KS kiteboard info

Cheney lake

   Cheney lake offers a great kiteboarding location with 'plenty' of windy days.  If 'anywhere' is going to blow wind, typically Cheney will have wind.  Other lakes around kansas that is 'kiteable' is Jetmore (out north of Dodge city), Wilson lake, Kanopolis, and several up north east (Clinton, Hilsdale, Melvern, etc).  There are other lakes in the surrounding Wichita area (El Dorado, Winfield, and Afton lake), but Cheney is the best location, no one kites at El Dorado lake and other lakes around kansas are rarely kited.  Kansas lakes up north east is kited on by the kansas city area kiters. 

Wilson lake, which is located in central KS, is a great, 'clean & clear' lake to kite, forewarned it is an intermediate level lake to kite, but well worth the travel to kite this lake.  Wilson is not shallow, but same as cheney, (is in the same wind corridor) this lake has great wind, and has a nice teal clean color.  If blown downwind or learning on Wilson lake, will need support to get back.  FYI, Wilson south wind launch area is on the north west side (federal area) Lucas camping area. 

Cheney lake is a 'shallow water lake' which is favored for kiteboarding, and learning in knee to waist deep water.  On south wind days we launch on north east side of the lake at M&M point (the learning location).  On north wind days we launch on south west side of the lake at NSA (Ninnescah Sailing Association) in the sailboat cove area (which is alittle tricky for beginners). 

We encourage beginners to learn at M&M point for several reasons.  Main reason is the area is very very shallow, knee/waist deep all around the point, and down around the 'island', and past into the cove.  Boats and jet skis get stuck all the time around this area of the lake due to very shallow conditions.  Another reason why this location works very well learning to kite is, when blown downwind, you can self rescue 'safely' behind 'the island' just a few campsites down from kitebeach.  See below photo.  The island has trees to block the wind.  You go behind 'the island', drop your kite on the water in the wind shaddow from the trees.  Then you can safely self rescue (roll up lines and kite), all in waist/knee deep water, and an easy walk of shame back upto the launch on the point which is only a few campsites away.
















    Water temps vary thru the seasons and cooler water in the fall/spring/winter does not keep us from enjoying kiteboarding.  Same as any other area with water sports, we wear wet and dry suits in the cooler seasons.  See 'gear & safety' for more info on wetsuits.  Warm water temps in the summer months allow us to wear board shorts (May-Sept).  But in the fall, spring, and winter (Oct-April) water temps dip below 70degrees and that's when we dawn wet/dry suits. 

Here is link to Cheney daily water temps.  Cheney water temps

In the winter, the lake sometimes (not always) freezes up, and if it does ice up, typically its only in feb.  Giving us usually year round water kiting.  When lake does freeze up our options are snowkiting (snowboard with our kites) or we landboard.  More info in those topics.

Flip side of the winter is the heat of summer.....when the winds sometimes does not blow (August) the water temps rise, and with no water movement, bacteria grows called blue-green algae.  You will become sick if exposed to this algae.  Warnings typically is posted.

With gusty winds we typically can see and know how to ride around, with, and thru gusts.  Or times we suggest staying in the gust lines when in under powered conditions.  To see these gust lines you look at the water surface.  The gust line on the surface of the water will reflect differently then the rest of the water.  Typically it's rough (more ripples) darker looking water surface, or will show more white capping of the water, or will be reflecting the sunlight more as seen in the below photo (depends on the sun position).  If in under powered conditions best to stay in the wind gust line, or if experienced kiter you can send the kite at the right moment into the gust line for huge jumps. 

    Caution: If you are caught in a very strong overpowered wind gust, best thing to do is depower your trim straps (reason to steer clear of using C-kites), and if you are still overpowered, keep your kite low, almost to the water.  If you bring kite upto zenith, you may be pulled up out of the water.  Board edge control is put on the brakes (dig the rear of the board into the water), lean back hard into your harness over your rear leg, and sheet out with your bar, all this together to help you slow down.  Watch for those strong gust lines and be safe.