Can the kite lift you in the air?
Though powerful, the kites used are easily controlled and ‘depowerable’. This means that the amount they pull can be changed – if you pull in the bar the kite lifts and pulls more, if you push out the control bar the kite has very little power. So to answer the question: the kite can lift you in the air, yes, but only when you deliberately jump.
The exception to this is when the wind is gusty, turbulent or there are pockets of warm air rising. These conditions can be very dangerous and you should always be aware of the conditions and avoid flying when they are dangerous. If you have any doubt use your quick release immediately to remove any power from the kite.
How fast can you go?
Most amateur riders in unextraordinary wind conditions and riding on mown grass can reach 25 to 30mph without too much trouble. How fast exactly depends on the wind speed, your kite, the surface you are riding on, how hard your tyres are pumped up…there are a lot of factors.
As you have no brakes and only four small wheels however fast you’re going will look and feel a lot faster than it is; that’s all part of the fun.
Is it dangerous?
Landboarding can be dangerous but if you take lessons from a qualified instructor and learn to do everything properly you will develop good habits which will significantly reduce the risks. Most accidents are caused by people not checking their flying area for hazards (like obstacles downwind and upwind), ignoring approaching storms, becoming over-confident with their tricks or other easily avoidable mistakes. Always, always, always wear a helmet and other safety gear (like a back protector and pads) is a very good idea, especially for learners.
It is also worth mentioning that you should always familiarise yourself with your equipment. Experienced riders find that they know exactly what their kite is doing and how it will behave without even looking at it but even they will always take a new kite out in light winds first to get used to it.
How much does it cost?
A beginner 4-line kite offering plenty of control and power costs around €200. A depowerable kite, such as the Ozone Frenzy, (allowing you to use one larger kite in a wider range of conditions and with more lift and float, controlled with a bar and secured to your harness for more freestyle freedom) will cost around €900. Foil kites are very durable and keep their second hand resale value well. The cost of the kite depends on how large it is: heavier riders need a larger kite than lighter riders and the more wind you ride in the smaller the kite you need. Most landboarders like to ride in between 10 to 20knts, any more and it’s best to head to the water. A landboard can be bought for €160 to €400 and a harness is not even needed with a 4-line kite flown on handles such as the Ozone Imp Quatro. Pads and a helmet will set you back around €150. Once you have your equipment of course the wind is free!
Where can you do it?
Landboarding is best done either in a very large open space inland (such as a dedicated kitepark) or even better a large open space by the sea (such as a beach or open park). You should check your flying site for obstacles (such as trees, buildings etc) in the direction the wind is coming from (upwind) and also obstacles and hazards downwind (such as trees, buildings, roads, power lines etc).´
It is a good idea to ride where others are already landboarding. Go up and talk to them to ask about any restrictions or hazards, the best winds and just to introduce yourself. Kiters are a friendly bunch.
Please be aware that some sites face restrictions on landboarding. Respect any restrictions and always avoid flying in crowded places.