Here are some suggestions on what kit to purchase if you are getting into kite surfing. We would like to emphasize that you should rent or hire the kit for as long as possible before launching into what can soon add up to significant expenditure. Make sure that you are committed to the sport and the initial enthusiasm does not wane. Further you will find that as your competency increases so does your appetite for newer and better equipment. It is therefore better to learn using someone else’s kit – until you have a proper understanding of the exact kite and board that will suit your level of skill.
I’ve also included a video by genocide696 of world champion Aaron Hadlow strutting his stuff on a Flexifoil – which just goes to show that even world champions take a few tumbles in getting to be a world champion. Thanks also go to Dan Doubleday of 2Articles.com for the article on what kit to buy.
You have done a kite surfing course or two and understand the danger. You have been out on a few day trip by yourself and rented the equipment. Now it’s time to sort yourself out with your own gear but with the initial high cost you want to break it down into affordable chunks, so how should you buy your kite surfing gear?
Any purchase you make should first be selected on safety and quality. Failure of any kite surfing gear while racing across the sea at high speeds is never what you want. The order of gear listed here is only a suggestion in which you should purchase the stuff you need. Obviously getting the lot at one time could save you money, by asking for a discount in the store, but you should also consider looking at used gear. Sometimes you could save a large amount of cash on an item and the saving opens up your choice on another item.
The first item you should look for is a Wet suit. You can spend long periods of time in the water sorting out your lines or you may lose your kite and have to either swim to shore or to the kite both of which may be a long way off. A wetsuit not only provides add thermal protection in can also provide extra buoyancy. When looking for your wetsuit also look about for some water shoes for added comfort on cold days.
Most kite surfers now wear crash helmets when trying out new locations or stunts. If you are unsure of what is exactly below the water surface this piece of equipment could save your life. If you are surfing close to rocks, same thing and if you are trying out something you have never done before there is always a possibility your board will attack you.
Depending of your level of skill or even the location your are kite surfing you may want a life jacket to keep you afloat and help while swimming for your kite, or to the shore.
You may want a board-leash in your purchasing list as this is the only thing that keeps your board near you should you fall off it. This will obviously save you watching your board sail off into the sunset while you sit on the beach! HOWEVER, and it’s a big however, a boardleash, although thought useful by some in the early days of learning, is also a potential hazard and you might think carefully about this one. Think about it: you have an extremely strong kite above your head powering along in the wind, and if you fall off, your board will submarine – bury its head underwater – and so your kite power goes up. .. and you’re stuck in the middle. The most likely thing to happen is that the board will barrel out of the water like a loaded spring aimed directly at some part of your anatomy. And it will hurt…
Better to teach yourself body dragging very early on. In fact learn to body drag before you need to use the skill…
Some people use a leash whilst they are setting themselves up but release it the moment their kite is in the air. But if you insist on a board leash then best you invest in a helmet and an impact vest without delay!
And on to the next requirement…
All kites should have a safety release system attached, never buy a kite with a working safety release system. This is a strap that’s attached around your wrist and to the control bar. A safety release can be 2 or 4 line and will disable the kite when you stop holding the control bar. The systems have a safety leash attaching to your left wrist (or harness) to allow you to retrieve the control bar.
Once you have all the safety gear you can focus on the big stuff: a kite and board.
Your choice in what kite to buy will not be an easy one and you should research it well. You will want a kite that you can launch, or re-launch, from the water. A kite that can provide enough lift to allow you to perform jumps and stunts and also good power control. Inflatable kites, single skin framed kites and ram air foil kites can all be launched from within the water, but offer different performance and power controls. There will be kites more suitable for the beginner and offer more safety and control features than others and their will be kites for the professional competition kite surfers that know how to get every last ounce of energy of them. Your choice in kite is not one you should rush into. Talk with your instructor and some other Kite surfers before choosing yours.
Your final piece of kite surfing gear is the board. Similar to the kite you should do some research about the best board for you, but unlike the kites most boards have similar features. They should be rigid and have a harness for your feet to keep the board under you! The board leash will has been recommended above.
Kite surfing is an extreme sport that requires professional training and good equipment for your safety. Never rush into a purchase and always research the various makes and models available to you. The longer you leave buying kite surfing gear the more chance you may have of trying out different systems before you buy them.