If you’re new to kitesurfing, the amount of gear needed to achieve liftoff can be overwhelming at first. Well don’t worry, in this article will cover the basic pieces of equipment you’ll need to get started in kitesurfing and explain the role they play in the overall experience. Let’s get started…
The kite is your most important piece of gear, but the sheer number of kite-types on the market can be overwhelming, too, so it’s important to know what to look for. As a beginner, it’s better to go with a larger kite because it will be easier to control than smaller one. You should also look at how easy the kit is to get into the air again once it’s in the water, its ability to remain stable during jumps and how easy it is to control the actual pulling power of the kite. As for kite types, you’ll find inflatables, bow kites, framed single skin kites and ram air foil kites. Each has a place with riders with varying degrees of experience, so seek out a pro-shop to find which is best for you.
In modern kitesurfing, you’ll usually be working with either four or five lines, and those lines will likely be made of Dyneema/Spectra or Kevlar material. These materials have minimal stretch, which you want, and they also float, making it easier to relaunch in the water.
As a rule, line strength should equal AT LEAST 2.5 times your body weight, but it’s best to let an expert at a pro shop take care of these kinds of details. In terms of line length, the general rule is the longer the line, the more power you can generate but the less control you’ll have.
A control bar will allow you to effectively steer your kite. If your kite is equipped with brake lines, you’ll also be able to stop the kite via the control bar. With a little practice, you’ll be able to steer your kite just about anywhere you want to go using the bar.
It’s important that your control device has a safety release feature. You should essentially be able to disable your kite in an instant if a dangerous situation arises and recover it easily. Be sure to test the feature in shallow water before heading out to deeper waters.
Kitesurfing boards basically fall into two categories: directional and bi-directional. Bi-directional boards are probably the most common board today, and they allow riders to perform more jumps and tricks, but they can be a little more difficult to use in light winds. Directional boards are ideal for skimming fast on the surface, and they’re great in light winds, but jumps and tricks are more difficult to perform.
There are plenty of kitesurfing experts in most beach towns nowadays, so seek out some professional help if you have doubts about getting into the sport. You’ll be glad you did.