The Essentials to Kiteboarding
- Board & Footstraps
- Harness & Safety Leash
In Order of Importance
The kite is going to be your most expensive purchase. A new kite will range in price from about $800 to $2000 depending on size, year and model. Yes, there are definitely differences between brands and you will want to get the right size kite for you. The aerodynamics of kites have improved tremendously over the past decade. About 5 years ago, kites increased their wind range. What this means is that you can use the same kite in a variety of different wind speeds and still feel comfortable. More recently, kites have improved their performance characteristics. So the kite you get in the beginning can be the same kite you use at an expert level. The kite is your source of power, it is worth investing in one that will suit you for a long period of time.
The next important thing will be the control bar. The control bar is what connects you to the kite. When considering a bar the most important thing to focus on will be the safety system. The more modern safety systems work better and are easier to put back together. For every beginner lesson we deploy the Cabrinha safety system and have never encountered an issue. The majority of brands use a “push away” system, in our opinion this is the way to go because every motion you learn while kiteboarding is a push away to depower the kite.
After the safety system of the bar, look at the overall quality of the bar. You want a bar thats manufactured right so it’s reliable and you get the most amount of life out of it. You want a bar with a comfortable grip and feels good while you’re riding.
There’s a lot of different types of kiteboards to choose from. If you’re a beginner, the most important thing will be the size of the board. You want a decent sized board to help you get upwind efficiently, at least 140cm long but depends based on your weight. Lightwind boards are good to have because the large amount of surface area makes it possible to ride in lighter winds and gets you planing sooner. Stay away from “wakestyle” boards in the beginning because they tend to have more rocker making them feel much smaller in the water. Boards to look at as a beginner are freeride and freestyle boards.
There’s a lot of different types of harnesses, seat harnesses, waist harnesses, hard shell, soft shell and more. The best thing to do is go to a retailer and try on different types of harnesses. In the Tampa Bay area Watersports West has a large selection of harnesses that you can try on and connect to a control bar to feel how they fit. Everybodys body is different so our recommendation is to try a couple of different ones on.
This is a brief overview of the essentials to kiteboarding. Throughout your lesson you’ll learn and try different kites and boards. We want you to be educated and learn as efficiently as possible. New gear will cost about $1500 to $3000 while used gear will cost $800 to $1500. It’s always good to try before you buy.