This is a thorough list of the things you need to get to the beach and start kitesurfing! (Don’t forget a good coach!)
Lets jump right into it!
The kite is the most notable aspect of kitesurfing. It is generally the first thing you will notice while watching people kitesurf and you will need one to get started!
Costs: $800- $1850 USD
The cost is usually determined by the size kite you buy. If you plan on going out often in varying conditions, you will need more than one. Sizes are measure in meters2 (area). Usually you will need a light wind kite (larger area) and a smaller kite (windier conditions) Below is a borrowed graph with an example kite sizes and the wind they perform well in.
It can be overwhelming deciding which brand of kite to buy and what models you will like most, especially since most of us can’t fly before we buy (Although try and lookup “product demos” where brands like Duotone and Core do just this!). The best thing you can do is talk to local kitesurfers who ride in the same style that you want, and along with looking up characteristics of the kites you want to buy, make your decision. They say that if you don’t know what to do, do as others, and this is true in kitesurfing.
My advice with buying a bar is simple… Buy it to pair with your kite. If you bought a Duotone kite, get a Duotone bar, If you bought a Slingshot kite, get a Slingshot bar, you get the idea. Bar are much less finicky than kites, they serve a simple function and are very basic devices in that respect. The lines that come with kites can vary in length with 24m being pretty standard. Shorter lines give you a more responsive kite, but less wind power (lower altitude), longer lines often have more power from higher altitude wind speeds but less control at the bar (long lines will temporarily stretch more than short lines). All kite bar manufacturers have built in safety features in the chicken loop so you can “punch out” in the event that you need to quickly depower your kite. It’s safe to say most brands have the safety features nailed down but it is prudent to double check and be sure to be familiar with the features before going out on the water.
Cost: $350- $500 USD
The kitesurfing harness is your final connection to the kite, 90% of all the pull is placed on the hook of the harness which is wrapped around your waist. All that tugging is gonna be annoying if your harness doesn’t fit right, so measure your waist and be absolutely sure you get the right size.
Cost: $220- $420
There are two general kitesurfing disciplines, Strapped(or boots) and strapless.
A twin tip is used with either straps or boots
Starting out, you should be on straps, straps helps you keep your feet attached to the board but give you the freedom to ditch the board and walk or swim away.
Strapless, Directional or just surf boards generally don’t have anything connecting you to the board except gravity (although there is some over lap). This discipline is obviously more difficult starting out, all transitions are more complicated. You could be up and riding and doing transitions on a twin tip in a week of good wind and practice, a strapless board will take much longer. The lack of connection to the board makes many moves more difficult and can frustrate someone who doesn’t have the right kite skills down. Riding strapless does offer the advantage of moving your feet around on the board, adjusting your stance, and weight distribution. Strapless riding is the a growing cult in the kiteboarding community as once you master a few tacks and gibes and start popping, you will quickly move into board offs, rotations and open the door to surfing waves.
Lastly, board sizes vary from type to type. The specifics of board shape, rocker, length width can make it confusing so the best way to figure it out is to start shopping, look at the different types of boards and what the manufacturer has to say about the board’s characteristics to get more specific details.
Remember, longer and thicker boards will perform better in light wind.
Cost: $300- $1000
Final Accessories You Will Need
Kite Pump: Get the bigger pumps, unless you are short on space, you will appreciate getting the kite pumped up sooner. Be sure you have the same inflation fitting as your kite.
Leash: When you punch out, your kite leash is the last thing connecting you to the kite. This leaves your kite de-powered, but you still are able to reel in the leash and lines to recover everything and keep your kite from disappearing down wind. It will save your gear and keep someone else from being injured from your kite and lines flying away.
Kite Anchor: You will self launch or land your kite at some point in your journey. If you are blessed with a nice sandy beach, you will appreciate having a solid anchor from which to hook your kite up and lay it down or prop it up. There are other creative tricks you can utilize to launch/land your kite, but none as safe or reliable as a kite anchor.
UPF Rashguard + sunscreen: The sun is brutal, Sand is abrasive. Don’t skip wearing a long sleeve shirt with sunscreen. Kitesurfing is great, but its not worth exposing yourself to the suns radiation for hours unprotected. Keep your skin looking good!
To summerize the list of thinds you need to buy, rent, borrow to begin kifesurfing you need…
- A couple differently sized Kites (8m/11m/14m for example)
- Bar (24m length lines being the most common)
- Harness (something comfortable and the correct size)
- Board (pick your discipline, but always try foiling since its excellent for light wind)
- Pump, Harness Leash, Kite Anchor, and Sun Protection!
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