Kiteboarding Equipment Guide and Kitesurfing Information
What is Kiteboarding? What is Kitesurfing? What is Kiteboarding Equipment? What is Kiteboarding Gear? And what kind of kiteboarding gear or kiteboarding equipment do you actually need to go kiteboarding or kitesurfing? All of these questions are answered below!
Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing, in its modern form, dates all the way back to... 1997! With the Legaignoux brothers development of the groundbreaking "Wipika" kite, which can be considered the basis for all those inflatable kiteboarding kites you see in the air today.
Is there a difference between Kiteboarding and Kitesurfing? Well, kiteboarding and kitesurfing are almost interchangeable terms, almost because to some Kiteboarding refers to riding on a specific type of kiteboard called a twintip or twin-tip kiteboard or non-directional kiteboard which is similar to a wakeboard, while kitesurfing can refer to riding on a directional kiteboard similar to or exactly like a traditional surfboard. Another difference is more cultural. Americans and Canadians tend to call the sport Kiteboarding while Europeans (and french speaking Canadians) and other parts of the world (where kiteboarding is extremely popular by the way) call the sport kitesurfing.
Kiteboarding is an incredibly fast growing sport. Over the past few years the number of kiters has more than quadrupled. With the introduction of the amazing safe new kiteboarding gear on the market today the sport of kiteboarding is much safer then it was just a few years ago.
Tons of people, men and women, are crossing over to kiting from many other sports. We are seeing large numbers of surfers and wakeboarders, snowboarders, skateboarders, windsurfers and anyone that has interest in extreme sports getting into kitesurfing and kiteboarding. But they all have similar questions: What kind of kiteboarding equipment do I need to get started kiteboarding? How much does all this kiteboarding gear cost, where can I take kiteboarding lessons and how do I get started?
There are literally hundreds of kiteboarding kites, landkiting landboards, land kites, snow kites, kitesurfing boards, kiteboarding harnesses on the market today. For a beginner it can be totally overwhelming. Don't be overwhelmed and scared to get into the sport. The first thing you should do is pick up the phone and call us, 800-963-2142, we are always here to help you.
So please read on, glance at the photos, look at all the gear we have and feel free to ask us a million questions, we love talking about kiteboarding, it is what we do.
In no specific order we will discuss the different aspects of Kitesurfing, Landboarding, Snowkiting, Buggying, and Trainer kites.
KITESURFING / KITEBOARDING
For kitesurfing in the water you need the following equipment: waist or seat harness with spreader bar, leading edge inflatable kite (LEI), bar and lines, and a board. We do recommend wearing a helmet too of course, but that is up to you.
HARNESS: Many beginners like seat harnesses due to the ease of on and off; however, many also use Waist Harnesses. Most intermediate and advance riders however prefer the waist harness. They are also very easy to take on and off, but pull from a higher point. With a properly fitted waist harness it does not climb up to your chest like most people think they might. Any of the kites we sell are great for all levels of riders.
KITE: We sell many different brands of kites for kitesurfing. All our kitesurfing kites are considered Leading Edge Inflatable (LEI). You pump up the struts and the leading edge. This is what provides strength and stability to the kite, and of course allows easy relaunch from the water. Kite size is dependent of body weight, wind conditions, level of ability and size of board. An average adult male weighing 175lbs riding 10-25mph wind will use a 12m kite. Most riders keep 2 kites in their quiver, usually separated by 4 meters. This same 175lb rider would also use an 8m kite for the windier days, averaging between 20-40mph.
BOARD: There are many different types of boards for kite surfing: Twin-Tip, Light Wind, Surf-Style, and Skim, For a beginner it is recommended to use a Twin-tip as you can ride both directions without taking your feet out of the foot straps. More advance riders like the challenge of riding surf-style in the waves. When the wind is too light we go out on light wind boards (much wider, flatter and longer), and for just pure fun we ride skim.
SNOWKITING / KITE SNOWBOARDING
Snowkiting is an incredible addition to the sport of kiteboarding. All you need is a little bit of wind, a large field with snow (at least 1") and either an LEI or a foil kite. We sell the HQ Montana and the HQ Apex as great foil kites for snowkiting. You can use the same harness that you use for water, however, when it comes to snowkiting a seat harness is usually a better option and more popular.
KITE: Foil kites provide a great advantage to snowkiting that LEI kites do not offer: super fast setup. Foil kites do not need any pumping and therefore you just lay the kite out and launch it. These look most similar to parachutes and are much flatter kites then the typical LEI. The HQ kites we sell offer great responsiveness, super safe, great depower, etc.
BOARD: If you have a snowboard or skis you are all set to get into this. We sell kite specific snowboards that have much less parabolic (curve) compared with an all mountain snowboard. You will need to setup your snowboard with aprox. 15-20 degrees duck stance (feet pointed outward) so riding both directions is easier.
LANDBOARDING / MOUNTAIN BOARDING
Landboarding is another very accessible part of the kitesuring sport. Here we recommend using a foil kite or a trainer kite. We sell awesome landboards from Ground Industries that offer you the ability to ride on the grass, dirt, concrete, and also the beach. A good sized parking lot, baseball field, or beach at low tide is perfect for landboarding. Make sure you have your harness, as the foil kites need to be hooked in.
KITE: We prefer using foil kites as they are more durable to the terrain you will be riding on, concrete, etc.
BOARD: Landboards these days are awesome. They come in many different sizes, and offer all sorts of options: special rims, torsion cubes, bindings, deck construction, etc. The Ground Industries line of landboards are built super tough and will stand up to any conditions you tackle with the landboard.
Kitebuggys are a blast. These are 3 large wheels with a seat in the middle of it all. Just sit back, grab the wind and enjoy the ride. You can use your kitebuggy on the soft beach sand, dirt, grass and large parking lots. Use your foil kite and harness and life is good. Some people even use trainer kites to get pulled.
BUGGY: Most of our buggys consist of tube steel frame construction with 3 large rubber inflatable wheels and a seat in the middle. The front wheel steers the buggy via your feet on the pegs on either side. Some people have hit over 50mph on their buggys.
Don't be fooled by the name. Trainer kites are primarily used to learn how to properly fly a kite and understand the wind window and steering of a kite. Many people after they master the trainer kite use them for snowkiting, landboaridng and buggying. The trainer kite is still a powerfull foil kite that can generate enough power to pull you. Some people afix a line to the bar so they can attach the trainer kite to their harness.
KITES: Trainer kites come in sizes from 1m to 7m. We prefer most people use a 3m trainer kite. These kites provide ample power so you really get a feel for the kite, and then allows you the opportunity to use it for land based activities after you master the basics.