Kite Surfing Gear: The basics of kiteboarding equipment

In order to kitesurf, several pieces of basic gear are needed and can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.

Kites

Available in two major forms — inflatable kites and foil kites. Kites come in various sizes, ranging from .7 square meters to 25 meters. In general, the larger the surface area, the more power the kite has. Seasoned kiteboarders likely will have three or more kite sizes to accommodate various wind levels.

Lines

Line lengths between 15 meters to 25 meters are most commonly used. As a general rule, use shorter lines if you are overpowered and longer lines if you are underpowered. Most power kites use a three-, four- or five-line configuration. The fifth line is used to aid in water re-launching.

Control bar

A solid metal or composite bar that attaches to the kite via the lines. The rider holds on to this bar and controls the kite by pulling at its ends, causing the kite to rotate.

Kite harness

Comes in seat, waist or vest types, though waist harnesses are the most popular. The harness attaches the rider to the control bar and takes most of the strain of the kite’s pull off of the rider’s arms, spreading it across a portion of his body.

Kiteboard

More or less a matter of preference and the conditions you are likely to encounter at the beach, but comes in several types — surf-style boards, smaller wakeboard-style boards, even smaller skim-type boards and hybrids. Boards generally come with footstraps to allow the rider to attach and detach for tricks and jumps. Bindings are used mainly by the wake-style riders.