Modern power kites have become safer and more
versatile … largely due to depower systems. This tutorial explains all of the de-power
systems on a modern power kite. The ability to power or depower your kite
while flying it, is actually its ability to change angle compared to the airflow – known
as angle of attack. If your kite lines up with the airflow, it
will barely deflect it, and won’t pull you as much. If the kite has a larger angle of attack,
then the wind is deflected and the kite pulls harder. It is important to note, however, that if
the angle of attack is too great, you start to loose power. Too much angle of attack makes the kite fly
sluggishly around the wind window; and can even cause the kite to fly backwards, known
as backstalling. The
largest and quickest control over your kite’s angle comes from the bar. When the bar is pulled in, the steering lines
tense, increasing the kite’s angle of attack. When the bar is out, the steering lines loosen,
reducing the kite’s angle and power. This is why, students are trained to push
the bar away when confused or out of control. Many students, unfortunately, begin with the
opposite instinct. Since panic makes you want to grip on the bar. As well as the bar, you can adjust the kite’s
angle using the depower strap. Bascially, this system works by adjusting
the length of the centre lines. When you shorten the centre lines, the steering
lines loosen, giving less power. When you extend the centre lines, the steering
lines tense, which can increase the power you feel from the kite. The depower strap isn’t designed to give on-the-go
adjustments like the bar, but it is helpful for trimming your set-up. For example, here the kiter is leaning forward
too reach the bar. This is spoiling their upwind stance. Shortening the depower rope
means the bar can sit closer as you ride. On some designs, you may find your depower
strap below the bar. Or you may even have 2 seperate tabs, but this still works on the
same principle. The power tab will extend the centre lines. The depower will shorten
shortens the centre lines. The final way to alter the angle of the kite,
is by using the different connection points that join your lines to your kite. Typically, you will find three knots to choose
from when connecting your steering lines to the kite. Attaching to first knot slightly extends the
steering lines, for less power. Attaching to third knot (or last knot) slightly
shortens the steering lines, for more power. There could also be multiple connection points
to choose from on the centre lines. In this case, the first knot extends the centre
lines, for more power. The last knot shortens the centre lines, for less power. Most kites are designed to work well on the
middle settings. Although, it can be hard for beginners to
notice if their set-up and rigging are optimal. Generally speaking: when the bar is pulled
in straight, the steering lines should become tense but the kite shouldn’t stall or steer.
When the bar pushed out, the steering lines should become slack. It is common for people to make rigging mistakes
in light wind. Because the wind is light, they decide to
set up the kite for the most power. These settings give the most angle of attack possible. However, too much angle of attack slows the
kite as you try to manuaevre it – AND, in light wind make the kite liable to backstall. Using some depower, however, helps the leading
edge fly forward quickly. The kite can then be steered deeper into the window to build
power. In strong wind, it may help a little to rig
for less power before you launch. But, bare in mind this doesn’t make a huge
difference in strong wind. Full depower, will NOT allow you to use a kite that is too big
for the wind speed. I hope this tutorial helps you understand
your kite’s depower systems. Subscribe for further tutorials.