Post general kiteboarding discussion topics here!
If money is not a barrier go new!
Kite design has progressed at an amazing rate. The new kites in general have better range and handling characteristics than even a year ago. By buying new you will have a reliable kite that will withstand your learning curve and incorporate features that enhance the experience. That said your first kite for your first month will probably spend more time on the water than in the air and will take some lumps along the way.
There are lots of entry type packages that give the beginner everything they need and provide solid value and gear you can use for several years without worry or until the next generational improvement catches your eye and your wallet!
Bottom line though get out on the water!
If a used kite is the only way to get there than do it.
I think if you had more money than you knew what to do with you wouldn't even ask. So here is the deal. Buy used stuff. BAsically get '03 or newer. but if you can pay just a hint more for '04 gear do it. If you have no experience kiting you don't know the difference between new and used. Buy used then abuse it this year and get new stuff next year. It is that simple.
I would say for your first season consider buying some used gear. There's a good chance it may get somewhat abused during your progression, so why not save the new purchase for when you're fairly certain, barring any unforeseen circumstances, that you'll keep it in good shape. Prives on used gear have come down a bit, so shop for '04 kites. For boards, consider '03 and newer. It's also possible you may want to start out on a larger board than you might want at the end of this season, or next year, so not too much merit in spending a lot of dough for a board you may outgrow.
I was chomping at the bit, and bought a new kite. The classifieds seemed kind of stagnant, and I think I got a pretty good deal. However, had I waited I think I would have bought 2 used kites instead of 1 new one.
Back to the point, I'd say get used, unless you find the super deal, and then maybe ask someone what they think?
Check this, get a used kite or two, depending on budget and where you will ride. Like said above, shoot for '04.
Expect to give the equipment a real beating, but who knows, maybe you'll be able to keep it in good shape. Learn on these, and consider buying new gear when you get dialed in.
Hopefully, at the point when your money starts burning a hole in your pocket, you'll be at the level that you can take advantage of demos and try out different gear to see what you like and don't like.
I don't that anyone has mentioned that you need to take lessons. NOT just for all the usual reasons, but for gear reasons. In the lesson, your instructor will help you evaluate what gear you need for the location(s) you will be kiting, your weight, etc. Certain instructors will give you a deal on a used package (kites and board) after you take a few lessons.
IMHO, this is a gear intensive sport and lots of people buy into the hype. This is a good thing, because the "gear guys" always sell their stuff after a year. But if you talk to the "old timers" (kiting for more than 3 years), they will tell you that most kites 2003 and newer are pretty good. There are the safety systems, but there are as many pitfalls with these as positives. Lots of companies are building compensory brand loyalty into their safety features (who can blame them?). If you shell out $200 bucks for a bar with great safety features that only works with the brand of kite you buy, you're not likely to buy a different brand kite when you get another size.
If nothing else, all of this is reason to start with used gear, because in 2005, if you buy a brand new kite/bar, you're going to have to really hate it to switch brands any time soon. Try <ikitesurf.com> if you don't find what you are looking for on this site.
I almost forgot. Definitely buy a new bar/lines, unless the used kite you buy comes with an 04 setup. Releaseable chicken loops, spinning leashes, etc. are all relatively new features that make learnign to kite safer and more fun. Just make sure the bar you buy is compatible with your kite.
I agree with Pablito. I have had kites from 01 - 05. Of course new stuff is going to get better. I also agree that 03 is a good year to start with, that's when kite manufacturers really started to understand what they were doing. I also agree that beginners abuse their kites more than anyone else. So a new kite will quickly become a fairly used kite.
I also strongly agree with buying new lines. I have bought used lines a couple times and both sets broke. My brand new lines have stood the test of time. New lines are cheap insurance for you and your kite. I'm glad to see that the price of kites has come down in the last 5 years. The wipika lei patent will expire this winter I believe.
A better question would be which kites to stay away from if buying used.