How Not To Measure Kiteboarding Jump Height

“How high was that??” It’s the first question you have for your buddies when you get back to the beach after a big jump. In the world of kiteboarding, there are plenty of ways to come up with a pretty good guess, but each way has its own biases to be aware of. Here are a few things to watch out for:

#1 Background Objects

Telephoto lenses are awesome for making boosts look huge, but beware: trying to compare jump height with objects in the background can be very misleading. Check out the image below:

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Did he jump as high as Table Mountain? Obviously not. What about compared to the 25m jump height pole? We have no idea.

What this example illustrates is parallax, the concept that distance from an object has a huge effect on the angle it appears in your view. Here’s another way to think about it:

This is why boosting right next to the beach looks so much bigger! It’s all about viewing angles.

#2 Line Length

Another common way to estimate jump height is by comparing the kiter’s distance off the water with the length of their lines in the image. But quickly you’ll notice the trouble with this approach:

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a vs. b

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When the kite is perfectly perpendicular to the camera, this approach is great, but that’s never the case! The kite always appears slightly too short, making using that length as a reference too short, and the subsequent jump height too high.

#3 Onboard Camera

Don’t have a friend on the beach with a camera? Why not try a GoPro!

Josh boosts high, no question, but good luck guessing exactly how high he’s jumping with a fisheye GoPro! A 15m jump looks even higher with a fisheye lens exaggerating foreground objects.

What about a WOO?

We designed the WOO sensor as a simple way to solve the challenges of measuring jump height. As you ride with a WOO, you’ll start to get a better sense of what a 3m vs 5m vs 8m jump looks and feels like. And instead of asking your friends “How high was that?”, you’ll be challenging them to beat you!