The basic accessories and equipment for kiteboarding are fairly compact, quite durable, and not too expensive. Some of these gears include:
1. Kitesurf Foil Boards
Perhaps not one of the most basic gear, yet it gives smooth kitesurfing. The foil board is a board that has a hydrofoil attachment underneath. Upon mastery, you can deploy the board to entirely lift you out of the water ride only on the hydrofoil. It is expected that you’re an experienced kitesurfer before attempting to use a foil board.
From general knowledge, it is easier to learn to kitesurf the traditional way than to learn using a foil board.
The pros include: possession of outstanding upwind ability, induction of a very smooth ride as it “flies underwater”, functions best in light wind conditions (especially when incorporated with a foil kite).
A major con is that it is sharp, hence can cut the feet or leg. Other drawbacks may include difficulty in learning, need for deeper water to effectively function, bulky transport, expensive cost.
Tip: Read this if you are looking for insurance to protect against stolen kitesurfing gear.
2. Bar and Lines
As you probably know, this is mandatory gear for kitesurfing. Fitted with a safety release system, it functions as the kite’s primary controller. You can use it to slow down and accelerate, jump or turn. Often specific for the type and brand of the kite, the standard line is between 24 to 25 meters.
5-line or 4-line bars?
Depending on the design, there are three most commonly used types of bar and line. These include 4-line bars (the most commonly used), 5-line bars (not commonly used), 2-line bars (mostly for training).
Also, while bar configuration varies significantly, there are two main types: Above the bar depower and below the bar depower. A tip is to always use the bar and lines that are specific and compatible with your kite.
3. Kite Harnesses
This is another mandatory kitesurfing gear that provides you with support and some protection. The seat and waist harness are the two main kinds of kiteboarding harnesses. You can incorporate a seat harness with your board shorts.
Seat harness vs. waist harness?
Although seat harnesses are easy to use for beginners while learning (as they don’t ride up around your ribs), waist harnesses that are less restrictive are often preferred by experts because they allow for more expression.
As a tip, if possible, test the fit of your harness before you eventually buy it. Also, you can hook your pouch to your harness, turning it into a storage for minor items of gear such as a mobile phone, GPS or a line knife (which is a good safety accessory).
4. Kitesurf Bindings (foot straps and footpads)
Kiteboard bindings are the core connection between you and your kiteboard. They provide a lot of comfort and confidence during a surfing session. They generally have two parts: footpads and foot straps.
While the pads imitate the functionality of the shoe sole and offer support and shock absorption for your feet while kiteboarding, the straps ensure your feet remain on the pads so you’re firmly fitted on the board while jumping.
Kitesurfing generates a lot of force on your joints. These forces mainly get absorbed by your bindings.
To protect your knees and ankles, a good set of bindings offers extra shock absorption during a landing, and the flex in the boards provides the much-needed cushion for your knees.
5. Kite Footstraps
These are designed to keep your feet comfortable and fastened on top of your footpads. These are mandatory accessories for kitesurfing because they are the definitive way to grip onto the board without having the commitment of boots or bindings.
The straps stay gripped to your feet to ensure your kiteboard is firmly attached to you, regardless of your movements in and out of the water. Also, they are usually adjustable and this allows it to match your feet’s shape.
Generally, footstraps afford you the space to enjoy your kite as well as the necessary support and protection you need for your kitesurfing experience.
While you can be all up in the air in the surfing heaven, when you want to touch base with your board, you can just slip your feet through the straps and you’re good to go.
6. Kite Travel Bags
Bags used for kiteboarding are specially designed for the various aspects of the sport. Thus, they come in sundry styles and outlooks. The day bags are recommended for kiters who always travel with their kitesurfing gear to take advantage of unplanned opportunities.
This typically fits a single kiteboard as it helps reduce sun damage, protect them from dings, scratches or breakage (in event of dropping or during transportation), and for easy carrying.
Alternatively, there are golf bags. These bags generally refer to bags designed with benefiting from airline deals on checked sports gear (often golf clubs) in mind. The golf bags are a perfect fit for travelers, as well as kiters who prefer to aggregate their gear. In most cases, these bags are big enough to accommodate two to three kites, two boards, a harness, a pump, as well as the bar and lines.
On the other hand, compression bags were fashioned to lessen the size of your surfing kites since gathering all your equipment makes for an easier travel experience.
These drawstring bags can greatly compress your kite size; thereby, eliminating the unnecessary space in most ordinary bags used for kitesurfing.
7. Kitesurf Spare Parts
It’s a given that everything can be broken – even your kite. Luckily, there are many replacement parts or products available to fix or repair your kite.
Some of these parts generally include lines, quick release systems, pigtails, valves, screws, swivels, floaters, grab handles, bar parts, pulleys, etc. of all brands such as those manufactured by Kitemana, Naish, North, Cabrinha, Dr. Tuba, F-One and many more.
Other kitesurf accessories include:
- Kite (mandatory): Made with an inflatable bladder, they float on the water to enable easy relaunch. Most manufactures include bars and lines during the fabrication.
- Board (mandatory): This is specifically designed and optimized for traveling upwind under the power of a kite. It connects to your feet using foot straps. A wide range of types is available. If you are the handy type or on low budget, you can even create your own DIY kiteboard and ride really well.
- Safety leash (mandatory): This ensures you stay attached to the kite when you trigger your safety release or let off the control bar while kiting with your hook unfastened.
- Wetsuits (optional): While this gear is for cooler and cold conditions, (as it extends your season by allowing you to stay out longer), it can also be used in the tropics. Kitesurfing-specific wetsuits have features like water drainage at the ankles and offer protection from abrasion.
- Drysuit (optional): This suit is made for even colder conditions – it is very warm and perfect for cold and icy waters. Also, wearing warm clothing under the suit keeps you completely dry.
- Helmet (optional): Water sports helmet provides the head with some warmth and much-needed protection. Hence, it is always good to have one. It is also good for mounting a helmet cam on. However, a tip is to check helmet impact rating and impact standards before you buy one. It is also advisable to put some marine grade reflective tape on the top and sides of your helmet to make it easier to spot in low light rescue situations
- Buoyancy/impact vest (optional): This provides you with some impact protection and additional flotation. All the kitesurfing-specific models allow mobility and work in conjunction with your harness.
- Gloves (optional)
- Sunglasses (optional)
Tip: If sunglasses is your thing, then read our article about kiteboarding glasses and goggles.