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Hello,I am brand new to the sport,I just finished taking lessons and I'm ready to buy some gear. From talking to quite a few peopleit seems that I'm looking for a kite 12m or bigger since I'll be staying in Alameda for the remainder of this season. Any help or advice is more than appreciated. I'm can't afford brand new gear because income is little right now but I want buy gear and start having fun ASAP. Thanks for reading, Adam.
I would try to buy 2003 kites or newer.
There are a lot of deals out there on kites on the net.
For e.x., I just picked up a brand new 2003 18M kite complete (bar/lines/bag/pump) for $170 with shipping included.
If you are going to buy used, like an automobile, try to find one with little use and one that still looks new.
A lot of the 2003's were good kites, and you can find them for a bargain now...
I just started this season, so take that into consideration. Hopefully someone else will respond to agree or point out that I'm a kook.
I tried to do my own research and 12m seemed to be the average size for the bay, so I went ahead and got one. What I wasn't really aware of is that Alameda has much ligher winds than many of the other bay spots. You didn't specify your weight, but unless you're really light you might want to consider a larger kite, especially if you are on a limited budget and will be spending a bunch of time at Alameda.
I had a 16 for awhile and it made light and day difference compared to trying to go out on a 12 on average summer Alameda days!
It might sound intimidating, and depending on where you took water lessons you may have been flying a much smaller kite due to location. I've read recommendations on buying your smaller kites first, and that makes sense if you plan on backing them up with more kites soon after.
Whatever you decide to do, try to make friends at the beach, as it will be invaluable. Make sure that the kite you're putting up isn't larger than what everyone else is rigging. Have people double check your lines at first, and maybe help with launching, especially if you go for a larger kite!
Cheers, and good luck!
For Alameda, I would say to shoot for a 14M. My buddy got that size and has been using it as his one kite quiver for two seasons now. He only recently considered getting a smaller kite, for those days when it is nuking. As a beginner, NEVER put a big kite up when more experienced guys are on smaller kites.
On the other hand, you don't really need a big kite. Having the right board makes a night and day difference.
My buddy was out on a surfboard with his 12M kite (his 16M leading edge burst) and other guys were on 16Ms(I was on a 21M) He was screaming upwind on his surfboard, when other guys on twintips struggled to hold their ground.
That being said, for light winds, get a board ~150 cm with little or no rocker, and is >42 cm wide.
Then when the winds pick up, you may want to pick up a smaller board (122 - 135 cm) with more rocker (rocker is good for jumps, helps hold your edge up to the last second). Smaller boards are more fun for doing jumps, but they making going upwind more difficult.
But for Alameda, I'd get a good light wind board. You could use this good light wind board with a 12M, 14M, 16M. Believe me, I've been out on my 11M and cruised upwind in ultra-light winds on my killer floaty directional. Kite size doesn't matter much if you have the right size board for the conditions.
I would recommend planning on having two boards, and start off with only one kite. You can get a lot of range with one kite and two boards. Just my two cents...
And yes, 12M is statistically the average size kite flown in the bay area.
I got a 12 and its pretty useless in Alameda in the last couple of months. Maybe 5 days I could use it for short times. 14-15 at least and a light wind board (not a big board, a light wind board).
I agree with guest. In alameda a big kite and a big board is a must. You won't be able to even get a 11m kite to fly in light winds. For the rest of this season you'll want a 14-16m mid aspect kite. It's never fun to pump up a 12m and watch others have fun while your kite is on the beach getting a tan. Next year you could get a smaller kite to explore the rest of the bay.
Stick with a board about 147. Hana's board is a good one. To bad I just sold a 147 in good shape for $175. It would have been the perfect package.
I think if you really want to surf in Alameda you need dedicated light wind gear, like a contra or a flysurfer. The wind there is so light that even the 16s don't do much. Same with board, you need a Glide, Flydoor, Spleene, plyboard or something like that. I am working on this setup right now, Alameda is 10 minutes from my work and its just a waist to let it go.
BTW previous guest was me, I forgot to log in.
The folloing factors matter when chosing your equipment for Alameda:
- your weight
-your level of experience
- the season
- the board
I have not seen your weight in any of the posts but there is a major difference between a 90 pound person and a 220 pound person. As a very rough rule of thumb....every 10-20 pounds 1 kitesize difference.
Level of experience: Beginners should be on at least 2 sizes smaller than advanced kiters of the same wight. The latter ones want to be superpowered to get big air. Beginners usually prefer to stay on the water - also when a gust hits.
The season in Alameda:
mid March to mid June: I (160 pounds) got the most use out of my 11 and 7 m kite on a small board during that time. Lots of very windy days here. I can hold on to a lot of kite and often like it powered up.
July: wind become very light, if they go over the 10 mph mark that's a lucky day. I can rip on a 13 m on a lightwind board in such conditions (ebbing). A bigger kite for me makes the same difference like a larger/floaty board. I often chose the larger board.
August - September: winds get even lighter. The warm weather is killing the wind. Watch the weather reports for the days were a cool down of 10 deg is forecasted - that will bring in strong enough wind.
October through mid March: either zero wind or Winter storms (from December on). Not for beginners, only crazy locals go out in that and bliss out. 5m, 7m, 8m kites. Safety gear and really warm wetsuits, hoodies etc. required. happens only 5 times or so per winter, the wind lasts 2 hours, often only in the morning. Wind direction is different too, can change from onshore blasts to offshore, S, SE, E, NE.
Optimal time for a beginner of standard size on standard sized equipment in Alameda is probably around May/June.
The board: Can compensate for 1-4 kitesizes in either direction.
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