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A couple of months ago I used a small trainer kite in moderate winds to pull me on a cheap skateboard. I had a blast, but there were a couple of problems. I had no instant speed control, I did not have an easy way to stop, it didn't feel like a snowboard, and transitions involved coming to a complete stop. All this was addressed when I found the Freebord.
The freebord has 4 very wide skate wheels, and 2 additional rotatating wheels on the bottom.. For design specifics go to www.freebord.com
Anyhow, this board takes at least an hour to learn how to ride. Although to me it NOW feels akin to a snowboard, it doesn't at first.
The freebord design allows the board to slide and carve like a snowboard unlike a normal skateboard. This allows you to
1. Slide for speed control
2. Slide to a stop
3. Edge the board to ride upwind
4. Slide to transition
In this video, I have a total time of 3 hours with the Freebord, with about 2 of that with a kite. I am just at the beginning of the learning curve, but I am having a blast learning. I feel much safer on this boad since I can just slide to a stop if I need to. Plus it is more fun than a regular skatebord.
The wind registered 6-10 on the sensor nearest to this site (Alameda Ports) and had lots of holes.. The kite is a Kitewindsurf 3.6m preproduction model (availible later this month at www.kitewindsurf.com ) made by newtech kites.
Anyhow, here is the link to the video
You can kite on anything. I have kited on a skateboard with a 2M trainer kite, but felt underpowered. My favorite was a 4 line 5M traction kite. The traction kite is so stable and I could fine tune the power and depower (I flew it with handles). I was able to fly on the boardwalk of ocean beach amongst pedestrians, lightposts, etc when the wind was too light to get pulled in the sand at high tide on both a mountain board and regular skateboard.
As far as boards, I have tried a bunch; old school plastic boards, new school boards, longboards, freeboard, flowboard, mountain boards, snowboards. Anyhoo, they all work.
IMO the flowboard is the same as riding a skateboard with loose trucks. I dont' think it is worth going out and buying one for kiting. I see their real strength for being able to make tight turns for really steep hills. The flowboard gets a little scary when you get your speed up, crazy speed wobble. I blew out a stock flowboard wheel with one bomb run down the avenues in san francisco, lucky for me the wheels didn't lock up. Better to get a nice traction kite that you can fine tune the power of, and ride any old cheap skateboard you can get your hands on.
But, you were riding a freeboard. Yeah those are fun boards. I've never tried one with a kite cause I haven't found a place with enough open space. I have gone faster on a flowboard than I think I've gone in my whole life (bombing the presidio). Once you get about 12 mph they really ride like a snowboard. Once you are going really fast it gets sketchy cause the wheels heat up and start melting. You just have to switch edges when you feel this happening. Yeah I imagine it would be fun for kiting too, but doesn't look too much different than a regular skateboard. If you don't already have a skateboard at all they are a decent investment cause, you can raise the extra swivel wheel and ride it like a traditional long board. You just have to get used to the extra wide trucks and not kick them when kicking for speed.
But I still think regular skateboards work just fine. I've been riding skateboards ever since I can remember. We used to play street hockey with skateboards before roller blades were around. You can slide to a stop on a regular skateboard just like on a freeboard. With a little practice you can do 4 wheel slides or 2 wheel (rear) slides to slow yourself down on a regular skateboard (assuming your wheels durometer > 90).
I can see the freeboard being fun in wide open spaces. I don't like to ride that board on sidewalks or narrow pathways. If I had to choose, I think mountain boards are my favorite. They have big wheels so you don't have to worry about your wheels locking up on little rocks. And a mountain board can be ridden on a bunch of different surfaces : hard pack sand, dirt, asphault, short grass, etc. They are fun to carve cause the inflatable wheels really grip the road and go a little slower than a regular skateboard due to the inflatable wheels friction. And if you put straps on a mountain board, they are fun for doing jumps (I am aware that straps are available for the freeboard). Mountain boards slide to a stop on sand for switching directions. But if you just want to fool around on light wind days, any old board will do. I have had a blast on an old beater snowboard on the sands of alameda. If you close your eyes, it feels like you are riding in the snow, its a trip.
both kites will come complete with bar, lines and a backpack. both are setup with 4 lines and a leash to the brake lines..
the 2.2m will be in the low 100 range and the 3.6 in the low 200s..
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