Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Snorkel Ken
Taking up kitesurfing is a big step. No two ways about it. Think of it this way: Taking up kitesurfing is like adopting a hobby that is both challenging and rewarding but not entirely cheap. (Like lots of hobbies right?)
If you want a decent kiteboarding set-up then it’s going to cost you a few bucks. That’s why we’re here, though. And we got you covered.
Unlike other sports and hobbies, say snorkeling or running, kiteboarding takes a pretty large investment to get started and to ensure that you can get on the water whenever you want and the weather is banging! It’s your job to make sure that you have a kiteboarding kit that performs: well, consistently and safely.
There’s not all bad news, though! Modern kiteboarding kits and gear are built to last. And last, they do! Making the right choices, based upon our recommendations, is important but if you do it right then you should have a kit that will stay modern and won’t become “outdated” or “so last year” any time soon.
You should expect to get at least 3 good years out of any kit that you buy before you need to pony up and buy more. The most dedicated to the sport will, of course, upgrade every year. (You know, shiny object syndrome…)
Still here? Didn’t scare ya, did I?
Look, kiteboarding is mad fun and rewarding. It’s just good to know that you’re doing it safely in order to totally enjoy it the way it should be enjoyed. So, if you’re still here, let’s take a look at what you need.
Best Kiteboarding Gear
The secret to buying this gear is that, since you’ve probably learned on beginner gear, then it’s smart to buy your new gear that will take from beginner THROUGH intermediate and last a few years.
Example: If you were to buy beginner/trainer gear as your first personal kiteboard kit, then you’ll get bored of it and need new gear in a month…maybe two. That’s why it’s important that you go intermediate and just take it slow.
One word: Depower. Yup. Kiteboarding is a high-flying, adrenaline-pumping sport that’s supposed to push your boundaries a bit. BUT…being able to ditch some power when needed, especially when starting out, is worth lots! It will help you build confidence in the beginning when there’s a steep learning curve and the kite you’re using now IS WAY different than that kite you had when taking lessons, amiright?
Starting out, avoid the freestyle power machine kites like the Naish Torch or Hadlow’s Pro (unless of course you wanna’ buy it…then go ahead. Who am I to pretend I cans stop you!?) What you’re looking for at the start are Bow (full depower) and Hybrid (kites with high depower capability) because they are A LOT more forgiving.
The kites below will take you, within your capability, from beginner to intermediate.
Safety: We don’t recommend buying second hand but if you do then remember that bars belong to kites and SHOULD never be interchanged from kite to kite.
The most versatile kite that we recommend! The Cabrinha Switchblade is one of those do anything, go anywhere kites are seemingly all-around awesome! This a 5 strut hybrid kite that offers great stability, power, but also awesome depower capability. Adversely, you could also opt for an entire Cabrinha kiteboarding kit that includes the Switchblade, board, and everything else you need.
It’s great from the starting line to more than intermediate but probably not good enough for competition (as the manufacturer claims!). The Switchblade is a mainstay in the industry and the designers continue to make improvements year after year.
Features of the Cabrinha Switchblade with Pure Profile Panels:
- Smooth Power delivery
- Radical Hang times
- Precision control and prediction
- Awesome upwind performance
- Easy relaunch
- Wide spectrum of conditions
Cabrinha’s forward-thinking Pure Profile Panels allow its design to be tuned to a degree beyond its competitors, giving it smooth power delivery, tremendous hang time, precision predictability, superb upwind performance, and effortless relaunch, all in a kite that can handle a panoramic range of conditions.
One of the most explosively, powerful and compact kites on the market today. This kite will give you maximum return on your effort. You get super tight turns courtesy of this high-performing, lightweight, and durable kite.
This is another kite that gets improved time and time again and each generation of the kite makes it a better time for you. This isn’t exactly a beginner kite but it’s dependable enough for us to recommend it on this list.
The Ocean Rodeo Razor comes with a 4 strut frame that provides tight turns and awesome responsiveness and well as strength and durability.
I told myself that just around $1k was the limit of the money I’d spend on a new piece of kiteboarding equipment, but I just couldn’t resist adding the Slingshot Kite 12M SST on this list. In my defense, look at this awesomeness:
- 8 different size: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and 12M
- Reinforced “surf tought” canopyto take a pop or two and perform incredibly in low or high surf.
- Upholds great to the sun and weather due to its extensive black layout. Great against UV rays.
The button below leads to a package that comes with the Kite, backpack for the kite, bladder repair kit and a “quick start guide” lol…
We don’t just go into a few kiteboarding lessons or solo excursions and decide just what kind of kitesurfing we want to do. It usually takes a few times out on the water to determine whether we want to go racing, freestyle, or wave boarding. In most cases, you’re best to start your time on the water with a freestyle board (twin-tip).
These boards are easier to maneuver and better for beginners to get a feeling for the water, kite, and board. The other benefits are that they are relatively easy to get up on and you can ride these boards in both directions without having to turn it around.
You should really only decide whether to get into surf or racing once you’ve mastered some twin tip basics. I don’t like to use the terms beginner or advance when it comes to kiteboards. Just choose the board that suits you, catches your eye and is in your budget. Or, break the bank and spoil yourself! Have fun and be safe above all, though.
Great beginner board and we can bet that this board will last you a while as it is touted as being the “go to” board for all levels.
Two different color schemes make the Ocean Rodeo Origin 3.0 really stand out: Black, green, white as well as the the blue, orange and white.(Both pictured)
Reviews on Amazon state the OR Origin is a particularly smooth and forgiving ride even when the water is choppy. Comfortable bindings and minimal water splashing.
The Star Edge is a more affordable kiteboard but that doesn’t mean it’s any lower quality than the rest on the list. Keep in mind, these are the boards that are good for beginners all the way through intermediate.
Here are some features of the Star Kiteboard:
- Really manageable and maneuverable. Can hang the with the big boys and take a beating while being lithe.
- The shape is a little bit unique and advanced, as well. The Star Edge has a concave bottom that contributes to the pop and speed of the model.
- One of the better upwind capabilities for the money. Superior power for a smooth, fast ride.
- Good foot straps that work well with flat or wide feet.
This is the last board on our list and it definitely is one of the top ones. It’s a twin tip model that is made by a leader in the industry. This board has a lot going for it. Some of the features inlcude:
- Built for competition-level kicker, slider and wakestyle riding
- Extra thick Durasurf base can take a major beating
- Medium rocker, stiff flex dialed for hard-charging riders
- Solid crossover cable park board
- Tip and tail channels allow smooth pressing and clean release
Don’t Forget the Harness
As equally important as the board and the kite is the harness. There are two types of harnesses: Seat and Waist. You’re most likely used to, and learned on, a seat harness. They’re the safest bet and easiest to learn on. Even when you’re getting dragged around in the shallows, seat harnesses are stable and supportive.
On the other hand, a waist harness will allow you more freedom and movement but that also means that when you are first starting it can be troublesome. If you don’t have your “kite legs” under you yet, then you can get pulled around and put into some difficult positions.
Bottom line: When you’re starting out we definitely recommend seat harnesses. HOWEVER (there’s always a however, right?), in a few months you’re going to want to graduate to a waist harness. In that case we recommend you start off with a sturdy waist harness that right from the get-go and just deal with sore ribs and back for a while. You’ll get used to it.
Try these Kitesurfing Harnesses:
[easyazon_table attributes=”Brand,ListPrice” identifiers=”B01D0GWNPA,B076SKSW3P,B0772DC9G2,B077V3LGZT” locale=”US” orientation=”at” tag=”snorkelstore03-20″ text=”2016 Mystic Warrior Kite Waist Harness |Ion 2017 Apex Select Harness -|Ion 2018 Kite Seat Harness B2|Liquid Force 2018 Cruzer V2 Seat Harness”]
One key to remember about kiteboarding, though, is this: There really is no “feeling out” period or (in the way of surfing or snorkeling), it’s hard to stop mid-activity and decide you’re tuckered out or want to ease yourself into it. If you don’t know your kite then it’s totally possible to find yourself wrapped around a pylon or a boat…or even stuck in a tree!
Kiteboarding is wickedly fun and most modern kites are as safe as possible, but they only operate correctly and at max safety once you’ve learned how to handle yourself on the water.
Another Key to Remember: It’s a totally bad, stupid and unsafe idea to grab a board, kite, and head to the beach just to see how it goes. One doesn’t just “try this kiteboarding thing”. At the very least it will take several trips to get a good feeling of controls and grips of your board and kite. If things can go wrong, they will. (Murphy’s Law) So, it’s best to know how to handle those situations when they do.
Safety: Never kiteboard alone, particularly when just starting out.
Do I need more than 1 kite?
A: Most of today’s kites have a great to excellent wind range…but there’s reality and then there’s the hype that the manufacturer puts on the box to sell items. Some claim that their kites have a 9 to 39-knot range. It’s possible, but think about it? Do you really need a minimum kite quiver of 2 knots? And how much fun is that kite going to be at the TOP range? Eeesh…
Some popular options are 7M, 10/11M, 9M/12M quiver combos. This all depends, however, on your local weather conditions. A good rule of thumb is that the right quiver is the one that can accommodate your want to kiteboard on most days at your most local beach.
Do I need to take Kitesurfing lessons?
A: Yes. Don’t just go to the beach and try to learn or “take up” kitesurfing in one round. There are horror stories about people who did this and things just didn’t end well. Kitesurfing can be very dangerous or very safe depending on the quality of lessons you get and how much you pay attention.
Don’t go out on your own until you are totally comfortable.
Do I have to be really in shape or jockish to learn to kitesurf?
A: Negative. You can learn to kitesurf at just about any fitness level.
Is it easy to learn to kitesurf?
A: It’s challenging learning any new sport. Depending on your fitness level, you can have a very difficult time or an “easier” time learning than some. But the best thing is that the learning curve is super steep. Once you make small gains then your skill snowballs.