“You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
— Zig Ziglar
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING YOUR FIRST KITE PACKAGE!
Ok so you have done a couple of lessons and you're ready to buy your first lot of gear. Most of us don’t have any idea on what we want.
Questions.... What brand should I buy? What size kite do I need? What size board and what type of board should I ride? What type of harness? What size bar will I need? more questions.... should I ride with straps, boots or strapless? So many questions... that's what we are here for to help you work all or this out.
NEW VS SECOND HAND
When it comes to getting your first package the very first question you need to ask yourself is am I going to buy new or used?
A brand new package gives you the luxury of getting exactly what you want and when buying second hand you don't get a warranty.
This might not seem like an issue but take into consideration that when you are just starting out the kite can get slammed into the water a lot. You might be landing and launching on coarse sand which will scuff you're leading edge seams. If you know you have a warranty on your gear it usually makes the beginning months that bit more relaxing.
If you decide to go with secondhand gear there is a ton or good repair options out there from replacement bladders, valves and hardware to repair kits and kite repair shops.
Some of the questions you should ask a seller when purchasing a secondhand kite are:
- How long have you had the kite for?
- Where do you usually ride?
- What conditions do you usually fly in, (flat water, surf etc)?
- Has it had any repairs?
- Have you claimed warranty on any parts?
- Whats the bar like?
- How worn are the main lines and trim straps?
- Why are you selling it?
Just get as much information about the kites history.
When it comes to price there's only a couple things you need to know. All shops are given a recommended retail price for current gear so when they quote you on gear these are the figures they have been given. It's always good if the customers can give a ball park figure on how much they want to spend so we can design a package that suits your budget. There is usually 3 price ranges we use Low, Mid and High.
SIZE & TYPE
Kite size plays a massive factor when kiting. You need to take into consideration the average wind speed of you area and your body weight. If you don’t know then you should either ask some of the locals or your local shop.
The type or design of kite will have a huge influence on your decision when purchasing gear. If your just interested in boosting, staying hooked in generally a 4 line free ride boosting kite would be great for you. If you were looking at getting into surf, freestyle or even race you would need to buy a kite that won’t limit you in these areas.
When it comes to bars the only thing you need to consider is the width. The wider the bar the more leverage you put into the kite. Usually you’ll fly a larger bar with a larger kite. The smaller bar stops you from moving the kite too much.
When it comes to board size your basically in the same boat as the kite size. If your a bigger person then you’ll need a bigger board.
If your just interested in cruising, jumping and being a free ride shredder then go for a free ride board. These boards will be labelled as performance free ride boards. Wake style boards are generally a little bigger, These boards can be ridden at cable parks. There are other boards to consider as well.
There are a few options when talking about a harness. There are seat and waist harness. A seat style harness works great for riders that need a little more support, are a little older or for some women. Waist harnesses are often the main style that people consider. These harnesses don’t have leg straps and need to be fitted correctly otherwise they can ride up and be very uncomfortable. The other option is a hardshell waist harnesses. These harnesses offer great lumbar back support and tend not ride up when fitted correctly. Some harnesses now offer a spreader bar as well instead of a fixed hook. The rope will allow your chicken loop to move left and right freely.
AVERAGE WIND STRENGTH AND BEACH CONDITIONS
When purchasing gear you need to buy something that's going to allow you to get out as much as possible at your home spot. In Mackay our average size for men would usually be a 12 or bigger and for women it’ll be like a 10 or bigger.
The conditions you kite in can also have a big impact on your decision when purchasing gear. If you have more flat water at your local spot then take into consideration the depth of the water. If its shallow make sure your fins aren’t too big of you’ll have dramas.
If you have any questions about gear or anything else please don’t hesitate to call on 0448736551 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREQUENTLY ASK QUESTIONS ALL "NON-KITEBOARDER'S" ASK
What is Kiteboarding ?
Kiteboarding is a exciting, adrenalin filled sport that utilises the wind power via a kite to create forward momentum and lift. The kiteboarder controls a rigorously tested and refined kite specific to their discipline to generate enough power to ride across the top of the water on a mono-directional (Can only be ridden efficiently in one direction e.g. a surfboard) or a bi-directional “twin tip” board ( can be ridden in either direction without having to move from heel-side to toe-side).
Is it dangerous?
Kiteboarding has been portrayed as a dangerous and “extreme” sport for a long time simply due to the fact that a lot of society doesn’t know anything about the sport apart from what they see on youtube (note to all don’t watch “kiteboarding Fail Videos”). In the beginning which was only in the early to mid nineties it was pretty dangerous don’t get me wrong. However over the last 15 to 20 years there has been very dramatic improvements in the design and integration of safety systems on all kites. Nowa days the sport has become very safe with the implementation of quality instruction from International Kiteboarding Organisation (IKO) affiliated schools, the growth of the community and the ability to kite with friends and peers and the advancements of safety systems on all kite brands. Realistically in my opinion the main cause of injury with in kiteboarding is because of human error or naivety. If you learn from a professional kiteboarding school that prides themselves of delivering a high level of education you will dramatically reduce the risk of injury, and share the stoke with all your friends and family.
How do you stay on the ground?
Deciding what size kite you take out in reference to the conditions will pay a big role in your ability to stay grounded. When participating in a kiteboarding schools training program they will teach you about the sizes of kites in reference to the wind. Basically tho the lighter the wind the bigger the kite and the stronger the wind the smaller the kite. Now saying that, kites when position correctly aren’t designed to generate lift by themselves. When standing on the ground with the kite on the edge of the wind window ( The wind window is an imaginary line / limit in which the kite will fly on that runs from your right to left going directly above your head) you will have the least amount of power. There are certain points in the wind window that can potentially create lift however these are more prevalent in very very high wind conditions or in very gusty wind conditions, both in which i recommend not riding in unless your a very experienced rider.
How are you able to walk around with a kite attached?
If you have chosen the right size kite to suit the conditions you will not have a great deal of force pulling on you at rest. You must keep the kite on the wind window and try not to move the kite aggressively. You will be able to move around with ease if you follow these tips.
Why doesn’t it drag you down the beach?
Ok first things first, the only way people get drag up the beach is because of human error, period. I just want to make this one thing clear, kites do not fly by themselves, they need human input to stay flying, understand? There a few main reasons why people get dragged up the beach:
- They launch the kite incorrectly through either naivety, lack of experience or stupidity.
- There is a communication breakdown between the kite launcher and kite flier when doing a assisted launch.
- People panic and instead of letting go of the bar which will remove majority of the power the hold onto one end of the bar and proceed to kite loop themselves down the beach.
Now given this there is defiantly a chance for gear malfunction, BUT!! (this is a key point so pay attention). If you launch the kite in the correct position of the wind window you won’t have a great deal of stress / force on your kite, bar and lines. This basically means there is a very low chance of you breaking a line if you launch a kite correctly. So understand boys and girls, kites don’t drag people down the beach, people drag people down the beach.
Can anyone learn kite board?
Absolutely. Anybody with an interest, persistence and a heartbeat can learn to kite board.
Can I just buy a kite on eBay and start riding?
I’d highly recommend against it. You will progress a lot faster if you go through an IKO affiliated school. Do a first lessons or two on the schools gear under professional supervision. After these lessons the staff at the kite school will help you make an educated decision about gear in relation to your future goals and what style of kiting your interested in. You don’t want to buy a kite that you will grow out off within 2 months, plus on the other side you don’t want to buy a kite that is too advanced for your abilities.
How do I learn safely?
Go book yourself some lessons with and IKO affiliated kiteboarding school.
Is there any way I can remove myself from the kite if i get into a scary situation?
Absolutely. There are 3 major safety steps that can help you remove all the power and even detach yourself from the kite entirely if need be. These steps are:
1. Let go of the bar
By letting go of the bar the kite will return to a neutral position in the wind window then progress to drift down to sea level where it’ll remain until you give control it back up.
2. Pull your quick Release
Pulling your quick release on your bar will remove 99.999999% of the power out of the kite by flagging out onto your safety line. The kite will then fall out of the sky and generally land in a “dead up wind position”. From here you can either preform a self rescue (if needed) or feed your safety line back through slowly, reconnect everything and ride away.
3. Pull your eject on your safety leash
This is the very last point of safety. If you pull your quick release and for some reason your still in danger ( maybe a shark has gotten caught in your kite and is dragging you through the water), your can reach behind yourself and pull your eject on your safety leash. This will full detach yourself from the kite and remove 100% of the danger ( unless that shark is pissed off and now is looking for you haha).
What are the best conditions for kiteboarding?
Personally my favourite conditions consist of a constant 18-22 knots blow, deep crystal blue glassed out saltwater and a nice warm sun over head. Hmmm, now I come to think of it, a standard windy day in Mackay really.
Can I kite at any beach?
Not necessarily. First of all you should never ever kite in off shore breeze, period. The only exception is when your landing and launching from a boat that has people looking out for you, or if you have a rescue boat on patrol. Realistically tho, never kite in offshore breeze. This guideline will rule out a lot of beach that face the wrong way or have obstacles that affect the wind. Secondly there are many local, state and national laws that might prohibit kiteboarding in certain locations. Im not going to go into too much detail on this, however i do recommend that you go online and check with your local council or with the council that you might be kiting in, in the future.
Does it matter how deep the water is?
The shallower the water the more chance you have on injury, period. I personally like to kite in as deep of water as possible but realistically anything over waste deep is fine. You can kite in shallow water but you have more chance of damaging your board on the ground below or hurting yourself when you run into a sandbar or reef.
Does one size of kite fit all?
No. Kite sizes are determined by weight generally. A 5ft, 45 kilogram girl might be able to ride a 7-9m kite everyday where as a 6ft 90-100 kilogram lad might have to use a 12-13m kite. The size of the kite will be determined by the size and weight of the kiteboarder themselves and also the strength of the wind on that particular session.
Is there kites designed for male and female riders?
No not really. Some kite brands produce certain models of kites and accessories that appeal to women, e.g. pink and purple kites, boards, harnesses etc. However these kites will fly no differently to another colour of kite in the same model range and are fundamentally exactly the same.
How strong do you need to be to kite? Wouldn’t you get sore arms all the time?
There is a base level of core stability that is needed to kite. Saying that, if you can walk around freely throughout daily life without the use of a walking frame, wheelchair or other mobility devices you should have enough core stability to kite. The power of the kite is transferred through your harness and not through your arms. You can literally fly a kite with just your little fingers so no you shouldn’t get sore arms.
What can I ride when I learn to kite?
Surfboards both with our without straps, twin-tip kite boards (include fee ride boards, freestyle boards, wake style boards and light wind boards), kite skates (just like a wake skate), race boards, foil boards, snowboards and skis (yes people snow kite). You can pretty much ride anything as long as you can stay up wind.
Is there many different disciplines in kiteboarding?
There is several disciplines. Free ride, freestyle, wake style, surf, strapless surf in waves and on flat, kite skate, race both foil and larger race boards, speed kiting, snow kiting, land kiting. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.
How do I jump and Once I do a jump how do I come back down?
First of all I do not recommend learning to jump until your a competent rider. This means you should be able to ride up wind in both directions, be able to do transition turns and be able to control the kite with out looking directly at the kite.
To jump basically you ride along with reasonable board speed (more the better) and with the kite at around 45 degrees. From here you send your kite to the top of the wind window. Right at the last moment you release your board off the water and pull the bar in. You should stop you kite at around 1 o’clock if your travelling right to left, or 11 o’clock if traveling left to right. Once you reach the peak or your jump start to send your kite back towards the direction you are riding in. This will create forward momentum and allow to you ride away smoothly (hopefully ;-) haha).
How fast can I go?
You are in complete control over how fast or slow you can ride. There was a crazy chap called Alex Caizergues that broke the kite speed record at 104.8 km/hr in 2013. So yeah you could hypothetically go pretty dam fast.
How do I land and launch myself? Do I need a partner or kite buddy?
There are several ways to land and launch yourself however I certainly don’t recommend trying it until you have seek professional instruction. Self launching and landing can be very dangerous if done incorrectly so i highly recommend getting training on this topic. Having a friend that is trained in launching and landing a kite will definitely help. For one it dramatically reduces the wear and tear on your kite, and two it is far more controlled.
When I’m up and ridding how do I slow down?
Either let the bar out or slowly steer the kite up to 12 o’clock (directly above your head).
Can I ride anywhere? Even directly up wind?
Kiteboarding is very similar to sailing. When riding you have to make “tacks” to ride up wind. This basically means you have to zig zag up on an angle in both directions to ride up wind. You cannot ride directly up wind. Generally you will ride perpendicular to the up wind direction, which pretty much means 90 degrees or so to the up wind direction.
How do kiters not run into each other when they are riding?
There are general rules of thumb when kiting for example, the upwind rider must always give way to the riders downwind. This is because if you do a jump you will travel downwind into the path of other kiteboarder’s. All kiteboarder’s on the water must give way to all kiteboarder’s on the land. Kiteboarder’s must give way to all other persons in the water e.g. swimmers or surfers. Generally tho, you can see what tack other kiteboarder’s will be travelling on. You will be able to adjust your line of travel and kite height to avoid a collision.
How do I care for my gear?
Sun and sand are your kites biggest enemy. So when it comes to kite care ensuring that all the sand is patted off before you roll it up is essential for the longevity of your equipment. If you kite in salt water i would recommend that you do not wash your kite off in fresh water. Reason being fresh water gets mouldy, salt water doesn’t. If you do get fresh water on it, either from rain, fresh water lakes or otherwise make sure your dry your kite out completely before you roll your kite up. Mould will deteriorate the material that your kite is made of thus dramatically reducing its life span. When if comes to your board, bar, harness and accessories I recommend washing them in fresh water however make sure you leave them in a place where they can dry out well.