TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute | The aerodynamics and hydrodynamics of the kite
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The aerodynamics and hydrodynamics of the kite

Aero & Hydrodynamics
About This Project

Speed plays a key role in many sports. This is also true of kite surfing. Kitesurfers have shown they are able to reach extremely high speeds on the water with the aid of a relatively cheap and simple combination of a kite and a board.


But what, exactly, are the characteristics of a kitesurfer’s performance?


Kite surfing performance analysis

To discover just that, Rolf van der Vlugt conducted his graduation research on the aerodynamics and hydrodynamics of the kite, the board, the lines and the kitesurfer. Obviously with the objective of utilizing the results to reach the maximum speed for a kitesurfer and break the world speed record.


The results of his research revealed that approximately 60 percent of the total drag was caused by the interaction between the board and the water. With this knowledge in mind and after modifying the shape of his board, Rolf set an official Dutch speed sailing record of no less than 47 knots (more than 85 km an hour) as an average over a distance of 500 metres.