Tandem Kiteboarding - The Inside Scoop
Tandem kiteboarding also known as tandem kiting or tandem kitesurfing is the evolution of sport! We will look back on kiting and wonder to ourselves why didn't we start doing tandems sooner. Skydiving, paragliding, and flying airplanes were all originally solo activities, but as their sports evolved so too did their way of thinking and teaching. Skydivers, paragliders, and pilots soon figured out that it would be a lot safer to instruct students by having a professional pilot at the helm (The pilot and the passenger).
Kiteboarding (the newest of these sports) followed in their path in 2013. Tamatoa Gillot opened the doors wide open when he went live with his inspirational tandem kiting video, "Tandem Kitesurfing - Double Pleasure - Kitesurf"
Double Pleasure was a huge leap forward in the thinking of kiteboarders. But there were many doubters that claimed that it wasn't a consistent repeatable activity. They believed that winds needed to be a steady 25mph wind, and you needed to have extremely long arms to perform tandem kiteboarding safely.
Since 2013, tandem kiteboarding has come a long way. We are now able to ride in winds ranging from 10mph to 40mph, and we we're able to do it safely on a consistent basis. So what has changed?
Professional kiteboarder and tandem paragliding pilot, Jared Carlson, was inspired by Tamatoa Gillot in 2014 to perfect the art and skill of doing tandem kiteboarding. 3 years after starting, Jared has logged more than 1000 tandem kiteboarding rides, and has taken tandem kiteboarding to the next level.
Please keep in mind that things did not go perfectly the first time. There were many setbacks along the way. Using the correct equipment was one of the biggest issues for making tandem kiteboarding safe. Kites were exploding in the air, bars were snapping in half, lines were breaking, shackles were failing, quick releases were malfunctioning, harness webbing was ripping, and not to mention breaking a finger or two.
Every single time when something went wrong, there was something to be learned from the failure. This is why tandem kiteboarding has come such a long way since its birth in 2013. The technology, thought process, and skills have evolved.
What tandem kiteboarding gear do I need to get?
1. The Tandem Board - Axis Kiteboarding makes an excellent tandem kiteboard. It has 4 sets of straps, and it is only board that I would recommend. It does extremely well in choppy conditions, it jumps great, and the board has stiffness and flexibility where it is needed most. There are few other companies that make tandem kiteboards such as Nobile and CrazyFly, but the Axis kite board is the best.
2. The Kite - The 2017 Cabrinha Switchblade is extremely rugged, it turns quick, and it jumps extremely well. This kite has been weight tested and used on a regular basis with 350lbs of combined passenger and pilot weight. Tandem pilots are jumping, riding waves, and aggressively using this kite. Other kites have been flown in the past, but they have either exploded or the fabric has stretched to such a point where it has become a safety issue.
3. Harnesses - The Ion Aaron Hadlow waist harness is an excellent choice for the pilot's harness since it is reinforced with carbon, and it is very comfortable. Please remove the spreader bar as this will be replaced with carabiners (explained below).
The Ion Radar seat harness is a great choice since it is one of the few seat harnesses that is comfortable, and it won't ride all the up your private area. You can use a waist harness for the passenger's harness, but keep in mind that the harness will most likely ride all the way up to their armpits. This will make it extremely hard for the pilot to maintain control of the kite because the controls will now be 12 inches further away than they'd like. Not to mention, the passenger will not be very happy with their harness underneath their armpits.
4. Sling Connectors - These 12 cm Black Diamond Dogbone sling connectors are what connects the passenger's harness to the pilot's. These slings are strong enough to handle 22 kilo newtons of force.
5. Carabiners - The DSG (Double Safety Gate) carabiners is what connects the pilot to the passenger's slings. Connecting and disconnecting should be easy, and you should be able to do it with one hand.
Breaking Strength 7,418 lb (33 kN)
Weight 4.58 oz (130 g)
Gate .98” (key lock)
6. Heavy Duty Kite Lines - The kite lines that we use for tandem kiteboarding are specially ordered through Kiting.com. These lines can withstand the consistent load of having two people under one kite for our hours, and they have a breaking strength of over 1200lbs per line.
7. What Type Of Extensions Are You Using?
We are using rock climbing extensions that are rated to break at over 30 kilo newtons. They are 12 inches in length which bridges the gap between the passenger and the pilot, so you can comfortably kiteboard together for hours. The handles that connect onto the extensions are acro paragliding handles.
Are you ready to go tandem kiteboarding?
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for taking professional tandem kiteboarding lessons. If you are really interested in learning how to do tandem kiteboarding, get in touch with us at www.kiting.com and we will be more than happy to help.
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