Kiteboarding Glossary of Terms

Agro – A verb describing extreme agression.

Bar – The local watering hole. Usually Mike’s trunk since he is alwasy good for a six-pack after a session. Can also be used to describe the kite control device you use to steer the kite, preventing you from face-planting a parked boat.

Bridle – What they gave out before driving licenses. Also a configuration of kite-lines that are precisely measured and attach at certain points on a foil kite to maintain its shape while in the air, and help in the kite’s control and lift-generating capabilities.

Chicken Loop – The loop at the end of the depower strap that hooks under your spreader bar hook. Also called a Trim Loop, this loop got its name when 4-line kites were first released, indicating the rider was “chicken” of the kite’s full power.

Close to the Wind – How much of an angle you can go directly into the wind when riding.

Directional Board – A kiteboard that is designed to be ridden in one direction. Foot placement must be changed to turn and tack back and forth.

Foil – A type of kite. Usually foils are two-skin kites held in shape by a bridle with air vents on the leading edge. As the air passes into the kite, the kite fills with air and expands to its full shape. Much like a flying air mattress, though mattresses would be more comfy than taking a nap on your kite.

Grom/Grommet – A total hack. A little dude with a ‘tude.

Grub – Fuel. Food. Chow. Good Eats.

Grunt – Pure power. The amount of pull generated by a kite when riding. “Dude, that kite has grunt”. Can also be sued to describe a newbie, “what a grunt!”.

Hindenburg – At 803.8 feet in length and 135.1 feet in diameter, the German passenger airship Hindenburg (LZ-129) was the largest aircraft ever to fly. The “Hindenburg” disaster is sometimes referred as the “Titanic of the sky”…when the largest airship ever built suddenly went down in a fiery blaze. When an inflatable leading edge kite stalls and falls outta the sky, it is said to “hindenburg” due to it typically powering up right before hitting the ground and creating a loud smack that get’s everyone’s attention on the beach. It is impossible to “look cool” when your kite has hindenburged.

Jellyfish – Some inflatables “jellyfish” rythmically when they fly in the air, hence the term. This is due to either poor design, or varying wind conditions, or the kite losing air and flopping around more than your manhood hanging free.

Kite – A device capable of generating enough power to easily launch your paltry frame at great distances through the air. You are usually attached to this device, so be careful. “Dude, your Slingshot has some serious grunt!”

Kiteboard – a device usually strapped to one’s feet, or the roof of a car. Experienced device owners can use said kiteboard to boost big air and tricks impressing the women sunning themselves on the beach. Inexperienced kiteboard owners should wear foot protection against inadvertent ankle-stubbing.

Leading Edge – the forward edge of a kite. The side encountered by the wind first. On inflatable kites, this edge is defined by a large inflatable tube. For foils, there is usually a series of vents or openings defining this side. This side of the kite can cause trauma if you are in the path of a hindenburg delivering high-volume slappage to your neck-parts. Keep clear of other kiters and make sure to look downwind before jumps.

Leak – An unfortunate situation. A cause…its effect being your kite going limp. A leak causes you to watch from the sand. A leak should be fixed immediately!

Lift – To raise. To hoise. To elevate. To elevate highly in kitesurfing is good.

Lit – At the edge of comprehensible control. At the breaking point of muscle and tendons as your kite is practically tea-bagging your arse across the water. You are “lit” when your board is throwing up a spray through all four or your lines.

Plane up – How quickly a kiteboard will support your weight on top of the water, rather than anchoring you up to your knees. Planing up is much better than planing down. Stay on top of the water.

Port – A small, circular window. To the left. The left side of a nautical vessel. The color defining port is red. For kitesurfing, this is left-hand-forward riding. Left-hand-forward kitesurfers do not have right of way over starboard riders or vessels. Right does not mean red, guys!

Pump – To inject. A device used to insert air, or another medium, into an object. An exercise kitesurfers ritually perform to “warm up” prior to getting wet. Let’s keep the mind out of the gutter, now…

Right of Way – The system defined to maintain order and prevent chaos out there! Right-hand-forward riders typically have right of way rights. All other riders and vessels should yield. But don’t expect some weekender with a cooler of beer in his cigarette boat to know this. Steer clear of Crockett and Tubbs, and any other dangers.

Rollers – Large waves out to sea that do not form an apex and crash. Nice for popping airs in the open water.

Sacrificial Lamb – the lamb that is slaughtered for food. The kiteboarder that takes a trip out of Chicago in search of beautiful beaches and caribbean winds, only to learn he gets skunked while its windy for all his friends back home in Chi-town. Thanks bro!

Send the kite – Changing the kite’s direction abruptly to generate a sudden rise in power to boost big. “I sent it back hard, and the next thing I knew, I was superman!”

Sine the kite – A technique used to generate apparent wind at the kite to deliver more grunt. To sine the kite, the rider steers the kite up and down as he rides to trace a mathematical “sine” wave through the air. “Today wasn’t fun, I had to sine the kite all day.” var. making a figure-8 flying pattern when on land.

Skunked – Being sprayed by a skunk, resulting in a lonely immediate future. Showing up at the beach to see flags hugging poles. “Everytime he shows up, we get skunked!”

Starboard – A nautical term indicating the right of a vessel. Right-hand-forward riders are riding starboard in kitesuring and usually have the right of way. Riders should always be alert and give up right-of-way in the pursuit of safety.

Table-Top – Being inverted under the kite in the air and straightening your body with the bottom of the board making the top of a table.

Tea-bagged – When a rider is flopping behind his kite face-down, being pulled without control and trying to recover. It looks like a tea-bag.

Theft – A total misfortune.

Thruster – a configuration of fins at the back of a directional board.

Trailing Edge – The rear, or back of the kite.

Walk of Shame – The unfortunately long distance you must walk to get back to your stuff when still learning to stay upwind. Depending on rider skill…cab, train or plane rides may be required.

Wind – Air in motion moving around you. A kitesurfer needs typically 8-10 kts of wind to kitesurf.

Windmill – When your kitelines get tangled on the kite, or the bar, or some object (another kite) and begins spinning out of control while powered up. You don’t want to personally experience this.

Wind Window – The 1/4 sphere that defines the useable wind from a rider’s perspective. This window can be determined by standing with your back to the wind and extending your arms outward. The window is defined by the space forward of your arms and straight above you.