To The Point:
It is possible to ride a piece of plywood or water skis. That being said, find boards that have the characteristics you like, and ride those.
The Detailed Explanation:
Bi-directional or Twin tip
This means the board can be ridden equally, in either direction. This is the most common type of kiteboard and it can be used in all conditions.
A classic type of kiteboard that was designed like a smaller windsurfer. It is pointed in the front and has a big fin in the back.
Self explanatory. It's strapless, used for surfing, and is also used for kitesurfing.
Self explanatory. It has no fins, and a small, more rounded shape with a point, like the profile of a water droplet.
Generally, it has no fins or single fins on each end. It is small, thick, and has a lot of rocker
Stiffer boards tend to be difficult to ride in chop, but in smoother waters, they can be controlled at very high speeds.
Flexible boards tend to ride smoother in choppy water, but when trying to push them to the highest speeds, they become harder to control.
Long boards are quite stable when holding an edge, however, longer boards tend to be less maneuverable. Narrow boards allow for very strong edge control because the riders
heels or toes will be closer to the edge of the board.
Short board tend to be very maneuverable and quick feeling. Wide boards are some of the most stable, but they are harder to edge because the rider's heels and toes are so far from the edge of the board.
Large surface area
Can be done by making a board longer or wider. A large surface area board will be easier to board start with, and easier to stay riding on, because it requires less speed and power to stay planning. However, at higher speeds or with extra power, it will be harder to control. This type of board is great for beginners.
Small surface area
Can be done by making a board shorter or narrower. A small surface area board will be harder to board start with, and harder to stay riding on, because it requires more speed and power to stay planning. However, at higher speeds or with extra power, it will be easier to control. This board is great for advanced riders.
This is the shape of the board when you look at it while it's lying on the ground.
This is the amount of curve the board has if you look at it on the bottom, lengthwise, from heelside edge to the toeside edge.
This is the amount of curve the board has if you look at it on the bottom, lengthwise, from nose to tail.
This is how thick the board is or how much float it has.
Big fins give a lot of grip and lift to a board. They force a rider to edge properly, but they create a lot of drag. Good for going upwind at low speed, for learning, for choppy waters, or wave riding.
Small fins make a board feel looser and quicker when transferring weight from rail to rail. Precise edge control is needed more often, but when applied, the board can be maneuvered comfortably in a wide variety of positions. Good for high speed riding, flat water, riding sliders, or riding in shallow water.
No fins create a very slippery feeling board, but they allow a rider to ride a board in practically any position, and rotate the board at ease. Precise edge control is necessary all of the time. Good for practicing surface handle passes, riding sliders, flat water, or extremely shallow water.
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How To Kiteboard™