5th line:

This is a safety system that comes with some kites.  It attaches to your harness and when activated flies the kite with the leading edge into the wind = no power.  This system had largely been replaced by modern 4-line safety systems and leashes.

Bar or control bar:

The steering component of the kite; used to steer and control the power of the kite.


British Kitesports Association (more commonly known as ‘British Kitesports’)


The inner tube found in the struts and leading edge of an inflatable kite.  Works the same way as a bike inner tube but looks like a giant condom.


The thing you stand on when kitesurfing.  Can be a twin-tip (bi-directional with no defined nose/tail) wave board (defined nose/tail with fins on the tail), race board (large, high volume directional board with large fins)


The name given to extra lines around the kite.  It allows a kite hold its shape

Buoyancy aid:

Flotation jacket designed to keep you afloat.  Not to be confused with a life jacket which, technically, will keep your head above water if unconscious


The material that links the struts and the leading edge.  The canopy is the most visible part of the kite.


Strong, lightweight but expensive material used in controls bars, wing tip batterns and boards.

Chicken loop:

The loop below the control bar where you hook into with your harness hook

Cross Shore:

Wind blowing directly parallel  to the shore, also known as side shore

Depower strap:

An adjustable strap above the depower line in arms reach from the bar.  It allows you to make the kite more or less powerful.


The little things that screw into the bottom of your board to provide grip


The amount of bend in a board.

Harness bar:

A metal bar with a hook that is part of the harness.  Often has to be bought separately to the harness, but the shop won’t forget to tell you that!  If you are buying a harness second hand make sure you check to see if it comes with the harness bar.


Worn around the kiters waist or bum.  They have a metal bar with a hook that hooks into the chicken loop on the control bar taking the power from the kiters arms and distributing it through the whole body.


A hard head protection that should have a strap that goes under your chin.  An essential piece of equipment for a beginner


International Kitesurfing Organisation

Impact jacket:

A jacket with slight amount of flotation, but is designed to absorb some of the impact after a wipeout

Kite knife:

A hook shaped knife where the gap between the plastic and the knife is only big enough for the lines to fit through.  Allows you to cut yourself free in case of a dangerous tangle!!!


The thing that flies in the air

Kite pants:

The fashion accessory worn over your wetsuit.  Can be boardies or full length pants.

Larks head:

The self tightening knot used to attach the lines to the kite.

Leader lines:

A thinker line that runs from the bar up to the kite lines.

Leading edge:

The main inflatable tube (biggest) that gives the kite it’s characteristic arc shape.


The  strong line that attaches you to either your kite or your board.  If using aboard leash you must always where a helmet.


Leading Edge Inflatable.


These are the lines that run from the control bar and attach via a larks head knot to the pigtails on the kite.  They are made out of  dynema and strenth is measured in pounds.  There are back lines also known as outside lines and front lines also known as inside lines


A synthetic rubber  produced in a variety of thicknesses resulting  in garments with varying degrees of insulation.


A wind blowing  directly away from the shore


A wind blowing directly onto the shore

Pig tails:

The bits of rope  that come off the wing tips of the kite.  This is where the lines attach to from the bar.


When the board starts  to ‘skim’ across the top of the  water at speed rather than ‘ploughing’ through  it.

Port tac:

When you are going along and your left hand is on the front of the bar


A name used to describe  all your kites. For example, “my quiver  consists of a 9m and a 12m”


The heel edge or toeside edge of the board


A safety system that comes only with cabrinha.  It releases the front lines causing the kite to fold and loose power on the recon activation.  The recon also provides an easy means of relaunching


Inflating the kite then attaching the lines  before your session so it doesn’t blow away.


The arc shape of the bottom of the board.  Varies dramatically from brand to brand


The distance you go from left to right and then right to left

Safety system:

A system designed to allow you to ditch the power in a kite allowing you a way to deal with dangerous situations which may arise.

Sheet in:

When you pull the kite torwards the chicken loop , shortening the back lines in relation to the front lines, bringing the trailing edge into the wind making it more powerful

Sheet out:

When you push the kite away from the chicken loop, lengthening the back lines in relation to the front lines, moving the trailing edge out of the wind to reduce the power in the kite

Starboard tac:

when your are going along and your right hand is on the front of the bar.


The inflatable tubes that go along the canopy


The vertical and horizontal movements  of the oceans caused by the gravitational pull  of the moon, sun and by the rotation of the  earth. On average, in the UK, we get 2 high  tides and 2 low tides in one day (24 hours).  So if it is low tide at 9am in the morning,  it will be high tide 6 hrs later at 3pm in  the afternoon and low tide again at 9pm at  night etc

Trailing edge:

The back edge of the kite.


The way you turn at the end of each run

Water start:

This is when you are sat in the water with your board on your feet.  It’s when you use the kite to you into the position for riding.


Neoprene insulating suit worn for warmth in and out of the water.

Wing tip:

The ends of the kite.  Many kites have batterns in the wing tips to provide greater strength and improved manoeuvrability.