Updated: Jan 30
The financial commitment getting into kitesurfing can seem daunting, what with the cost of lessons alone, jet ski assists and when you're finally ready to strike out on your own buying all the gear can be a big set back to your wallet. While some costs are unavoidable here's a few tips to ease into the sport financially.
Try Before you Buy
Try before you buy, one of the most important tips and we're not just talking about the gear. You should try the sport out first before you buy any kite equipment. Start out by taking lessons, it's an important step in learning to kite safely and all the kite gear you need will be provided.
The First Kite Equipment to Buy
So know you've taken your first lessons and your frothing to have your own gear, you can ease into the sport financially by staggering your gear purchases. We recommend buying a harness first, this lets you comfortably try out different kites + boards by renting on location. The advancements in kite specs and technology have progressed drastically and improved upon every year and kites can quickly become out-dated and replaced with new models. A harness however doesn't change as much each year and are made of such quality they can last in excellent shape for years. Buying your own harness, one that's the perfect fit for you and you feel comfortable in makes for happy kite sessions and won't be too big a set back to your wallet. It's totally comfort based so you don't need a huge database of kite knowledge to make your decision.
Seat Harness vs Waist Harness
A seat harness will tend to stay put while you kiting, they can't ride up or shift around as easily as a waist harness which can allow a beginner kiter to focus their attention on the kite instead of constantly wrestling with a harness that keeps trying to move around. A seat harness has a lower attachment point for the chicken loop, this keeps the bar lower and can help new kiters achieve better kite posture while riding, better kite flying ability leads to faster progression.
Choosing a waist harness you will want it to be snug- tight but comfortable as they do loosen up when they get wet. Try them on around the shop, some stores will even have a kite bar hanging off the wall you can try hooking in to.
As a girl, a womans' specific waist harness will probably be better suited then a mens' harness as they're made with smaller back padding. I've never tried a unisex harness but would probably imagine as a girl to buy a smaller size.
It all comes down to personal preference and comfort. There is a chance if you start out with a seat harness you may find you want to move into a standard waist harness one day, for some that could be years away and others prefer to stick with a seat harness forever, having one doesn't mean your a rookie :
On the left 2013 Ocean Rodeo Crew trip to Cape Hatteras where I bought my kite harness On the right (2017) Flying the first kite of my own, same harness. For 2 years I had a one kite quiver, a 9.5m Ocean Rodeo Prodigy. Today (2018) i'm still using the same harness.
Buying used equipment
Buying a second hand kite can be a great first kite to own as a new beginner kiteboarder, chances are you may still be crashing your kite :) Here are a couple tips and things to look out for when looking to buy used kite gear
Try and avoid any kites that are more then 4+ years old for safety reasons-kite safety has come a long way and newer kites really have been improved upon.
Bring a pump with you to inflate the kite to check out the condition of the canopy and all the bladders.
Are there any holes or previously repaired patches?
How does the material look through the centre of the canopy?(between the struts) - does it look stretched, saggy or really worn out?
What condition are the bridals in- worn out lines or pulleys may need to be replaced
As your checking out the condition of the kite try and ask questions to gauge the previous users expereince.. Did they learn on this kite or are they a more advanced rider who buys new kites each year (likely won't be crashing as much).
We would recommend trying to buy 'gently used' kites.. Be wary of buying old school kites as they usually spend all day getting crashed on the beach or in the water from students.
If you're looking at buying a used harness (we recommend buying a new one however) be sure to check the condition of the buckles/ straps for major wear. Some seamstresses will do repairs but that could take away from a possible kite session :)
Kitesurfing can really become a lifelong adventure. It can take you all around the world, sometimes to destinations you didn't even know existed. I hope you found some useful info to get some ideas of how to lower the cost to get into kiteboarding, I would happily encourage anyone to take the first step and sign up for your first kite lesson. So pack your favorite bikini or boardies and good luck on your next adventure. Cheers, Frances.