YOUR ULTIMATE BOARDS FOR EVERY SESSION
There is plenty of information online and in magazines about kites, kite shapes and different kite characteristics, but kiteboards are sometimes rather neglected. Despite the fact that choosing the right board can significantly improve your kite sessions. Maybe you’ve suddenly managed to pull off complicated tricks, or your upwind riding has improved, or you’ve finally mastered the waterstart. These are all factors that depend on the shape, size and design of the kiteboard. You will find detailed information on the specific characteristics of each type of board at the relevant overview pages for the DUOTONE Twintips, DUOTONE Surfboards and DUOTONE Foilboards. Here we offer a summary of the different types of kiteboards and describe where they might be used and what differences there are between the various boards.
WHAT KINDS OF KITEBOARDS ARE THERE?
In general, kiteboards can be subdivided into three categories: twintips, surfboards and foilboards. The individual boards can then be further subdivided into categories such as freeride, freestyle, waves, racing, big wave etc., there is more information on this in the overview pages for kiteboards. Here we are looking at the
WHAT DIFFERENCE IS THERE IN TERMS OF KITEBOARD SHAPE?
Twintips are bidirectional boards - which means it doesn’t matter which end of the board points in which direction. Surfboards and foilboards are unidirectional or directional boards. These have one end that always points in the direction of travel (the so-called “nose”) and one end which makes it impossible to ride if it is pointing in the direction of travel (the so-called “tail”). Surfboards have fins at the end or tail of the board. Foilboards have a foil mast located on the tail.
WHAT DIFFERENCE IS THERE IN TERMS OF CONSTRUCTION?
Twintips are made from multiple layers of different materials. Most boards consist of a wooden core onto which layers of fibreglass and carbon are applied. The composition of materials varies depending on the board’s specific purpose.
Surfboards consist primarily of an EPS core. Layers of bamboo, Technora fibres and cork are applied to this core to make the board more stable and enhance its handling performance.
Various construction methods are used for foilboards. For instance, the Duotone Free uses a twintip construction, while the Duotone Hybrid is modelled in a surfboard construction.
WHAT DIFFERENCES ARE THERE BETWEEN THE KITEBOARD BINDINGS?
Using a twintip, you can choose between mounting boots or straps. Boots come originally from wakeboarding and connect you securely to the board. This gives you better control, for example at landings, but they can also result in serious injuries in the event of a crash. The risk is slightly lower with straps as these are a looser connection to the kiteboard, which also allows you to perform board-off tricks. However, it’s easier to lose the kiteboard if you fall. If you decide to use boots, you must make sure your kiteboard is suitably designed for this. Boots exert far larger forces on the kiteboard, which is why specific reinforcements are needed to avoid damage to the board.
With surfboards you have a choice between straps, pads and wax. This is often a matter of personal preference. In the past, almost everyone had straps on their surfboard, but nowadays “strapless” is the preferred trend. Straps offer greater control over the surfboard, which is why they are still often used for big wave surfing. Some people swear on wax. Air temperature and water temperature are both important considerations to ensure the surf wax offers grip and remains sticky for as long as possible without being rubbed off. Nevertheless, the layer of wax will have to be reapplied regularly. (You will find ION wax here.) For these reasons, most people now use pads. Pads offer surprisingly good grip and are highly durable.
With foilboards you have a choice between two, three or even no straps. Your personal preference and surfing style will be crucial here. If you specialise mainly in racing, straps are essential. On the other hand, if you prefer freeriding or performing tricks on your foil, you will be able to make your own mind up about what works best for you.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FINS FOR KITEBOARDS AND SURFBOARDS?
Twintips and surfboards are ridden with fins, foilboards do not have fins, as they have the foil. With twintips, you have a choice between different fin sizes (2cm, 3.5 cm, 4.5 cm and 5cm). The smaller the fins, the more manoeuvrable the kiteboard is. The larger the fins, the easier it is to edge the board and ride upwind.
With surfboards, you have a choice between different fin shapes. At Duotone these are the TS-M, TS-M Pro I and TS-M Pro II fins. The choice of fins depends on personal preference, riding style and preferred discipline and spot.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT BOARD SIZE?
The board size depends on your riding style and body weight. Beginners tend to use larger kiteboards as they make waterstarts easier and perform better when planing and for touch-downs during foiling. Professionals, for example, use very short boards for foilboarding. With twintips, freestylers often use larger kiteboards to facilitate landings, while big air specialists prefer smaller boards which edge better in strong winds. For twintips, in addition to the length of the kiteboard, the width is also very important, because any change in width has a far greater impact on the total area of the board. For surfboards, the volume is also important in addition to the length and width. To make sure everyone chooses the correct size of board for their body weight, we have cerated size tables with precise information on the product pages for each board.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF KITEBOARDS?
Twintips are by far the most commonly used boards. Every kite school teaches with twintips and lots of kiters remain loyal to the twintip for a long time. Twintips are the easiest board for jumping, manoeuvring and riding upwind. However, the fixed leg and feet position prescribed by the straps and boots can sometimes result in pain for people with hip, knee or ankle injuries.
Compared to twintips, surfboards offer a significantly better performance in waves. You can pull off smoother turns and enjoy the pure surf feeling. Surfboards give you a special sense of freedom thanks to the curve in the round rails, the larger volume and the ability to position your feet freely.
Foilboards are usually designed exclusively for use with a foil mast and foil pane (which must be acquired separately). You could also choose kiteboards such as the Duotone Hybrid, which can be used either as a foilboard or surfboard.
WHICH KITEBOARD SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Once you’ve decided to acquire a new kiteboard, the first thing to consider is what type of board you would like. The decision to select a foilboard must take into account the individual kiter’s skill level: the kiter will need to be fairly experienced, as foils demand certain technical skills.
Deciding between a twintip and a surfboard is rather harder. You can easily ride a twintip at a wave spot then use the waves as a kicker for jumps, for example. And you can just as easily use a surfboard in flat water and focus more on leisurely cruising or strapless freestyle.
Once you’ve reached a decision about the type of board, you should consider what riding style you prefer. For example, there are specialised kiteboards for freestyle riders which really aren’t well-suited for freeriding. And beginners will need different kiteboards to kiting pros. Our style-finder on the overview pages for the boards will help you make a choice.
Often you can get a kiteboard in various different designs (e.g. Jaime vs. Jaime SLS; Wam vs. Wam SLS). The more sophisticated constructions offer significantly better performance. You need to think about whether that really is necessary for you or whether a simpler design will be adequate.
You should also take your physical condition into consideration. Kiteboards and twintips with softer flex and a more curved outline will be easier on joints in choppy water, but perform less well for jumps.
Once you’ve decided on a board design, the question is what size you will need. Both personal preference and body weight will play a role in this decision. Detailed information on the recommended sizes can be found on the product pages for the individual boards.