- Category: Buy Equipment
- Written by Matt Ringen
- Hits: 6877
You CAN Do This
One of the biggest limitations in getting into kiting is the cost. Many people that I introduce kiting to find it unbelievable, wild, and exciting at first glance. They can’t describe how cool they think it would be to be a part of the kiting community.
Then I tell them how much a kite costs.
Unbelievable, wild, and exciting quickly turns into impossible, long shots, and a lot of I-wishes’s. Just like that, something they haven’t even tried is pushed out of their minds.
I’m here to tell you that you can get into kiting for less than you think. I’ll show you around the bare minimums so you can navigate through the bargains to find that diamond in the rough. All it takes is patience and knowing what to look for.
Let’s start with the most important piece of equipment:
Many people suggest buying trainer kites to get started. These kites are less than 5 square meters in size, usually between 1 and 4. The sole purpose of these kites are to allow a new kiter to understand how a kite behaves. They are designed to pull so little that the kiter won’t be pulled out of control while learning.
Personally, I think your money can be used elsewhere.
Although having one of these to learn on would be nice, the objective is to learn safely and then ride at minimum cost. If you can get your hands on a friend’s trainer kite, or split the cost of a new one with someone else, great. If not, that’s ok too. Let me suggest a slightly larger foil kite, 4-6 meters in size to learn on. A foil kite uses ram air to inflate the kite and keep it filled as its flying. They are very durable, and can be crashed over and over almost always without any damage. They have stable flying characteristics and are easy to set up and take down. 4-6 meters is a good size due to the fact that you can fly it in lower winds (between 7 and 10 knots) to learn without the danger of being seriously yarded, but it is also big enough to pull you on a board in higher winds (between 12 to 18 knots), something a trainer lacks.
Many major brands make this size/type of kite. I learned on an HQ Apex I 5m depower kite, and would definitely recommend it to new kiters. It has very stable and predictable flying characteristics that make it simple to fly, but also has just enough size to get you moving well on stiff wind days. Depower is a term describing the ability to control the lift power of the kite using the control bar. Some kites have fixed bridles and no depower. Either one will work fine for starters, however depower will allow more rider control along with a little more price. These kites can be found for around $100-400.
Buying a factory new kite is great, but expect to pay more for fresh equipment. Buying used kites or buying previous models is a good alternative to save serious money. A few excellent places to look for used kites are the For Sale and general discussion sections of online forums about kiting. Some places to check would be Snowkiting.com, kiteforum.com, and powerkiteforums.com.
Now we have lift. We need something to harness that power. Some kite come with handles, and some with a control bar and “chickenloop”. If yours is the latter, then you will most definitely want a harness. However buying a full, legit kite harness is going to cost a pretty penny. Almost all kite harnesses are $75 and up. This leads us to a cheaper alternative that you may even already own: a simple rock climbing harness. Averaging about $30, this type of harness won’t provide the comfort or “un-hooked” riding ability of purpose-made kiting harnesses. However, it will get the job done as an entry level attachment point.
How Bout a Ride?
If you are already into winter sports, you might be set already! The next biggest item on the list is a ride. Many people believe that snowkiting is for snowboarders only, but this is not the case! Many people easily ride skis while snowkiting as well. However, depending on where you are riding, your $800 Burton Custom board may definitely not be the board of choice. Unless you are riding on mountain powder, or resort type conditions, be aware that the chance your board is going to get core-shots is higher. These conditions are the highest in open or harvested fields, during icy conditions, and on rocky terrain. If you already ride, and don’t mind possibly dinging your board or skis up then you are ready to roll. Otherwise look through some garage sales, Play-It-Again Sports, and other used equipment sources to find that perfect, (but really) not-so-perfect set of slicks. Some can even be found under $75, while boots to match can be found for about the same.
Again, if you are already into the outdoors, these items might be a part of your equipment stash. First up, a helmet ($40-125). Don’t spare the extra money for a good brain bucket. If you don’t, you’ll wish you did after your first yarding (I’ve been there). Next is a pair of goggles ($20-80). You are going to be snowkiting in windy conditions (obviously) so protect your exposed skin from the wind chill factor and any ice bits the wind throws your way. Something I learned from personally experience is that if you are riding in icy conditions, strapping on a pair of crash pads (knees and elbows) under your winter gear is recommended ($20-40). Bashing your knee into a frozen concrete-style ice chunk isn’t fun for anyone.
Take a Leap of Faith
Kiting is a sport that many find the answer to their winter sport adrenaline needs. If you are interested, set aside the funds to get your hands on your very own rig. Some serious deals are out there to be had. Many of the figures here are from “of the moment” numbers found on bargain deals, meaning that better deals will come and go. That said, patience is a virtue. Sometimes waiting for that perfect deal is more than worth it.
Here is the breakdown:
Your First Kite Package:
- Complete Kite Kit- $225
- Rock Harness - $30
Your Flight Costs a Total of $255
The cost of a season pass at Breckenridge or White Fish Resort More than $500
Think about that for a minute...
New to More than Kiting? Need a ride?
- Board or Skis- $100 Boots - $50
- Helmet - $75
- Goggles - $25
- Crash Pads - $25
Ride and Extra Insurance (aka Safety Equipment) Costs a Total of $275
SO! For those who have the goods to ski on already, you are looking at possibly less than $300; and those who are diving in fresh, about $500. My favorite part about this entire deal is that once you buy, there are NO residual costs. This isn’t like owning a snowmobile that uses gas, oil, insurance, and park fees after you bought the sled; or riding downhill paying for lift tickets and season passes after you spent $500 on gear. This is an investment that gives you satisfaction immediately, and unlimitedly. Your first kite will be your partner in training and soon after your secret weapon for high wind sessions. In other words, your first kite will never stop serving your passion for kiting. Set aside some cash and see why we love this sport so much. It’s flight, freeriding, fast thrills, and fun all in the same package. See what kiting can do for you. After all…
…sometimes life is better with strings attached.