Guide to Buying a Used Kite
Some Tips to Buying Second Hand/ Used Kite Gear
As far as the prices go in kitesurfing, it is pretty cheap compared to the adrenaline kick you get. No doubt, it would be cheaper to start playing basketball or ping pong, but no denying kitesurfing is worth every penny. Here is your guide to finding a used kite.
It is more than fair if you don’t have few thousands to spend every spring on next years kite gear, or if not having the best and newest gear doesn’t bother you, then used gear is a great way to go about it!
Cool thing about kiting, as soon as you have your equipment, there is no fees, waiting in line, admission fees or bookings needed, whenever there is a bit of wind, you can go! Here is the guide to buying yourself a 2nd hand kite.
Let the hunt begin
- What is the best time to buy a second hand kite?
- Should I be afraid of older kites?
- Is having a lot of kitesurfing knowledge important?
- How do I know if the brand I’m buying is any good?
- Should my 2nd and 3rd be of the same brand?
What is the best time to buy?
Any time is a good time. I wouldn’t know why, but people do stop kitesurfing all year round. They move away from their spot, some people sell their stuff to go travel, injuries do occur and most people get family commitments at some point in their lives. Not any particular month’s stand out, maybe there is a bit more sales before the release of next years models.
Should I be afraid of older kites?
If you are new to kitesurfing, consider yourself lucky. If you were on a lookout for a used kite a few years ago, you could get yourself into some real trouble. Old kites are very different from the new ones. Not only the aerodynamic of the kite but more important the depower. Being able to depower your kite is essential to be safe out on the water. Depowering changes the angle of your kite giving it less power. In case of gusty winds/stormy weather or an experienced rider, this is a must. The safety systems are also outdated on old used kites.
Pretty much anything from before 2007 is probably going to have low depower which is more dangerous. Or it could be a experimental kite, (a kite not really tested by the manufacturer), many brands did this in their early days.
Is having a lot of kite knowledge important?
First of all, I would talk to any friends/family who kite. Ask questions about riding style, whereabouts and their experience to get tips before buying your own. Ask which brands or models they use. Otherwise kiteforums are a great way to get this. You could check out Sea Breeze, they have a good newbie forum. You could also go to your local spot and ask the guys kiting there, where they bought their gear.
How do I know if the brand I am buying is any good?
Most big kiting companies have their ‘main’ kites that have been around for years and people know. These kites are a safe bet, they usually have been thoroughly tested and tried by many people. They tweak them a bit each year to improve them. Cabrinha, North, Slingshot being some of the most popular brands – popular for a good reason. Check out a complete list of all brands on the market in 2017
Should my 2nd and 3rd kite be of the same brand?
Staying within the same brand has a lot of perks. It makes sense in the way that you get a great feel and understanding of your kite. Understanding your kite helps you get the best out of it especially if it is a used kite. Another perk is that you can use the same bar and lines on the same brand. This will save you some money. So you don’t have to buy a new bar and lines each time you buy a new kite or a used kite.
That being said, if you begin mixing the brands, you could have problems. Not only are they not from the same year nor the same brand. The line lengths and the angle of the kite may vary a lot. Some brands barely work together. So stick to the same brand when buying a 2nd or 3rd used kite if possible.
I would always say that you should see the kite with your own eyes before buying, but the reality is that you might have to give your cash first before even being able to see it. Unfortunately a lot of online transaction are like that. So to minimize your chance of getting screwed or scammed, here is a list of a few questions for the seller.
What year is the kite from? Make sure to figure out when the kite was bought by him and when it was put on the market by the brand. He might only have bought it 1 year ago, but if the kite was released 7 years ago, you would have safety issue with your gear.
Is there any repairs made on it? If so, who fixed it? Himself or a professional? And when did this repair happen. You should keep an eye out for kites with many repairs or any major repairs. If yes, ask to give the used kite a test try.
Last Step to Buy a Used Kite
When you have asked all these questions and you are satisfied. You pay from the kite and get it sent. When it arrives make sure to thoroughly check your kite. Some of the important things to check are:
The Sheet – Make sure the sheet of the material isn’t stretched or looks ‘’tired’’. The key here is to look for any crinkles on the sheet. This point will be easy to see on a used kite.
Bladders – Make sure they hold air. You should fully pump it up, leave it for a few minutes. Check not only the leading edge but also the strut bladders.
Lines and Pigtails- The pigtails give a good idea how old the lines and bar is. The more worn down they are , the older the equipment is. This might also give a good indicator on how old the rest of the equipment is. Are the lines the stretched? Is the depower worn down and needing replacing?
Check all these steps off your list and you can be confident that you will score yourself a good deal on some used gear. Even if there are some minor problems, renegotiate so you can buy replacements or make repairs.
Or you can just buy brand new equipment, up to you!