Kites for Kayaks

Kayaking with a Kite

Kite-powered kayaking is best done in a boat with a stern rudder (if there is no rudder a paddle will do the job just as well), a cleat epoxied forward of the cockpit and a single-line kite. The cleat tethers the kite, freeing the kayakers hands and keeping the center of pull forward so one does not get pulled sideways.

A powerful and stable kite is recommended for kite kayaking or pulling a canoe. The Premier Parafoil 7.5 is an ideal choice for kite kayaking, as is the Premier Power Sled 14.

Crashing the kite into the water is no problem. The kite deflates immediately and can be quickly pulled back hand-over-hand. Shake the water off, hold the kite up in the wind and away it flies. The Sutton Flow Form also sports two tail attachment points for added stability in gusty conditions.

Ideal Wind Conditions

Medium winds (10-12 mph) are the best for kites. In lighter winds the proper kite can add a few knots to speed and still allow the kayaker to move up to 45 degrees (or so) off downwind. In higher winds, once white caps first appear in open water, one does not need the hassle of a kite added to the situation.

The general rule is a bigger size kite for traction power in lighter breezes and smaller kites for those stronger wind days. Often a kayaker will have two kite sizes (for different wind conditions) and one 200# line on a yo-yo winder.

Below you will find links for the most popular kite sizes for kayaking. Larger sizes of these kites will work as well, especially if you are out in lighter winds.