If you have ever passed by an IKO Center you probably have realized that kiteboarders in the beginning stages are using very short lines. The IKO Professional Community for many years has been implementing and using this simple yet highly effective adjustment in their teaching programs.
When we are talking “short lines” we are talking 5m. The 5m lines can be used in the beginning up into body dragging and steady pull. This method reduces the stress of both the student and the Instructor. Allowing the Instructor to be closer to the student and reducing mistakes to have less negative consequences physically and mentally on the student. The short lines reduces the size of the wind window, thus reducing the space needed for a lesson and negative impact on other beach users.
The short line method stimulates positive discovery urges in students. As you can reduce the kite’s power. This means you can have a 4-line LEI kite flying without power and it can be considered a trainer kite according to IKO Standards. Easily managing stronger and gusty wind conditions.
When using shorting lines, kite crashes are also much softer; causing less damage to the equipment. Additionally with short lines, it is nearly impossible to loop the kite. When using short lines it reduces the amount of time spent on equipment management*, (one kite and different line lengths) according to the student’s level, weight and weather condition.
As an example of a courses in normal wind condition would go as followed:
5m lines for discovery level until the student has good control of the kite in all part of the WW and know how and when to use the safety system. (5m lines can also be used in the body drags and steady pull)
10/12m lines for intermediate level until the first attempts of the water start
20/22m lines for water start and riding
What are your thoughts and experience on short lines? Do you prefer this method over using a small foil/trainer kite and then moving to long lines? Let us know your personal and professional experience below both from the Instructor and Student point of view.
*It is easier and faster to change the length of the lines than to change a kite. You should make a gradual transition to longer lines when the student has demonstrated good control using the shorter lines and you need to move on to other exercises that require more power in the kite.