Buying your first kite is usually a very confusing process. There are a few confusing issues like what size to buy, 2 line or 4 line, and new or secondhand.
2 or 4 lines
4 line kites gives you the ability to depower your kite instantaneously during a gust, and gives multiple power settings, bigger wind range and faster turning.
2 line kites offers someone who has never flown a kite before a slower turning kite, easier relaunchability and 2 less lines to roll up.
2 line kites are great to learn on for the first hour or so, but you really only need an hour on a 2 line kite to get the feeling of a kite. Once you can keep a kite in the air, you must start learning to fly a 4 line kite. Learning on a 4 line kite is much easier and safer as you are able to depower your kite. The best thing to do is to take a lesson from a kite school as they would normally teach you on a 2 line kite for the first hour, before teaching you to fly a 4 line kite.
4 line kites are definitely a far better choice than 2 line kites. Being able to depower your kite during a gust, and having multiple power settings on your kite not only makes kiteboarding more convenient and safer, but also gives you a bigger range on your kite.
What size kite should I buy?
When looking at kite sizes it is important to know if you are looking at calculated area or surface area. Most companies use the surface area method which is in square meters, while a few uses the calculated area. Calculated area is roughly surface area divided by 1.36
There is a lot of confusion about what size kites to buy for people of different weight. When buying a new kite it is important not to buy a too large kite or a too small kite.
A large kite (14 – 18 square meters) requires more skill to fly as it can fall out of the sky in beginner’s hands and light winds, turns slower and relaunches difficult. The amount of power generated by a large kite might also be too intimidating for a newcomer to the sport.
Too a small kite (6 – 8 square meters) means that you need to go out in stronger winds to be able to get up on your board. Smaller kites relaunch easier, but also fly the fastest. The faster you fly your kite through the window, the more power it generates which means that you will be punished for any mistakes that you make.
The best conditions to learn in are about 15 knots, and the best kite to learn on is a 10 or 12 square meter kite. A 12 square meter kite is a medium size kite that offers the best of both worlds, and is definitely the kite that you should consider to start kiteboarding with. Even if you can only afford one kite and are looking for a kite that will give you the most range, a 12 square meter kite is unbeatable. A typical 12 square meter kite will have a range of 13 – 20 knots in the hands of an experienced kiteboarder.
Should I buy new or secondhand?
Buying new or secondhand is a personal preference, and both options have advantages and disadvantages.
Buying new enables you to own the latest in kite design, and brings with all the usual advantages when you buy a new product.
More experienced riders often buy new kites, as the enhancements in the later model kites offers faster turning, higher jumping, more hang time, more wind range and better stability. One single disadvantage of buying new is the high price tag associated with new kites.
If you are a beginner it is definitely worth your while to invest in a second hand kite. As a beginner you will be crashing your kite a lot, and giving your kite a fair amount of abuse.
A secondhand model that is currently in production should easily be up to a third cheaper than a new kite, whereas a second hand model that is not in production anymore can safe you more than 50% on the price of a new kite.
Before buying a second hand kite it is important to check the kite for any bladder leaks or torn material. Unroll the kite and inflate all the bladders on the kite. Leave the kite inflated for at least half an hour to check for any punctures in the bladders.
Kites generally last a long time, and the perception that kites only last a year or two is a misguided perception. Buying second hand is a good option if you want to save money, while buying new is a good option if you can afford it and want the latest in kite design.