Post general kiteboarding discussion topics here!
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So I was out with the Missus the other night and we ventured into Sports Chalet in Antioch.
I was looking for a new pair of sunglasses, and she immediately deserted me for the clothing section.
After not finding what I wanted, ok, not wanting to pay 230$ (YIKES!!!) for a pair of Kaenon's, I started to look around the rest of the store. Keep in mind that if you've never been to a Sports Chalet, it's basically a more upscale Sportsmart/big box sporting goods store.
Lo and behold in the far left corner of the store, what did I spot? A new Liquid Force Spectrum 12m kite. Inflated. Hanging from the ceiling.
My interest was peaked.
I walked back to that corner of the store and saw 2 kites, both 12's brand new in their bags, 4 kite boards (Liquid Force Drop 130 and 136) and four Harnesses, one in each size S,M,L, XL.
There were no footstraps/bindings anywhere near the boards.
Nor was there any disclaimer near the gear.
So I decided to talk to someone who worked there, and basically played newbie. "Wow I've seen that on TV" , " Looks like fun" . "It's probably just like wakeboarding, right?" , "How do you keep your foot on the board?" , " Do I really need a harness too?" etc. Basically, I got the worker bee to let me know that this was everything I needed and I could go out kiteboarding. To say that the employee was clueless would be an understatement.
Wow I was SHOCKED. No mention of lessons, trainer kite, etc.
Just 1200++ kite, a 120++ harness and a 500+ board. all you need.
Has Kiting gone that mainstream already? Or will, as I suspect, Sports Chalet end up selling these kites on clearance at what they paid for them?
YIKES! But, I mean, what did we expect was going to happen? If you try to guess about the economics of kite sales, it seems obvious that there are too many companies selling kites, they are in a price war. How do you sell more stuff in the USA? You get it into the big box stores.
You can buy a gun in a Sportmart without taking any lessons. You have to get a background check, but, duh. No safety class, no mandatory sessions at a shooting range.
You can kill people with a kite, but not as many as you can with a .3030
I'm not saying this is a good thing, at all. I'm just saying...
This is why we need to get proactive about the beach safety stuff. At some point, we're going to have to approach the authorities and offer a proactive approach that ensures that only people with lessons and trainer kite time under their belt are allowed to blow up their kites and get in the water. Self-regulation is better than government regulation, always.
All we can hope is that the pricetag will keep most of the real idiots from impulse buying of kites.
The Sport Chalet price for one kite, a board and harness plus tax is still close to $2000. I doubt if many will even spend the $1200 for a kite without first doing some home work like talking to other kiters. We definitely need to recommend lessons to everyone newbie who stop to ask us about the sport.
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