How to trim a kite bar

When Kitesurfing it is very important that your kite bar is trimmed correctly to ensure that the kite remains under total control and flies in an efficient shape. This article is designed to give direction as to when you need to trim your lines, and how to do this.

There are two reasons to trim your bar:

Kite pulling to the side

The most common reason for a bar needing trim adjustment is that the kite pulls to one side when flying. This can be caused by a few things, but most usually due to a line stretch or shrinkage causing one steering line to be longer than the other which imputs a turn control even when the bar is in the neutral position.

Stretching or shrinking can happen to lines over time and weathering; through excessive repeated force on the line (e.g. looping the kite one direction repeatedly); or due to a incident such as a crash or tangle.


Adjusting angle of attack

When flying your kite, if you feel like it is backstalling when pulling the bar in or front stalling when pusing the bar away, it may be worth adjusting your line lenghts to ensure a better flying angle.

These issues are caused when your steering lines are to long (causing a frontstall) or too short (causing a backstall) relative to the flying lines.

This can be caused by line stretch or when purchasing a used bar which the previous owner has trimmed incorrectly, or for an unusual kite.

Image 1 - Rear (steering) lines are too short relative to front (flying) lines this causes the kite to fly angled open to the wind. This can result in excess power as the kite flys deeper in the wind window, this will often cause a backstall.

Image 2 - Rear (steering) lines are too long relative to front (flying) lines this causes the kite to fly angled closed to the wind. This can result in reduced power as the kite flies further upwind in the wind window, this often will cause a frontstall when depowering the bar.

Quick trim adjustments

Some bars and kites offer quick solutions to trim issues that can be performed on the beach while setting up.

For example cabrinha kites have three knot settings that the steering lines can connect up to on the wingtip, these are described as more and less power settings, but can esily be used to correct trim issues also.

Some bars such as the Cabrinha Overdrive also offer adjustments that can be made at the bar itself, adjusting the length of line at the connection between the control lines and the bar.

Check your gear's user manual for information on the quick trim adjustment settings available to you.

Image 3 - Arrows indicate where on the Cabrinha bar you can locate toggles to access the control line length adjustment setting.


How to check a bar's trim

Find a clear open space where you can roll out your lines to their full extent unobstructed.

With your lines rolled out and all 4 walked out (as you would when setting up the kite) connect the ends of the lines to a carabina or line connected to a post or other solid object.

With your lines connected at the same point on the post, return to your bar and ensure that the depower setting is fully extended (full power).

Image 4 - connecting your lines to post or solid object and tensioning at the bar (image from Cabrinha's ':01 CONTROL SYSTEMS' user manual)

Standing directly in line with the post, pull back hard and steady on the control bar by pulling straight back toward yourself.

Your control bar should be in line with your shoulders and should be straight and not at an angle.

All of the lines should have even tension under pressure. (I.e. no slack in the flying lines or steering lines).


Adjusting bar trim

If your lines need to be adjusted and the quick fix methods described above dont work or dont apply to your gear, line length can be adjusted at the line connectors (connections that run between the lines and pigtails on the kite).

Different length connectors can be bought to allow you to change the overall line length.

Alternatively, knots can be tied into the thick connectors (never tie a knot into the thin main lines) to make them shorter.

Once adjusted re-check your lines using the method outlined above, and you are ready to kite!

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