Buying Second Hand kites

Kitesurf costs more than Ping Pong, but let’s be honest it’s worth every cent. Plus once you’ve got your kit there’s no admission fee, no booking a slot or waiting for the right time and you’re good to go whenever there’s breeze (and that  has to be more exciting than Ping Pong right?!). Greece is the paradise country to kitesurf almost all year!!

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  • Anytime is a good time – People come and go from kiteboarding at any time of the year.   Moving, travelling, injuries, babies, family commitments, work .. kites are changing hands every day of the year.    Spring and Autumn can be a great time, as the guys who love the new gear will be looking to trade up to the latest models, and are keen to move last years kites.   If you’re savvy and pick your time then you can pick up top quality kit for a fraction of its original price.

  • Beware old kites…  If you’re new to kitesurfing, then consider yourself lucky – old kites are on a different planet compared to what we’ve got nowadays.  Decent depower is a relatively recent development: back in ye olden days you just had to hang on.  Some kites evolved more quickly than others but – as a rule – anything pre 2007 is likely to either have low depower (=dangerous), or be an experimental forefather to the modern SLE/hybrid kite.

 
  • Knowledge is power.  Check online reviews on kite to see if the kite suits your style.  Ask others, letting them know about your riding style, whereabouts, and your experience.  Ask any kiting mates what they know about a particular brand or model.  If you see someone flying one at your local beach ask them how they find it.  Check out the newbie kitesurfing forum and ask for advice.

 
  • Flagship kites.  Many kiting companies have their main kites that have been around for a few years: these are generally a safe bet as they’re tried and tested designs that are just tweaked a bit each year.  Be it a Cabrinha Crossbow, North Rebel, Best Waroo or a Slingshot Fuel, these are always popular models – and popular for a reason.

  • Look for the same model.  Having the same model of kite makes a lot of sense.  You get a feel for a kite and understand how to get the most from it.  Plus you can use the same set of bar and lines and save yourself a few more dollars.  Mixing different brands, you might run into challenges with wind ranges, where they have too much overlap (or not enough).

  • The Kite.Although you should always try to check out a kite in person before buying it, the reality is that you may have to buy on trust and wait till you’ve parted with the cash before seeing your purchase.  So many transactions are online these days.  To minimise your chance of being disappointed however, you need to ask the right questions beforehand, and check your kite thoroughly as soon as it arrives.  So:

Ask

  1. What year is the kite?  If the seller hasn’t made this clear then definitely ask!
  2. How much use has it had?  Although there’s no way of telling for sure, ask if there’s any ‘crinkle’ in the kite cloth.  If it’s a couple of years old and has had heavy use then it may be past its prime. 
  3. Has it had any repairs? Kites do get damaged and – if professionally repaired – this shouldn’t affect how they fly.  Be careful of kites with lots of repairs or with major repairs though (where a whole panel has been replaced for example).  If possible give it a test fly if it’s been damaged.
  4. Do the bar and lines come with the kite?  Most kites fly best with the correct bar and lines… Some will only fly with the bar and lines that they are purchased with.  And kite companies tweak their bar and line set-ups year on year so you really need the set for that year too.
  5. How are the lines & pigtails?  Lines do not last forever, and need replacing if they get tired. 

 Check
  • The cloth.  If you’ve been told that the kite’s only had light use but the cloth is tired, or you can see stretch or stress marks on it then be suspicious.  Crinkle is what you’re looking for.
  • The bladders.  Check that they hold air.  You need to leave the kite pumped up for an hour or so, then check they’re still rock solid.  Also check that they’re straight – do the seams on the struts line up?
  • Pigtails.  Pigtails are a giveaway on a kite.  It’s always fairly obvious how much use they’ve had – if they’re stretched and worn then the kite’s seen some use.
  • Bar and lines.  Do the lines seem ok? Does the depower rope need replacing?  If there’s a cleat for the depower then does it look worn or corroded at all?   Is the rubber moulding hanging on by it’s fingernails?

 

And remember that you do, of course, get what you pay for, and even if the lines need replacing or the kite has had some repairs – you can always try to negotiate the price around this. The key think is to know what you’re looking for and make sure the kite ticks those boxes.  Don’t be rash because you want to get out on the water at the weekend, and do keep on looking till you find exactly what you’re after. 


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