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Good wave kite board for exploring the North shore?


I’ve got a pile of old surfboards that are pretty fun downwind, but most are pretty slow on the way back up wind unless I’m really powered up on the kite. And I like to ride a bit underpowered in the surf, but maybe that’s just me.

There is an old quad fin fish I have that’s really wide, almost no rocker, and goes upwind like a race board, but it’s not much fun once the waves get big.

I like to wander a ways up and down the coast when I kite; can anyone recommend a good wave board that still makes it back upwind well?

I liked @Garrett’s Kazuma board, and Kevin Collins had loaned me one of his asymmetrical quads - that was great! Kevin’s board was probably my favorite so far, but I’m not 100% sure about the asymmetrical part; I like to go left and right sometimes, and it felt a bit odd at times. That last big windy swell at Waiehu had some funky but fun waves, but I was riding a tiny little thruster, and it felt like it was taking me forever to get back into the lineup.

Any other good upwind wave boards I should try out? I’m hoping that a board that is fun on the wave is not exclusive to rocking upwind.


I’m enjoying the epoxy Rat Boy model (Surftech), which comes in various sizes. I use a 5’6" and a 5’10". They don’t have too much rocker and are a bit wider, which works well for me. I only use small kites (7m and 9m) and also like to roam for waves. From my experience the kite I use also has a big bearing on my upwind abilities. My wave kites don’t fly that high in the wind window, so I have to work a bit harder to go upwind. I used to fly F-One Bandit 5’s, which were super efficient and went upwind well, but didn’t have quite as much drift as I wanted. Now I fly Ozone Reos and am very happy.


This is the 5’10" Rat Boy pulled from Google image search. Got mine on Craigslist for cheap - it was an unused store display with a small hole from a nail and some scuffing on the nose (!)


That looks nice! I didn’t realize it was Stretch board until I googled it; there’s a Stretch quad I’ve been thinking about for years.

I’ve been finding kites don’t make as much difference to me these days as the board; although my old standard OR Rise is pretty good upwind. Last year I got 5 and 7 m Prodigies from OR for my wife; but it turns out I prefer them when it’s windy enough for a 5 or 7 for me - I can almost forget about them up in the air, they just keep on flying. Most of the time. :smile:


There is a lot of subtlety in boards. Quads tend to be faster and better upwind, but that means they drop down a wave face faster too. A thruster, especially with more fin toe-in, has more drag that helps hold you up higher on a wave and gives you some time to manage coming down the face, instead of being in free fall the way it feels on a quad. (This makes a big difference for surfing too.) You can also typically pivot around your back foot more with a thruster, whereas a quad is more drivey. More or less rocker also affects upwind speed and how it feels in waves. Would be great to have a dial to adjust it.

I’ve been very happy with two 5’7" @kazuma boards I have from from Matt. They are both very well balanced 5’7" quads. It wasn’t my intent to get two at once, but the first one had fins placed further forward, and I think with less toe-in, and it didn’t turn well in small surf, so I went a little crazy and ordered a second immediately, which does turn great and feels more alive under the feet. But I’ve ended up keeping the first one rather than selling it because it’s actually much better in larger surf where I want more speed and am driving off the lip and drawing out turns. I also put straps on that one, but ride the looser one strapless.

But, variety’s good too – I’ll occasionally also ride a 5’4" thruster I bought from an 8 year old. “Is it for your son?” “No, it’s for me.” “?..”

Also, for a cheaper way to improve upwind performance, try swapping in larger fins.


@Garrett are your @kazuma boards epoxy or PU?. @Wade - yes, I failed to mention that the Rat Boys are Stretch boards. Love Stretch’s designs…


If I recall correctly, they’re polyurethane with some extra glass.


I really like my North Wam… http://secondwindmaui.com/index.php/2013-north-wham-surfboard.html

I picked it up used from second wind for around $400, they are epoxy and bullet proof. I have the 6’0" set up as a thruster and it trucks upwind plus it is loose and fast. I surf regularly and there is no way one of my normal PU surfboards with a light glass job would hold up to the stress of kiting. I ride with straps though which means I jump more often and higher than if I was riding strapless.