I have lots of questions for Marty about my Kite bar and Pigtails!
Hello fellow kiteboarding enthusiasts! This is Paul, your dedicated kiteboarding blogger, coming to you with another sun-soaked update from La Ventana. For over half a decade, this stunning spot has been my playground, and my trusty kiteboarding gear has been my constant companion since my first exhilarating launch in 2017 at Squamish B.C.’s famous Spit.
My journey into the world of kiteboarding began with a strategic choice: investing in new, top-notch equipment to smooth out the learning curve. My first acquisition? A 9m Core XR5 Kite, a gem I discovered at North Shore Ski and Board, thanks to Vince. Little did I know, Vince would not only become a trusted gear guru but also a great friend, and our paths would cross again in the beautiful winds of La Ventana.
Along with the kite, I picked up a shiny new Core bar. This piece of equipment was a game-changer. The lines were crisp and responsive, making rigging a breeze and ensuring my kite danced perfectly in the sky. This Core bar has been a key player in my adventures, from my first tentative flights to mastering the waves.
Fast forward five years, and my collection has expanded to include a 7m and a 12m Core XR5 kite. Each session has been a blend of adrenaline and joy, a testament to the incredible durability and performance of my gear. And guess what? I’ve been tracking every exhilarating moment with my Garmin Fenix 5s watch. My 9m Core kite alone has logged an impressive 1,117 km of kiting!
However, time and tides wait for no one. Those once-crispy lines on my Core Kite bar have seen better days.
New kite Bar to the rescue
Fortunately, my friend Pearl gave me a new Cabrina bar last year which she was not using, and guess what? It was hardly used and had beautiful nice crispy lines!
So I naturally I wanted to use it instead of my stretched core lines.
There was ONE problem however – the ends of each of the lines had the opposite connection needed for my core kites – where I needed a loop, there was a knot, and where I wanted a knot, there was a loop!
So how could I fix this problem? Well, apparently it’s quite easy to fix – but it requires the use of four pigtails! Before attaching these, I decided to sit down with Marty, the owner and operator of strongkiteboarding.com to get some info about pigtails. Please view the interview below to hear my questions, and his answers!
Interview with Marty about pigtails
I have a question about pigtails, and the reason I’m asking this
is because sometimes I have a kite which needs to pair with a bar of a different brand. But the bar’s lines, once attached cause my kite to be super over powered, even when completely sheeted out. It seams like I have a misconfiguration.
Can we start with an explanation about how the lengths of a kite’s lines affect the lift? Ie: We have 2 outside lines, and 2 inside lines.
Yeah yeah no problem, If you sheet in (pull the bar towards you) the outside lines will pull the edges of your kite down, as the center lines move through the center of your bar which changes the angle of your kite, causing it to catch more wind – which in turn will give you more power. If, on the other hand you sheet out, the kite will angle down, and it will catch less air, causing your kite to capture less wind and have less power. It is therefore important to have the lengths of your lines configured properly so that you don’t inadvertently mess with this formula. With newer kite gear most of the time, everything is just gonna match up, as most lines and bars follow a standard.
With older gear however, (say 5 years ago or more) there is a lot of varying line lengths between the different brands, and sometimes matching up bars with different kites can be difficult.
Sometimes, in order to get different branded equipment to work together, you might need to use pigtails
“In most cases you just want to make sure you lines are of similar lengths, and can accomplish this with pigtails.”
Also, with a proper set of pigtails, you can change the connection points whether they’re knots or loops.
Oh I see, that’s great. Well, I actually tried doing what you recommended, and used a set of pigtails to fix the connection types to match a Cabrinna bar with my core kite. However, when I launched my kite on La Tuna Beach in La Ventana, I was immediately taken off the ground! Fortunately, (learning from past experience) I was ready for this, and did a quick release, so never got injured! What can I do to prevent too much power in my kite when adding / changing pigtails?
“If you’re finding your kite has too much you’re gonna want to shorten the front pigtails (two center lines)”.
You could however, lengthen the rear pigtails insteaad to accomplish the same thing.
And If I don’t have enough power I guess I do the opposite?
Yes, if you don’t have enough power it’s gonna be the opposite – you’re
gonna lengthen the front and shorten the rear. (And by front lines, I mean the two central lines – they lift / lower the front of the kite
Is there a way I can test my kite after I have installed new pigtails?
Great question! Yes you can – you can just unravel all of your lines and attach them to something, then hold your bar and pull until all lines have tension. You will then easily be able to tell of all lines are of equal length.
Ok, I understand now how to test the lengths of my lines by attaching them all to a single point, but is there a way to test the lines after they have been attached to my kite – without launching it? I am worried that the bridals of the core kite, once connected, will affect the total length of the front lines. How can I ensure that everything is equal when attached to the kite?
If you are concerned about how the lengths of an old kites bridals would additionally affect the lengths of the lines, then, on a non windy day you could attach them to your kite, and have a friend hold the kite while you test the tension of the lines to see if everything is even. Just make sure your friend does not launch the kite when testing, and always be ready to safety eject if you get in trouble.