To go kiteboarding you need some basic pieces of equipment.

  • Kite
  • Harness
  • Board

Kite types

There are a large variety of so called “power kites” which generate power using the same principles as a paraglider. Before kiteboarding kiters used power kites to pull them along in a variety of ways (buggies, skis etc) on the land. While these kites can generate enough power for kiteboarding they are designed primarily for use on the land and normally offer no water restart possibilities. In some cases these kites can even sink if emerged in the water, obviously his can be potentially dangerous making land kites unsuitable for water use.

One of the fundamental characteristics of a Kiteboarding kite is the ability to not only float but also be able to be re-started from the water.


There are two main types of kite available for kiteboarding:


These look similar to a paraglider in that they have openings on the leading edge that fill with air as you fly them. Once pressure has been established small flaps close off the openings and maintain the internal pressure. Typically these kites use mulitple lines attached to the kite which in turn are attached to the main flying lines. This system is called a bridal and helps to distribute pressure across the span of the kite.


This is the most popular type on the water today. A tube kite has its leading edge and struts filled with high pressure air with a pump before launching. Once inflated the kite takes on a characteristic crescent shape, which it holds until the valves are opened. These kites have a simple system of two or four lines, which attach at the outside edge of the wing tips.


A kiteboarding kite is controlled with a simple bar which can be hooked in and out of a harness. By pulling on one side the kite will turn to that direction. Generally speaking whenever the kite has a four line setup it is possible to alter the power that the kite generates by altering the relative angle of the kite. This depower is achieved when the rider has the kites front lines (via a loop) hooked into the harness. When the bar is pulled close to the rider the kite generates the most lift and when the bar is pushed away it generates less lift (depowered).


Regardless of type all kites should be equipped with a leash system which can enable you release the kites power but not loose the kite in the case of an emergency. All kites types and styles can be tuned for more or less performance. When selecting a kite pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations


This is a simple harness similar to a windsurfing style. There are a variety of options from seat style to waist and both have a variety of hook heights.


Boards are a personal choice and can be characterized in the following ways:

Directional: These boards have a defined front and back. Initially a directional board is the easiest to learn on. Typically these boards are longer, higher volume and better gripping than their counterparts. However when you reach the end of a run and want to change to a new direction you must switch your feet, this can prove quite difficult for a beginner and many riders will change to different board at this stage. A directional is best for a rider wants speed, upwind capabilities, and for big wave riding.

Bi-Directional: As the name suggests this type of board can be ridden in both directions and are easy to maneuver. Due to their low volume and short length these boards can be quite hard to learn on but offer great scope for big jumps and tricks as a rider advances. Bi-directional boards are by far the most popular variety in use.  
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