There are several fundamental design features which aid in giving a board specific characteristics. We’ve attempted to outline the key features of each but as with any type of board feature, it’s how you combine them that ultimately defines how a board will perform. There are many boards on the market aimed at beginners. This does not mean the board will last you one season then you will have to sell, it means it will feature some basic design elements to achieve early planing (great for board starts) and better grip.



Concave describes the curvature of the base of the board from rail to rail. Nearly every board on the market will have a concave bottom, be it a double concave or a progressive concave to a flat base. You can see the concave in your board by looking at it from the tip down.


The main aim of a concave bottom is to allow water to be channeled in a certain direction to allow greater upwind ability and increased speed.


Rocker describes the curvature of board from tip to tip. There are various types of rocker on the market; 3 stage or continuos rocker. A continuos rocker is a curve all the way through the board which gives it a smoother ride and more control. A 3 stage rocker tends to have a flatter centre section and more curvature on the tips making it better for pop and looser underfoot. A rocker line can vary on different style boards; here are the benefits to the different styles of rockers:



Usually found on lighter wind boards, the minimal rocker allows more contact with the water which helps generate maximum amount of power in less wind. The downside to a board with a flat rocker line is that you can easily get overpowered; the board does not handle chop too well and you can bury the tip in to the water if you are learning.



A high rocker line tends to be found on more wakestyle boards. A higher rocker is good for high winds or fast landing tricks. With a high rocker line the board feels more manoeuvrable under the foot and has a smaller turning radius which is not ideal for everyone. The downside to having a  high rocker is that it will not perform well in lighter winds.



A medium Rocker is found on most boards in the market, this makes the board great at everything, however it will not excel at all sides of the sport.


An outline is the overall shape of the kite board, as seen from the deck or the base. The outline gives your rail contact with the water. It also contributes to the all-round attitude and feel of your board. There are no set categories to an outline, however we will look at how a curved outline differs from a straighter outline board.



A straight outline board tends to have only a small difference of width between the centre and the tip. A straight edge gives more resistance to the water surface for better upwind performance and a better pop off the water.



A curved outline board has a larger difference of width between the centre and the tip. A rounder outline allows better carving abilities, easier high wind control and a more responsive board.


Channels tend to be found on the tips and underside of some boards. This gives extra grip, allowing the board to be used without fins and helps break the water up for softer landings. You tend to find most wake style boards are channeled in case the rider wants to hit obstacles with the board.



The tips of the boards can tell you quite a bit and this is where you may see some obvious shape differences unlike the outlines that may be harder to spot. There are many tip designs on the market but they all tend to sit under 2 categories; square and rounded:


A squarer tip tends to have a larger amount of pop and is found on most freestyle and wakestyle boards. A squarer tip does not help push the water in a certain direction which means it does not carve as well. You may also find boards with very square tips can produce a lot of spray, however most manufacturers round off the corner of the tips to prevent this from happening




A rounded tip has less pop then a squarer tip however is much better for carving turns. This is why it is found on most freeride kiteboards.




Width is a massive factor in kite boards; it may not be a defining feature for most people when choosing a board, however it should be something you are aware of. Most average boards tend to be about 38cm-41cm in width. We are going to look at narrow and wide boards as understanding the outline and tip shape will aid you in being able to spot any style of board on the market at just a glance. Be aware when you add 1cm in width to the board it adds a lot more surface area than 1cm to the tips.


These are usually faster through the water, and lighter in weight. Narrow boards tend not to be good in lighter wind conditions and are usually found at extreme kite speed racing events, Race boards can be as small as 27cm


A wider kite board will give the board extra surface area allowing for faster water starts and better pop. A wider board tends to be more stable in the water, however if it’s too wide you will find the board hard to control in powered conditions. Most beginner boards tend to have a width of about 40cm, and the large light wind board can be in the 50cm mark.


Heres a breakdown of the different style of twin tip boards on the market and how their construction features effect their performance and characteristics:



A freeride board is designed to be extremely versatile in all conditions, though generally more suited to riding where you are powered up. Most freeride boards tend to have a rounder outline which allows for better surf and carving abilities. The tips on a freeride board tend to be slightly curved off and not carry as much width in them, this allows the board to handle better in waves. The flex will be soft to medium allowing the board to carve smoothly.



A freestyle board is designed for the rider wanting to really push their tricks hooked and unhooked. They tend to be slightly stiffer than a beginner or freeride board to allow for extra speed and quick explosive pop. Like the beginner board, the freestyle boards usually carry the width through the tips. They tend to feature a medium to high rocker and a straighter outline to allow the board to drive upwind through the water.



A wakestyle board is designed for fast powered tricks and usually unhooked tricks. They tend to feature a stronger foot strap insert to allow the user to fit boots to the board. Most wakestyle boards will have quite a large rocker which produces a better progressive pop out of the water. The board feels free under your feet and maximizes the freedom of movement and control in all terrain conditions, however this can affect the upwind and light wind ability of the board.





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