Do I choose a flexible or a stiff kiteboard, which flex rate suits best?
Kiteboard flex is the ability of bending the board in all directions. The stiffer this flex becomes, the more force it takes to bend it and the faster the board will snap back in its shape when that pressure is released again. There are two bending options:
- Longitudinal flex runs from tip to tip and flexes the board up and down over the length.
- Torsional flex runs over the width of the board. To visualize this, imagine grabbing the kiteboard one hand at each tip and then trying to rotate those tips in opposite directions. That’s the torsional axis.
The amount of flex a kiter needs or searches all depends on the combination of his or her weight, skill level and preferred kiteboarding discipline. Starting with rider weight: that’s what builds the pressure on the board. A certain level of stiffness in a board can feel easily flexible for someone of 85 kg yet pretty hard to turn for someone of 60 kg standing on that same board.
Advice on how stiff your kiteboard should be
A beginner is better off with a soft flexing board. It’s easier to manipulate, tweak and turn when you’re still learning your balance and kite feel. This is why we give our AWESOME a flexible wood core: easy entry level for all-round beginners. A soft board also absorbs the bounces over small choppy waves better, all at ease. For heavier or more experienced riders a flex that’s too soft will have more negative aspects like the lack of speed, pop and upwind ability.
Experienced riders will always choose for a medium to stiff flex in a board. The stiffer a board is made, the snappier it gets. It takes way more power and input to flex it yet the return in pop and acceleration is also way bigger and more effective.
Our SHOTGUN is a medium flexed ‘jack of all trades’ for example. This board provides lots of pop while still being forgiving and it stays in control at high speeds. The CARBONARA is SHOTGUN’s big brother on steroids: Ultra direct because of the added carbon layers to provide maximum stiffness, power and control. If conditions get very choppy, the stiffness of CARBONARA demands a lot of your technique and fitness. The lower amount of flex will not absorb the bounces anymore.