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Kiteboarding in the Digital Age

Kiteboarding in the Digital Age
By Paul Lang

Originally Published in the October 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine

It used to be that the best way to find out if it was windy enough to ride was to drive down to the beach and take a look with your own eyes. Back then, it seemed like I did more driving around trying to find wind than I did actually riding. Of course this was before every 16-year-old and their mom had phones able to access the internet with them at all times. We are living in a time where we have near instant access to an entire world of information on our computers or phones. This information can be used for all kinds of practical uses, but the most important use for all of us is how we can use the new technologies out there to get more time on the water.

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Find Wind
Many kiteboarders know about ikitesurf.com and use their service to get real-time wind reports on their computers and phones. To make it even easier to find out where it’s blowing, ikitesurf just released an iPhone app and a desktop application. The iPhone app, which you can download for free in the iTunes store, provides a lot of the same information that you can find on the website, plus a few additional tricks. Using the phone’s built-in GPS, the ikitesurf app will automatically find the closest wind stations to your location. The desktop application runs on your computer and automatically tracks the wind stations that you choose to monitor. You can set thresholds for wind speed and direction and once those are exceeded, you get a little pop-up (like an instant message) telling you it’s time to go kite.

“The Desktop Wind application and the Wind Alert iPhone app are the first products to use the new WeatherFlow Weather Engine,” said Matt Corey at ikitesurf. “This engine is designed to enable rapid development and implementation of new weather features as well as expands our service beyond North America. One of the driving forces behind these applications is to do more ‘neat-o’ stuff that a web page can’t do such as GPS locating, onsite reports, wind alert pop-ups, and application portability. The list of things we can do with these and other applications is endless and we encourage feedback and ideas.”

Turn your iPhone into a Wind Meter
How do you pick out the guy at your beach that is new to kiting? It’s probably the guy holding up his wind meter while trying to decide which kite to put up. While more seasoned kiters like to make fun of wind meters and the people who use them openly, most of us own one and use it from time to time, we just wait until nobody’s looking. Now, thanks to an iPhone app from a family company based in Soquel, Caliifornia, you can check the wind speed without the dorky wind meter. To use the Wind Meter app, you hold the bottom of the phone up into the wind, and the noise the wind makes over the microphone tells the phone how windy it is. “My son is the developer, but the whole family worked on it, which took four months,” said Robert Diller, whose son Jon, a kiteboarder, came up with the idea. We had a chance to test the Wind Meter app, and found it to be accurate enough, as long as you hold it up for at least 15-20 seconds. Now you can discretely pull your phone out of your pocket and use it to confirm your internal wind meter without anyone noticing. You can buy the Wind Meter app through iTunes for $.99.

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Take Calls while Kiting
The crew at H2O Audio has been making waterproof cases for mp3 players for awhile now, but their latest products might provide the ultimate in connectivity for kiteboarders. What do you do if the wind comes up, but you are stuck at the office waiting for an important phone call? Now, you can go kiting, and take the call when it comes. Our Editor at Large, Alexis Rovira, has been testing the latest case and set of headphones with a built in microphone with his iPhone, and you can not only listen to music while you ride, but you can talk on the phone.

FOLLOW TKB on TWITTER
Not only can you use the internet to find out where the wind is blowing, but you can also use it to waste countless hours when it’s not. Instead of wasting hours reading about what your favorite celebrity ate for breakfast, see what’s going on in the kiteboarding world at http://twitter.com/The_Kiteboarder

Most of our staff here is also on Twitter and you’ll see us drop hints and give sneak peeks about what we’re working on.
Ryan Riccitelli, Editor: http://twitter.com/scrapper101
Marina Chang, Publisher: http://twitter.com/flygirl93402
Paul Lang, Assistant Editor: http://twitter.com/paullangphoto
Alexis Rovira, Editor at Large: http://twitter.com/alexisrovira

Originally Published in the October 2009 Issue of The Kiteboarder Magazine

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