During your lessons with most kite school s you don’t really learn about apparent wind. More often than not kiteboarding schools priorities time spend on the water which is expected from the kite school s by the students.
Apparent wind and kitesurfing
When standing stationary with the kite “parked” in the air our kites fly on the true wind and sit on the wind windows edge. With the kite flying on true wind our wind window is right downwind of us.
As soon as we start to ride we induce wind and the true wind and our induced wind create apparent wind. Here we have to understand that our kites don’t fly on the true wind anymore. As soon as we induce wind our kites start to fly on the apparent wind. This causes our wind window to shift around us. As our kites now fly on apparent wind it might seem like the kite sits in the power zone. But since we now understand how the wind window shifts around us we can see that the kite is still flying on the wind windows edge. The only way for our kite to move into (or towards) the power zone is by actually moving our kite.
Now why should we bother and try to understand this? Sometimes having a bit of an understanding on how kites fly can help us to improve our techniques (also when there is no wind but we still need to feed the addiction somehow we might as well try to learn a bit more about the sport we love). Understanding apparent wind and how the wind window shifts can help us to optimize our upwind riding ability.
When riding fast the apparent wind shifts closer towards the induced wind the faster we go. Looking at the direction we’d like to go (upwind) and then looking at the kite position we can see: When riding slow the kite is close to the direction we’d like to go where when riding fast the kites pull is actually coming from downwind (looking at the true winds wind window) of us. Having the kite closer to the actual direction of travel makes traveling in that direction a lot easier.
Kite position on the picture below
!!The slower we go the more upwind we can go!!
We can easily spot the shift of the wind window when we come to a sudden stop. When riding upwind with the kite at 45 degrees and then using the board to come to a sudden stop (without moving the kite) we can see the kite “rushes back” to the true winds wind windows edge. Some kite school s offer kite camps which are great to learn more about theory like the three types of wind.