KITEs Method Glossary

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Kite boarding terms


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    Rider Kaleo Padilla Photo Richie Hawley

  • Angular velocityThe rate at which a spinning body rotates.

    AnticycloneA body of air in which the atmospheric pressure is higher than the pressure in the surrounding air; a high or high pressure area. Describes the movement of air around a high pressure; and rotation about the local vertical opposite the earths rotation.

    ApexThe top of the wind window, the highest point on the wind clock.

    Apparent air speedWhen kite is moving through the air from high point to low point increasing the speed of the kite.

    Arctic airA mass of very cold, dry air that usually originates over the Arctic Ocean north of Canada and Alaska.

    Arctic highA very cold high pressure that originates over the Arctic Ocean.

    ASOSThe Automated Surface Observation System.This system observes skycondition, weather, temperature, dew point, wind direction and speed, pressureand precipitation.

    Aspect ratioMeasurement of the wingspan divided by the width of the wing.

    Asymmetric boardBoard designed with two different rails. The difference of design is intended to help to tack better or dig in the rail better when overpowered.

    AtmosphereThe mass of air surrounding the earth and bound to it more or less permanently by the earths gravitational attraction.


    TerminologyAAdvisoryOfficial information issued by tropical cyclone warning centersdescribing all tropical cyclone watches and warnings in effect along with detailsconcerning tropical cyclone locations, intensity and movement, and precautionsthat should be taken. Advisories are also issued to describe: (a) tropical cyclonesprior to issuance of watches and warnings and (b) subtropical cyclones.Adjustable TravelA stopper knob above the control bar which limits the distance the bar can travel. Ahi (HI)Yellow fin tuna

    AirThe mixture of gases that make up the earths atmosphere.Air launchA kite flying from the kite launchers hand into the air.

    Air massA large body of air that has similar temperature and moisture characteristics.Air speedSpeed of air flowing over the kite.

    Akamai (HI)Smart, in a clever way.AnabaticWind flowing up an incline, such as up a hillside; upslope wind.

    AnemometerAn instrument used to measure wind speed.Angle of attack (AOA)Relative angle of kite to air flow.

    Angular momentumThe energy of motion of a spinning body or mass of air or water.

    Angular speedThis speed describes how long the kite needs to describe an angle in the wind window.


  • 4 Moderate breezeSmall waves becoming longer; fairly frequent white horses, raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved 11 to 16.5 Fresh breezeModerate waves, taking more pronounced long form; many white horses are formed. Chance of some spray, small trees in leaf begin to sway. Crested wavelets form on inland waters 17 to 21.6 Strong breezeLarge waves begin to form; white foam-crests are more extensive everywhere. Probably some spray, large branches in motion; whistling heard in telephone wires, umbrellas used with difficulty 22 to 27.7 Near galeSea heaps up and white foam from breaking waves begin to be blown in, streaks along the direction of the wind, whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against wind 28 to 33.8 GaleModerately high waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spindrift. Breaks twigs off trees; generally impedes progress 34 to 40. The foam is blown in well-marked streaks along the direction of the wind.


    Beaufort Scale0 CalmSea like a mirror, smoke rises vertically1 Light airRipples with appearance of scales are formed but without foam crests. Wind direction shown by smoke drift but not by wind vanes 1 to 3.2 Light breezeSmall wavelets, still short but more pronounced. Crests have a glassy appearance and do not break Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary vane moved by wind 4 to 6.3 Gentle breezeLarge wavelets. Crests begin to break. Foam of glassy appearance. Perhaps scattered white horses, leaves and small twigs in constant motion. Wind extends light flags 7 to 10.



    Back doorThe area below the apex where a kite travels during a power loop. On the wind clock this area is between ten oclock and two oclock opposite apex.

    Backwards launchSee reverse launch.

    Back loopTo jump and turn 360 degrees against the direction of travel, during which the board is higher than the riders head.

    Back-sideSee toe side.

    Beach-startStart technique with one foot on the board and the other on the sand.

    Bail outTo abort a wave or jump.

    Balanced aspect ratioA middle ground between high and low aspect ratios.

    Bar1. The control device used in kiteboarding. 2. An obstacle formed at the shallow entrance at the mouth of a river or bay that empties into the ocean.

    BarometerAn instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure.

    Beach trollDrug addicts who live in the bush near the beach.

    Beaufort ScaleA scale that indicates the wind speed using the effect wind has on certain familiar objects. Generally used in Europe. Virtually unused among kiteboarders in the US.

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    Body rollThe act of full body spinning to untwist kite lines.

    Bone YardA reef which either shows or is just below the surface of the water. Often causing riders to crash and make a skin and bone deposit on the reef.

    Bowline knotAn adjustable knot used in kiteboarding to attach the trim line to the power strap.

    BootiesFootwear that functions on the water as well as on the reef and beach. Generally made of neoprene.

    Bra (Hi)A ride buddy.

    Bro (Ca)A ride buddy.

    BridleThe internal lines of the kite, which attach the kite lines to the kite.

    Bridle fittingA line extending from the bridle that connects the kite lines to the bridles or kite.

    Broken cloudsOpaque clouds that cover 6/10ths to 9/10ths of the sky.

    Beef (HI)To throw blows, to fight.

    BettyAn anachronism used to describe an active beach girl; Beachen, Electric, Titillating, Tan, Yumster.

    Bi-directionalA board that can be ridden either forward or backwards.

    BitchinReally good.

    BindingsWakeboard/snowboard style boots, that attaches the riders feet to the board.

    BlindTo ride with your back to the kite.

    Board speedSpeed of the board through the water.

    Board recoilOver-tensioning of the leg leash resulting in board-body contact.

    Body-dragBeing pulled trough the water by a traction kite without a board.

    9 Severe galeHigh waves. Dense streaks of foam along the direction of the wind crests. Waves begin to topple, tumble and roll over. Spray may affect visibility. Slight structural damage occurs (chimney pots and slates removed) 41 to 47.

    10 StormVery high waves with long overhanging crest. Resulting foam in great patches is blown in dense streaks along the direction of the wind. Whole surface takes on a white appearance. Tumbling of sea becomes heavy and shock-like. Visibility affected. Seldom experienced inland. Trees uprooted; considerable structural damage occurs 48 to 55.Copyright Scout Notebook - 2001

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    Center linesThe inside or leading-edge lines on a four-line kite.

    Center line slideA technique used to move from the kite to the board while in the water.

    Channel bottomEdges on the bottom of the board other than the rails.

    Chicken loopAn old school term to describe the Trim Loop. The center harness loop on a four-line bar.

    ChinookA strong downslope wind that causes the air to warm rapidly as a result of compressive heating. Called a Foehn wind in Europe.

    ChuckTo discard, throw away, abandon.

    ChuckingTo toss a new rider into the water on full length lines.

    Clarissa HempelThe KITEs Safety girl, who is also a professional kiteboarder and model.

    ClearThe appearance of the sky when it is without clouds, or clouds cover lessthan 1/10th of thc sky.

    ClimatologyThe scientific study of climate.

    Cloud Condensation NucleiSmall particles in the air on which water vapor condenses and forms cloud droplets

    CloudyThe state of the sky when clouds cover 7/10ths or more of the sky.



    Buffer zoneAn area or distance maintained between a rider and an obstacle. Generally twotimes the length of the kite lines.

    Burn (Fl)To smoke herb, pot or pakalolo

    BurlyBig and ugly, usually used to describe conditions or women

    BuryTo put sand or other weight on top of a kite sufficient to keep the kite frommoving. C CalmThe absence of apparent motion in the air.

    Cabo-Verde IslandsVolcanic islands west of Senegal. Good for kiteboarding.

    CarbonA strong, lightweight material used to make boards. Also, a chemical found in coal and in all living things.

    CeilingThe height of the lowest layer of broken and overcast clouds.

    CelsiusA temperature scale in which zero is the freezing point of water and onehundred is the boiling point.

    CGCenter of Gravity. The lowest point of body weight


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    Control positionBoard in hand at side.

    ConvectionThe transfer of heat by movement within a gas or liquid.

    CoreThe body, the center of gravity of a persons body

    CoronaA disk of light surrounding the sun or moon. This is a result of the diffraction of light by small water droplets.

    CrackinA wave breaking with attitude.

    CrittersAny living organism with a defense system.

    Cross wind90 degrees to the wind.

    CruisingLight casual action, mellow.

    CycloneA body of air in which the pressure is lower than that of the surrounding air; a low or low pressure area.D

    Dacron/MylarLightweight, strong material found in the struts of marine traction kites.

    Dialed (Fl)The way you