This post will cover how to maintenance your kiteboarding equipment. This includes the kite, control bar, board, harness, and wetsuit. Each piece of equipment will have their own category that we will individually talk about. This includes how to care for your gear after a session, and any maintenance that may need to be done over time.
There is not much maintenance that needs to be done with the kite itself. Do not wash your kite with fresh water. Fresh water can create mold and mildew on the kite. Fresh water also takes away from the coating that is on the canopy of kites to protect the kites from sun and sand abrasion.
The most important thing towards taking care of your kiteboarding kite is to put the kite away dry. If the kite gets wet, try to air dry it before packing it up. This can be done by flying the kite for an additional ten to fifteen minutes before landing it. If you land the kite wet, try and let it sit on the beach to dry before putting it away. It is okay to put the kite away a little wet with salt water. Salt water is better than fresh water because of the mold and mildew reason. Try avoiding putting the kite away soaking wet.
Pinholes and Small Tears
It is not common to have pinholes or small tears on a kite. This is typically caused by dragging a kite across the beach. Avoid dragging a kite across a sandy beach. A better alternative to launch is to do a drift launch.
Most kite manufacturers provide sail tape in the bag for tiny holes and small tears. The key point is to clean the canopy around the tear with denatured alcohol. Once the surface area is dry, apply a small circular patch over the hole or tear. If you are not confident that the tape will stick, clean and apply tape to the other side.
Maybe once a week or once every two weeks I rinse my control bar with fresh water. If I rinse my control bar with fresh water, I air dry it before putting it away. After rinsing the control bar, I inspect the bar to make sure there are no mechanical issues that can fail while on the water.
Tune Your Control Bar
Many kiteboarders do not tune their control bar. Over time the center lines stretch. This will result in a kite that is trimmed for “more power”. The kite will not respond well and will be more prone to back-stalling. For the best performance, make sure that the kite is tuned. A kite that is tuned will have all four lines equal in length.
There is little maintenance involved with a kiteboard. Try to let the kiteboard air dry before putting it away. The best way to maintenance your kiteboard is to avoid riding the board on the sand. If the board does scrape across the sand or a rock, it can be buffed out with wet sand paper. Deeper abrasions to a board can be fixed with marine grade epoxy.
Air dry the harness after each session. If there is metal on the harness, rinse with fresh water once every few weeks. Over an extended period of time, the straps might wear down. You can extend the life of the straps by changing the position of the spreader bar once in a while. This can be done by tightening one side more and loosening the other side.
Air dry the wetsuit inside out. Once the wetsuit is almost dry, flip the wetsuit so that the outside is facing out. It is possible to dry the wetsuit in a dryer, but make sure the dryer is on delicates. Do not leave a wetsuit in a dryer for longer than 20 minutes.
Every once and a while clean the wetsuit with a wetsuit shampoo. Put a little of the shampoo in a bucket of fresh water. Clean the wetsuit in the bucket with shampoo then let it air dry.