Complete set up for a beginner

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This forum is for new kiters/beginners to share info and experiences and to get answers to kiting questions. All questions are valid. Please provide proper answers (no sarcasm/joke replies, etc.) as we'd like to avoid any confusion or misinformation.

Complete set up for a beginner

Postby WindOverWater » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:15 pm

Hi all - I recently started to pursue kiteboarding seriously and I'm looking to purchase my own gear. I know there are a number of threads on beginners asking for gear recommendation, but I didn't find any that matched my body type and search criteria. So hopefully you can help me out, despite asking a question that has been raised many times :)

I'm about 5'10, 175-180 pounds. I don't plan on doing any cool tricks. I just want to safest setup possible (yes, I know there will still be risks involved). I live in SF. It sounds like Alameda is the safest areas for beginners, so I'll probably do most of my kiting there; and maybe some downwinders to Sherman Island when I'm able to handle it. Based on this, what size kite(s) would you recommend?

And here are the other gear I'm thinking about buying. Did I miss anything?

- 1 or 2 used kites
- harness
- bars
- board
- full flotation vest
- helmet
- hook knife
- emergency whistle
- wetsuit
- booties

And if you have brand recommendations that are suited for a beginner who's worried about safety, please let me know!

Disclaimer: As you can tell, I'm a big chicken :D Thank you in advance!
WindOverWater
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Re: Complete set up for a beginner

Postby le noun » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:34 pm

Kites: 8m and 11m, preferably the "freeride" kind. A twin tip big and wide. A go-joe to put on said twintip board. Put your name and phone number on every piece of equipment you own.
Keep the SAME brand for BOTH KITES and the BAR, you can mix and match the rest (people will say you can mix and match kites and bars but let's keep it simple/safe for your first setup).
Look for equipment no older than 3/4 years old.
I would recommend F-One Bandit kites since they're so good all-around kites but full disclosure: I work for them. You can read plenty of great reviews all over the internet about them though.
When buying used kites: look for tears, holes and inflate the kites to look for leaks.
Good luck and see you in the water.
Last edited by le noun on Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kites: 2018 F-One Bandit: 8m and 11m.
Board: 2018 F-One Mitu 5'10 Surf/Foil convertible
Harness: Manera Exoharness.
Wetsuit: Manera 5/4/3 X10D
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Re: Complete set up for a beginner

Postby WindOverWater » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:37 pm

le noun wrote:Kites: 8m and 11m, preferably the "freeride" kind. A twin tip big and wide. A go-joe to put on said twintip board. Put your name and phone number on every piece of equipment you own.
Keep the same brand for both kites and the bar, you can mix and match the rest.
Look for equipment no older than 3/4 years old.
When buying used kites: look for tears, holes and inflate the kites to look for leaks.
Good luck and see you in the water.


Thanks le noun. Do you think 11m is too small if I plan to frequent Alameda? It sounds like most people there use 12m-14m. For what it's worth, I took my lessons on a 12m in SF.

And in general, is using a smaller kite safer?
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Re: Complete set up for a beginner

Postby le noun » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:45 pm

WindOverWater wrote:Thanks le noun. Do you think 11m is too small if I plan to frequent Alameda? It sounds like most people there use 12m-14m. For what it's worth, I took my lessons on a 12m in SF.

And in general, is using a smaller kite safer?

it depends: are you only gonna head to Alameda in the spring when it's windy or all summer?
Are you planning on using only a TT or move into surfboard or foilboard?
If you plan on only going to Alameda all season and only ride a TT, then yes, 12m and 9m combo might be better, and that might even not be enough (Alameda gets really light in july/august).
Kites: 2018 F-One Bandit: 8m and 11m.
Board: 2018 F-One Mitu 5'10 Surf/Foil convertible
Harness: Manera Exoharness.
Wetsuit: Manera 5/4/3 X10D
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Re: Complete set up for a beginner

Postby WindOverWater » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:00 am

le noun wrote:
WindOverWater wrote:Thanks le noun. Do you think 11m is too small if I plan to frequent Alameda? It sounds like most people there use 12m-14m. For what it's worth, I took my lessons on a 12m in SF.

And in general, is using a smaller kite safer?

it depends: are you only gonna head to Alameda in the spring when it's windy or all summer?
Are you planning on using only a TT or move into surfboard or foilboard?
If you plan on only going to Alameda all season and only ride a TT, then yes, 12m and 9m combo might be better, and that might even not be enough (Alameda gets really light in july/august).


Alameda seems like the most beginner-friend spot, so I'll probably go there most of the season, and visit Sherman Island occasionally. I may venture to some local SF spots next year when I get more comfortable kiteboarding. I only plan to ride a TT.

I'm guessing a 12m or 14m is appropriate for Alameda. Where could I use the 9m? What size kite would be good for downwinder from Pittsburg to Sherman Island?
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Re: Complete set up for a beginner

Postby le noun » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:24 am

You will most likely need the 9 in the spring in Alameda. It gets pretty windy at that time. You'll DEFINITELY need one for sherman/pittsburg area.
I have nothing against a 14m but lightwind riding is just easier if you have the right board too, not just a regular TT.
If you're on a budget, then yes, start by buying the 12m and everything else you need.
Then the 9m as soon as you can (don't be that person pumping a 12m when everyone else is on 8m because "that's your only kite").
Kites: 2018 F-One Bandit: 8m and 11m.
Board: 2018 F-One Mitu 5'10 Surf/Foil convertible
Harness: Manera Exoharness.
Wetsuit: Manera 5/4/3 X10D
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Re: Complete set up for a beginner

Postby dgrissom » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:06 pm

Learning to kiteboard and get upwind is good at Alameda. Keep in mind Alameda is typically light wind especially mid-late summer so plan accordingly. With this in mind, you might be better off with a 12m rest of this season to keep yourself powered up and learning to get upwind. I found when learning the toughest part was actually riding when under-powered. Nice thing about Alameda is the long sandy beach so going downwind and walking your gear back up the beach not a problem. Or like you said do a downwinder somewhere. Learn on a floaty twin tip. As for brands, keep it simple. Did you already take lessons? If so, might want to choose the same brand if you already are used to it, why not? Again keep it simple. After you've learned to go upwind consistently, you can venture to other places.
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Re: Complete set up for a beginner

Postby WindOverWater » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:33 pm

dgrissom wrote:Learning to kiteboard and get upwind is good at Alameda. Keep in mind Alameda is typically light wind especially mid-late summer so plan accordingly. With this in mind, you might be better off with a 12m rest of this season to keep yourself powered up and learning to get upwind. I found when learning the toughest part was actually riding when under-powered. Nice thing about Alameda is the long sandy beach so going downwind and walking your gear back up the beach not a problem. Or like you said do a downwinder somewhere. Learn on a floaty twin tip. As for brands, keep it simple. Did you already take lessons? If so, might want to choose the same brand if you already are used to it, why not? Again keep it simple. After you've learned to go upwind consistently, you can venture to other places.


Thanks dgrissom. Yes, I've been taking lessons. I'm at a point where I'll want to practice on my own, and Alameda seems like the best place to start. I realize it's getting to the end of the season in Alameda and the winds are slowing down. Will a 12m be enough? I hear a lot of people use 14m at Alameda. If I can get a 12m and a 9m, would that be pretty versatile for Bay Area kiting?
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Re: Complete set up for a beginner

Postby dgrissom » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:23 pm

12m and 9m are good sizes for Bay Area all around. BUT definitely lean to the larger kite at Alameda. Yes a 14m this time of year should be fine. I doubt its gonna blow over 25 or even 20 any more at Alameda this season. Usually more like 15 and onshore and it can fade fast. And like I said I found a larger kite to be better for learning. This might not seem right, but I got into more trouble being underpowered than overpowered when learning. Because underpowered requires better kite control and most beginners don't have it. Some might bash me for saying this, but this seems to be the case. When kiting now I mostly see beginners with larger kites and more advanced kiters with smaller kites. That's fine as long as you know how to depower quickly when needed. Personally I use cabrinha which have a good depower system. But each to their own.
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