The Ultimate Guide to Kitesurfing Equipment
If you’re thinking about trying out a new sport but are intimidated by the complex nature of the equipment involved with kitesurfing, you’re not alone. Hundreds of people all over the world are put off by what they perceive to be complicated gear, but once you explore exactly what each piece does and why, it immediately makes the whole thing feel less scary. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to equipment, so whether you’re a beginner looking to start learning or you’re an experienced kitesurfer that needs a refresher, read on to discover what you use and why when you’re out kitesurfing.
First and foremost, there’s the kite. Realistically, any kite that can generate enough of a pull can be used for kitesurfing, but when it comes to choosing a kite, it’s a good idea to aim for a water relaunchable one that can easily be controlled. That said, regardless of your level of experience, there’s a variety of different factors to consider when selecting your kite. This includes how well it can handle jumps, the levels of control you have over it and whether it can be relaunched with ease when in the water. There are a multitude of different types of kite, but we suggest speaking to a trusted retailer, much like ourselves, so you can discuss your wants, needs and requirements with an expert who will be able to further advise.
Kitesurfing boards will probably remind you of other sports, and if you already snowboard, wakeboard or surf you may lean more towards what you are familiar with when it comes to buying a kiteboard. A bi-directional or twin-tip board is similar to snowboards in size. The kite surfer’s feet will be attached by straps or bindings, and they are perfect for showing off any tricks. This is the most popular design used in modern day kitesurfing. Directional boards are more like surf boards and are great for whizzing across the water in more gentle conditions, but they can be more difficult to control when the winds are high. They offer a different sensation to the rider and are perfect for riding waves and covering long distances.
Modern kitesurfing usually involves four or five lines, and when looking for the perfect set it’s important to look for lines with minimal stretch for durability. For a typical foil kite with four lines, the main lines should have the same strength and kit suppliers will help to determine which set is best for you. The next important factor to consider is the length of the line. This can vary depending on kite-size and wind conditions but is usually somewhere within the region of 15 and 25 metres. As a general rule of thumb, you can use a shorter line when you are feeling overpowered, which will help you to maintain control of the kite in high wind speeds. If you are feeling underpowered, you can lengthen the line to extend the flight path of the kite, which will, in turn, provide you with more wind-based power. Beginner’s will want to take instructors advice for this one until they feel confident enough in their ability to read the conditions and decide on their own.
The Control Bar
You don’t have to be an expert on the water to realise that without an effective control, you won’t be able to control where you are going and how fast. The most popular option is a four-line control bar, and this will allow you to make the most of the wind power available. More experienced kite surfers will manipulate the control bar which allows them to perform tricks and manoeuvre themselves in all kinds of positions. If the bar is in a neutral position, you will continue going straight until it is controlled otherwise.
The Safety MeasuresAs with all extreme sports, a reliable safety release feature is the most important piece of kit you will own. This allows you to disable the kite in seconds should you be faced with an emergency out on the water. It’s always worth testing this functionality but be sure to do so in shallow water to avoid any unnecessary damage to your kite.
That concludes our ultimate guide to windsurfing equipment. It goes without saying that those practising the sport in the UK, or anywhere else that’s not very warm, should invest in a high-quality wetsuit, particularly when the weather is not as desirable as one might hope! If you’re a beginner to the sport and want to find out more, don’t hesitate to check out our recent blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Kitesurfing. If you are looking for some kitesurfing equipment in the UK but would like to discuss your options with an employee, don’t hesitate to contact the passionate and friendly team here at F-One, who would be more than happy to help.