Kitesurfing equipment for beginners can seem daunting, there’s so much available both new and used. Buying the wrong kit can be an expensive and even dangerous mistake. So here we’ll look at the basic equipment you’ll need and how to go about finding the right gear at the right price for you.
By this stage you have hopefully read my post “Learning How to Kiteboard” and taken the first steps to becoming a fully fledged kiteboarding addict!
So you’ve had some lessons from a qualified instructor and have achieved a level where you can control a full size water kite and are reasonably competent with using the safety release systems and self rescue techniques.
You’re ready to buy some kit and get out and practice your new-found skills.
How Much Will it Cost?
I think it’s important to get this in perspective!
Kiteboarding isn’t a cheap sport to get into compared with some, but good kit can last you years and can also be sold on as you outgrow it and want to upgrade.
And once you’ve bought the gear there generally aren’t any expensive membership fees or annual costs. Compared with the cost of say golf club membership or powered watersports with boats or jet skis it’s very inexpensive after the initial outlay.
The wind and sea are free to everyone!
The answer is, with a realistic basic budget, It’s up to you and how deep your pockets are. Obviously, the more you can spend the better in terms of the quality and amount of equipment it will buy you.
But there’s a vibrant secondhand market for kiteboarding equipment and there’s some really good quality kit available if you know where to look, and what you’re looking for.
The main cost item is your kite, and one kite will only allow you to go out in winds within the range for that kite. But realistically, when you’re at the early stages you wouldn’t be advised to go out in very strong winds anyway as they can be gusty and unpredictable.
So one kite will get you going. 3 kites will cover most wind ranges, certainly for a beginner, and allow you to get more time on the water.
New or Used?
Clearly, if you can afford to buy new you’ll get better quality, problem free equipment, that comes with guarantees. And its always worth it if your budget will allow.
But kiteboarding is the fastest growing watersport today. A lot of people take it up on holiday, come home and buy new kit and then don’t really follow it through. A lot of that kit ends up on the secondhand market and represents a great bargain.
And really keen kiters will often replace their kit, especially kites, every year or two, placing really good quality used equipment on the secondhand market.
So good secondhand kites can be bought at very reasonable prices. But it’s important that the various parts of the kite and the lines and control bar that go with it, are in good condition. If this part of your kit fails it can be at best frustrating, and at worst dangerous.
So, if there’s one item that’s worth spending more of your budget on, this is it.
The sport has also become very marketing orientated. By this I mean that for a manufacturer to compete, they have to keep bringing out new innovations which, quite honestly, can be fairly minor in a lot of cases. An advanced kiter will notice this, but as a beginner you won’t.
So “last years model” can often be bought new at a big discount.
A good compromise if you’re on a limited budget is to allocate more of your budget to your main kite, the one you’ll be using the most.
As a beginner you’ll want to go out in fairly consistent medium breezes from about 10 knots to about 18 knots. So, once you know what size kite is right in these winds for your size and weight, that’s the one to spend the most on.
The kite or kites that you won’t use as often, typically bigger for light winds and smaller for strong winds can take up less of your budget. But most importantly they still need to be in good condition.
Boards can be bought secondhand at quite reasonable prices, and even if your first board has a bit of wear and tear already, it isn’t going to adversely affect your ability to get out on the water.
The Kit List
There are a number of items you’ll definitely need and some that are determined by where you’re going to be kiting and personal choice.
I’ll break it down bit by bit and give a very rough example of new and used price range. This is purely to give you a feel and is based on current exchange rates at time of writing.
(Complete with bar, lines and pump)
New prices for a typical mid range kite 11 Sq. m. £1000 – £1800 ($1270 – $2290)
Used prices for same size kite in good condition £450 – £1000 ($570 – $1270)
(complete with fins, straps, grab-handle)
New twin tip,140cm x 42cm, suitable for a beginner £330 -£600 ($420 – $760)
Used, same size in good condition £180 – £300 ($230 – $380)
Waist harness £100 – £200 ($125 – $250)
(Optional, but recommended for a beginner) £35 – £70 ($45 – $90)
(optional, but recommended for a beginner) £40 – £100 ($50 – $125)
(Lucky you if you’re somewhere warm!)
3 season full length suit £125 upwards ($160 upwards)
Please note that the kite and board sizes used here are only by way of example and aren’t necessarily what will be appropriate for you.
So in summary, and this is obviously very approximate, you could have enough kit within a budget of say £2000 ($2600), if you buy new, to be able to start your kiteboarding journey. Less if you buy some or all of your equipment secondhand.
Where to Buy
Firstly you need to determine what type and sizes of kites and boards are best for you. Advice on each item of equipment is covered in separate posts, but a good place to get advice is from your instructor. They know what size kites and board will be best for you based on your weight and ability to progress.
Another good source of information is the guys and girls at the beach. Ask them what they think about their own gear and whether it would suit a beginner.
If you can afford new kit and are lucky to have a kite shop you can go to, that’s great. The people who run and work in these businesses are almost always kite fanatics themselves and will give you great advice.
The only limitation might be that some only stock certain brands so it’s good to have an idea of what you’re looking for before being limited to what’s available at your local shop.
There are numerous on-line kiteboarding retailers, selling new and used equipment. So, if you know what you want it’s easy to source your equipment on-line.
There’s also nothing wrong with going direct to the manufacturer if you know what you want. And often they’ll have sales of last year’s models at good discounts.
If you’re buying second-hand it can be a bit more of a minefield. There’s a lot of kiteboarding gear on eBay, some good and some not, but it can be a good source if you’re careful.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what year the equipment (especially kites) is and what condition the kite and lines is in. A lot of kite and board manufacturers retain the same names for their products each year so it’s important to ask the year of manufacture.
Beware if there isn’t much description and plenty of photos.
Again, if you’re thinking of buying something on eBay, ask someone experienced what they think of your potential purchase. I’m always happy to advise you if you leave a question at the end of this or email me at adrian@kitemadworld.
There’s a lot of very old stuff, especially kites, on eBay and kites have evolved dramatically in recent years in terms of safety, stability and ease of use. But some older kites can be difficult for a beginner to use and potentially dangerous, so old and cheap is generally not a good way to go.
Time to Shop!
Okay, so now you’ve got an idea what sort of budget suits you. Time to look in more detail at the different items of equipment you’ll want. Here are direct links to other articles on this subject:
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