Tip 1- Buying Used Gear
Buying a 2nd Hand Kite can be confusing when you know little about the sport. A good tip is to buy nothing over 2 years old as the safety systems and quick releases weren’t really up-to-spec at that stage of the game.
There were major changes to the design of kites in 2006 with the introduction of “Bridled” kites. These newer kites have a massive depower range and have a softer feel and are much easier to relaunch than their older “C” shaped counter parts. Having said that, the 2nd hand beginner market is the most sought after area of pre used kites and so prices tend to be high and they sell fast, usually by word of mouth before ever reaching the classifieds. There are a massive amount of older “C” shaped kites going really cheap and unless you really know what you are looking for, you can buy a lemon and waste your money. Get advice from experienced kiters who know the beginner market before outlaying your money. Same goes for boards, beginner market is the best market and most highly sought after. Again, advice is the go.
What to look for:
Kites tend to stretch or “bag out” after a season or two which slows them down and makes them less efficient. They still work, but aren’t the same as something more modern. Check for scratches on the leading edge bladder and also for “crinkle” marks running parallel, within 6 inches to the trailing edge between the wingtip strut and the next one in from the wingtip strut (T3 and T2). This indicates “flogging in the wind” on the beach and significantly reduces tear strength. Look for wear behind the canopy between the Leading Edge. Sand collects and wears the canopy. Check pigtails for wear at the knot attach point to the kite tabs. Also look for patches in the forward 1/3rd of the canopy, make sure they have been stitched as well as glued. Buy a well known brand as resale will be better than something more obscure and obscure models and brands tend to be difficult to get replacement bladders. And finally check for scuffing on the ends of the wingtips and ends of struts, it will give you an idea of whether the kite has been respected or not by it’s owner.