Kiteboard bars or kiteboarding control bars are important pieces of equipment that you can use to steer foil or inflatable kites. These control bars can harness the power of the wind and provide steerage. They will also allow you to turn, jump, accelerate, and slow down.
Almost all kitesurfing or kiteboarding manufacturers have developed their own designs, but they all still serve the same purpose. The most advanced versions now offer high-end safety features that can bring your kite down in just a couple of seconds.
Innovative designs improve each year, making kiteboarding much safer. With all these models from different manufacturers, it is hard to tell if they are compatible or interchangeable. Therefore, we have written this article to give you more information on kiteboarding bars and help you find out about their interchangeability.
It is important that you have the right kitesurfing equipment set up, especially when you are just starting. Having high-quality and well-maintained equipment will make learning much easier and enjoyable. If you’re a beginner, check out our guide to choosing kitesurfing equipment to know more about the gear that you need for the sport.
Types of Kiteboarding Bars
4-line Kite Bars
This type of kiteboarding bar features a simple control system that is less likely to cause tangles. The safety leash is attached to one of the front power lines. 4-line kite bars are interchangeable and can be used with almost any kite, although some adjustments may be required. They are easy to re-launch by simply pulling on either of the outer lines. However, in light winds, they can be trickier to re-launch, and self-landing requires more skills.
5-line Kite Bars
This type of kite bar features a more advanced control system that can easily depower a kite. It is easier to re-launch in lighter winds and easier to use to self-land. It is also required for some kites to fly correctly. However, 5-line kite bars take a little longer to set up and can get twisted around after several loops, which can affect their performance and safety.
Parts of a Kiteboarding Bar
This safety device allows the kiter to connect to their kite and quickly detach in case of emergencies. It allows them to simply and quickly open the loop that attaches them to the kite.
A chicken stick’s function is to secure the chicken loop to the harness hook.
This mechanism can be pushed, pulled, or twisted to quickly depower the kite and release the kiter from the wing’s power.
This spring-loaded cord is connected to the kite’s safety line and is used to keep the wing close, even after releasing the chicken loop.
This system allows the kiter to reduce or increase the kite’s power without moving the bar.
This will allow the kiter to set a specific power without having to carry any load on their arms.
These consist of two sponges that can provide flotation for the bar and prevent the kiter from getting injured by the lines.
These two pieces can wrap up the kite lines.
It takes everyone a different time to become a kitesurfer. As a beginner, you should know what you are up against and how fast you will be able to enjoy riding the wind. To help beginners like you, we made a helpful guide to learning how to kitesurf.
These are also known as flying lines and are very strong. The list below shows the lines that are required to fly your kite:
- 2 front lines or center lines;
- 2 back lines, outer lines/steering lines;
- Pigtails and connectors, which refers to the smaller connections between the lines and the kite;
- 5th line. However, they are only compatible with some brands;
- Bridle system. These are lines that stay permanently attached to the kite; Some manufacturers offer connection options to fine-tune the way the kite flies.
Shorter Lines (15-19m)
- Allow the kite to move faster through the wind window
- Are great for powered kite loops and wave riding
- Offer you more control and direct steering
- Allow less intense kite crashes
- Increased high-end power
Standard Lines (20-24m)
- Most kiteboarding bars come with these lengths, making them the optimal combination of speed and power
- Provide good turning speed
- Provide optimal low-end/high-end power
- Are good for high jumps
- Are great all-around kitesurfs or kiteboards
Longer Lines (25-30m)
- Great in light winds but provide slower turning speed
- Give extra power and low-end grunt
- Ideal for racing
Are kiteboarding bars interchangeable?
4-line kiteboarding bars are interchangeable and compatible with all 4-line kites. However, not all compatibilities are ideal, and you should watch out for the pigtail connections, adjustability, Y or V split, and safety systems.
Remember to check for the pigtail connections first. Some manufacturers will have opposite pigtails. If this is the case, just swap them, and you are good to go. However, if for some reason the pigtails are not removable, you can use universal adapters.
The High Y or Low V Split
Make sure you use a bar with a Y or V split designed for your kite. Determine if it is a high Y or a low Y as it will change the dynamics of the kite. Matching it up with how the designer intended it is ideal.
Some kiteboarding bars offer three knots on the steering lines, while others only offer one. If your kite was made to be flown on the center knot and you do not have that kind of knot, you will be missing out on some of the performances from the kite.
For example, Slingshot, Cabrinha, and Liquid Force all have three adjustments on their steering lines. You can rig close to your kite for more power, use its center standard knot, or far away to take the power out of your kite. If the kiteboarding bar only has one knot, like Duotone, you’ll be missing out on the said benefits.
Some older kiteboarding bars have different safety systems and, as a rule, you should not mix old bars with your new kites. Designs have changed in the past few years, so if you mix the old with the new, the safety systems will not always be compatible.
A good example of this is trying to mix a 2011 Cabrinha IDS control bar with a modern kite. Although the kite can fly, you are taking a risk and compromising its quick-release system. With some older bars, the safety system may be useless. Beyond that, after almost years of use, it is a good practice to get new fresh lines anyway. Your kite will fly better and you will not have to worry about breaking a line after half a mile out.
Other factors can also affect how the kite feels. Some kiteboarding bars make kites slower, while others might just add some bar pressure. But beyond that, every bar is built slightly differently.
Kitesurfers are likely to suffer back pain at one point or another throughout their life. Whether such back problems are due to kitesurfing itself or not, they can still greatly impact their abilities to keep riding, and sometimes, can keep them out of the water for long periods. Is kitesurfing bad for your back? Read our article to find out.
Kiteboard Bar Interchangeability
The three brands that seem to work perfectly together are Cabrinha, Slingshot, and Liquid Force. When it comes to Duotone kites, it is best to use Duotone bars as their kites have a unique approach in terms of design, making them more ideal with their original bars.
The Liquid Force bar has a small gap between the line float and the bar, which helps give the bar a faster response. Using the Cabrinha bar actually slows down the kite slightly and adds some bar pressure. If you prefer moderate bar pressure, switch to the Liquid Force Amp bar with molded floats to give the NV V9 some more bar pressure.
Some kiteboarding manufacturers mix their pigtails as well. For instance, Duotone and Naish kiteboards have different pigtails, but you can still mix the other brands with these by swapping the pigtails or using PKS universal adapters.
Kiteboard bars are interchangeable, especially if they are compatible with each other. This also means that some brands should not and cannot be mixed. More often than not, interchanging kiteboard bars can work. You just have to find the right combinations and get used to the changes that come with these.
With that being said, it is always best to research or go through this guide to know what to expect when interchanging kiteboard bars. This will help ensure your safety and preserve the quality of your equipment.