Flying The ARC

ARC Set-up and Behavior

There are three types of ARC kites: Standard, F-type and Guerilla.

The Standard ARC (S-ARC) is designed to fly with little bar pressure. Most of the kite’s force is delivered to the rider through the front two lines. This is very different from inflatables and if you switch, you have to “unlearn” the inflatable setup, and learn how to fly the ARC.

If your lines are set up so the bar can be pulled in past max power, the kite will stall. Pulling it in further will cause the kite to fly off the rear lines. The kite will fly backwards. This characteristic is good to relaunch the kite when nose down in the water, you can simply pull the rears in and fly the kite up off the water. This is also great for kite snowboarding or kite mountainboarding. You can simply back the kite to the ground and rest for a while with the main loop hooked in and the adjustor strap let all the way out. The kite will just sit on the ground in front of you. It will pull some, but usually in the winter, you use smaller kites due to less drag so it won’t pull you over. Check the water re-launch write up in the ARC Tips page for a better description for water re-launching the S-ARC.

This is why line setup is so crucial with the ARCs. There are currently three types of arcs in production: standard, guerilla and F-type. Each of these types of kites has a different line setup. Let’s keep it simple by simply referring to the standard (S-ARC) and F-type (F-ARC) and Guerilla (G-ARC).

For the S-ARC, the rear lines should be 8-12 inches longer than the front lines. You can accomplish this by adding a leader line to the rear line attachment points of the kite. Make any leader lines extra long. For the S, they should be about 16 inches long. You can tie knots at equal lengths spaced 2 inches apart, starting 6 inches from the kite, for the entire length of the leader line. This way, you can adjust which knot you attach your lines to “dial in” the power of the kite for that day’s conditions and your existing line-lengths. Its important the two front lines are an equal length to each other. Its equally important the rears are equal to each other, so when you add a leader line to the rear attachment points of the ARC kite, make sure you tie the knots at exactly the same length. This is very important.

When flying the kite, pushing the bar out will cause the kite to fly higher at a faster rate which will overall depower the kite. This will also “power up” the kite – it will fly faster which will create a short burst of more power. In light winds or strong winds, when turning the ARC, you should pull the bar closer and steer at the same time. This will put more tension on the rear lines and the kite will turn faster, then when the kite is flying straight, let the bar out to allow the kite to generate more power. As you “sine” the kite, get a good feel of doing this. At the turns, pull the bar in and turn, and then as you straighten the kite out (either flying up, or down), let the bar out to get the kite to fly faster.

S-ARC Bar Setup – Your bar should be setup so that you can:

  1. Ride powered up. (bar set to full power at comfortable distance from you with “play” in both directions with the adjustor strap). A lot of guys who ride unhooked set this so that full power is when the bar is pulled all the way in toward you (when you’re unhooked, the bar chicken loop is against the bar).
  2. Significantly depower the kite. (let the bar out and shorten the adjustor strap on the fronts making the rear lines extremely slack – to where you can’t even hardly steer the kite)
  3. Stall the kite and back down the kite. You should be able to relaunch/solo-land (pull the bar in toward you and let out the adjustor strap so you can stall the kite and back it down to the ground – fly it backwards – to land it). Pulling in the bar and letting out the adjustor strap will lengthen the front lines and make the kite fly off the rears, which will be very taut.

In summary, the actual rear line length (relative to the front lines) means nothing unless you take the length of the rest of your hook-up into consideration. Even with the lines set as recommended, if you have a longer chicken loop (such as when you’ve inserted a quick-release), you may have to reach uncomfortably far out to ride without stalling and be unable to fully depower. If you have really long arms this is fine, but not everyone does. Conversely, if you have a really short chicken loop you might not be able to stall the kite down even fully sheeted in. So setting your lines is more a matter of feel than measurement. Get it somewhere in the ball park then go out and ride on it making small adjustments until you have all the capability listed above.

For the F-ARC, the front lines should be about an inch longer compared to the rears when measuring length from the bar to the line ends. So if you add a leader line to the kite, remember to measure your line lengths from the bar, to the leader knot you attach your line to.

The F-ARC is the most advanced kite typically reserved for expert kite-surfers. It has an extremely hig aspect ratio which makes it long and narrow, which for an un-bridled foil is difficult to launch and re-launch. Re-launch in the water is usually impossible. This kite was designed purely for performance and people who get their kites wet should not be buying this kite.

The Guerilla ARC behaves very similar to an inflatable, however. Pushing the bar out will depower the kite. Pulling the bar in will power up the kite to max power. You can jump by “sending” the kite from 11 o’clock to 1 o’clock and then sheeting in for max power to get great lift and good float on the jumps. The Guerilla kite from is new in 2003 to combine the good features of the F and the S ARCs in one kite package. Great upwind, good relaunching, good behavior and rock-solid in gusts. It is an advanced kite for the novice user. Very friendly and performance is equal to the best kites on the market.

To view the Manual for the Standard ARC, go here. To view information on the Guerilla ARC kite, please click here.