Common Types of Kiteboarding Kites

There are many types of kite on the market today, and each comes with its own unique shape, style, and feel. As many unique shapes as there are out there, most can fall into a few common categories. These common categories are Bow kites, Hybrid kites, C-Kites, Delta kites, and Foil kites.

Bow kites typically are the most versatile across different skill levels. They typically have appreciable depower, which makes them relatively safe to fly as power can be reduced at a moment’s notice. Bow kites take a flatter shape compared to the other kites, almost like a true set of wings. The Taina is a good example of a high performing bow kite.

C-Kites are commonly more popular among experienced riders looking for some serious adrenaline. C-Kites typically have the most power available for a given size and can boost you to outer space at a moment’s notice. De-powering these kites is often difficult, since the deep C doesn’t flatten out quite as much when the bar is pushed outwards. True C-kites don’t usually have any bridles along the leading edge, however C-style hybrids and Modern C-kites have evolved with these bridles in place.

Delta kites are similar to bow kites, but typically with more of a sweep to their profile, meaning the trailing edge at the tips sits behind the trailing edge in the middle. These kites are just as comfortable to fly as the bow kites, with similar depower characteristics. The delta kites score higher in the relaunch category because the shape and sweep help it catch the right amount of wind to break it free from the water. Just like the bow kite, the delta kite is a good kite for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders alike.

Hybrid kites are typically thought of as somewhere in between Bow and C-kite. Ideally, they have the depower range of a bow kite, with the power and feel of a C-kite. This makes them relatively safe for beginners, while maintaining the power desired by intermediate and advanced riders. The hybrid kites will have the bridles attached to the leading edge (remember, the true C-kites lacked these!), giving it the depower capability. Modern C-kites are similar to hybrids, in the sense that they have more depower capability and bridles on the leading edge compared to true C-kites. The Notus Rev models are great hybrid kites.

Foil, or “Ram-Air”, kites rely on the wind to keep their shape. The blowing wind is “rammed” into the cells of kite, forcing them to hold an airfoil shape and fly just like an inflatable kite. Foil kites typically have more bridles than an inflatable, on account of the multiple cells without a fixed rigid structure (like an inflated bladder).  Foil kites can be depowered and landed easily, since lift is turned off as soon as the kite collapses on the ground. The Randas is a great example of a foil kite.

It’s important to pick the right kite for your style, so we offer a comprehensive look at each kites' shapes and strengths through our rating system, so you can tailor your next kite to fit you just right!


Check out some other articles on this topic:

Surfer Today article

InMotion Kitesurfing Article