The Kite Skiing Gear Buyer’s Guide is your ticket to entering the world of kite skiing!

Kite

Me At Lappis, we serve as an importer for high-quality inflatable kites and foil kites from Eleveight, GIN, and PLKB. Our aim is to ensure that every enthusiast finds the suitable gear for the best kite skiing experience.

How many kites do I need?

In kite skiing, one kite might suffice in the beginning, but as the hobby progresses, the number of kites often increases. When purchasing the first kite, it’s important to consider future needs and possibly building a kite quiver for the next 1-2 years.

The size of the first kite?
The size of the first kite depends on various factors such as the location of the activity, the rider’s size, and the number of kites planned for the future. Typically, the first kite is relatively large, ranging from 10m² to 15m². A larger kite allows practice in lighter winds and is slower, making it safer for beginners. At this stage, many wonder if a large kite isn’t dangerous. In wind sports, it’s the wind that poses the danger. Starting with a larger kite enables practicing the sport in lighter winds, thereby ensuring safety. Additionally, larger kites are slower and thus less prone to reacting strongly to handling errors.

Building a Kite Quiver Example

Building a kite quiver is an essential part of progressing in kite skiing. A compromise quiver can handle most conditions, but with a small addition, you can transform it into an optimized quiver that covers all possible wind conditions.

Approx. 80kg Rider

  • Compromise Quiver: Start with a 14m² kite, versatile and suitable for most wind conditions. Later, add a 7-10m² kite to broaden your quiver’s coverage across a wider wind range.
  • Transitioning to an Optimized Quiver: To expand your quiver into an optimized setup, begin with a 12m² kite. Following this, add a 16-18m² kite for lighter winds and a 7-9m² kite for stronger winds. With these three kites, except for the most extreme storms, you’d cover all wind conditions optimally.

Approx. 65kg Ride

  • Compromise Quiver: Start with a 12m² kite, a good all-around kite for most wind conditions. Then, extend your range with an 8m² kite, offering more versatility.
  • Transitioning to an Optimized Quiver: A three-kite quiver consisting of 14-16m², 10-12m², and 7-9m² kites provides optimal coverage in all wind conditions. This setup ensures the best kite skiing experience, regardless of wind strength or direction.

Summary

While a two-kite quiver works well, adding just one more kite can transform your quiver into an optimized one. This provides you with the best readiness for all wind conditions, significantly enhancing your kite skiing experience. Kite sizes can vary based on brand, model, and age. The best approach is always to reach out to us for a more detailed discussion of various models.

New or Used?

In our selection at Lappis, we almost always offer both new and used kite skiing/surfing equipment. Purchasing used gear can be a good option, but it’s crucial to be cautious, especially in rapidly evolving sports like kite skiing and surfing.

Acquiring Used Equipment

  • Pace of Equipment Development: Kite surfing and skiing are relatively young sports, and their equipment has evolved rapidly. This means that older gear can be significantly different from today’s equipment.
  • Safety First: For example, if you purchase a snowboard that’s 10 years old as your first one, it might serve you well initially. However, in kite skiing, such outdated equipment could pose a danger. We recommend reading our blog on why buying your first kite independently isn’t advisable.

Offering Used Equipment

  • Suitability for Beginners: When we offer used kites to novice enthusiasts, we always ensure they are suitable and safe. We never offer or sell dangerous equipment to beginners.
  • Expert Advice: If you’ve found a used kite online that seems appealing, we suggest reaching out to us. We’ll provide an honest assessment of the equipment’s suitability and safety, enabling you to make an informed decision.

When choosing kite skiing equipment, it’s essential to consider both new and used options. When acquiring used gear, it’s crucial to consider its age, condition, and suitability for modern-day kite skiing. We’re here to assist you in finding the best equipment, whether your choice is new or used.

Leading Edge Inflatable (LEI) vs. Foil Kites

Arriving at kite skiing courses often brings questions about the safety and usability of Leading Edge Inflatable (LEI) kites versus Foil kites. Here, we address these perceptions and highlight the latest developments in kite technology.

Inflatable Kites: Efficiency and Control

  • Safety Perceptions: Many believe that foil kites are safer than inflatable kites. However, this perception is outdated, and modern-day inflatable kites offer superior power adjustment and control.
  • Winter Use: The durability of inflatable kites in winter conditions is another common concern. From our experience, inflatable kites withstand winter conditions well, provided that valves and other plastic or rubber components are handled carefully in the cold. Damages are very rare, but if they occur, they are usually easily repairable..

New Single Skin Kites: Simplicity and Convenience

  • Single Skin Kites: New single skin kites have introduced an easy-to-use and hassle-free alternative to traditional foil kites. They are lightweight, easy to launch, and provide a good option for beginners or those seeking a straightforward kite.
  • Suitability: While single skin kites are a good option in certain conditions, it’s worth mentioning that inflatable kites still offer the best overall versatility, control, and effectiveness in safety mechanisms.

So, who benefits from foil kites?

Foil kites offer several advantages, making them an ideal choice for certain riders and specific kite skiing conditions.

The Advantages of Foil Kites

  • Lightweight and Packability: Foil kites are lightweight and pack into a small space, making them convenient to transport. They don’t require a pump, reducing the number of gears and overall weight.
  • Absence of Plastic Parts: Foil kites lack plastic components in their structure, enhancing their reliability and durability, especially in harsh conditions.

Applications of Foil Kites

  • Kite Trekking and Wilderness Travel: Foil kites are an excellent choice for kite trekking and moving through wilderness areas where lightness and easy packability are essential.
  • Mellow ride: The power delivery of foil kites is more gradual, making them ideal for relaxed cruising. Their riding style is calm, suitable for enthusiasts seeking a comfortable and easy kite skiing experience.
  • Light Wind Conditions: Larger closed-cell foil kites are particularly effective in light winds, providing a good option for riders favoring such conditions.
  • Summer Activities: While foil kites are well-suited for winter activities, closed-cell foil kites also work in summer, provided they are specifically designed for it or are a hybrid single skin kite.

Foil kites are an excellent choice for enthusiasts valuing lightness, easy packability, and a smooth riding experience. They are particularly suitable for kite trekking, wilderness travel, and relaxed cruising. Offering versatility, foil kites cater to both winter and summer activities. The most significant difference between a foil kite and an inflatable kite is the stability, where the soft-structured foil kite lags compared to the rigid-framed inflatable kite.

C-kite, Open-C, Delta, Hybrid, BOW, SLE…How do I know which one is for me?

In kite skiing, there’s a wide array of kite models available, each suited to individual preferences and riding styles. Here, we’ll explore various kite types and their suitability for different enthusiasts.

Variety of Kite Models

  • Freestyle Kites: Many competition-oriented freestyle kites are designed for high power output and may offer limited user comfort. These kites are best suited for experienced enthusiasts seeking performance and challenge. However, there are exceptions. For instance, the Eleveight FS recently won the prestigious kite surfing world cup, but at the same time, it can be an excellent choice for some beginners.
  • Beginner-Friendly Kites: There are several kite models on the market specifically tailored for beginners, offering safety and ease of use. These kites are not limited to beginners only; many can also suit experienced riders based on their riding style. A prime example is the Eleveight RS. It’s a perfect choice for beginners, yet it has also been used for big air jumps, setting records of 10 meters from the world’s highest jump (35.9m).

Different Kite Types

  • C-Kite: Traditional kite type known for its strong pull and a well-defined wind range. These were prevalent until around 2010 and are now less common. Examples of C-kites include Slingshot Fuel, Duotone Vegas, F-One WTF, Best GP, and Naish Torch.
  • Open-C Kites: Modern versions derived from the traditional C-kite. These aim to maintain the precise control and power of the old C-kites while eliminating undesired traits like challenging relaunch or a very narrow wind range. The Eleveight FS is a prime example of an open-C kite.
  • BOW, SLE, and Delta Kites: Most modern kites fall into this category, known for their wide wind range and user-friendliness. They are suitable for beginners and versatile riding styles. An example fitting this category is the Eleveight RS.

Choosing a Kite for Your Riding Style

  • Matching Riding Style: Select a kite model that matches your riding style, whether it’s leisurely cruising, soaring jumps, aggressive freestyle, wave riding, or racing. Modern kites are incredibly versatile, and opting for a quality cross-over kite can cater to all these styles. However, if you already know which aspect of the sport entices you the most, selecting a kite model tailored to that aspect may serve you better in the long run.
  • A Versatile Kite Example: The Eleveight RS is a kite that suits both beginners and experienced riders. It’s Finland’s top-selling kite model, striking a balance between performance and user comfort.

Choosing a kite for kiteboarding is a crucial decision that impacts your experience in the sport. It’s important to select a kite that matches your riding style and skill level. We’re here to assist you in finding the best kite for your kiteboarding hobby based on these considerations.

After considering the answers to the questions above and your needs in kiteboarding, feel free to reach out to us. Let’s figure out which gear suits you best. Remember, our selection includes new, previous model year, and used kites, catering to various budgets!

Need immediate information? Drop us a message on WhatsApp, and we’ll get started right away :)

Bars

A bar is a crucial part of kiteboarding gear, especially for safety and control. Here, we delve into choosing bars and their significance in kiteboarding.

Significance for Beginners

  • Safety: For beginners, the bar is essential for safety. The structure and safety features of a bar directly influence how well one can control the kite and act in emergency situations.
  • Evolution of Safety Features: In recent years, kiteboarding’s safety features have evolved and standardized, enhancing safety and making bar usage more intuitive.

New vs. Used Bar

  • Recommendation for New Bars: We strongly recommend opting for a new bar, even if the kite itself is used. A new bar ensures access to the latest safety features and the best possible condition.
  • Choosing a Used Bar: If selecting a used bar, ensure it has a ‘push-away’ safety release mechanism. This mechanism triggers an outward push during an emergency release. It’s also essential to ensure the bar leaves one front line slack, reducing the kite’s power swiftly and safely.

In addition to emergency releases, here are a few differences that bars may have:

4 lines or 5 lines?

In kiteboarding, the number of lines on a bar is a crucial factor affecting kite control and safety. Here, we discuss the differences between 4-line and 5-line bars and their suitability for different kite types.

5-Line Bar: Old School and Specialty Use

  • C-Kites: Traditional old-school C-kites commonly use a 5-line bar. The fifth line functions in emergency releases and relaunching the kite.
  • Compatibility: It’s important to note that a 5-line bar usually isn’t compatible with 4-line modern kites. The 5-line bar is designed to work only with specific kites, such as certain types of C-kites.

Applications of 5-Line Bars Today

  • Foils and Single Skin Kites:Some open-cell foils and single skin kites also utilize a 5-line bar. his provides added support and control for these kite types. For instance, the GIN Shaman 3.1 can be used with a 4-line bar, but with a 5-line setup, it can be depowered in challenging conditions with minimal risk of tangles.
  • Common Use: In today’s kiteboarding, the 4-line bar is the most common and standard choice, suitable for most modern kites.

Bar Width?

Bar width is a significant factor in kiteboarding as it directly influences kite feel and control. Different brands offer bars of various widths, suitable for different kite sizes and riding styles.

The Impact of Bar Width on Kite Feel

  • Large Kites and Wide Bars: Generally, larger kites are paired with wider bars. This helps achieve more speed and responsiveness, especially in lighter winds.
  • Small Kites and Narrow Bars: Smaller kites often work better with narrower bars, resulting in smoother and more stable kite control.

Bar Width Selection and Riding Preferences

  • Riding Preferences: Choosing bar width doesn’t need to strictly follow general guidelines. For example, riders focused on unhooked freestyle often prefer narrower bars with larger kites to prevent excessive kite turning in the air. On the other hand, big air riders might opt for wider bars for quicker and more efficient kite responsiveness. Freeride enthusiasts usually aim for quick kite response and thus choose slightly wider bars.
  • Comfort and Control: Generally, it’s more comfortable to use a slightly too wide bar than a too narrow one. A bar that’s too narrow might make steering heavier, particularly in lighter winds.

Adjustable Bars: Flexibility and Adaptability

  • Adjustable Bars: There are adjustable bars available in the market that offer flexibility and adaptability for different kite sizes and riding styles. For instance, products like the Kiteattitude Totem Vario and Eleveight CS Vary allow adjusting the width as needed.

Power Adjustment

Power adjustment is a vital aspect of kiteboarding bars, directly impacting kite control and comfort. Presently, there are primarily two types of power control mechanisms: Clam Cleat and Pull-Pull systems.

Clam Cleat Power Control

  • Popularity: Clam Cleat, also known as the clamshell, is presently the most common power control mechanism in kiteboarding bars. Its popularity stems from its ease of use and precision.
  • Function Principle: The Clam Cleat mechanism allows quick and easy power adjustment by sliding the line through the clamshell. This enables kiteboarders to adjust the kite’s power swiftly and effortlessly during flight.
  • Simplicity: Clam Cleat operates using a single line for power adjustment, simplifying the process, especially in hectic situations.

Pull Pull Lines

  • Alternative Mechanism: Pull-Pull lines are another power control mechanism still utilized in some bar models. While not as common as Clam Cleat, they offer a functional solution for power adjustment.
  • User Experience: Pull-Pull lines adjust power by pulling separate lines, preventing accidental full-power engagement, for instance.
  • More Prone to Wear: The Pull-Pull mechanism is more susceptible to wear compared to Clam Cleat. As it wears out, it might slip during strong gusts, leading to higher power unintentionally.

Does the emergency release leave you with one or two lines?

The safety release’s operational principle is a critical safety feature in kiteboarding bars. This feature dictates how the kite behaves in emergency situations and how it can be safely controlled.

Single-line emergency release

  • Emergency packdown: When the emergency release leaves the kite relying on a single line, it enables a safe packdown of the kite on water or ice. This is known as “Emergency packdown.”.
  • Safety and control: An emergency release relying on a single line significantly reduces the kite’s power, making it more controllable and safer in emergency situations.

Two-line emergency release

  • Oh Shit handles: If the emergency release leaves the kite relying on two lines, it’s crucial for the bar to have “Oh Shit” handles. These handles allow the kite to be shifted to a single line in emergency situations.
  • Safety risks: Without “Oh Shit” handles and a two-line emergency release, safely packing down the kite on water or ice can be challenging or even impossible. This can pose safety risks in emergency situations.

Importance of bar selection

  • Priority of safety: When choosing a bar, it’s crucial to consider the emergency release mechanism. Choose a bar that offers the best possible safety and control in emergency situations.
  • Type of emergency release: It’s advisable to select a bar with a single-line emergency release. If opting for a two-line emergency release, ensure the bar has “Oh Shit” handles.

Freezing endurance

In kiteboarding, the frost resistance of bars is an essential consideration, especially in cold conditions. The plastic tubing around the bar lines protects them from wear but can become stiff and prone to breakage in freezing temperatures. The frost endurance of bars varies based on the plastic compounds used, and there are different solutions available in the market that withstand cold temperatures better. For instance, Eleveight CS Vary V4 has proven effective even in extremely cold temperatures. Therefore, when selecting a bar, it’s important to consider the frost resistance of the materials used.

Are Different Brand Harnesses Compatible?

In kiteboarding, the compatibility between harnesses and kites from different brands is a crucial factor to consider. While many modern kites and harnesses are compatible, there are some specific aspects to bear in mind.

Fundamental Compatibility

  • Uniform lines: Most contemporary kites are designed to work with uniform lines, meaning that controlling a kite with harnesses from different brands is generally feasible.
  • Kite and harness recognition: The kite doesn’t ‘recognize’ the brand of the harness, so theoretically, harnesses from different brands can work together as long as the lines and attachments are correct.

Possible Concerns

  • Line attachments: Lines are attached to the kite using a larkshead knot at one end and a loop at the other. In some cases, these attachment methods might vary between brands, requiring the use of an adapter.
  • Adjustment range disparities: Some kites may have different adjustment ranges on the harness, which could affect how well a kite performs with a harness from another brand.

Ensuring Compatibility

  • Package compatibility: When purchasing a kiteboarding package, ensuring the compatibility of the harness and kite is crucial. Here at Lappis, we always ensure that the kiteboarding packages we sell are compatible and seamlessly work together.

In kiteboarding, there are two main types of harnesses: seat and waist harnesses. Each has its own advantages and purposes.

Trapeze Harnesses (or Harnesses))

Waist Harness

  • Most common model: The waist harness is the favored choice among kiteboarders, striking a good balance between freedom and support.
  • Importance of sizing: Selecting the right size is crucial for waist harnesses, as they need to be snug enough to stay in place.
  • Recommendation: We often recommend waist harnesses as they offer a good combination of comfort and support.

Seat Harness

  • Beginner-friendly: The seat harness is popular among beginners. It comes with leg straps that prevent the harness from riding up. However, the period during which a beginner benefits from a seat harness is so short that we strongly recommend the waist model right from the start.
  • Ease of leaning: It’s easier to lean into a seat harness, and it stays in place even if it’s a bit looser.
  • Movement restriction: A seat harness can limit lateral movement, and for some enthusiasts, it might not feel as comfortable as a waist harness.

The Importance of Choosing a Harness

  • Personal Preference: Selecting a harness depends on personal preferences, riding style, and comfort needs. Try different models to find the one that suits you best.
  • Comfort and Support: Choose a harness that offers the best combination of comfort and support, fitting your riding style.

Numerous Models, Which One for Me?

There isn’t a definitive answer in the kiteboarding buyer’s guide because everyone has their own preferences and body structure. When getting your first harness, it’s essential to ensure that it doesn’t press against any part of your body when moving your hips back and forth. Later on, testing is the best way to find the harness that fits you best. Features and intricacies come second after the fit

Summary