As a kiteboarder's source of power, the kite plays a central role. With an air-filled frame, inflatable kites hold their shape and float on the water, making them easy to relaunch. Types include: bows/SLEs, hybrids, C-kites and depowering C-kites. Foil kites are mostly used for snowkiting and kite skating.
Board types include: twin-tip, wake-style, surf-style and light-wind twin-tip. Snowboards, skateboards, mountain boards, skimboards, surfboards, etc., can also be used.
Connecting the rider's body to the kite, the harness allows the rider to hold the power of the kite and leverage his or her weight against it. Types include: waist harness, seat harness, impact-style and harness shorts.
4. FOOT STRAPS/PADS OR BOOTS
Securing the rider's feet onto the board, foot straps or foot pads are one option, while boots (wakeboard bindings) are another.
Used to steer the kite, the control bar hooks into the harness and varies from 18 to 30 inches in length, depending on kite size. Incredibly strong, line lengths vary from 10 to 30 meters. Bar and line setups come in four-line and five-line configurations, and all feature multiple safety systems.
6. SAFETY LEASH
Spanning from the harness to the control bar, the safety leash enables the rider to kill all of the power in the kite, as well as relaunch the kite.
You'll be glad you wore a helmet if you ever need it. If using a leash system on a board, a helmet is essential.
8. PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICE (PFD)
The buoyancy and protection of a PFD adds security so a kiteboarder can stay focused on riding. Some harnesses offer an integrated harness-flotation-impact solution.
9. WETSUIT/RASH GUARD
Temperature and personal preference dictate a rider's attire. Sometimes shorts or a swimsuit are enough. Rash guards offer lightweight protection from the sun, while the spectrum of wetsuit styles and thicknesses can add other degrees of comfort.