Basic equipment kitesurfing
If you’re new to kitesurfing it can be difficult to know what kind of gear is most suitable for you. Should you buy new or second hand gear? What size is best for you? C-shape or bow-shape? 4 or 5 lines? In this article we will give you an in-depth overview of what to look for when buying your first kitesurfing gear. As a general rule make sure you buy an up to date kite not older than 3 years and make sure the kite has all necessary safety features. A set of kitesurfing equipment always consists of:
- Kite and bar
First of all, you of course need a kite. There are different sizes and shapes. We advise you to buy your biggest kite first and go for a bow shaped kite. Kite sizes range from 3.5 to 19+ meters. The basic rule is the bigger the kite, the more power. If you go kiting in a lot of wind you will need a much smaller kite then when the wind is light. Your body weight also has influence on which kite is best for you. In the same conditions for instance, a person weighing 50kg needs a much smaller kite than someone weighing a 100kg.
Although modern kites have a much bigger wind range than older types, you will still need multiple kites to cover a range of wind conditions. A common setup is a set or ‘’quiver’’ of the sizes 7, 9 and 12 square meters. The 12 will be used in lighter conditions from 12 knots of wind. Experienced kitesurfers can use a 7 square meter kite for stormy conditions.
Many people who just want to start kiting independently want to buy just one kite. Often for budget reasons but also to see whether they really want to continue kitesurfing before investing in a whole quiver. The most frequently asked question we hear from our students who want to buy their first kite: what size should I take?
We always advice you to start with your biggest kite. A bigger kite is good for practising in light wind conditions. The wind tends to be more stable, your kite reacts a bit slower and the risk when making a mistake is much lower compared to practising in strong wind. How big your first kite should be also depends on your body weight. Feel free to ask us or ask your local dealer which size if best for you body weight.
The bar and lines are basically the control system you use to steer your kite. There are different bar widths and line lengths. Furthermore, there are 4 line, 5 line and even 6 line bars. The best option for a beginner is the simplicity of a 4-line bar. The width of your bar depends of the size of kite. In general you want a smaller bar for a small kite and for a big kite you want to have a slightly wider bar for more leverage.
We advise you to go for a medium width bar which can be flown on multiple sizes. The recommended line length to use on multiple kites is 22 meters.
You leash is a crucial part of your safety equipment! The safety leash is activated when you pull your quick release in case of an emergency. The leash will pull one line of the kite, making the kite flag out. Usually the leash comes with your bar.
Without a pump you can’t inflate your kite. Make sure you get a put with the right nozzle for your kite.
There are many different types and sizes of kitesurf boards. The choice of your board mainly depends on your body weight, riding style, experience and the wind and wave conditions. When you are just starting out we advise you to start with a slightly bigger board than normal. This will help you water start easier and give you a more stable ride. Make sure to buy a board that is at least 1,35m. When you progress you can always sell your board and go for a smaller size.
When looking for your first boards you will see different types of boards with different price tags. There are entry level boards specifically aimed at beginners but keep in mind that you want to upgrade to a more advanced board when you progress. If you have the budget, we recommend buying a board on which you can progress.
That really depends on the water temperature and your budget. In The Netherlands the conditions typically require you to wear a wetsuit. The thicker your wetsuit is, the warmer it will be. The thinkness of a wetsuit is usually indicated in millimetres and there is often a difference between thinkness of the parts around your torso and limbs. The most common thinknesses are 6/5, 5/5, 5/4, 4/3 and 3/2. In The Netherlands we advise to buy a 5/4 wetsuit. In warmer climates you can wear thinner wetsuit or a shorty. In general more expensive wetsuit are stronger on the seems and have added flexibility for more freedom of movement.
In addition to a wetsuit you might want to get:
Especially when it’s colder you might want to wear booties. They also protect your feet from cuts from reefs or shells.
If conditions really get chilly you might want to wear gloves. They are made from the same material as wetsuits and are available in different thicknesses.
A lot of body temperature is lost when you don’t wear a cap in cold conditions. You can go for a beanie instead if you don’t like wearing a full cap.
The type of harness really depends on what style you want to ride and the shape of your body. There are harnesses specifically for wave riding, freestyle, race and free ride. There are hard, soft, comfortable and not so comfortable harnesses. Our main piece of advice is to go to your local dealer and try on different types and brands. The choice of a harness is a very personal one and you should not buy based in price too much. Remember that your harness is the connection between you and the kite and all power is transmitted through the harness to you back.
Seat harness versus waist harness
Most schools will use seat harnesses rather than waist harnesses. The seat harness has two straps around your legs which will prevent the harness from crawling up. Once you finished your course and want to go independent we recommend a waist harness. This has a different pulling point. It’s important especially for women to pick a harness that doesn’t move up because a harness pressing against the breasts can be very uncomfortable.
How much does kitesurfing equipment cost?
Kitesurfing equipment can be an expensive investment if you want to start kitesurfing independently. A common question for a lot of beginners is whether they should buy new or used equipment. If you have the budget, we recommend to buy new gear. A lot of shops will also sell new equipment from previous years for a fraction of the cost of the latest model. Often shops will sell beginner sets for as low as € 1250. There is plenty of second hand gear on the market as well. Just make sure to go through our CHECKLIST before you buy second hand gear.
Are you still not sure what to buy after reading this article? Feel free to give us a call on 06-40808800 for advice based on your requirements. Kiteboardschool.nl is also an official Naish Kiteboarding dealer and we regularly sell our school kites. All kites are used less than 6 weeks and come with a 3 month warranty.