The Wind Window
"Pots of gold at the end of the rainbow."
Kiteboarding is entirely powered by wind, so understanding how it works is as important to learning how to ride, as it is to being a safe rider.
To The Point:
The wind window is what is downwind, in front of you if you are standing with your back to the wind. All the clock numbers are in the imaginary rainbow shape going directly from your left(9 o'clock), over your head(12 o'clock), to your right(3 o'clock).The clock numbers represent the area of the wind window that has the least amount of pull.
The Detailed Explanation:
Imagine you are the kiteboarder in the picture and the wind is hitting you back. Everything behind you is what is called, "Upwind." Everything in front of you is what is called, "Downwind."
The wind window is the basis of kiteboarding wind theory. It is a conceptual model designed to describe the area the kite will fly in and the actions the kite will have, relative to the wind and the kiteboarder.
The shape of the wind window is in the shape of a quarter of a sphere. Imagine the Sydney Opera House, or imagine cutting a basketball in half, then cutting it in half again. That 1/4 of the basketball is the same shape as the wind window. The pilot of the kite is always standing in the center of the Opera House looking into it, or at the intersection of the two half circles of the basketball quarter. The wind window moves with the pilot or kiteboarder and is always centered downwind of the pilot.
The "neutral zone," also called the "edge of the wind window," is the area that makes up an imaginary rainbow shape that goes from one side of your body, all the way up and over your head, and then down over to the other side of your body. If you remember the old Irish myth about there being pots of gold at the ends of the rainbow, then you would be standing right in between two pots of gold, with the rainbow directly over you head.
The exact size and shape of the "wind window" in real life, is based on the wind speed, wind quality, kite line length, and kite design. In light winds, the wind window tends to get smaller, while in stronger winds it gets bigger, however it never gets bigger than a quarter sphere. Therefore, gusty winds constantly change the wind window, causing the kite to surge ahead in gusts and stall back in lulls. This makes the kite more difficult to fly in changing wind conditions, than in steady winds.