How to setup, trim and tune your kitesurf kite

Is your kite set up right?  Are you getting the most from your equipment?  Lets take a look at how you can keep your gear performing as it should.


First up, have a look over your kite.  Hold the canopy up to the light & look for any pin holes.  If you find them, repair them with Kitefix or spinnaker tape. Pin holes are a weak point in the canopy & its better to patch them before your kite tears.  Kitefix can sort most rips out, & it's great to have if you're going on holiday, but a professional repair will look tidier.  The struts & leading edge have to hold the air pressure in the bladders, so any split stitching or tears to the material are going to require a professional repair.


The Slingshot 'Jenna J' Pump with Pressure Gauge

Kite pump with a handy

pressure gauge

Pump your kites up hard.  You need at least 6psi and most current kites should be pumped up to 8psi.  If your kite is too soft, it will distort in flight making it feel woolly & the relaunch will be much harder.  A good tip is to flick the leading edge as you pump up. Under inflated it will sound like a dull thud, once up to pressure it will 'ping' when you flick it.  When you turn the kite over the leading edge shouldn't crease or fold.  Fix any leaks with a bladder patch before you go out!


Lay out your lines & check them as you straighten them out. Undo any knots as these seriously weaken your lines. Tip: Gently tap the knot with something hard to loosen it up.  Any frays in your kite lines or depower rope & you should replace them.  Check the chicken loop releases as it should.


North Adjustable Bar Ends

Adjustable Bar System

Check the lines for stretch by pegging the bar down & setting the trim line to full power. Pull the lines tight & they should all finish at the same point.  Having lines the right length is critical to how your kite behaves. If a line has stretched by more than an inch, adjust it on the knots at the bar. If you have run out of options for adjustment, you may have to get your lines re-sleeved or pigtails made up.


Look at the bar & see if there is any adjustment to length? Longer bar settings are best for bigger kites over 10m & shorter settings for smaller kites.


Attach the lines to the kite & notice the settings on the steering lines. Attachment points closer to the trailing edge of the kite give lighter, faster steering & less bar pressure. There is usually a visual guide on the kite to what the settings change. Don't be afraid to try the different settings to see if you prefer them.  To start with, a slower & less responsive kite can be helpful.


Pick a light wind day, get a launch & fly the kite up.  Check the steering - is the bar level when the kite is still?  If not then you might have to tweak the steering line lengths.


Check the kites trim - set the trim strap to full power (let it all out), then gently pull the bar down.  The steering lines will be tight & the trailing edge of the kite will be pulled down, powering the kite up.  If it starts to fly backwards towards the ground, it's over sheeting - so push the bar back out.  This 'back stalling' behavior, means the front lines are too long & should be shortened or the back lines are too short & should be lengthened. To do this, pull in the trim strap a little & try pulling the bar down again. Once you have the trim strap set so that you can pull the bar in without the kite flying backwards, note how much you pulled it in by & make an adjustment of the same amount to the kite lines. Repeat the process until you can fly the kite at full power without it back stalling. Your kite should now be flying in good trim & you're ready to go!

Need something fixing? Give 24-7 Boardsports a call - We carry spares for Naish, North, Cabrinha & Slingshot.  We also offer in house kite repairs, to get you back on the water with a super fast turn around time.