So you've spent hours researching the right kite for you but have you given any thought to how you're going to control the kite? If yes, grab a beer. If not, read on.
The first stages of kiteboarding are the most difficult as you figure out how the bar works in relation to the kite and the instructor has probably yelled ''bar out!!'' a couple of times. Control bars transfers the power of the kite through your harness allowing you to move.
Nearly all kiteboarding manufacturers have developed their own design of bar, but essentially most work in a similar fashion with maybe some design tweaks in the quick release and with the trim adjustment.
Some brands have ''above the bar'' adjustment which literally means the trim adjustment is dont above the bar on the power lines. Some brands have ''below the bar'' adjustment which, yes you've guessed it, means the adjustment is below the bar usually around the quick release as a cord. And some brands like Ocean Rodeo make ''on the bar adjustment'' which as you can see in the image, puts the trim adjustment very handily on the end of your control bar.
If you have recently bought a new bar, we highly suggest taking it out of the box and learning how the quick release works and how it goes back together. You dont want to be learning this stuff on the water as it may save your life.
As a general rule for people who are buying their first set up on the used market, stay away from gear that's older than 2011 as the safety systems in modern kiteboarding bars are much safer and easier to us
e and this is something not to cheap out on.
Modern kite bars are made of lightweight materials such as aluminium or carbon and have rubberized grips to increase riding comfort. These rubberized grips are usually colored with Red being on the left and some other colour like black for exapmple on the right. This helps you to grab the bar and instantly know which way its going to turn the kite. Again many brands differ with these colours but it will usually be something similar. Some brands use yellow and white/black with yellow being the left, but its the same idea.
As mentioned in the Kite buying guide, there are basically two types of control bars, which correspond to which kite you have:
4-Line Kite Bars, go with 4 line kites: a simple control system that is less likely to tangle. The safety leash is connected to one of the front power lines;
5-Line Kite Bars: an advanced control system that can easily depower a kite. The dedicated safety leash line provides additional safety.
All of the above is simply a guide and it is important to demo as many different styles of bar as possible to see which you prefer.
Kite lines connect the bar to the kite. Kite lines are made out of polyethylene by Spectra (USA) or Dyneema (Europe) which are simply brand names. The standard length for kiteboarding lines is between 20m and 26m but you can add line extensions which increase the power in the kite which is extremely handy on very light or inconsistent days.
Kite lines are coated so they become stiffer, so they are more resistant to strong impacts such as wind gusts. The breaking strength of quality kite lines ranges between 300 kilograms (661 pounds) and 450 kilograms (992 pounds).
Overtime kite lines can stretch or become damaged. Standard practice is to check your lines after about 5 sessions just to ensure there are no knots that need to removed or that the lines have not stretched. Knots are important to remove as this will make your kite fly more in one direction and it also becomes a weak point in your line and will break at the knot if not removed. Knot removal is a arduous process but is important.
To test for stretching, attach the pig tails to a fixed point and walk out the bar and put some tension against the bar. If the bar sits straight then the lines are fine. If one end of the bar is further away from you, it means the longer line has stretched. This can be fixed by yourself but we recommend seeing your local shop for some help.
Wrapping up your kite lines
This is done by taking the lines and wrapping the lines in a figure 8 pattern around the ends of the bar like so: