How to choose kitesurfing gear in 5 easy steps!
If you feel comfortable with your kitesurfing level and you like this sport for sure, it is time to choose your first kitesurfing equipment to gain more independence. Buying your own kitesurfing equipment can be a big step. Kitesurfing requires some investment (can be €500 or even more than €3000) so it is important to have some basic knowledge about equipment to ensure you are buying the right thing. In this article, we will take you through 5 steps that you should consider when buying kitesurfing equipment:
1. YOUR LEVEL
Beginner: If you are buying your first equipment then you need to choose a kite and a board that will take you comfortably from a beginner to an intermediate level.
Intermediate/ Advanced: At this level, you should know where you need to progress. If you choose freestyle, meaning waves or free riding, a specific choice of equipment is required. When choosing freestyle riding, you should look for C-kite and amfreestyle/wake-style board. For free-riding, either bow or hybrid kites will be good. And for wave riding, you probably should be looking for avwave kite and a directional board.
2. KITE TYPES: There are 3 types of kites: Bow, Hybrid and C kite.
Bow kites: can be de-powered fully, making them safer and easier to use for beginners. They are suitable much larger wind ranges, can be easily and quickly re-launched from water.
Hybrid kites: cover a very large variety of kites and can be referred to as Delta kites. They are easier to de-power and re-launch from water than C-kites.
C kites: freestyle kites that are generally used by pro riders for unhooked tricks. They have very quick turning and loads of pop, but much smaller wind range and are harder to re-launch.
SIZE: Many kite brands make kites ranging from 5m2 to 15m2. The kite size depends on the place where you will be kiting. If it is a place with light wind then you should choose bigger 9m2-13m2 kites. If it is a place where the wind is very strong, consider choosing a 5m2-8m2 kite. Usually we recommend you have 2 kites- one for light wind days and one for strong wind days. When buying a kite, it is important to remember that bars match/belong with/to kites. You should not mix & match kite & bar because every kite has a different safety system, bridle position and length.
Twin-tip: are the most universal boards used for free-ride, free-style & wake-style kitesurfing. They are easy to manoeuvre, easy to ‘get up’, and you can ride both ways without turning the board around. They are great for jumping and have small fins suitable for shallow water.
Wake style: is a twin-tip board with bindings (boots) to secure your feet. These boards are not optimal for beginners and are best suited for advanced wake-style riding.
Wave board: is a directional board with our without straps, has a better wind range where you can kitesurf in lighter winds compared to a twin-tip. They are good for long downwinders and it is easier to go up wind.
Foil / hydrofoil board: is a directional surfboard with a hydrofoil that extends below the board into the water. This design lets the board leave the surface of the water at various speeds.
Race board: a directional board optimised for speed with longer fins. Specifically designed for racing, easier upwind riding and reaching higher speeds downwind. With good flotation, you can kitesurf in lighter winds and the board is excellent for down winders.
SIZE: Board size is quite varied – there is no specific rule. In general, smaller sizes are better for tricks, longer sizes better for freeriding and beginners.
4. ACCESSORIES HARNESS: There are two types of harness: seat and waist. We recommend buying a waist harness as it allows more movement and puts less pressure on your hips and tights. Before buying a harness, you should always try it on, since every brand has its own size scale. WETSUIT: Depending where you will be kiting- long & thick (3/4-4/5) for colder climate and short (sleeveless) & thin (1/2-2/3) for warmer climate.
PUMP: Traditional hands pump or pocket size lightweight e-pump
Same price better inflation experience.
NEW Downside: Buying all new equipment is always a big investment. For a new kite+bar expect to pay €1000-€2000 (depending on size). Advantages:
Usually it can serve for around 3 years (depending how well you take care of it).
You will have a dealer/ factory warranty (usually 2 years) in case something happens.
You can sell a kite after 1 or 2 seasons for a fair price and then update your equipment.
SECOND HAND Downside: Usually second hand equipment ranges between good and very used condition. The condition can be easily seen from the price, if kite/board is cheap- then it’s very used, if kite is more expensive- it’s probably less used. Just remember, that used kites may cause some problems after a while. Advantages:
Sometimes equipment is 50% or cheaper than new.
You will be less worried about damaging your equipment.
OUR TIP: If you want to buy new try buying at the end of season August/ September when the sales for kitesurfing equipment start. If you search well you can find new kites from the same season or the previous one from 25% to 50% off. For used kites: always ask what problems kite had, if there is a warranty, always check the safety release works and make a deep check of the lines searching for marks or little cuts.