Your first kiteboarding kite
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Purchasing your first kite after completing your kite course can be a daunting experience. Here are a few tips in what to look out for when buying your first kite-
Should I buy new or second hand?
The saying “you get what you pay for” is relatively true when buying your first kite.
Buying new kitesurfing equipment is more expensive than second hand gear. However, one of the main benefits in buying a new kite is that you will know what you will get and in the rare occasion of a manufacturing defect your kite is covered by warranty.
Saving tip: Brands usually release their new model kites in August/ September and most kite shops offer discounts on previous year models once the new models have arrived.
Buying second hand
Buying a second hand kite is less expensive, but it can be difficult for a beginner to know what to look out for when purchasing a used kite. Here are a few things to consider when buying second hand: We suggest you don't purchase a kite older than 4 years as the technology and safety systems might be outdated. Getting an older kite might also mean that it has had it's fair amount of usage. The amount and type of use the kite has had is a massive factor in the lifespan of a second hand kite.
Where to buy a second hand kite from: Kitesurfing schools often replace their kites on a regular basis. At Blue Adventures we replace our kites every few months, so they are still in a good conditions when we sell them on. In New Zealand Trademe is another popular marketplace for used kites.
How to check if a second hand kite is in good condition:
Canopy: We recommend you check if the canopy is still “crispy”, which means that the material is in good condition with a durable, waxy feel to it. If the material looks thin, faded and is heavily crinkled the kite has most likely had significant use, which comes with a bigger chance of ripping.
Pigtails/bridles/pulleys: Inspect these for any possible damage. If the material is chafed it could mean that the kite has had significant use. Also, make sure that pulleys are moving freely.
Leading edge: Inspect the leading edge for any cuts and scrapes and loose stitching.
Bladder: The best way to check if the bladder leaks is to pump up the kite and leave it overnight.
Repairs: If the kite has had any repairs, they should have been made professionally.
What kite size should I get?
To choose the right kite size you need to consider 3 things:
- Your weight
- The wind strength you are intending to use the kite in the most
- The size of the board you are using
Most kiters built up to a quiver of 2-3 kites to cover a wide range of wind conditions. Buying a kite size you can built on at a later stage is therefore something you should consider when purchasing your first kite.
What kite shape is best for me?
Characteristics such as good stability and smooth flying abilities, easy handling and water re-launching, "sheet-in-and-go"capabilities and a wide wind range are aspects you would want to consider in choosing a beginner friendly kite.
There are 4 different shapes of inflatable kites:
Bow kites have a big wind range and are easily de-powered.
Shape: flat profile, bridles in the leading edge, concave trailing edge
Advantages: safe for beginners, full de-powering system, easy re-launching, great in a wide wind range
Rider profile: Beginner, Freeride, Speed, Big Air
A Delta kite is a bow kite with a more swept back wing profile. A Delta kite is a great choice for your first kite. The Delta shape is great for easy re-launching, which is an important characteristic for when you are learning. Delta kites also move slower which makes them more stable and forgiving. The bridle system gives the Delta shape a big wind range, so it works well in light wind and absorbs gusts better.
Shape: D-shape when laid out, short wing tips, short bridle
Advantages: great for beginners, excellent de-powering and easy re-launching capabilities, good wind range
Rider profile: Beginner, Freeride, Speed, Big Air, Wave
As the name suggests the Hybrid kite is a combination of a Bow and C kite. The Hybrid kite offers the safety and de-powering tools of a Bow kite, and the power of a C-Kite.
This shape is great if you would like to progress into big air or wave riding.
Shape: short wing tips, short bridle
Advantages: great de-powering potential, good wind range, easy water re-launch capabilities