General Kiteboarding Information and Gear Guide
What is Kiteboarding? What is Kitesurfing? What is Kiteboarding Equipment? And what kind of kiteboarding gear or kiteboarding equipment do you actually need to go kiteboarding or kitesurfing? All of these questions are answered below!
Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing, in its modern form, dates all the way back to… 1997! With the Legaignoux brothers development of the groundbreaking “Wipika” kite, which can be considered the basis for all those inflatable kiteboarding kites you see in the air today.
Is there a difference between Kiteboarding and Kitesurfing? Well, kiteboarding and kitesurfing are almost interchangeable terms, almost because to some Kiteboarding refers to riding on a specific type of kiteboard called a twintip or twin-tip kiteboard or non-directional kiteboard which is similar to a wakeboard, while kitesurfing can refer to riding on a directional kiteboard similar to or exactly like a traditional surfboard. Another difference is more cultural. Americans and Canadians tend to call the sport “Kiteboarding” while Europeans (and French speaking Canadians) and other parts of the world (where kiteboarding is extremely popular by the way) refer to the sport as “Kitesurfing”.
Kiteboarding is an incredibly fast growing sport. Over the past few years the number of kiters has more than quadrupled. With the introduction of the more advanced kiteboarding gear on the market today the sport of kiteboarding is much safer then it was just a few years ago.
Tons of people, men and women, are crossing over to kiteboarding from many other sports. We are seeing large numbers of surfers and wakeboarders, snowboarders, skateboarders, windsurfers and anyone that has interest in extreme sports getting involved in kiteboarding. But they all have similar questions: What kind of kiteboarding equipment do I need to get started kiteboarding? How much does all this kiteboarding gear cost, where can I take kiteboarding lessons and how do I get started?
There are literally hundreds of kiteboarding kites, land kites, snow kites, kitesurfing boards, kiteboarding harnesses on the market today. For a beginner it can be totally overwhelming. Don’t be overwhelmed and scared to get into the sport. The first thing you should do is pick up the phone and call us, 587-434-5483, we are always available to help you. Furthermore, no one should attempt this very technical extreme sport without first taking lessons with a certified instructor. To sign-up for lessons with Glory Kiteboarding’s IKO certified instructors, please simply visit, complete and submit the lessons sign-up form by clicking here to get on the current kiteboarding student roster.
So please read on, look at all the gear we have and feel free to ask us a million questions, we love talking about kiteboarding – it is what we do.
In no specific order we will discuss the different aspects of Kitesurfing, Landboarding, Snowkiting, and Trainer kites.
KITESURFING / KITEBOARDING
For kitesurfing in the water you need the following equipment: waist or seat harness with spreader bar, a leading edge inflatable kite (LEI), bar and lines, and a kiteboard. We do recommend wearing a helmet too of course, but that is up to you.
HARNESS: Many beginners will like seat harnesses due to the full support and security that those harnesses provide however, many also use waist harnesses. Most intermediate and advance riders may prefer using a waist harness as it can be less constraining while riding and pull from a higher point on your torso. A waist harness when used by a beginner or novice kiter can rise up too high on your torso and become very uncomfortable and therefore suppress your potential kiteboarding progression. We recommend that all beginners use seat harnesses to ensure comfort and enjoyable progression of the sport.
KITE: All of our kitesurfing kites are considered Leading Edge Inflatable (LEI). To use these LEI kites, you must inflate the struts and the leading edge and this inflated skeleton is what provides the rigid form and structure to the entire kite, and of course allows easy relaunch from the water. Kite size is dependent of body weight, wind conditions, level of ability and size of board. An average adult male weighing 175lbs riding 10-25mph wind will use a 12m kite. Most riders keep 2-3 kites in their quiver, usually separated by 4 meters. This same 175lb rider would also use a 6- 8m kite for the windier days, averaging between 20-40mph. To ride in the light winds, when everyone else is sitting on the beach, a larger 14-18m kite (which can be slow and sluggish) will allow you to continue kiting and enjoy the smooth light winds. For the best in light-wind kites please check out the Blade Fat Lady 17m, which not only allows you ride in light-winds but, as it is the most nimble light-wind kite on the market, you will have a great time in those low winds!
BOARD: There are many different types of boards for kiteboarding in the water: Twin-Tip, Light Wind, Surf-Style, and Skim. For a beginner it is recommended to use a Twin-tip as you can ride both directions without taking your feet out of the foot straps. More advance riders like the challenge of riding surf-style in the waves. When the wind is too light for most boards we opt to go out on light wind boards (much wider, flatter and longer), and also with skimboards (also wide and flat so good for lighter wind riding) just for added fun and extra challenge.
SNOWKITING / KITE SNOWBOARDING / KITE-SKIING
Snowkiting is an incredible addition to the sport of kiteboarding. All you need is a little bit of wind, a large field or frozen lake with snow and either an LEI or a foil kite. We recommend the Concept Air Smart Kite as it is an absolutely amazing performance open-cell foil kite for snowkiting. You can use the same harness that you use for water, however, when it comes to snowkiting a seat harness is usually a better option and more popular as it will stay in place while worn over your winter layers.
KITE: Although the use of inflatable kites in the snow is very common, foil kites provide a great advantage to snowkiting that LEI kites do not offer: super fast setup. Foil kites do not need any pumping and therefore you just lay the kite out and launch it. These look most similar to parachutes and are much flatter kites then the typical inflatable kite. The Concept Air Smart Kite foil kites that we sell offer great responsiveness, are super safe, and have great depower, etc.
BOARD: If you have a snowboard or skis you are all set to get into this. We sell kite specific snowboards, see the Aboards Reverse for instance, that have specifically designed shape and flex features that make it different – to be more effective in riding behind a kite – from regular snowboards. When using a snowboard for snowkiting it is advised to setup your snowboard with approx. 15-20 degrees duck stance (feet pointed outward) so riding both directions is easier.
LANDBOARDING / KITE MOUNTAIN BOARDING
Landboarding is another very accessible part of the kiteboarding. Again, here we recommend using a foil kite like the Concept Air Smart Kite. We sell landboards from MBS that offer you the ability to ride on the grass, dirt, concrete, and also the beach. A good sized parking lot, baseball field, or beach at low tide is perfect for landboarding. Make sure you have your harness, as a power foil kite requires the use of one.
KITE: We prefer and recommend using open-cell foil kites (like the Concept Air Smart Kite) as they are have the ability to completely collapse (become powerless) when you need it. As you can guess, land is not a surface that is that forgiving so you want to be using a kite that can collapse it’s shape instantaneously when required to save your butt when you need to! Most closed-cell foils and inflatable cannot collapse like open-cell foils and therefore should only be used on water and snow (which are more forgiving surfaces when you lose control or wipe out!).
BOARD: Landboards (aka: mountain boards) made these days are awesome. They come in many different sizes, and offer all sorts of options: special rims, torsion cubes, bindings, deck construction, etc. The MBS line of landboards are built super tough and will stand up to any conditions you may tackle with it.
Don’t be fooled by the name. Trainer kites are primarily used to learn how to properly fly a kite and understand the wind window and the steering control of a kite. Many people after they master the trainer kite can use them (although limited use) for very high-wind snowkiting, landboarding and buggying. The trainer kite is still a powerful foil kite that can generate enough power to pull you. Some people affix a line or strap to the bar so they can attach the trainer kite to their harness.
KITES: Trainer kites come in sizes from 1m to 7m. We recommend to most people to use a 3m trainer kite. Due to their durable build quality and safety characteristics, we prefer to use and recommend the HQ Rush 4 series of trainer kites. These kites provide ample power so you really get a feel for the kite, and then allows you the opportunity to use it for further fun kiting activities after you master the basics.
Again, if you have further questions regarding anything kiteboarding, please do not hesitate to contact Glory Kiteboarding at 587-434-5483 or better yet: Sign-up for lessons with Glory Kiteboarding’s IKO certified instructors – simply visit, complete and submit the lessons sign-up form by clicking here to get on the current kiteboarding student roster to begin your kiteboarding addiction!