Upgrading Your Kitesurfing Gear - When & Why?
There are a few reasons you might want to upgrade your gear, and while it's not always “necessary” to go out and get a new kite, sometimes it might be a better choice long term.
Kiting gear is built pretty tough these days. We’ve seen people who kite regularly keep their equipment for years, and with continued maintenance and a few repairs here and there they can last a good 5 years or more.
But if you're like some of us and you kite a lot (and maybe don’t look after things as well as we all should!), a year or two down the track your gear starts to show a decent bit of wear. Fabric gets worn down and becomes weaker, glues and seams start to deteriorate, lines stretch and shrink and start to look a bit fluffy, footpads & straps start to chafe or become uncomfortable.
At this point you can keep on keeping on, but maybe it’s a good idea to consider an upgrade instead? Particularly if you kite in strong wind, big surf or do a lot of freestyle. There’s nothing worse than having a line go when you’re out the back in overhead surf, or slamming your kite down just to have the canopy split right when you’re about to nail a trick you’ve been practicing.
Below we break down some of the reasons you might want to upgrade your gear:
Value for Money | Get the Best Value out of your Kiting Gear
If you use your gear regularly it's only a matter of time before something fails, and if you can upgrade before this happens, you'll avoid wasting money on keeping your old gear going. Repairs cost money, and even if you’ve learned to do some of them yourself you’ll still need to spend money on the parts and equipment you need.
Whether you’re trading in your gear or selling privately, you’ll get a lot more for it if it's got nothing wrong with it yet! A good kite that's only a couple of seasons old is going to get you a lot more than one that's older, has a few repairs and is likely to cost it's new owner more to maintain.
Ideal time to trade in depends on your priorities, but 1-3 years from new is usually your window to work with, with 2 years being a good rule of thumb. Much over 3 years your trade in value will generally start to diminish a lot, so there's definitely a "sweet spot" when it comes to timing.
Kiting Gear Failure | Your Time & Safety are Important!
Gear failure is the worst. At best you ruin a good session, and at worst it's dangerous and can cause more damage to your equipment, yourself and even people around you. At the end of it all, you’re stuck with a bill and may need to wait to get your gear back in operation again.
While maintaining your gear well and replacing necessary parts can avoid this, many find it easier to just trade in and save having to worry about it. A new kite, bar, board etc. will give you a good couple of years of trouble free kiting and usually comes with at least 12 months worth of warranty to back this up.
If you regularly kite in aggressive conditions or more high risk areas, especially solo, this is more important for you than others. Breaking a line or slamming your kite down and splitting it in big surf conditions isn’t a risk you want to take, even the best athletes among us are wary of being without functional gear in the type of conditions we can kite in.
Better Performance | Have More Fun with your Kiting!
Even if we negate the fact that everyone just loves new toys, we often see decent performance increases from year to year with kiting gear. Also, you've probably progressed with your riding a lot over the last year or two, and what suited you then might not be the best kite for you now. Take the opportunity to do a little research and find what might suit your skill level and style better.
Brand new gear also usually provides a performance increase simply by being new. A new set of lines or a crisp new canopy is going to be faster & more responsive than one that is a couple of years old. A new set of footpads will be fresh and provide maximum comfort, and a new board will be snappy and responsive where a more worn out one may not perform the way it once did.
Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about! Now there’s no need to go overstretching yourself, nobody needs a new kite (well... maybe some of us do) but if it’s in the budget it can be well worth considering, and as mentioned above it may end up costing you not much more, sometimes even less, than maintaining what you’ve already got.
If you’re interested in trading in your gear, contact us and we’ll have a look and see what options we might be able to put together for you, and as always, any questions on your gear or advice required, feel free to get in contact with us.