The Switchblade was designed by Kiteboarder Todd Hanson in central Minnesota. The Switchblade mounts to any snowboard making it ready to ride on Ice. Kiteboarding on Ice with the Switchblade is a smooth ride that feels very similar to kiting on snow. Having control and grip while ice kiting makes these conditions much more manageable. The blade is a nice tool for filling the gap between the summer and winter seasons as well as getting out in very light wind allowing more kite-able days per year.
How to rig and ride on Ice:
How to mount, sharpen and maintain Switchblade:
- Snowboard Selection
- Recommended Settings
Patchy Snow/Ice recommended projection:
Flush with snowboard base
Loose snow recommended projection:
1/16th" Below snowboard edge (with snowboard right side up)
Bring 7/16h" Wrench on Ice
Bring your 7/16th Inch wrench with you on the Ice to make small on the fly changes. Sometimes the riding surface can change throughout the day and you may have to make an adjustment. Also you can use your wrench to clean out the gap between the blade and snowboard edge as it gathers ice over longer sessions.
Having such little resistance allows kiting in very low wind speed. Going faster relative to the wind gives your kite more apparent wind. We suggest rigging a couple square meters smaller than you would while kitesurfing or snowkiting.
Be prepared for all conditions on competition day. The Ice kiting kit has seen multiple wins at snowkite races and competitions.
Set personal speed records. Track your session with gps trackers to push your top speeds. Get more early season days on the ice to work on speed and endurance.
Very little power is needed to ride on ice. If you can keep your kite in the air you can ride the Switchblade. Once you get yourself moving across the wind you will be able to lean into your harness and ride upwind properly.
The Switchblade allows very steep upwind angles giving you more area to ride and more potential for speed. It is important to bring your shoulders back when going upwind. The Switchblade allows you to trust your edge when a normal snowboard would slip out.
Starting is the same as on snow or water. Start sitting with your board downwind of you. With your kite at 12 O'clock dive it in the direction you'd like to go. Roll up and point downwind with your front foot like you would on snow or water. As you get to a desired speed you can park your kite at about 45 degrees or higher and let the bar out a bit, now start leaning back as you point upwind.
Slowing down is the same as on snow with a snowboard, or on water with a twin tip. Lean more into your heel edge and point further upwind. Keep the bar out while you are steering the kite slowly to 12. Point your board straight into the wind to stop your forward movement as your kite hits 12. Once you stop you will be able to either sit down or transition.
First work on coming to a complete stop with your board pointing upwind and the kite hitting 12 right when you stop. It is important not to dive the kite the other way too early so start slow and do a lot of reps. You will be pointed downwind with your new front foot and that is how you will gain speed in other direction. Start to edge as you gain speed and finally park the kite again. There are a million different ways to transition so try new things and make it happen!
Mount a second blade to your board for toeside riding. Having another blade gives you more options for heel to toe or toe to heel transitions and carves. Going toeside can also ease the pressure on your legs while doing endurance races.
Jumping is the same as on snow or water. Start at a moderate speed with your kite at about 45 degrees. Start sending the kite up but keep the bar out as much as you can, this allows you to keep a solid edge while the kite gains speed upward. Now that your kite is over your head finally sheet all the way in and edge further upwind to get the maximum tension when leaving the Ice. Once in the air keep the bar in while pulling slightly more on your front hand. Tuck in your knees to stay steady throughout the jump. Point the board more downwind before landing and dive the kite for speed before edging upwind again.
- Switchblade Contest/Race Results