Glossary of Kite Terms |

Helpful Kiting Terms

Bridle: lines that form the junction between a kite and the flying lines. Inflatable kites usually don't have bridles and the flying lines are connected directly to the kite.

Buggying: using a power kite to pull a land-based vehicle.

Cell: ribbed compartments that help divide parafoil kite.

Closed cell: kites with a limited number of air intakes and a valve system that prevents air from escaping after a fall. These kites are closed cell foil kites.

Control bar: a long bar used to control the kite. Rear kite lines are usually connected to the ends of the bar and the front lines are attached to the middle of bar. Bar length is typically 40 to 80 cm.

Dual Line, 2 Line: Kite which is flown using 2 lines of equal length which enables the rider to steer the kite right or left.

Dyneema: Also known as Spectra. It is the standard line for flying lines. It is slippery and will allow multiple line twists without loosing kite control.

Fifth Line: a 5th line on a kite can is used for re-launching, depowering and helping maintaining the shape of the kite.

Flex: is the degree of stiffness in a kiteboard.

Flexifoil: a manufacturer of foil kites including the Blade and Nexus models.

Flying lines: the main lines between the kite and the rider, usually made of Spectra. A kite usually has either 2 or 4 flying lines.

Foil kite: a soft type of kite which is made up of cells which fill with air. Foils achieve their shape by inflating with the wind, and have no other rigid structure or bladders.

Handles: used instead of a control bar to fly the kite. In 4 line kites, a pair of bent handles with one power line connected to the top and one brake line connected to the bottom of each. A "link line" or harness line runs between the two handles to allow a harness to take the load of the kite. Generally considered unsuitable for inflatable kites.

Kitesurfing, Kiteboarding: Activity where you use a kite to pull you across water with a board under your feet.

Lift: when flying, a kite generates lift or upward force like an airplane wing. Lift is proportional to the square of the apparent wind velocity.

Pig Tails: the 4 short lengths of line attached to the kite where the 4 flying lines are tied.

Profile: side view of a foil.

Quad line, 4 line: Kite flown using four lines. This gives you the ability to not only steer left and right like a dual line, but you can also adjust the angle of attack.

Quick Release (QR): a safety mechanism that allows a kiter to disconnect in case of emergency. Most modern manufactured kites have a QR to allow a kiter to disconnect the chicken loop.

Relaunch: a term that means to start flying again.

Rigid kite: a kite whose shape is mostly held by a rigid frame, this eliminates the need for a complex bridle. Most rigid kites are not water relaunchable.

Ripstop: this refers to the squares of reinforcing fibers in the fabric of a kite, which helps make it resistant to tearing. A rip in this fabric will stop at one of the reinforcing fibers. Many kites use ripstop polyester fabric.

Reel bar: a combination winding reel and control bar used to wind up the kite flying lines.

Sining: this means to move the kite in a sine wave pattern (up and down) to generate wind and increase it's power.

Sleeving: a protective sleeve that covers the ends of a line to help prevent wear.

Span: this is the kite width, it's usually the longest dimension of a kite.

Spar: the sticks used as the frame of a kite.

Stretch: the amount a line momentarily lengthens when pulled. Spectra has very low stretch, kevlar has slightly more, nylon has a lot. Stretch affects responsiveness and size of control movements.

Struts: term used to refer to the inflatable battens in an inflatable kite. There are several body struts and one leading edge strut that hold the shape of an inflatable kite.

Traction kite: a term given to any kite big enough to pull a vehicle on land, snow, ice or water.

Trim loop: a loop used in most 4 line kites located at the centre of the control bar and used to adjust the kites AOA, thereby depowering the kite. Also called 'chicken loop'.

Unhooked, hooked out: when the control bar is not connected to the harness, the rider chooses to bear the full force of the kite with their arms.

Wind range: used to describe the range of wind speed that a kite will fly well in.

Windward: in the direction toward the wind, opposite of leeward.

Wing: a term used sometimes for a kite or any other airfoil.