Swapping foil trainer kites onto a bar
Got a fixed bridle foil kite on handles or wrist straps that you want to fly from a bar?
Pros: Flying from a bar will feel more similar to a kitesurf kite. You can fly one handed. Easier to use with a landboard or a skateboard.
Cons: Less control of the kite - bar creates a fixed distance between the lines. Bigger (3m and up) kites require a longer bar or they turn slowly. Higher aspect (longer thin shaped) 4 line kites fly much better if you can use the brakes to turn and trim them. Harder to relaunch. Ground handling requires different technique with some setups.
Ideal bar lengths will vary slightly depending on your personal preferences for turning speed and the kite you own. This is a guide to what we would recommend.
1.5m kite - 18" bar
2.0m kite - 18-20" bar
2.5m kite - 20" bar
3.0m kite - 20-24" bar
3.5m kite - 24" bar
4.0m kite - 24"+ bar
There are a few different ways you can set your kite up on a bar, with the advantages and disadvantages for each method.
2 line, no leash or brakes. Attach the flying lines to either end of the bar. Red side of the bar should be in your left hand. If your kite has brake lines gather these into the bridle
collection point before you attach the flying lines. You might need to slacken the brakes off a bit if they are stalling the kite.
Pros: Very simple to set up. No line tangles with just 2 lines. Cheap.
Cons: Not easy to relaunch on your own. No safety leash if you accidentally let go. Not safe for kites over 2m as they are harder to flag by grabbing a steering line.
2 line, leash to flying line. As above, but a wrist leash line is attached to one of the flying lines. The leash line must be attached high enough up the flying line to allow the kite
to fully flag out when the bar is dropped.
Pros: Relatively simple to set up. Safer than a pure 2 line setup.
Cons: The kite can spin and tangle up a bit when you use the safety. Not easy to relaunch.
4 line, brake line through the bar. A wrist leash line runs through the hole in the bar (if present) and attaches to the brake lines on the kite. Stopper knots are used to limit the
travel of the bar on this brake line.
Pros: Much safer - brake function is maintained. This allows the kite to be backstalled to the ground and safely tethered. Allows kite to be reverse launched solo.
Cons: More complicated to set up. Needs careful trimming to ensure it works effectively. More prone to tangles. Cant be used on a 2 line kite.
How do I stop my foil blowing away if I'm landing it solo?
Attach your leash line to something solid! If you're in a park you can stick a big screwdriver into the grass, on a beach you can use a sand stake to do the same thing. If you use 2 lines and no leash, grab an outside line to flag the kite out and work your way up the line till you reach the kite. Mind your fingers if its windy!
Can you set a fixed bridle foil kite up like a kitesurf kite or a depower foil, with the flying lines running through the bar?
The short answer is no, it doesn't work well at all.
Can you fly a fixed bridle foil bigger than a 4m on a bar?
Yes, but they really need brake lines to help them turn. You can make a cross over system, which uses the difference in flying line lengths during steering to progressively pull on the brake line and aid the turning. Good if you like tinkering, but prone to tangles.
Can you make a fixed bridle kite into a depower foil to fly on a bar?
Yes, if you like messing with string its quite possible. Separate the A-bridles and collect them together and run them to the front lines. The B,C and D (old brake lines) bridles are collected together and attach to the steering lines on the outside of the bar. How you collect the B,C,D lines will determine the foil profile and can make very significant changes to how the kite will fly. The angle of attack of the foil can now be changed by sheeting the bar in and out. If your going to test your own bridle confiurations, do it in the lightest possible wind and remember you wont get anything warrantied if you make changes like this.