If you’ve read my article “A Guide to Best Kites for Beginners” you’ll have a good insight into the different types of kite design and how they might affect the choice of kitesurfing kites for beginners.
Firstly, kite design and manufacture has come a long way over the years, and there aren’t many “bad” kites out there in terms of quality if you buy fairly recent models (say, less than 3 years old).
Secondly, there really isn’t any such thing as an out and out beginner kite. Most hybrid kites will see you through your early learning stages and then remain suitable for a long time after that. As you progress you’ll decide for yourself what style, or more likely styles, of kiting you prefer or simply are more likely to do because of your local conditions. I’ve assumed you’ve had a few lessons already and are reasonably comfortable with controlling a kite.
So the kites I’ve chosen to feature here are ones that will see you through the next early days, of putting what you’ve learned into practice and then onwards for a good time, if not years afterwards. I’ve pulled together my own experience of some of these kites along with the views of fellow experienced kiters, including qualified instructors.
There are other kites out there that are great quality and good for beginners. However, I’ve chosen to recommend only those kites I have direct knowledge of from using them myself and/or from my discussions with kiters I know and trust.
My experience of trawling the on-line market for new and used kitesurfing equipment is that the best selection is to be found on Ebay, where there is often a good selection last year’s models on sale at good discounts. I’ve included links to take you direct to the relevant pages and I’d recommend you take a look to compare the prices of the various kites I’m featuring.
If you’d like advice on any others you might be looking at feel free to post a question below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of these kites are user friendly and have all the attributes that you’ll want as a beginner/intermediate kiter:
Good safety system
Strong build quality (i.e. thrashability!)
You won’t be disappointed with any of these kites so the choice will come down to availability, budget, and possibly how ambitious you are in terms of progression as most will see you right through to advanced level kiting.
My Featured Kitesurfing Kites for Beginners – And on into Intermediate to Advanced Kiter:
Cabrinha has been around since the very first pioneering stages of kitesurfing and the switchblade is in its 12th year of production. It’s renowned for its versatility and ease of use. Will take you from your early stages to wherever you want to go after that, whether it’s massive big air jumps, free-ride, or wave riding.
The Switchblade is a hybrid bow (although getting close to a hybrid C in terms of its profile. Although not a delta kite it has very narrow wing tips that give it many of the advantages of a delta, particularly ease of water relaunch.
There’s plenty of de-power and when the QR (Quick Release) is fired, it’ll drop gently to the edge of the window, completely de-powered.
Extremely stable in the air, this kite won’t give you any nasty surprises in lulls and gusts.
Great wind range, so although 3 kites is optimum, depending on your size and weight, a combination of 7m/10 or 11M or 8m/11 or 12m will get you out most days.
There are a range of control bar options from Cabrinha, but I would keep it simple (and less expensive) and go for either the fixed length 1X Trimlite with Quickloop option or the slightly pricier Overdrive 1X with Trimlite and Quickloop which is adjustable in length so will be suitable for all sizes of kite.
The fixed length bar comes in 3 sizes, 44cm, 52cm and 60cm. the 52cm would be suitable for all the above kite sizes although the adjustable bar or additional 44cm bar would be more suited if you’re going for the smaller 7m kite. Both bars have “above the bar” trim systems which means the trim strap is out of the way of the chicken loop and quick release, my preferred option.
There are currently a good selection of new Switchblades on eBay:
Slingshot have always been renowned for top quality construction and materials, so whilst they come at a higher price than some competitors, they will take pretty much any amount of thrashing you’re likely to throw at them. so re-sale value is always good.
The RPM is a Hybrid Open C type kite, which means it has a lot of the direct feel qualities of a C kite but with the benefits, in terms of wind-range and de-power of a more bow profiled kite. I’m currently using an 8m RPM and I find I’m powered up when my buddies are on bigger kites, but still in control when other kiters are heading back to change down a size.
The Open-C profile gives this kite a pretty fast turning speed so as a kite for beginners it means you need to be aware of what you’re doing with the control bar. But once you get used to that it’s great to know the kite will go exactly where you want to send it, and it makes it easy to work the kite to generate a bit more power in wind lulls.
The de-power is excellent. Let go of the bar and the kite drifts safely to the edge of the window and sits there till you want to power up again. And if it ends up in the drink, a tug on one side of the bar brings it to the edge ready to re-launch easily.
So, although a little less forgiving than a more bow-shaped kite, this kite will see you through from beginner to whatever advanced stages you want to head to.
Slingshot offer two fixed length bars, both of which come in either 17″, 20″ or 23″ lengths. The Compstick Sentinel has above the bar trim control, whilst the Guardian has it’s trim adjustment below the bar in the chicken loop system.
I personally prefer the Sentinel, with above the bar trim as it keeps it out of the way of the QR. I have used both and find the below the bar trim takes a bit more concentration to ensure you don’t fire the QR inadvertently when you’re trying to adjust the trim. However, if you have a shorter reach then I can see how the Guardian, below the bar, system could be more user friendly. The 20″ bar works with the mid-range kite sizes but if you go down to a 7m or smaller you’d be better with the shorter bar, and the 23″ bar would be more suited to 11m or bigger.
I’ve checked out the on-line market for new RPM’s and as is often the case with kitesurfing gear, the best selection is on Ebay:
North Kiting has been around since the beginning of time or at least, the only time that matters….the start of kitesurfing! They re-branded the Kiting division in 2018 to “Duotone” although the kite design names have remained the same. So you can still pick up old stock North Evo’s or, obviously, second hand ones.
There have been the inevitable design tweaks that happen every year, but either brand name of the Evo is a great kite and anything up to 3 or 4 years old will be a good buy (subject to it’s condition of course..
The Evo is a hybrid bow, although erring on the C profile rather than a big open bow shape and is Delta shaped. Renowned for it’s stability, ease of re-launch and great wind-range this kite will not restrict your progress to intermediate and advanced kiting and is a great all-rounder (as with all the kites featured here).
Duotone have 2 bars available:
The Trust Bar, which is a traditional fixed length bar, although there are “flip-flop” bar ends which lengthen or shorten the bar slightly. It has an easy to use, above the bar trim arrangement.
The Click-Bar. This is an innovation unique to Duotone in terms of trimming system. Rather than the traditional arrangement of a trim strap and cleat, where you pull in or release the trim strap to shorten or lengthen the front lines, the Click-Bar has a switch on the bar end that you swivel to shorten the rear lines (increase power) or press to lengthen them (decrease power).
This makes it incredibly easy to adjust the trim on the move and takes away the problem that kiters with a smaller reach (shorter arms) sometimes have with above the bar systems. This comes at a price, but if you can stretch to the Click-Bar it’s worth it.
Just a word of warning if you’re buying second-hand – the early 2017 (North Click-Bar) versions had a tendency to wear out the lines where they feed into the internal winding system. Although an up-grade to plastic coated lines was made available, better to go for new or 2018 onward models.
Both bars come in M or S sizes. The M would be suitable in both bars for kites 8m and upwards, so if your smallest kite is going to be 7m then you should consider having 2 bars.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional Trust Bar if you don’t want to pay out another £200 or so for the Click-Bar.
The F-One Bandit was the original Delta C kite and is now also in it’s 12th year of production. Each year comes with a different roman numeral number, so it’s easy to work out how old a second hand offering is, The 2019 model is the Bandit XII, although the next model, already out now has been named the Bandit 2020 and F-One have brought out an alternative kite designed mainly for wave-riding, The Bandit S. So if you’re going for the brand new model you should be looking at the 2020, not the S.
Although I’ve previously advised that a C kite is not suitable for beginners, this is a hybrid C, with a bridle and like the other C biased kites already featured, is more than suited to an ambitious beginner.
The Bandit is renowned for great wind range and you’ll often see Bandit owners fully powered on a 9m when everyone else is on 11 or 12m kites. This power range comes from the deep Delta shaped canopy and bias towards C-shape. But don’t be put off by this.
As kites for beginners go this one has all the de-power, safety and ease of re-launch you need. It sits easily through gusts and lulls and won’t give you any nasty surprises. But when you get to the stage of wanting to boost big jumps and other tricks, it’s zippy turning speed and deep canopy offers years of fun and progression.
F-One’s bar offering is the Linxbar which comes in 2 main sizes, both adjustable, the 52/45cm and 45/38cm. There’s a 3rd size designed mainly for the S model a 42/35cm bar.
The bar is simple and functional, with above the bar de-power and all the features, like comfort and ease of safety and trim, that you’ll need.
A word of warning if you’re buying second-hand. Whilst the early Bandits were great kites, with all the flying attributes of the newer models, they did have a tendency to turn through the lines in the water, causing problems trying to re-launch. Enhanced design features on everything from the Bandit VII onwards have eliminated this problem, so stick to kites no older than about 5 years old – good advice anyway when buying any kite secondhand.
Reviews and Independent Advice
The kitesurfing community loves to share it’s views and opinions and there are some great reviews available. Don’t always rely on the product descriptions given by manufacturers as they are all vying for a place in the market. That said, do follow their advice on the appropriate bar and lines to go with your chosen kite.
If you’re looking at second-hand kit on-line feel free to ask my opinion either via the comments box below or by emailing me at email@example.com. Let me know what stage you’re at, what kind of budget you have and a bit about your size and weight and I’ll be happy to suggest some kites currently available on the second-hand market and pick some out that I believe would suit you.
Always happy to help!