Tech Shots: What is C-Shape Turning?

Ruben Lenten testing c-shape turning in Cape Hatteras, NC.
Ruben Lenten testing c-shape turning in Cape Hatteras, NC.

Many kites on the market today blend “C-Shape Turning” with the safety and control of an SLE (bridled kite).

In the early days of kiteboarding everyone knew how to define c-shape turning because that’s all there was. Fast forward to 2014 and there are plenty of you out there who have never ridden a c-kite (and probably never will). If that’s you, this article should help you understand another commonly used term and help you continue to choose gear that’s right for you.

What is C-Shape Turning?

C kites don’t have and bridles. That means when you pull the bar to turn the kite the kite doesn’t twist and change shape like a bridled kite.

The result of this effect is that the kite maintains most of its shape as it turns which means it maintains almost all of its power.

Many riders will appreciate this outcome, especially when you are going big. It means that the kite has the same amount of power in almost all parts of the wind window – hence the use of the word “predictable” in describing these type of kites.

The flip side of “C-Shape Turning” is that the turning radius tends to be bigger than bridled SLE kites which translates into a slightly “slower” turning kite. That’s one of the reasons that C-shape kites have big wingtips – to help speed up the turning.

We talked about smooth power delivery in a recent article and the diagram below extends on that theory a little showing the amount of power created by “c-shape turning”.

C-Shape Turning vs SLE Turning
C-Shape Turning vs SLE Turning

Is C-Shape Turning For You:

C-shape turning is often a desired characteristic for intermediate or advanced riders because it can make your kite feel more “predictable”. Without any surges or lulls of power through the turn, experienced riders can predict how the kite is going to move and how much power it’s going to create. This allows you to focus on your trick, jump or wave.

C-shape turning is usually touted as a major benefit in a kite’s description so it is something for you to consider but it’s not the be all and end all. Any kite can be predictable, it’s just a matter of you learning to understand how it moves and how it creates power.

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