. All that you are concerned with is the effective length, which is the area that touches the ground when the board is laid flat. You want to eliminate them from your flex test, so set the very end of the effective area on something, or get down low enough that angle of the board keeps the tip off the ground. Put your forearm across the base of the board at the tip, right on the edge of the effective area. Push the board at the center of the board. See if it gives that "pop" feeling. It takes a lot of strength to simulate the amount of pressure that will make the board flex when you have loaded up your kite and are standing with all your weight on the board. Second, you should see how the ends of the board flex. Keep the base of the board on the ground as I described above, but move your arm down to the upper set of binding inserts. Push with your other hand in the middle of this length. If the board is a true twin tip, the flex should be the same on both ends.
Next we need to test for torsional rigidity. Most people don't consider this when flexing a board. What it is, is the amount that a board twists along its length. If a board twists too much, then it has a tendency to slide out during a turn. To test this, you need to put your foot at the base of the board and put your weight on it. Then grab the other end with your hands on both sides. Twist it back and forth to see how much it gives. The stiffer it is, the better it will hold.
Another way to test the flex of the board is to put bindings on it in the shop, and strap in so you can rock back and forth from tip to tip. Hold onto something so you don't get thrown when you get that perfect pop.

That's my two cents.

-James Brown
mIKAEL
That's great info guys! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

James, did you find a board that fulfills all your desires?
Motz, are you gonna be riding the Budo this year, or did you find something that fits you better?
S
mIKAEL,

There are some heavy hitters weighing in on this topic - thank you for starting the thread. Motz and James pretty much started the snow side of this sport. V is a legend from ChiTown.

My two cents - everything works. The key I think is a top notch wax job and really sharp edges. I ride on everything from ice and corn snow to fresh powder.

You have some great locations over in the 313/734 area I cannot wait to ride this year.

Skip
mIKAEL
Skip, you remind me of something. Sharp edges. Obviously important for better edging. But is it really necessary? Here's the way I lok at it: edging is good for couple things mainly. Holding down a good amount of power, and going upwind well.
Now going upwind on a snowboard is not that hard with a descent wind. Therefore I'm willing to sacrifice some edging power.
Now lets assume I go for a slightly smaller kite so I don't have to hold as much power. Do I need the sharp rails anymore?

What I'm getting at is the possibility of having dull edges which would help having a looser feeling on the board (similar to a water board with no or small fins) and maybe it would forgive on landings or any other situations where catching an edge might happen (rail riding). I think snowboarders 'unsharp' their edges for park riding for that reason.

Could we benefit from that technology?
James Brown
Mikael,

I plan on getting one of the Flow boards from Motz through his site, kitesnowboarder.com, because they sound like the closest thing to the ideal board for snowkiting. I haven't actually found anything specifically designed for this purpose yet, except the Eskape boards from France. They were funky though. I can't remember what it was exactly about them that turned me off.

As far as sharp edges. For kiting I'd say the sharper the better. We are riding a lot of hard pack so it helps. Just have to get some bomber gloves that won't shred when you grab. Some guys that ride rails at resort terrain parks will round off their edges so they don't catch on burrs. They aren't really concerned about edging. They will usually have another board in their quiver for riding where they have to turn.
steveblain
nice information, I'd like to add my two cents, there's no doubt that a twin tip is the call for similar feel on port or starboard tacks . You still have to be careful buying a board because not all twin tips have a standard radius side cut. The Nitro Shadow for example has a tri-radial sidecut, the sidecut starts with a little steeper radius for turn intitiation, lessens in the middle to to help on jump landings and controlling the board in the middle of a turn, then the radius lessens even more to help the board turn down the fall line for the next turn. So it's a twin tip , it would work, as does a directional board ,but it would feel a little different on each tack.
Sharp edges ....good! however a useful trick on the tip and tail of the board it to take a file and 3/4 of an inch in front of and behind the widest point on the nose and tail, run the file at a 45 degree angle blunting the edge for the 1 1/2 inches at the widest points of the board, this is called detuning. It allows the nose and tail to release the snow more easily on spin moves, or even just changing direction on your kite, it makes it easier to slide the boards nose downwind so you can crank the gybe under lots of power. And is a little more forgiving correcting a non too perfect landing.
Pray for snow.
bigair
QUOTE(S)
...The key I think is a top notch wax job...


Skip, is that all you can think about?

Seriously, very sound advice and information is in this thread...thanks to Mikael and James Brown! I would just add reinforcement to the idea of minimized sidecut. A board with a lot of sidecut will be loose and quick turning, but it is always looking for a turn when it is loaded which makes it somewhat challenging to travel in a straight, smooth line. The board companies rate sidecut from 8M-12M radius for the most part from what I recall. The larger the sidcut radius, like 12M, the better in my opinion for my riding. As Mikael noted, a tighter radius with more sidecut will benefit a aggressive quick turning style.

As far as stance, a good tip for newbies (or check for seasoned riders), whether setting up you twin tip for the water OR snow is to get up on a chair and jump off it 4 or 5 times to a natural landing stance. Note the distance and angle of your feet. Most people find a foot bed angle in the range of 0 to 15 degrees comfortable (I ride at 9 degrees open) with feet about shoulder width apart, maybe slightly wider. For most people, getting out of those ranges just puts stress on ankles, knees, hips, etc.

Oh yea, K2 Clicker bindings are nice.
windandwake
Hey Guys,

Tons of great info on picking the right snowboard for kiting! I haven't done a whole lot on the snow yet so this stuff is very helpful. I did wanna throw my two cents in on bindings. With the little kitesnowboarding that I have done, I think that step-in bindings would be a bad idea for kiting because of the reduced flexibility as a result of both the stiffer boots and being fixed to an exact point on the board. Kiting, you're going to want the same amount of freedom as a half-pipe rider. You usally won't see those guys running step-ins.

Cheers,
Mike Sloan
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