Going kitesurfing requires many gears and essential accessories. If your kit is complete, there’s a chance you’ll have one of the best riding sessions ever. Plus, having all the important equipment will ensure your safety as you ride across the water while being pulled by a kite. In this article, I will provide a list of all the essential and optional kitesurfing gears, as well as my product recommendations. You can use this as a checklist for your next ride.
Below is the gear you will need to start your kiteboarding journey.
Kitesurfing Gear #1: Kite
The main thing to consider when choosing a kite is its size and that depends on the wind strength. There are different types of kites but the two main categories are LEI and Foil kites.
A Leading Edge Inflatable (LEI) kite has a single skin with inflatable bladders that provide structure to the kite. These kites are flown using a control bar that has either 2 lines, called the old school kite, 4 lines or the modern ones, or 5 lines which is used on C-Kites generally.
What sets foil kites apart from LEI kites is that they have no inflatable bladders. What they work with are either open or closed air cells filling up and taking shape as the air enters the kite.
The downside to this kite is that it fills up with water causing it to sink If the kite is dropped in the water. If you intend to use this for water practice, use foil kites with valves to prevent water from filling it up.
Like in wakeboarding, the beginners should choose boards that are larger in size. There are three types of boards commonly used for kitesurfing – the Twin Tip, Directional Board, and Hydrofoil Board.
This is the most common type of board used in kitesurfing. The tip of this board has a symmetrical outline which allows you to easily go left or right without the need to switch your feet. This is the most suitable board for beginners because it’s the easiest one to control. For that reason, you would be able to progress better as you keep mastering your skills with this board.
This type is mainly designed for riding waves because they allow you to carve through the waves as the kite pulls you. As the name suggests, this board allows riders to go in one direction by changing their feet’ position. If you want to challenge yourself more after riding a while on a twin tip board, moving to a directional board is the way to go.
This board is the trendiest one of all at the moment. It has a vertical mast attached to a wing and stabilizer allowing you to hover over the water. As you speed more, the more lift you have, which creates the hovering experience. If you have good balance and you are excellent in using it properly, you would experience very minimal drag as you glide and hover over the water.
Choosing the right control bar and lines when it comes to size/length depends on the size and type of kite you are going to choose. The control bar is mainly used to control the kite and rotate it clockwise or counterclockwise. It usually comes with a quick-release safety system.
As a beginner, your focus should be getting lightweight but durable control bars and lines with lengths appropriate to the size of your kite.
There are many different types of harnesses based on shapes and sizes. The two main types are: waist harness and seat harness. A waist harness wraps around your waist only, while a seat harness wraps around your legs and hips.
Seat harnesses are the better choice for beginners because they generally provide more support and comfort.
However, it can be more restrictive than waist harnesses, which makes waist harnesses the better choice for learning advanced tricks.
A safety leash, also known as a bypass leash or handlepass leash, is connected to the front part of your harness and onto the safety line. It enables efficiency in your control bar safety system by allowing you to flagout your kite and activating the chicken loop quick release in times of emergency and danger.
If releasing your chicken loop quick release does not help your situation, releasing the leash quick release which can completely detach you from your kite is the next step.
Kitesurfing has become safer over the years, but emergency cases can still happen which makes having a line cutter handy. This tool is used to cut a line from your kite or from any of your body parts if they get tangled around your limbs or your whole body. Modern harnesses have a slot specifically for safety knives.
Floatation vests made for kitesurfing specifically have a gap for the control bar. It’s designed to have a tight fit to allow you to move freely and to stay put during impacts while riding. They have a flat waist area to make it suitable for wearing a waist or seat harness on top of these vests.
There are a lot of helmets out there as part of the kitesurfing gear. Try to get one that’s specifically designed for kitesurfing or at least, designed for watersports. In kitesurfing, being an action sport, it’s possible that unexpected things can happen that can lead to injuries.
Wearing a helmet can protect your head from falling kites, obstacles, swinging boards, hazards on the beach, and even water impact.
While this is not mandatory kitesurfing gear to have, wearing one is better especially if you are learning kitesurfing in places with relatively colder waters.
A wetsuit provides insulation which helps maintain body heat when you are in the water.
It can protect you from strong winds that also reduce body heat. Other than body-heat-related reasons, a wetsuit is also great if you want to protect yourself from jellyfish stinging you or from kite-related injuries.
There you have it, the different types of gear you should have when you want to start your kitesurfing journey. Hopefully, this blog post can serve as a guide for those of you who are not quite sure what to include in your kitesurfing kits yet. Make sure to do your research about the location you are going to and figure out the wind strength so that you can plan your gear accordingly.
Do you have any of the equipment yet? Let me know in the comments down below! If you have any topics in mind you would like me to tackle, you can reach out to me on Facebook and Instagram.
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