There are several types of kiteboards: twintips which can ride easily in either direction, directional surf-style boards, wakeboard-style boards, and skim-type boards. The boards are typically made from a combination of layers of composite, wooden, foam, and/or carbon fiber. Twintips most commonly have a wood core (though some are made with a foam core) and are layered with a combination of fiberglass, wood, carbon fiber, kevlar, and other composite materials. Surf boards start with a foam core and are layered with composite, wooden, foam, and/or carbon fiber. The foam core makes the board have more "volume" or float on top of the water.
Twintip boards are the easiest to learn on and are by far the most popular type of board. They generally come with sandle-type footstraps that allow the rider to attach and detach from the board easily; this is necessary for safety reasons and also desired for some doing board-off tricks and jumps. Bindings or boots are used mainly by the wakestyle riders wishing to replicate wakeboarding tricks and are like having a pair of lace-up boots attached to your board. They are not easy to get on or off but giving a more direct control of the board.
- Beginner Board - Introductory twintips have basic design elements to help beginners learn and progress quickly. Typically they are largers boards that provide more surface area to plane early which allows the rider to get up and start riding more easily. Many have a soft or medium flex that handles chop well and allows the rider to focus on their stance and riding. Often times, the features of a beginner board also translate well to light wind riding, so many riders hang on to their beginner boards to use later as light wind boards.
- Freeride Board - Freeride boards are designed to be the most versatile and are the mostly commonly found type of twintip used from beginner to advanced riders. There is not a defining characteristic of a freeride board, you will find freeride boards with a range of shapes, flex, rocker, concave, and construction. Freeride boards are made for all around riding; from tackling flat water, jumps, surf, chop, and any kind of riding
- Freestyle Board - Freestyle boards are designed for riders looking to do more hooked and unhookd tricks. They tend to be stiffer than beginner or freeride boards for faster riding speeds and higher jumps. Freestyle boards also have more rocker than beginner and freeride boards which allows the board to hold more power for more explosive pop off the water. Some freestyle boards come with different footpad spacing to allow bindings or boots to be fit to the board.
- Wakestyle Board - A wakestyle board is designed for fast powered tricks and usually unhooked tricks. Almost all wakestyle boards have a different footpad spacing to allow for binding/boots to be fit to the board for more agressive riding. Wakestyle boards have the most agressive rocker for extreme pop off the water at the cost of some of their speed and upwind ability. Many wakestyle boards have a very complex tip shaping and channels to give them more grip on the water because they are not typically ridden with fins.
- Concave - Concave describes the curvature of the base of the board from rail to rail (long edge to long edge). You can see the concave of a board by looking along the bottom of the board from the short tip side. The concave of a board provides a channel for water to move along the bottom of the board and can effect the upwind and grip of the board on the water.
- Flat Concave - Most beginner and light wind boards have a flat concave. The flat concave allows the board to plane more easily and earlier which is desired for beginners that are just learning to get up on the board and also when the winds are light and you might be on the edge of having enough wind power to ride.
- Single Concave - Most freeride boards have a single concave bottom. The single concave allows for faster riding speeds and a more loose feel in the water which translates to quicker transitions and carves. When landing from a jump a single concave bottom also give a loose feel and the board can be ridden in a more skatey style. Single concave boards can also hold more power for jumps compared to a board with a flat concave.
- Double Concave - Double concave bottoms are found on some freeride boards. The double concave provides channels for the water and has a more locked-in feeling to the water, providing better edging and upwind ability. When landing from a jump, the double concave breaks the surface of the water more easily and tends to lock in for a more stable landing.
- Quad Concave - A board with a quad concave will have many similar features to a board with a double concave, but provide even more of a feeling of riding on rails in the water.
- Rocker - Rocker describes the curvature of board from tip to tip (short edge to short edge). There are two main types of rocker: continuous or 3-stage. Continuous rocker is a continuous curve all the way through the board from tip to tip. A continuous rocker board has less contact with the water, so larger-sized boards ride like smaller boards. Many advanced riders who do tricks or riders who ride overpowered enjoy continuous rocker boards because of the looser feeling and also because they cut through choppy water well. 3-stage rocker boards are flatter in the center of the board between the feet and have more curvature towards the tips. Boards with a 3-stage rocker are better for beginners because there is more contact with the water and also they are better for lighter wind conditions. The amount of rocker a board has also can impact its performance
- Flat Rocker - Flatter rocker lines are found on lighter wind boards. The minimal rocker allows for more surface are of the board to be touching the water for better riding in light winds. When the winds pick up a flatter rocker board might not handle chop very well and also will be slightly harder to hold and edge with.
- Medium Rocker - A medium rocker is the most common rocker, making the board a jack-of-all-trades and good at just about anything you can throw at it.
- High Rocker - High amounts of rocker are found on most freestyle and wakestyle boards. The large amount of rocker gives the board less contact with the water for a smaller turning radius and more manouverable feel along with better riding in higher winds or choppy conditions. When the winds drop off, boards with a high rocker won't do well in the lighter conditions.
- Twintip Rocker Video
- Flex - Flex describes how stiff a board is. There are two main ways a board flexes: from tip to tip (longitudinal flex) or between the rails of the board (torsional flex).
- Soft - Boards with a soft flex pattern are very forgiving and deal with choppy conditions well. Due to handling choppy water well, a softer board might ride a bit slower through the water than a stiffer board.
- Medium - Medium flex provides a good mix of pop, power, control, and chop-handling for most riding conditions.
- Hard - Harder flex patterns provide a massive amount of pop off the water when loaded and also can achieve fast riding speeds, but at the cost of not dealing with choppy conditions as well.
- Twintip Carbon Fiber or Fiberglass Video
- Sidecut/Outline - The outline of the board is the overall shape of the kite board. The sidecut is the curvature of the long edge or rail of the board that has contact with the water.
- Straighter Outline - A board with a straighter outline board only has a small difference of width between the center of the board and the tip. The straighter edge gives more upwind performance and a better pop off the water due to more contact with the water. A squarer tip on the board means it does not carve as well and you may also find boards with very square tips can produce spray, however most manufacturers round off the corner to prevent this from happening.
- Curved Outline - A board with a more curved outline has narrower tips and is wider in the middle. The more round outline allows better carving ability and boards with a rounded tip have less pop than one with a squarer tip.
- Twintip Side Cut Video
- Fins - Fins can change the feeling of a board dramatically so it can be fun to expirement with different fins sizes to find something you like.
- Larger fins will give you more grip on the water and provide better upwind ability
- Smaller fins have a looser and more skatey feel
Twintip Informational Videos
- Twintip Carbon Fiber or Fiberglass
- Twintip Stance Width
- Twintip Rocker
- Twintip Side Cut
- Twintip Setup Tips and Tricks
- Twintip Stance Width and Angle
- Twintip Inspection
- What's The Difference Between Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass?
Kite-specific surfboards can be ridden with or without straps and are great for riding waves and some shapes also work well for riding in light wind conditions. Skim boards bridge the gap between twin and surf design, commonly having the directional shaping of a surfboard but the compact size of a twintip. Skim boards are typically used to ride on light wind days or to do various spins and tricks in the flat shallows. Overall, kiteboards come in various shapes and sizes to suit the rider's skill level, riding style, wind and water conditions.
Surf Board Informational Videos