Cabrinha Switchblade
BEGINNERS EQUIPMENT KITES

Kitesurfing Kites for Beginners – 4 Kites That Won’t Let You Down

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 adrian@kitemadworld.com.

All of these kites are user friendly and have all the attributes that you’ll want as a beginner/intermediate kiter:

Stability

Depower

Easy re-launch

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 Switchblade

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 kiteCabrinha Switchblade 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 suit all kite sizes.

Cabrinha Trimlite
Trimlite With Quickloopin 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:

>>>>>>CHECK OUT THESE GREAT DEALS<<<<<<

Slingshot RPM

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.RPM 2020

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:

>>>CHECK OUT THESE GREAT DEALS<<<

Duotone (Formerly North) Evo.

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 Duotone Evoand 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 slightly more C shaped rather than a big open bow,  and is Delta shaped in profile.

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 change the length of the front power lines, the Click-bar has an easy to use dial at the end of the bar to trim the power.

Duotone Clickbar
Duotone Clickbar

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.

Duotone Trust Bar
Trust Bar

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.

 

>>>PICK UP A DEAL HERE<<<

F-One Bandit

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.F-One Bandit 2020

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.

>>>>CHECK OUT THESE OFFERS<<<<

My Personal Favourite:

As I said, all 4 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 Cabrinha Switchblade, purely because it is the most versatile and forgiving of the 4 kites I’m recommending. But you’ll pay more for a new Cabrinha usually than for the other kites.

And a lot comes down to what’s available at the time. There are great offers on last year’s models of the Duotone and Slingshot kites and they’re both great kites.

Ask for Advice

If you’re looking at second-hand kit on-line feel free to ask my opinion either 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!

Other articles you might find helpful:

Boards

Harnesses

Wetsuits

Affiliate disclosure:   As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, and, as the owner of this website I may also receive a small commission for any purchase you make as the result of clicking a link

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20 thoughts on “Kitesurfing Kites for Beginners – 4 Kites That Won’t Let You Down

  1. I dont think it’ll be very advisable for me at my stage right now to go for second-hand kites because i am a beginner and just got myself a trainer. I think you have put together a good list and your criteria for judging that is totally awesome. I wouldn’t mind at all since these kites are of good quality. I’d go for the F1 bandit. Sounds like something from a movie. Thanks for the help.

    1. Hi Henderson, thanks for visiting Kite Mad World. If you’ve got a trainer kite and used it you’re well on your way.

      The Bandit is a great kite and will give you years of fun. Kitesurfing brand names are always cool! If you need any more advice please feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to help.

      Cheers

      Adrian

      1. Except duotone, which sounds like a cheap knock off headphone manufacturer. I hadn’t realised it was a rebranding!

        1. Hi James,
          Thanks for checking out my site!
          What can I say??!! It’s a bit more complicated than just re-branding. It’s all to do with parent companies with different divisions.
          As I’ve said in other articles, the kiteboarding community isn’t always completely sane so who knows where they got the name from.
          Fortunately their kit is better than the name though and has a fantastic pedigree in the original North Kiteboarding team, which is continuing under the new brand.

  2. Well for a start, this is more than enough info for my son who wouldn’t let me rest until I decided to finally buy a kite for him. To me, this is more than enough and the list you have put together up here is really great. Thank you so much for helping me to limit my search in getting the best kite for him. I like the Cabrina one since it comes first and actually I love the little summary done on it. It should be easy to handle for him. Thanks

    1. Hi Rodarrick, thanks for visiting Kite Mad World. If you need any more advice on which kite(s) would be suitable for your son, feel free to ask me. Always happy to help.

      Many thanks

      Adrian

  3. Kites are always beautiful to behold when I see them in the sky, and it gives me much delight. It has been on my bucket list to have a go myself, but it has been a dream that I have never fulfilled. This is really great for me to see the details here on picking the best ones for beginners. Thanks for the information you have provided here.

    1. Hi Bella, thanks for visiting Kite Mad World. 

      If you’ve dreamed about kiting I’d recommend getting some “taster” lessons from an approved kite school. It’s a great way to find out if it’s for you before you spend money on your own equipment.

      But I warn you….it’s very addictive!

      A great way to start is with a dedicated kitesurfing vacation. I’ve written an article on Kitesurfing destinations, which you might want to check out.

  4. I have looked at kites but these seem to be the best kites for me. But i have a question for you – at what price can I get one if I want to? At least the price should be reasonable. For how long do you think I can use a kite before it wear out? anyway thank you for sharing these sites

    1. Hi Fatumah,

      Thanks for visiting Kite Mad World! Price depends on whether you are looking at new or used and a number of other factors. You should be looking at about $500 for a good used kite and about $700 to $1500 for new. Have a look at my listing for the Slingshot RPM though, there are some great deals for last year’s model, which is a great kite. A kite will last you years if you look after it by washing the salt water off regularly and storing it dry rather than damp. Let me know if you need any more advice on size etc.

      Many thanks

      Adrian

  5. my grandson got a jet ski for Christmas, says he wants to tow a kite from it and get his brother to fly over our waterfront property here in Virginia.
    I told him that’s crazy, but, just asking, is he “all wet”?

    1. Hi Philip,
      Thanks for checking out Kitemadworld.
      I’ve actually seen this done. A kitesurfing kite being used as a parascend! But I certainly wouldn’t recommend it, especially for a beginner. There’s a whole load of things that can go horribly wrong, and your grandson would be potentially crashing down from 60 or 70 feet high at high speed! If he wants to get a real kick, buy him some kitesurfing lessons, and then check out my other articles on equipment for beginners.
      I hope this helps.
      Cheers, Adrian

  6. Hi Andrian,
    thanks for the advice. I would like to ask though.. are these beginner kites good for any spot ? For example my local spot, is some days flat, other days choppy or with waves.
    I had my lessons at another spot, flatwater one, with a Switchblade, I loved it . But now the spots that are around me , are rather more with waves..

    Thank you!

    1. Hi there AK!
      Thanks for looking in.
      All these kites, including the switch blade, work well in any conditions, flat or waves.
      You only really need to worry about having a specialist wave kite if you start riding big waves regularly on a surf board. A lot of my buddies use the switch blade in biggish waves and I love my RPM in any conditions.
      You need to think more about which board you choose, but if you have a look at my article on board choice https://kitemadworld.com/kiteboards-for-beginners/ all of those boards are suitable for flat water, chop or waves.
      I hope this helps, but feel free to ask again if you need any more help.
      Enjoy!??

  7. Hi Adrian,

    I know your article recommended. Buying 3 years or newer but I’m not sure I my budget allows for that at this point. I’m willing to learn how to do repairs for fixing problems.

    I am trying to decide between a 2009 Cabrinha Switchblade 10 m or a 2014 Best Waroo 13 m. Both have been lightly used and appear to have “crisp” kites.

    I am in South Florida and the wind ranges from 8-20 mph on good calmer days. I weigh 155 lbs.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Craig,
      Thanks for checking out my site!
      It’s a difficult one and will come down mainly to the size and actual condition of the kites. First off, I’m pretty sure Best weren’t making the Waroo in 2014 – it got replaced by the Kahuna some years before that. I might be wrong on that but double-check the age of the Waroo.

      In those winds you’ll need a bigger kite than 10m so that would point at the Best kite. But as I said, check the age and what kind of bar and line set-up it has, if any. And definitely consider getting a newer bar and lines regardless.

      If you have the chance I would definitely see the kite before you buy, and check it holds air and that the bridles are in good condition as getting spares for older kites can be problematic and you can get to the point where it’s not worth replacing bladders etc.

      If you want to let me know what kind of budget you have I’d be happy to see what I can find out there.

    1. Hi Mohab,
      Thanks for checking out my article, and your kind comment. I personally haven’t had the chance to try out the 2020 version of the Rally, although all the reviews say it’s a good all round kite for progression. I’ve tried out previous versions and would agree with them on those ones.
      I’ve no doubt from what I’ve read that it would be a great kite for you.

      I don’t know what size you’re looking at but theres a 12m on eBay Here’s a link

      Let me know how you get on and I’ll share it on the site. And feel free to come back to me if you have any other questions.

      Many thanks

      Adrian

  8. Hi Adrian,

    I am new to kiteboarding, a beginner,
    and I know someone that has a Cabrinha Element 17m. He sells it really cheap, like 150euro, including the bar and it is slitly used, just a few sessions. I weight 210lbs and the wind in my spot is 12-15 knots and sometime roughly 20 knots. I searched the web for this kite and it seems to be from 2005. What do you think, is this too old and hard to learn the sport, or you think i should give it a try. Thank you.

    1. Hi Eno,
      Thanks for visiting my article.
      I have to admit that I have no experience of that particular kite. I would be very careful with such an old kite though. And it’s BIG.
      First thing – Have some lessons, if you haven’t already, with a qualified instructor, so that you know about safety systems and kite control, self rescue etc.
      All I would be able to advise is to try it first in very light wind, say 10-12kts and with someone experienced with you to help out.
      Don’t be tempted to go out with it in winds stronger than that until you really feel comfortable that you know it’s wind range and how much de-power there is.
      Be very careful! But do let me know how you go.
      Cheers
      Adrian

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