Kitesurfing - the Backstall

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Backstalling - Kite traveling backward in the wind window... It's super annoying! We will see why it does that and how to avoid this situation


The kite is flying and is mostly willing to go to his safe zone, the edge of the wind window. On some kites, the over tension on the steering lines (or back lines) is creating a pull on the kite and it can have a tendency to want to go to the centre of the wind window… and crash...


Kite Backstall - Kitesurf Dumaguete

Why? How to solve this?

The "Why" part is complicated... it's a matter of turbulence of the air at the back of the kite... let's focus on "when"...


When does it happen?

  • When the kite is on the edge (9-10 or 2-3) of the wind window and the kitesurfer is over pulling the bar

  • When the kite is not properly rigged

  • When the power lines (front lines) have stretched

  • In light wind

  • You don’t have the right bar for your kite


Kitesurf Dumaguete

How to overcome the kite backstall?

  • Let go the bar a bit... it will create less tension on the steering lines and the kite will move forward to the edge of the wind window.

  • Adjust your settings: Make sure your lines are even. On most kites now, the 4 lines are supposed to be at identical lengths when the bar is pulled. To check this, you can attach the end of your lines to a fix point and pull your bar to put all lines under tension. None of the line should be more slack than the other.

  • If you have been riding overpowered, it is possible that your power lines have stretched a bit (few centimetres) and you will have to adjust the length of your steering lines in consequence.

  • On most bar, you can easily adjust the length of the steering lines by just switching a knot. Have a look under the floaters of the steering lines and make your knot a little bit longer. Re-check the bar on the fix point and that should be OK.


Kite Bar and Lines - Kitesurf Dumaguete

  • On the end of the wingtip, where you’re normally fastening your steering line, you may have several knots (some brand like Slingshot are doing this) You can play with these knots… one knot further from the wingtip will make the steering line longer and less prone to back stalling of your kite

  • If you realise the problem while you’re kiting, just add a bit of trim to reduce the length of your power lines. A few centimetres can make a big difference in your kite behaviour.


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