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.
I’ve included links to great deals on the recommended kites, so feel free to check out the prices there.
If you’d like advice on any others you might be looking at feel free to post a question below.
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:
Eleveight is a fairly new brand to kitesurfing but was evolved out of the design team from Best Kiting, who brought great quality affordable kite gear to the market. Best went out of existence in 2017, mainly due to the accountants driving design, rather than kiters.
In the same year, Eleveight was founded by the main people in the design team.
And their brand has gone from strength to strength with proven build quality and constant innovation.
The RS is now in its fifth incarnation, the V5, and just keeps getting better.
I got the chance to try out the 8m recently in gusty, choppy conditions and I was extremely impressed!
The RS is positioned as Eleveight’s all round free-style kite, but is great for beginners right through to advanced kiters.
What really impressed me was that they have managed to create a fast turning kite that also delivers easy hang-time when you send it, either for your first tentative jumps or serious big airs. It also loops easily with plenty of pull throughout the loop so that you feel confident if you’re new to kiteloops.
At the same time it is very user-friendly with just enough bar-pressure so that you feel connected to the kite, without burning your forearms on a long session.
The RS is a 3-strut delta-hybrid, which gives it a great combination of turning power, easy re-launch and massive wind-range.
On the day I was using the 8m there was everything on the water from 12m (totally overpowered) to 6m, and the RS never felt as though it was about to drop out of the sky in the lulls or pull me off my feet in the gusts (unless I wanted it to).
The kite also has handy, easy to use, adjustments to make it faster turning for wave-riding or free-style. You simply remove and re-position the pig-tails for the steering lines.
Build quality is top-notch with quadruple rip-stop material throughout the main canopy so it should still look pretty crispy after some hard use.
The latest bar from Eleveight is the CS Vary, which comes in two adjustable lengths 42-50 cms and 47-55 cms. The smaller bar would suit all kite sizes up to 12m.
The bar feels comfortable and high quality whilst remaining simple to use. It features single-click re-attachment of the quick-release to make it easy to get back on the water after firing it.
Pricewise, the RS is very competitive with the main competitors, so if you’re buying a couple of kites you should save a few hundred pounds compared with other kites with similar performance and build quality.
All in all I would thoroughly recommend the RS as a kite for beginners, but equally for anyone looking for a great all round free-style kite that won’t leave you wanting more of anything.
Their designers have always been focused on performance and build quality and that’s reflected in the line-up of their kite range now.
People really started to notice them around the world when their XR range started hitting the world records for Big Air with the current record of over 34 metres (114 feet) being held by Maarten Haeger using a Core XR7.
Whilst the XR7 is a great boosting kite and great for intermediates looking to boost their Woo scores or nail freestyle tricks, it isn’t ideal for beginners as it feels pretty hard on the arms after a long session.
The Nexus on the other hand is right in the middle of their range and was designed specifically as a 3 in 1 kite suitable for all disciplines. It would also suit you as your first kite as it has all the attributes you need ; easy re-launch, great wind range and stability.
I’ve personally been using a quiver of Nexus 2’s for the past year and absolutely love them!
The beauty of the Nexus 2 is that it really is 3 kites in 1.
By simply switching the pig-tail knots for the front-line bridles between 3 settings – “Wave”, “All-round” and “Freestyle”, the handling characteristics change so that the kite can be used for any style of kiting.
And it just takes a few seconds to undo a larkshead and switch it’s position at both sides – job done!
And that’s the reason I went for the Nexus 2. I mainly like to ride hard, boost jumps and a few simple rotations and kite loops.
But I’ve just taken my first steps to strapless riding with a skim-board and love it so much that a directional surf-board is on my Christmas list. And after that I’ve no doubt I’ll bite the bullet and start foiling.
So the Nexus 2 will mean I can do everything I want with one set of kites.
The Nexus 2 is a 3-strut kite with a profile that is biased to the new trend to “Modified C” shape. This gives it the turning speed of a C kite but with the forgiving nature of a hybrid.
The 3-strut design makes it lighter for a bigger wind-range but also gives it a faster turning speed to make it easy to loop and move around to generate power through any lulls or simply to whip across the sky for fast transitions.
But this doesn’t mean it feels twitchy or unpredictable. In the middle CIT (Core Intelligent Trim) setting at the bridle, the kite feels responsive yet stable and simply goes and sits wherever you place it.
And the bar pressure is enough that you always know where the kite is, without giving you tennis elbow after a couple of long, hard sessions.
Re-launch is never a problem either as the squarish wing tips allow the kite to sit nicely on its side after a crash, ready to relaunch with a tug on the bar.
Boosting airs with the Nexus is easy and great fun. The responsive feel of the kite means you don’t have to think too hard about steering it through the jump – a useful feature once you move from your first stages to learning new tricks.
The Nexus might not give you the simple send and boost character of the XR7 – you do need to get the timing a bit right – but the bigger wind range compensates for this in my opinion, as you can get out in bigger winds without feeling as though you’re being ripped off the board.
And the Nexus is not shy when it comes to hang-time and initial lift. People are regularly jumping over 20 metres with the Nexus – that’s enough for me!
Build-quality is amongst the best on the market, with Core’s unique Coretex triple rip-stop material throughout the canopy and their own Exotex material on the struts. I’ve been riding hard since I got mine and they all still look and feel as good as new.
Core’s newest bar and lines offering is the Sensor 3 or Sensor 3 Pro. The original Sensor 2 S bars are still available at about £100 less, but these featured a slightly odd twist mechanism for the Quick Release. I have used the Sensor 2 and fired the QR without any problem – it’s a great bar. But for a beginner, the more standard push-away QR on the Sensor 3 is more intuitive.
All the bars feature a click-in QR, which makes it simple to re-set the chicken loop after a release.
The Sensor 3 is made strong, with a titanium core, and feels light and comfortable. It’s packed with simple yet effective features such as auto-untwist to automatically untwist the front lines after a loop or rotation, pop out winding arms, and plastic coating on the center lines where they pass through the bar. This makes the movement friction free and comfortable when you’re holding the bar next to the lines.
The Sensor 3 Pro is about £100 more and features more carbon in the bar to make it lighter, stronger lines throughout (although there’s nothing wrong with the standard lines), and ceramic bearings in the auto-untwist.
Both bars are easily adjustable from 46.5cms to 50cms and will suit any kite in the range.
In summary, the Nexus 2 would see you easily through your learning stages and after that will allow you to progress to any discipline you choose. And if, like me, you want to do a bit of everything then this kite sets a new standard.
Core is at the higher range in terms of cost, but you really are getting what you pay for – the kites should last a long time, which will save you money in the long-run.
Slingshot has 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 Rally has always been Slingshot’s all-round kite aimed at the beginner to intermediate rider looking to build their skills and progress to more advanced disciplines.
The V2 is the second version of the latest evolution of the Rally, the GT. And there have been some significant changes, all of which enhance the wind range, versatility and durability of the kite.
The changes to the kite will also mean that it will see you through to a much more advanced level than the previous versions, without holding you back.
The Rally GT V2 is a hybrid kite with a very slight bias towards C-shaped and swept-back wing tips which give the appearance of a delta kite. This helps vastly with re-launch from the water, which is super easy.
The canopy of the kite is made from quadruple rip-stop material which will make it massively durable and ensure it keeps its shape for years to come.
In fact everything about the kite oozes Slingshot’s legendary “bomb-proof” reputation, and you just know it will last years no matter what you throw at it. It also means it will hold its re-sale value.
The kite flies and turns fast to give you plenty of fun without any nasty surprises and jumping with the kite is easy and forgiving so ideal for nailing your first tricks.
The wind-range is amazing too. The low-end is good but the kite’s lack of fluster in winds at and above the top-end of its range mean it will inspire confidence to go out in changeable and gusty conditions.
The bar offering from Slingshot has been simplified for 2021, and they now offer one bar, The Sentry.
The Sentry bar is beautifully simple and clean with comfortable and durable padding on the bar and Slingshot’s super strong lines.
The trim is above the bar and the quick release mechanism is a simple click-in system to make re-setting really easy after a release.
North Kiting has been around since the dawn of time, with its origins in sailing, windsurfing and, later, kite design.
In 2018 there was a big corporate shake-up in the parent company, who at the time owned North Kiting and Cabrinha. They re-branded the kiting division to Duotone and closed down a whole division. The result was that the main design and production team left Cabrinha and formed the new North Kiteboarding brand.
Why am I telling you this? Well, there’s a lot of confusion over where Duotone and North fit into the market and you’ll see a lot of older kites such as the Rebel, Evo and Neo with the North brand name. From 2018 onwards though the original North range was re-branded to Duotone.
After that time North Kiting became a completely separate entity.
The DNA of the new North Kiteboarding range is based on the best of all the brands, and with a clean sheet, the design team were able to create a range based on the best modern technology and give the kitesurfing community a range that is designed to meet all their needs in the best way possible.
The Reach is North’s all-round kite. In fact they have called it the “desert island” kite. It’s the one you’d take if you were confined to a desert island for a year!
And what they’ve created in the Reach is a kite perfect for the beginner, but also suitable for the recreational free-rider who also wants to ride a surf board or foil.
The technology that has gone into this 3-strut kite is all about light weight, strength and stability. They have used double rip-stop material in the canopy to optimise strength to weight ratio. This gives the kite a fantastic low wind capability and also helps with its responsive turning speed.
And it feels amazing on the water, with the same light yet connected feel at the bar regardless of whether it is right at the low end of its wind range or right at the top.
Re-launch is effortless due to its larger volume at the centre which helps it roll onto a tip ready to steer back up.
North has kept their bar choice simple – they only have one – the Navigator, which has just been tweaked for 2021. It comes in 3 sizes, all adjustable but the 50-55cm bar will suit most kite sizes in a normal quiver.
It’s simple, robust and comfortable to use, with great EVA grip on the bar, easy to use trim and click in quick release to make re-loading simple.
All in all it does everything it should in a no-fuss, confidence building way, so that you can concentrate on the important stuff – getting out there and shredding!
Cabrinha has been around since the very first pioneering stages of kitesurfing and the switchblade is in its 13th year of production.
However, in 2018 there was a big corporate shake-up within the top 3 kite brands and, without boring you with the detail, a large part of the Cabrinha design and development team went to North Kiteboarding.
The upshot of this is that Cabrinha’s former cutting edge innovation has come to a bit of a halt.
So why am I recommending the Switchblade?
Well, to be honest, this kite still has a loyal following, and you will find it recommended frequently. So I feel you should know whether it still fits the bill as a kite for beginners.
If you’re looking to buy a new kite then, in all honesty I would steer you way from this kite as you can get much more modern innovation for the same money from other brands.
The kind of innovation I’m talking about here is to do with durability of materials, weight and versatility.
However, if you’re looking at kites up to about 3 years old, rather than new, then the Switchblade is not a bad option.
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.
That said, by more modern standards the Switchblade is a bit slow turning due to it’s heavy 5-strut design.
There is a range of control bar options from Cabrinha but, if you have the option, 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 suit all kite sizes.
Trimlite With Quickloop
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.
In summary, the Switchblade is not a bad buy if you’re paying up to about £600 for a second-hand one, but I wouldn’t recommend buying a new one.
My Personal Favourite:
As I said, all 5 of these kites are suited to a beginner with aspirations to move quickly on to intermediate and beyond.
If I had to pin my hat to which is best for a beginner I would probably go with the Eleveight RS V5, mainly because of its all round ability and fantastic wind range.
And, compared to the other kites featured the RS is amazing value for money, without compromising on build quality.
If cost isn’t a big problem for you, then I’d definitely take a look at the Core Nexus 2, simply because of the build quality and all round flexibility to use them for anything you want to ride on.
All are proven kites for beginners though and used widely by kite schools.
Ask for Advice
If you’re looking at second-hand kit on-line feel free to ask my opinion via the comments box below and I will get back to you asap.
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!
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